The Porsche Michelin GT3 Cup Challenge Australia championship this weekend returns to Tasmania for the first time in nine years, starting the 2019 season at its first-ever Supercars Championship event.
The Porsche one-make series has only twice raced at Symmons Plains Raceway, once in its debut season in 2008 and again two years later for round two of the 2010 season. Now, almost a decade later, GT3 Cup Challenge will feature a 22-strong field, including seven Michelin Juniors, on the largest motor racing stage the series has experienced.
GT3 Cup Challenge will retain its three-class structure – Pro, TAG Heuer Pro-Am and Class B – for the 2019 season, with the Pro class exclusively consisting of seven Michelin Juniors. Max Vidau and Tom Taplin retain their 911 GT3 Cup (Type 991.1) machinery for 2019 while Class B champion Christian Pancione steps up to the outright-contending 911 race car. There are also an additional four newcomers to the Pro class – Australian Formula 3 Champion Harri Jones, Formula 4 graduates Ryan Suhle and Aaron Love and former Toyota 86 Racing Series driver Cameron Crick.
Swiss watchmaker TAG Heuer has secured naming rights for the TAG Heuer Pro-Am, the best represented class in the field. Several Carrera Cup racers, past and present, will return for the 2019 GT3 Cup Challenge season opener in Tasmania including Sam Shahin, Graham Williams and Michael Loccisano. The class will also see the return of 2018 Pro-Am runner-up Brett Boulton, last season’s Winton round winner Marcel Zalloua and other Pro-Am racers Rob Woods, Shane Barwood, Jonathan Gliksten and Sergio Pires, who moves up from his Class B Porsche. Meanwhile Ross McGregor will start his 30th GT3 Cup Challenge round in Tasmania, which after this weekend, will leave the TAG Heuer Pro-Am driver just four events shy of John Goodacre’s record 34 round starts.
Five drivers will complete the 22-car field in Class B, all racing the 997-series 911 GT3 Cup car. David Greig, the 2017 Class B champion, will be joined in the class by Tony Martin, Andrew Goldie, Emanuel Palyaris and series debutant Nathan Murray.
The start of the 12th GT3 Cup challenge season will also feature the most comprehensive television coverage ever seen by the series. All sessions from Friday afternoon – including practice two, qualifying and all three races – will be broadcast live across both Fox Sports 506 and streaming service Kayo.
The popular Jim Richards Endurance Trophy will continue in 2019, this season consisting of five long-distance races held across the first five events of the season, including the 40-lap race one at Symmons Plains Raceway.
Porsche Michelin GT3 Cup Challenge Australia will first hit the track on Friday morning for practice one, followed by practice two later on Friday. Saturday will feature qualifying and the opening two races of the season before the final race of the Tasmanian season opener on Sunday, held just before the final Supercars Championship race of the weekend.
Friday April 05, 2019
9:10am Practice 1 (30 minutes)
1:05pm Practice 2 (30 minutes)
Saturday April 06, 2019
9:20am Qualifying (20 minutes)
12:25pm Race 1 (40 laps)
3:25pm Race 2 (29 Laps)
Sunday April 07, 2019
12:50pm Race 3 (29 laps)
Television and Streaming Schedule
Channel: Fox Sports 506 & Kayo
Practice 2 – 1:05pm, Friday April 05
Qualifying – 9:20am, Saturday April 06
Race 1 – 12:25pm, Saturday April 06
Race 2 – 3:25pm, Saturday April 06
Race 3 – 12:50pm, Sunday April 07
1. #3 Jonathan Gliksten (TAG Heuer Pro-Am) Cure FA
2. #5 Nathan Murray (Class B) Garage 1
3. #7 Ryan Suhle (Pro) Ryan Suhle Racing/Ray White
4. #9 Tony Martin (Class B) TM Motorsport/The Triffid Bar + Venue
5. #10 Michael Loccisano (TAG Heuer Pro-Am) Hallmarc
6. #12 Harri Jones (Pro) Heli Mods
7. #13 Sam Shahin (TAG Heuer Pro-Am) htfu/The Bend Motorsport Park
8. #17 Marcel Zalloua (TAG Heuer Pro-Am) Valmont Racing
9. #21 Shane Barwood (TAG Heuer Pro-Am) Melbourne Orthopaedic Group
10. #22 Andrew Goldie (Class B) Woodford Trailers
11. #26 Tom Taplin (Pro) Taplin Real Estate
12. #29 Rob Woods (TAG Heuer Pro-Am) GWR/Commercial Interior Projects
13. #55 Sergio Pires (TAG Heuer Pro-Am) Valmont Racing
14. #76 Christian Pancione (Pro) VCM Performance
15. #77 Max Vidau (Pro) Sonic Motor Racing
16. #78 Aaron Love (Pro) Sonic Motor Racing/SRG Global
17. #84 Brett Boulton (TAG Heuer Pro-Am) Bold Living
18. #87 David Greig (Class B) Daikin Air Conditioning/DW Motorsport
19. #91 Emanuel Palyaris (Class B) Tempur/Synaco Global Recruitment
20. #99 Ross McGregor (TAG Heuer Pro-Am) Southern Star Windows
21. #131 Graham Williams (TAG Heuer Pro-Am) Sonic/Williams Racing
22. #777 Cameron Crick (Pro) GWR/Plus Fitness Racing