Young aspiring racers have again turned to Porsche Michelin GT3 Cup Challenge Australia as a launch pad for their motor racing careers, with the series to feature seven Michelin Juniors for the 2019 season.
GT3 Cup Challenge helped launch the careers of both Porsche Young Professional Matt Campbell and Porsche Junior Jaxon Evans, who contested one and two seasons of the second-tier Porsche one-make series, respectively. GT3 Cup Challenge also boasts other successful alumni including 2017 champion and Carrera Cup front-runner Jordan Love, Super2 Series racer Dylan O’Keeffe, Carrera Cup race and round winner Michael Almond and Carrera Cup up-and-comer Cooper Murray.
Three of the 2019 Michelin Juniors in GT3 Cup Challenge return for a second season – reigning Class B champion Christian Pancione will move into a 991-series 911 GT3 Cup car, joining Max Vidau, who returns to the Pro class having placed third in the 2018 standings. Tom Taplin also returns for his second year in the series, the South Australian switched from Class B machinery to a 991-series race car halfway through 2018.
Four other drivers have joined the series, starting from next weekend’s Tasmanian round at Symmons Plains Raceway, three of which bring significant open wheel experience. Reigning Australian Formula 3 champion Harri Jones joins McElrea Racing alongside former Formula 4 racer Ryan Suhle. Aaron Love also joins GT3 Cup Challenge with Formula 4 experience and will look to emulate the career progression of his brother, Jordan Love, who currently sits second in the Carrera Cup standings.
Cameron Crick brings different racing expertise to the series having raced in the Toyota 86 Racing Series and will couple his Porsche duties with a 2019 campaign in SuperUtes.
The seven Michelin Juniors will be racing for a prize pool throughout the season. For each round, the winning Michelin Junior will receive one round free entry, while the top three Michelin Juniors from each round will receive one set of Michelin race tyres. All Michelin Juniors will also have access to training and mentorship throughout the season.
Porsche Cars Australia Motorsport Manager Troy Bundy is thrilled to welcome the largest representation of Michelin Junior drivers in an Australian Porsche one-make series.
“Young drivers are increasingly seeing GT3 Cup Challenge as an effective series to launch their racing careers – and for good reason. We’ve seen the rise of Matt Campbell and Jaxon Evans up the Porsche Motorsport Pyramid into professional international careers and many other young drivers are looking to replicate this proven pathway, starting with a GT3 Cup Challenge campaign,” said Bundy.
“We’re very proud of Matt and Jaxon’s successful rise through Porsche’s ranks onto international careers as well as those who are currently climbing the Porsche Motorsport Pyramid, including the likes of Jordan Love and Cooper Murray, who used GT3 Cup Challenge as a development series for their Carrera Cup campaigns. Therefore we’re pleased to have Christian Pancione, Tom Taplin and Max Vidau continue in GT3 Cup Challenge while also welcoming Cameron Crick, Harri Jones, Aaron Love and Ryan Suhle to GT3 Cup Challenge as Michelin Juniors for this season.
“Michelin Australia has been a tremendous support for young Porsche drivers in Australia through the Porsche Michelin Junior Programme Australia and it’s pleasing to see such a strong group of drivers as part of this programme in 2019.”
The seven-strong Michelin Junior team in GT3 Cup Challenge comes in addition to the four Michelin Juniors racing in Porsche PAYCE Carrera Cup Australia, which includes Cameron Hill, Jordan Love, Thomas Maxwell and Cooper Murray.
Porsche Michelin GT3 Cup Challenge Australia launches its 2019 season next weekend at Symmons Plains Raceway for the Tasmania SuperSprint on April 5-7.