The Bend Motorsport Park to host the final round of the Michelin GT3 Cup Challenge
The sixth and final round of the 2019 Porsche Michelin GT3 Cup Challenge series gets underway this weekend in Tailem Bend in South Australia with all three class titles up for grabs. The fast and flowing turns of the 4.95km circuit that characterize The Bend Motorsport Park are tailor-made for the Porsche 911 GT3 cup cars and traditionally very hard on the Michelin control tyres.
The track is also the longest of all the tracks on the Porsche Michelin GT3 Cup Challenge calendar and a favourite among both Pro and Pro-Am drivers due to its fast, but technical nature. With the outright, TAG Heuer Pro-Am and Class B titles all still to be decided, fans are likely to see the titles to go down to the wire in the final race on Saturday.
The Queensland based McElrea Racing team is leaving nothing to chance, having recently conducted test sessions at the circuit with their leading Pro and Pro-Am drivers including series leader Harri Jones and Ryan Suhle as well as TAG Heuer title contender Brett Boulton.
Jones sealed the Jim Richards Endurance Trophy in the last round at Sandown Raceway, ahead of Aaron Love and Christian Pancione. With three races (180 points) available over the weekend, the Helimods backed driver will be hoping to extend to stay out of harm’s way and maintain his 92 point advantage over Sonic Racing’s Aaron Love in second.
Both Love and teammate Max Vidau (who trails Jones by 142 points) still have a mathematical chance of clinching the Pro title and come off strong form leading into the event after dominant race victories in Sandown. Others in the hunt for race wins will be Christian Pancione, Tom Taplin and Ryan Suhle who have all showed good qualifying pace and consistency in the second half of the 2019 season.
The ultra-competitive Pro battle will again welcome the GWR Australia run entry of Oliver Shannon after his debut in the series in Sandown. With the third-most starts in series history, Sam Shahin will be looking for a fairy tale ending to his 2019 campaign by clinching the TAG Heuer Pro-Am series title at his own track.
Shahin comes off an amazing Porsche PAYCE Carrera Cup Australia performance in recent weeks, after winning all three Pro-Am races on the final round on the Gold Coast. The South Australian has a 73 point lead over Brett Boulton in second in the TAG Heuer standings for Michelin GT3 Cup challenge and the battle between the pair will be one of the highlights of the race weekend.
The Southern Star Windows entry of Ross McGregor sits a strong third in the Pro-Am championship standings, with a small, but mathematical chance (157 points adrift of Shahin) of taking the class title should the front runners have misfortune. McGregor is well clear of Rob Woods, Michael Hovey and Graham Williams in the points table, who are locked in their own battle for fourth and fifth position in the series.
After Sandown, McGregor is now the record holder for the highest number of race starts in the series’ history at 101, a record previously held by John Goodacre. Round 6 will also see the return of experienced Porsche Michelin GT3 Cup Challenge campaigner Michael Loccisano in the Porsche Centre Melbourne prepared Hallmarc entry, after missing the Sandown round due to work commitments abroad.
The closest class battle to be contested this weekend, will not be at the sharp end of the field, however, but rather toward the rear in the Class B category. The 2019 Class B season has witnessed a season-long tussle between Andrew Goldie and David Greig, with only 30 points separating the pair heading into this weekend, every race will count. With Tony Martin injuring his hand earlier in the season, Nathan Murray is assured of third in the Class B classification.
After a pair of practice sessions and a late afternoon qualifying session on Friday, all three races will be held on a busy Saturday and streamed live via the Shannons Nationals website.
For more race information throughout the weekend, follow the Porsche Michelin GT3 Cup Challenge social pages: Instagram – @CupChallengeAus / Twitter – @CupChallengeAus / Facebook.com/CupChallengeAus
Entry list – Round 6, The Bend
Car # CLASS DRIVER SURNAME SPONSOR
1 3 Pro-Am Jonathan Gliksten Cure FA
2 5 Class B Nathan Murray Garage 1
3 7 Pro Ryan Suhle Ryan Suhle Racing – Ray White
4 9 Class B Tony Martin TM Motorsport / The Triffid Bar. Venue
5 10 Pro-Am Michael Loccisano Hallmarc
6 12 Pro Harri Jones Heli Mods
7 13 Pro-Am Sam Shahin The Bend/HTFU
8 14 Pro-Am Matt Belford ID Land
9 22 Class B Andrew Goldie Woodford Trailers
10 26 Pro Tom Taplin Taplin Real Estate
11 29 Pro-Am Rob Woods GWR/Commercial Interior Projects
12 38 Pro Oliver Shannon
13 76 Pro Christian Pancione VCM Performance
14 77 Pro Max Vidau Sonic Motor Racing
15 78 Pro Aaron Love Sonic Motor Racing / SRG Global
16 84 Pro-Am Brett Boulton Bold Living
17 87 Class B David Greig Daikin Air Conditioning / DW Motorsport
18 93 Pro-Am Marty Ewer Dr Marty Ewer
19 99 Pro-Am Ross McGregor Southern Star Windows P/L
20 131 Pro-Am Graham Williams Sonic Motor Racing / Williams Racing
LAP RECORD – THE BEND MOTORSPORT PARK
Cooper Murray – 1m53.9778s – (2018)
Schedule – Round 6, The Bend
Friday, 15 November
08:45-09:15 Practice 1
11:00-11:30 Practice 2
Saturday, 16 November
09:00-09:20 Race 1
11:45-12:05 Race 2
15:40-16:00 Race 3
TV Broadcast details
Qualifying and all three races will be streamed live via www.thenationals.com.au website