Around The Teams - Carrera Cup Australia February 24, 2004 -- This regular bulletin will provide key team news throughout the 2004 Carrera Cup Australia season. It all gets underway next week at the Foster's Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park...
Around The Teams - Carrera Cup Australia
February 24, 2004 -- This regular bulletin will provide key team news throughout the 2004 Carrera Cup Australia season. It all gets underway next week at the Foster's Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park in Melbourne -- a four race Carrera Cup card that will provide an exciting preview of the year ahead.
JIM RICHARDS RACING
Jim Richards has retained major car sponsorship from OAMPS Insurance Brokers in 2004, with Greenfield Mowers, Briggs & Stratton and Scania Australia also backing the Jim Richards Racing number one car.
The inaugural Carrera Cup Australia champion has started 2004 in fine fettle by claiming the Trans Tasman GT3 Cup title in New Zealand following the sixth and final round at Pukekohe on February 1. Richards accrued 894 points over the six rounds to hold off rising Kiwi star Matt Halliday by 18 points.
The Becks-sponsored 2003 GT3 911 of Dean Grant has been rebuilt for the 2004 season, with its driver keen to build on his solid 12th placing in last year's championship.
One of the stars of Australian karting will take the next step in his career when he takes control of the MOG Sport number 4 GT3 911 at the Australian Grand Prix and Clipsal 500.
Six-time Australian karting champion Troy Hunt will face a number of firsts at Albert Park -- the first time in a Porsche, the first time in a left-hand drive vehicle, and the first time in a vehicle that can reach the speeds that the GT3 911 can.
Hunt had an encouraging test session recently at Oran Park for MOG Sport which has also announced its sponsors for the Australian Grand Prix. Talent 2 will be major sponsor, with NEC, Becton, Debjon Engineering and Morgan & Banks Investments also on board as associate sponsors.
TEAM VIP PETFOODS
Former New Zealand Formula Ford champion and rising star James Cressey has been confirmed as the third driver for Team VIP Petfoods joining father and son Tony and Klark Quinn in the Gold Coast-based outfit.
It was a well-kept secret until last week with many motorsport enthusiasts thinking that the 19-year-old Auckland driver was heading to Europe or the United States to further his single-seater career. But the youngster is now moving to the Gold Coast to join an expanded Team VIP Petfoods.
Cressey will renew a racing rivalry with another young Kiwi Fabian Coulthard (Team Braun). The pair raced Formula Fords in the New Zealand national series in 2000/01 with Cressey taking the series honours and Coulthard placing fourth. The next year Coulthard took the title when Cressey raced Formula 3 in Australia.
The Quinn family had a successful foray to the Rally of Tasmania on the weekend with Tony finishing second outright and winning his class in his Porsche 966 Turbo, while Klark placed 16th outright and also winning his class in a Mitsubishi Lancer EVO8.
Another strong line-up for the Australian Grand Prix is set to come from the Fitzgerald Racing garages. Last year's series third placegetter Peter Fitzgerald is determined to step higher on the end-of-season podium in 2004.
Fitzgerald Racing will also campaign a new driver at the Grand Prix in Mark Cummings. A successful Victorian Porsche Car Club member, Cummings was 13th in the Rally of Tasmania on the weekend in a 911 RS Tourer and ran at Albert Park in the Nations Cup last year -- his first foray into circuit racing.
Matt Coleman is also close to securing a budget to run his GT3 911 at the Grand Prix, after a solid period of negotiations to finalise his 2004 arrangements.
The three cars will be tested at Winton on Friday as preparation for the Australian Grand Prix which starts next Thursday.
RODNEY JANE RACING
Irishman Hector Lester has taken up the opportunity to drive the second Rodney Jane Racing Porsche GT3 911 at the Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park next week.
Lester started racing in Karts and Formula Ford in his home country, before becoming Class Two champion in the 1999 Ferrari European Challenge. He will campaign the number 14 car at Albert Park, joining Rodney Jane's number 7 GT3 911 on the grid for the first Carrera Cup event of the year.
The number 7 Porsche was also a feature at last weekend's Australian Motorsport Show at the Royal Exhibition Buildings in Melbourne for sponsor Bob Jane T-Marts.
GREG MURPHY RACING
There has been plenty of activity in recent weeks in preparation for Greg Murphy Racing's assault on the 2004 Carrera Cup.
Former New Zealand Formula Ford champion and 2003 British Formula Renault driver Fabian Coulthard was announced as a new driver in the Braun-backed team. Last week Coulthard joined Peter Hill, who finished 16th last year, in a test session at Calder in Melbourne. The 21-year-old had a solid hit-out in the ex Tim Leahey GT3 911, while Hill shook down a new 2004 Team Braun Porsche GT3 911.
The duo will be joined by Adelaide surgeon Roger Oakeshott in another Team Braun session at Mallala this Saturday. Oakeshott is recovering from shoulder surgery himself, and will test himself before embarking on the Australian Grand Prix.
2003 Michelin Rookie of the Year and Series Runner Up Marcus Marshall will join fellow young gun Jonathon Webb in TEKNO Autosports' campaign at the Australian Grand Prix.
Marshall will make a one-off start in Australia driving an AEG Power Tools-backed Porsche showcasing the company's new corporate look. He is continuing to piece together his overseas racing deal for 2004, with opportunities to race in the Michelin Porsche Supercup and other international offers on the table.
The 26-year-old finished fifth, fourth and third in last year's three support races at the Australian Grand Prix, his debut in the all-Porsche category. He went onto finish second in the driver's championship in his VIP Petfoods Racing/AEG entry. Additionally, Marshall finished a strong fifth and sixth on debut in the Indianapolis rounds of the highly-competitive Michelin Porsche Supercup.
One of the new teams competing in Carrera Cup in 2004 is Team ASR. Former MGF Trophy driver Ash Samadi will take control of Jim Richard's 2003 championship-winning GT3 911 Cup car for the season ahead.
After a setback on the first day of testing in December, the car has been repaired and featured at a test day at Oran Park last week. Team Manager Mick Mitchell reported that the car performed well and was pleased with the driver's performance and enthusiasm.
The team's major sponsor is Globe - a major property company in NSW. The governing body of Globe are all Porsche enthusiasts and have booked a corporate box for more than 40 guests at the Australian Grand Prix. Southern Cross group is another key sponsor of the team in 2004.
TEAM MPS SECURITY
Former Porsche Cup champion Peter Bradbury was another to give his new 2004 model Porsche GT3 911 a run in at Eastern Creek earlier this month.
Bradbury, who turned 44 today, will have his first ever race at Albert Park next week after running a GT2 in the Rally of Tasmania on the weekend.
The team's major sponsor for 2004 is MPS Security, a specialist supplier in private and commercial security based in Sydney with a portfolio that includes the 2000 Sydney Olympics and the 2004 Australian Olympic Team to Athens. Associate sponsors will include Northern Arch, a NZ-based company specialising in financial and leasing software, and Flowers Property Solutions, an asset management company.
INTERNATIONAL MOTORSPORT NZ
The NZ-based team will launch a five-car attack at the Australian Grand Prix with Matthew Halliday, Paul Pedersen, Ross Rutherford, Rick Armstrong and Andrew Bagnall showcasing a combination of youth and experience.
Halliday will be a force to be reckoned with in the 2004 Carrera Cup after a promising Trans Tasman GT3 Cup series where he finished just behind Jim Richards in the standings, and ahead of accomplished drivers including Craig Baird, Charlie O'Brien and his International Motorsport team mates.
The 24-year-old has already built up an impressive racing CV with a history in Formula Ford, Formula Holden, Indy Lights, Infinity Pro Series in the US, Formula Renault in Europe and GT3 racing.
MARK COFFEY RACING
Twenty-five-year-old Allan Simonsen is the Mark Coffey Racing entrant at the Australian Grand Prix. The former Scandinavian Formula Ford champion, British GT front runner, Formula 3000 test driver and V8 Supercar endurance driver with Garry Rogers Motorsport will drive a Barry Plant Doherty Real Estate-backed 2003 GT3 911.
Business IT company Logiadd will be the major sponsor for Stephen Borness' Celerity Racing number 24 car for the second year.
Celerity Racing has also appointed University of NSW mechatronics student Josh Riddle as cadet engineer for 2004. Mechatronics is regarded as the motorsport engineer's degree, with Josh honing his skills and experience with the Sydney-based team through this year's Carrera Cup.
Paragon Financial Group will be the major sponsor for Dean Cook's Redline Promotions entry in the 2004 Carrera Cup.
Cook, who placed 10th in the inaugural season of Carrera Cup in Australia, also has support from IZOD Sportswear, Pitman Trucks and Porsche Centre Melbourne.
Marc Cini's number 12 entry will be sponsored by diverse property group Adamco Limited in 2004, with associate support from Remington Homes and CVA Property Group.