Australian series welcome new drivers

Championship top runners working on Porsche deals for next season The average age of drivers in the 2004 Carrera Cup could hit the ground floor with two of Australia's newest young guns eyeing a Porsche GT3 Cup car berth in next year's ...

Championship top runners working on Porsche deals for next season

The average age of drivers in the 2004 Carrera Cup could hit the ground floor with two of Australia's newest young guns eyeing a Porsche GT3 Cup car berth in next year's championship.

Victorians Glen Hastings and Tony Pugliese have spent this season racing for the Valvoline/Sonic team in the Australian Formula Ford Championship and are both working on deals to join the Carrera Cup in 2004.

Hastings finished second in the series and Pugliese third, the duo beaten only by Neil McFadyen, who claimed the crown in the final round of the series at Sandown two weeks ago.

Both drivers see the Carrera Cup as the next logical step in their career progression.

"I've seen what the category has done for Australian drivers both here in Australia and overseas and it's very impressive," said Pugliese.

"I've been very impressed with the class in its first year and I can see it going from strength to strength. It's something that I want to be a part of.

"I have some other options in Formula 3, Konica V8s and Formula Ford, but Carrera Cup is the best option for sure. It's the main V8 support class and you get to show your skills in front of all the important people in V8 Supercars.

"I'm certainly looking at a deal for 2004. I want to take my career in the direction of V8s and Carrera Cup is a good stepping stone to that. If you want to race cars with lids, then Carrera Cup is the way to go."

Hastings also sees the class as the place he wants to take his career.

"The fact that it follows the main V8 Supercar program is very important so you get noticed in front of the teams," he said.

"I want to get into V8 Supercars one day and Carrera Cup is a lot closer to that than a Formula Ford.

"They've got nearly 400 horsepower and they're a lot more applicable to making that next step in a career than an open wheeler.

"You just have to look at the guys this year in Jim (Richards), Marcus (Marshall) and Tim Leahey. They've all got V8 endurance race co-drives pretty much because of what they've done in Carrera Cup this year.

"The V8 guys have always looked to Formula Ford (for developing young drivers), but now that there's Carrera Cup, they'll look quite closely there as well. It's a cheaper option than Konica V8s, that's for sure, and a bit easier to get sponsorship."

Hastings 25, is a former Victorian Formula Ford Champion who joined the Sonic team this season after running his own car. Pugliese, 26, ran a 1998-model Van Diemen in last year's national Formula Ford series before running a 2001-model machine this season.

They are both keen to follow in the footsteps of former Sonic driver Marcus Marshall, who sits second in the Carrera Cup pointscore with three rounds to go and is making his international Porsche debut in the Porsche Supercup at Indianapolis this weekend.

-pcc.au-

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About this article
Series Porsche
Drivers Tim Leahey , Marcus Marshall , Glen Hastings , Neil McFadyen