AUS GT3: Series Phillip Island preview

STRONG GT3 CUP CHALLENGE GRID AND REGULARITY TO TURN PHILLIP ISLAND INTO A PORSCHE PARADISE FOR PORSCHE LOVERS, Round three of the 2009 Shannons Nationals is looking a lot like nirvana. To be held at Phillip Island on May 16 - 17, the event...

STRONG GT3 CUP CHALLENGE GRID AND REGULARITY TO TURN PHILLIP ISLAND INTO A PORSCHE PARADISE

FOR PORSCHE LOVERS, Round three of the 2009 Shannons Nationals is looking a lot like nirvana.

To be held at Phillip Island on May 16 - 17, the event will feature a talent-packed grid of 25 cars from the ever-growing Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Australia series that will contest its second round for 2009 after an amazing season opener at Bathurst in February.

Adding to the Porsche presence will be a full field of 35 cars tackling a unique Porsche Club Regularity the same weekend.

As a result, more than 50 Porsche models ranging from a classic 1960's 356 Speedster to the latest and greatest Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car Type 997 will tackle the renowned 4.46km circuit later this month.

Vehicles have been invited from the Porsche Club of Victoria, plus the 356 and Typ 901 Registers for the Regularity, whilst a big grid of Type-996 and 997 model Porsches will tackle the three GT3 Cup Challenge races, including a longer 24-lap affair Sunday afternoon.

It will be the second time in two rounds this year that Porsche enthusiasts have come out in force after a 44-car grid put on a big show at Bathurst.

Victorian drivers will look to regain ground after a challenging first round, a host of locals joining the core group of series-registered drivers for the Phillip Island round.

The usual protagonists will again look to the front - including Sven Burchartz, Brad Rankin, Jeff Bobik, Terry Knight and Paul Bollinowsky. Joining them will be several wild card drivers who have proven in the past that they have what it takes to run at the front.

Included in this group is GT3 Cup Challenge newcomer Matt Kingsley, a former racer in V8 Utes, who had plenty of speed but no luck at Bathurst whilst Victorian Kane Rose will return to the track that saw him score a pole position in his only GT3 Cup Challenge start of last season.

Rose is a former Victorian 944 series champion and will be super keen to break though for an inaugural national-level win after coming agonizingly close in 2008 before weather stymied his charge.

Series co-founder, the always competitive Jon Trende, will also return to the hot seat in his WTF Motorsport 996 GT3 Cup car after sitting on the sidelines at Bathurst.

There will be ten Victorians on the grid, going head to head with ten Queenslanders and two drivers each from South Australia and Western Australia and one from New South Wales.

The 997 Trophy, introduced at the last minute at Bathurst following the cancellation of the Carrera Cup championship, will see six Type 997 cars set to shake things up in this years ‘race within a race'.

South Australian driver Mark Krashos has upgraded to the newer Porsche along with 944 Challenge competitor Ivan Klasan whilst Shaun Juniper and Roger Lago will also race for class honors. The introduction of the 997 Trophy has also helped draw people out of the garages, with newcomers Steve Kepper and long-time Porsche Club Victoria member Jan Jinadasa welcome additions to the series for Phillip Island.

997 Trophy class cars are not eligible for outright results in the GT3 Cup Challenge for 2009 and instead have their own class points score. 997 cars will be differentiated from the remainder of the grid by a fluro strip underneath the windscreen banner on each car. In 2010 the 997 cars will contest the GT3 Cup Challenge for outright points.

Round two of the 2009 GT3 Cup Challenge will also see the regular off-track activities that have made the series so appealing to drivers - many embracing the series ‘race with your mates and family' philosophy.

Porsche Cars Australia will provide at-track support plus a competitor lounge at the circuit across the weekend.

The series will also continue its efforts to raise funds for the official charity of the GT3 Cup Challenge: Ronald McDonald House Charities Australia. The series will hold a charity auction on the Saturday night in an effort to raise more than the $4500 generated at Bathurst.

The GT3 Cup Challenge would like to acknowledge the support and assistance of PIARC and the Shannons Nationals for allowing the Regularity Trials onto the crowded Phillip Island program - demonstrating the steps from club to National-level motorsport available to Porsche owners and fans.

-credit: gt3cupchallenge.com.au

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Series Road racing
Drivers Jon Trende , Shaun Juniper , Roger Lago , Jeff Bobik , Terry Knight , Phillip Island