The Porsche Michelin Sprint Challenge series will play host to five McElrea Racing drivers for the 2021 season. After finishing fourth and fifth respectively in the 2019 Porsche Michelin Sprint Challenge series, Ryan Suhle and Christian Pancione will be strong favourites for the 2021 Mobil Pro title.
Pancione will also race select rounds of the Porsche Paynter Dixon Carrera Cup Australia series as he affirms his intentions to ascend the Porsche Motorsport Pyramid.
Highly-rated, young GT racer, Bayley Hall, announced his plans to join the Queensland squad late last year, while Michael Hovey and Richard Cowen will be chasing victories in the Porsche Michelin Sprint Challenge Pro-Am category.
Suhle, Pancione and Hall will all be looking to follow in the footsteps of former McElrea Racing graduates, Matt Campbell and Jaxon Evans, who progressed up from Porsche Michelin Sprint Challenge to the premier Carrera Cup class. The pair went onto win both the Carrera Cup Championship (2016 – Matt Campbell and 2018 Jaxon Evans) as well as the Porsche Junior Shootout. Both McElrea Drivers have since gone onto forge top-level international careers with Porsche and its customer GT teams.
2021 McElrea Racing Driver line-up – Porsche Michelin Sprint Challenge
#7 Ryan Suhle Latitude Coffee
#28 Bayley Hall TBC
#72 Michael Hovey The Triffid
#76 Christian Pancione VCM Performance
#2 Richard Cowen (partial championship)
Team Owner, Andy McElrea: “We are really looking forward to the 2021 Carrera Cup & Sprint Challenge championships. For the first time in our 13 year history that we have the perfect number of customers for our business model, that is four cars in each championship, with businessman Richard Cowen also doing a partial Sprint Challenge Championship and (Christian) Pancho doing some selected rounds of the Carrera Cup Australia series in preparation for 2021. We all realise that we will need to be flexible with plans and logistics for 2021, as some disruptions are inevitable, but we love a challenge and are always prepared to adapt on the run. We started testing with our Sprint Challenge drivers already, while our first Carrera Cup test takes place in February.”
Christian Pancione: “Racing both Porsche series this year is a great opportunity, with a team like McElrea Racing I’m looking for wins and podiums.”
Ryan Suhle: “Testing has started really well this year, so I’m really focused on winning my first Porsche championship this season.”
Bayley Hall: “2021 will be the perfect year for me to aim high, learn, experience and grow from every opportunity that arises.”
Michael Hovey: “I’m here to have fun and win the Pro-Am title this year!”
Richard Cowen: “Prospects of winning Pro Am at first attempt – on the low side. Prospects of marital issues due to racing time and expenditure – Medium to high. Prospects of having a lot of fun racing in the Porsche Michelin Sprint Challenge – 100%.”
McElrea Racing Achievements:
McElrea are the only Australian team to have won races in every season of Australian Carrera Cup (incl 2020) since it re-started in 2011. They are also able to claim to have been on pole for the first race of each new generation car: 997:2 (Jonny Reid at 2011 AGP), 991:1 (Shae Davies at 2014 Adelaide) and 991:2 (Jaxon Evans at 2018 Adelaide).
Porsche titles captured by the team include: the Carrera Cup Pro class on two occasions; Carrera Cup Pro Am title, Sprint Challenge Pro class title, Sprint Challenge Pro Am (twice), Rennsport Pro Am Enduro (twice), and the coveted Porsche Teams Championship three times.