Fresh faces, surprise inclusions and an imminent centurion highlight the opening round of the 2016 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Australia presented by Pirelli season this weekend at Sandown Raceway.
The ninth year of the popular Porsche series will see a 17-strong field line up for the opening round, highlighted by the significant milestone of seasoned South Australian racer John Goodacre who will, should he contest all three Sandown races, complete the round with his 100th GT3 Cup Challenge race – the first driver to accomplish the feat.
Goodacre finished second to Geoff Emery in the 2015 Elite Class standings, though while the latter has departed the series, competition in the semi-professional division will be just as strong.
Returning drivers Tim Miles, David Ryan, Sam Shahin and Ross McGregor have increased their level of competition, Brian Finn has upgraded to a 2011-spec 911 GT3 Cup, Tony Martin returns having raced a limited 2015 campaign, former regular Phil Morriss returns for another stint in the one-make series while Mike Vati and Anthony Gilbertson prepare for their series debut at Sandown.
The Professional Class will test several young racers against the 2015 benchmark – the returning champion.
Hamish Hardeman returns to GT3 Cup Challenge for his second season, as does Jaxon Evans, upgrading to a 2011-spec 911 to compete among the front-runners after finishing runner-up in the Class B division last season. Jamey Blaikie Scholarship recipient Jake Klarich will also compete in the Professional Class; a tough initiation for the debutant as the only newcomer to the class.
And then there’s Ryan Simpson. The Sydneysider and 2015 champion broke a multitude of series records last season – including race wins, round wins, pole positions – and was not expected to return to GT3 Cup Challenge competition when his last minute return sent a shiver up the spine of the series’ front-runners.
The Class B battle will be between regulars Shane Barwood and Michael Tsigeridis and GT3 Cup Challenge newcomer, Danny Stutterd.
Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Australia presented by Pirelli will hold two practice sessions across Friday, practice, qualifying and race one on Saturday, and race two and three on Sunday.
To watch the final two Porsche races, along with the entire Sunday racing programme of the opening Shannons Australian Motor Racing Nationals round, visit the Shannons Nationals website at www.thenationals.com.au.
For those looking to attend this weekend’s opening Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Australia presented by Pirelli round, CAMS is offering free entry for all CAMS license holders along with affordable pricing for the Sandown event.
Friday April 01, 2016
12:30pm Practice 1 (20 minutes)
3:25pm Practice 2 (20 minutes)
Saturday April 02, 2016
9:35am Practice 3 (20 minutes)
12:00pm Qualifying (20 minutes)
3:15pm Race 1 (12 laps)
Sunday April 02, 2016
10:05am Race 2 (12 laps)
1:40pm Race 3 (12 laps)
CAMS Member Free entry all weekend with CAMS licence shown at gate
Under 15: Free entry
Friday: Free entry
Weekend pass: $35
Round 1 Entry List
1. # 1 Ryan Simpson (Professional Class) Sonic Motor Racing/Parramatta Smash Repairs
2. #4 Tim Miles (Elite Class) CSF Radiators/Miles Advisory Partners
3. #9 Tony Martin (Elite Class) Triffid Bar + Venue
4. #10 Hamish Hardeman (Professional Class) Sonic Motor Racing Services / Adina Property Group
5. #13 Sam Shahin (Elite Class) HTFU
6. #17 Mike Vati (Elite Class) Zoo York
7. #19 Anthony Gilbertson (Elite Class) Hallmark Homes
8. #21 Shane Barwood (Class B) Melbourne Orthopaedic Group
9. #30 David Ryan (Elite Class) Wrightlands GAM Soltronic
10. #32 Danny Stutterd (Class B) Freem
11. #34 Phil Morriss (Elite Class) Motorsport Leasing
12. #66 John Goodacre (Elite Class) GAP Solutions/Ezi-POS
13. #81 Michael Tsigeridis (Class B) Hunter French Real Estate
14. #82 Brian Finn (Elite Class) Laser 3D/Force Accessories
15. #91 Jaxon Evans (Professional Class) Simulate-It/Willship
16. #95 Jake Klarich (Professional Class) Super Rooster
17. #99 Ross McGregor (Elite Class) Southern Star Windows