ENDURANCE TEST FOR PORSCHE FIVE AT SANDOWN The Betta Electrical 500 at Sandown will certainly be an 'endurance' round for five leading Wright Patton Shakespeare Carrera Cup drivers this weekend. Fabian Coulthard, Jim Richards, Luke Youlden,...
ENDURANCE TEST FOR PORSCHE FIVE AT SANDOWN
The Betta Electrical 500 at Sandown will certainly be an 'endurance' round for five leading Wright Patton Shakespeare Carrera Cup drivers this weekend.
Fabian Coulthard, Jim Richards, Luke Youlden, Alan Gurr and Cameron McLean will all shuffle between their Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars in round six of the Wright Patton Shakespeare Carrera Cup, and V8 Supercars in the first of the 'V8 enduros' for the season.
It will be a stern test as Coulthard (Glenfords Tool Centres/Makita), Richards (OAMPS Insurance Brokers) and Youlden (Team VIP Petfoods) are the top three in the all-Porsche series with only four rounds remaining.
It is nothing new for seven-times Bathurst winner Richards and to a lesser extent Coulthard who managed a similar schedule last year.
Coulthard, 23, currently leads the 2005 Wright Patton Shakespeare Carrera Cup series on 711 points after a last-round win at Oran Park four weeks ago.
Richards, who won the first Carrera Cup series to be staged in Australia in 2003, sits 48 points behind his Kiwi Porsche rival and in pursuit of his first round win for the season. He has two seconds and two thirds to his credit this year, but a round win has proved elusive.
Youlden, 27, scored his maiden race win in the Wright Patton Shakespeare Carrera Cup at Oran Park and his second placing overall moved him up into the top three for the championship. The first year Porsche driver also tops the award categories in the Wright Patton Shakespeare Michelin Driver to Europe and Michelin Rookie of the Year.
At Sandown, Coulthard will also drive a VY Commodore for Tasman Motorsport, Richards will step into a VY Commodore for Holden Racing Team, Youlden will co-drive a Stone Brothers Racing BA Falcon, Gurr will pilot a VY Commodore for Team Kiwi and McLean will drive a BA Falcon for Ford Performance Racing.
These five drivers add to a total list of 11 drivers in the Betta Electrical 500 V8 Supercar race that have previously contested the Wright Patton Shakespeare Carrera Cup. The other drivers are Craig Baird, Marcus Marshall, Alex Davison, Matt Halliday, Matt Coleman and Alan Simonsen.
The Wright Patton Shakespeare Carrera Cup is the primary support category to the V8 Supercar Championship Series, and is seen as a direct pathway for young drivers into the top tier Australian motor racing series.
At last year's Betta Electrical 500, McLean (Sherrin Racing) finished second with Russell Ingall in the V8 enduro while this year has committed to the Wright Patton Shakespeare Carrera Cup as his primary campaign. Coulthard, in only his second V8 race, finished an outstanding ninth and Richards 15th.
Jonathon Webb will be out to make amends at Sandown on a track he knows and loves. Webb (Tekno Autosport/Yachting Unlimited) won his first ever round at Eastern Creek in May but has produced results of sixth and 10th since then to sit fourth overall.
The 21-year-old has scored back-to-back podiums at Sandown with his maiden Carrera Cup podium (2nd) in 2003 followed up with a third placing last year.
This weekend's round will also be the 'home' event for nine of the Porsche drivers. Jim Richards, from Park Orchards, Peter Fitzgerald, from Warrandyte, Rodney Jane, from Carlton, Dean Grant, from Brighton, Marc Cini, from North Balwyn, David Reynolds, from Albert Park, Andrew Luxton, from Red Hill South, Paul Freestone, from Keilor Village, and Luke Youlden, from Bundoora, will all be driving in front of a host of family and friends.
All cars in the Wright Patton Shakespeare Carrera Cup are developed and built by Porsche's racing arm in Weissach, Germany. With a top speed in excess of 300 kilometres per hour, the lightweight, high performance vehicles have a 400 horsepower, 6 cylinder Boxer engine which revs to 8000 RPM, producing a sound that is distinctly Porsche.