A record twenty-five car Porsche Michelin Sprint Challenge field will roll out at The Bend Motorsport Park in South Australia this weekend. With 25 entries, this weekend marks the fourth consecutive round where the series has either set or equalled a record for the largest grid to race at that particular circuit.
The Bend AutoFest also signifies the start of the second half of the Porsche Michelin Sprint Challenge season with both the Pro and Morris Pro-Am Championship battles still wide open.
While this round marks the final Shannons Motorsport Australia Championship event for the year, competition in the Porsche one-make National Series is only hotting up, with Rounds 5 (Bathurst International) and Round 6 (Phillip Island Island Magic) still to come later this year.
In the Pro class, it’s been a two-horse race so far this season between series leader, Thomas Sargent (519 points) and Porsche Team New Zealand driver, Ryan Wood (510 points). While the ever-present Local Legends entry of Courtney Prince lies a further 126 points adrift in third, ahead of McElrea Racing debutants Aron Shields (348 points) and Lachlan Bloxsom (330 points).
The Morris Pro-Am battle is even tighter than that of the pros, with The Bend Motorsport Park owner, Sam Shahin (503 points) lying only five points ahead of the Bold Living entry of Brett Boulton (498 points). That points gap may well increase after this weekend though, with the South Australian naturally enjoy home advantage at his own circuit – the same venue he sealed the Pro-Am Championship title in 2019 when the National Series last raced here.
On that occasion, Harri Jones played a conservative role across the three sprint races to ensure he claimed the 2019 Sprint Challenge Pro title. The weekend was however dominated by Sonic Motor Racing drivers, Max Vidau and Aaron Love, sharing the wins, with the latter claiming the overall event.
With both current Class B leaders, Jacob Li and Gerard Murphy, missing the round this weekend, Nathan Sticklen, Lachlan Harburg and Bradley Carr all have a strong opportunity to take out the class win.
All five of these Class B runners are among 17 first-time drivers in the series this year, with South Australian driver, Pan Boyachi, making his series debut at The Bend. The Adelaide local has a lot of experience behind the wheel of a Porsche 911 GT3 Cup Car at The Bend and is a regular in local State Racing competition at the circuit. This will be his first national-level event.
Round 4 of the Porsche Michelin Sprint Challenge Series is just one of number of headline acts fans can enjoy at The Bend AutoFest, which includes The Bend Classic and the Adelaide Hills Rally – a round of the RSEA Safety Motorsport Australia Rally Championship (ARC).
Following two practice sessions and a qualifying on Friday, both Saturday’s races and Sunday’s will be streamed live on 7plus together with the final sprint race on Sunday morning. Highlights of all three races will also be broadcast on 7mate in the weeks following the event
For race information, videos and interviews, follow the Porsche Motorsport Australia social pages: Instagram – @PorscheMotorsportAU / Twitter – @PorscheMspAU / Facebook.com/ PorscheMotorsportAU
Porsche Michelin Sprint Challenge, Round 4, The Bend Motorsport Park
|8||Madeline||Stewart||Bullrush Rally / EBM||Pro|
|11||Eric||Constantinidis||Our Kloud / Up to 11 Motorsport||Pro-Am|
|13||Sam||Shahin||The Bend Motorsport Park||Pro-Am|
|23||Lachlan||Bloxsom||Team Navy / McElrea||Pro|
|24||Pan||Boyaci||GRPB Racing||Class B|
|26||Tom||Taplin||Taplin Real Estate||Pro|
|32||Courtney||Prince||Sonic / Local Legends||Pro|
|34||Nathan||Sticklen||TekworkX Motorsport||Class B|
|40||Ryan||Wood||Team Porsche NZ / EBM||Pro|
|59||Jason||Miller||Stokes Skis Australia||Pro|
|85||Bradley||Carr||Car Mods Australia||Class B|
|88||Harrison||Goodman||Bob Jane T Marts / True Grid||Pro|
|91||Lachlan||Harburg||Autohouse Racing||Class B|
|99||Ross||McGregor||Southern Star Windows||Pro-Am|
|100||Emanuel||Mezzasalma||EJM Financial Services||Pro-Am|
|131||Graham||Williams||Sonic / WRA||Pro-Am|
Friday 21 October
09:10-09:40 Practice 1
12:55-13:25 Practice 2
Saturday 22 October
10:10-10:30 Race 1 (8 laps)
12:45-13:30 Race 2 (22 laps)
Sunday 23 October
11:10-11:30 Race 3 (8 laps)
Round winners at The Bend Motorsport Park:
2019: Aaron Love (Sonic), Max Vidau (Sonic), Ryan Suhle (McElrea)
Pole: Ryan Suhle. Race Winners: Aaron Love x2, Max Vidau.
Pro-Am: Sam Shahin Class B: Andrew Goldie
2018: Max Vidau (Sonic), Cooper Murray (McElrea), Ryan Suhle (McElrea)
Pole: Simon Fallon. Race Winners: Max Vidau x2, Cooper Murray
Pro-Am: Sam Shahin Class B: Richard Bloomfield