THE Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Australia presented by Pirelli is set for another classic Sonic Motor Racing versus McElrea Racing battle at the front of the field this weekend at Sydney Motorsport Park.
Sonic driver Hamish Hardeman topped official practice today at the Porsche Rennsport festival, his 1m31.3216s lap edging out McElrea’s Jaxon Evans by 0.23s at the end of the third and final 20-minute practice session.
Both Hardeman and Evans were under Ryan Simpson’s Sydney Motorsport Park lap record today, utilising ideal conditions to go 0.3s under the existing benchmark ahead of qualifying and the first race scheduled for Saturday.
Porsche junior driver Jake Klarich finished third while his teammate Tim Miles was fastest of the Elite class runners in fourth.
Victorian driver Hardeman sits second in the championship following the opening round at Sandown last month, and is looking to build on his strong start to the season this weekend in Sydney.
“It’s been a good day considering last time I was here was six months ago,” he said.
“The first session it was good to go out and get some confidence. In the second session the car didn’t feel as good so in the (third) official practice then we made some changes and it felt awesome and on point.”
Hardeman is without a teammate this weekend – defending champion Ryan Simpson was only due to contest the first round of the series this year – however Hardeman believes having Simpson as a team mate has improved his driving.
“I’m really building on what we did at Sandown,” he explained.
“It was great to have Ryan as a teammate and get his feedback and his data – that’s taught me a lot. This weekend I’m building on Sandown and keeping that momentum rolling and hopefully getting some wins.”
David Ryan finished fifth fastest today in his fully rebuilt 997 GT3 Cup Car, the Sydney-based driver looking to rebound from a horror opening round at Sandown where he failed to register a score.
Jim Campbell finished sixth quickest today, just ahead of Sam Shahin, John Morriss, Anthony Gilbertson and Brian Finn.
Round 1 winner Daniel Stutterd topped the class B times, 0.5s faster than the returning Richard Gartner and Neville Stewart.
The second round of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Australia presented by Pirelli is being held in conjunction with the Porsche Rennsport Festival at Sydney Motorsport Park, with all of Saturday and Sunday’s action to be streamed live via Motorsports TV and Speedcafe.com this weekend.
GT3 Cup Challenge competitors will qualify for their first race at 9:50am on Saturday ahead of race one at 2:10pm.
Sunday’s program will feature a second sprint race and end with a one-hour mini-enduro on Sunday afternoon.