AUS: Porsche announces pyramid

Porsche's Racing Pyramid From Club Sprints to Carrera Cup, there is now a ladder to success for all Australian Porsche racing enthusiasts. An agreement finalised between Porsche Cars Australia and the organisers of both the Australian Carrera...

Porsche's Racing Pyramid

From Club Sprints to Carrera Cup, there is now a ladder to success for all Australian Porsche racing enthusiasts.

An agreement finalised between Porsche Cars Australia and the organisers of both the Australian Carrera Cup and Porsche Drivers' Challenge series, assures Porsche enthusiasts a factory-supported pyramid of motorsport activities from club sprints to top-level racing in the world's fastest one-make championship.

The vertical alignment of Porsche racing ensures all participants of a seamless competition path from amateur to professional ranks, underpins the market for used racing Porsches and provides a wide range of racing and budget options for enthusiasts of all aspirations.

Under the new agreement, Australia's two major Porsche racing series will work together to ensure a two way path for participants seeking to advance from the fiercely-contested, yet social Australian Porsche Drivers' Challenge to the semi-professional Australian Carrera Cup -- and vice versa.

A major benefit of the move will be to provide a vibrant series of races for Australia's pool of 164 Model Year 2000 and Model Year 2004 Porsche 911 GT3 sports cars. Of these, nearly half were delivered to Australia in 'ready-to-race' Club Sport specification, complete with factory-fitted FIA standard roll cage, racing bucket seats, full racing harnesses and a CAMS-compliant fire extinguisher system.

The new cooperation will also ensure an on-going competition life and a viable market for the pool of 37, 2004-specification GT3 Carrera Cup cars currently in Australia and New Zealand, but due to be superceded in 2006.

A 'Cup' version of the soon-to-be-released 997-Series Porsche 911 will race in the 2005 International Porsche Supercup Championship series, while Carrera Cup competitions around the world -- including Australia -- will swap over to the new model the following season.

At the other end of the competition spectrum, Porsche clubs around Australia already run a comprehensive programme of motorkhanas, hillclimbs and circuit sprints, with the Porsche Club of Victoria alone listing 15 separate such events on its 2004 calendar. Australian Porsche Centres support club entrants under a 'Racesport' programme, offering specialised preparation and support services.

The announcement of the integrated Porsche racing programme was made jointly by Porsche Cars Australia CEO Michael Winkler, Cup Car Australia CEO Jamey Blaikie and Challenge Racing Association Administrator Martin Wagg.

Mr. Winkler said the amalgamation of the administration of the two series would strengthen Porsche racing in Australia both as a stand-alone option for top-level drivers, or as the stepping stone of choice to other major categories including Australia's V8 Supercar series or International Porsche Supercup racing.

"This amalgamation is part of a long term strategy to secure a strong and viable future for Porsche racing in Australia," he said. "However, our immediate objective is to ensure that both series work together."

Martin Wagg said the closer relationship between the two series would provide a framework for the continued growth of the Australian Porsche Drivers Challenge, yet would preserve its special character.

"Our entrants want strong competition, but above all, they are looking to get away from the pressures of work and have a good time, enjoying the camaraderie as much as the racing" he said. "To achieve this, they need a properly-run, manufacturer-approved series with a solid future and this agreement delivers that outcome."

Jamey Blaikie described the move as a "win, win" for Carrera Cup entrants.

"The Australian Porsche Drivers Challenge allows enthusiasts to cut their teeth on Porsche racing before making the bigger commitment required by the Carrera Cup," he said. "With a strictly limited number of places planned for the Cup from 2005 onwards, this will provide a place for everyone."

Blaikie said the new accord was a two-way street. Negotiations were currently underway between Cup Car Australia and the Challenge Racing Association over the eligibility of current-specification Carrera Cup cars to run in the Challenge in 2005," he said.

The Australian Porsche Drivers Challenge was founded in 1987 under its former name of the Australian Porsche Cup and remains one of Australia's oldest one-make racing series. It is currently a major category on the PROCAR Champ series programme and this year is being decided over a series of six races in New South Wales and Victoria, including a high profile support event to the annual Bathurst 24 Hour race in November.

The series offers entrants three tiered power-to-weight classes, catering for a wide range of Porsche production-based cars, ranging from the latest GT3s to older 993 and 964-series air-cooled 911 models and front-engined Porsches.

The Australian Carrera Cup is the major support category to the V8 Supercar Series and has this year extended to nine rounds covering all Australian mainland states and territories. High profile events on the Cup calendar include the Foster's Australian Grand Prix, Adelaide's Clipsal 500, the Betta Electrical Sandown 500, the Bob Jane T-Marts 1000 at Bathurst and the Lexmark Indy 300 on the Gold Coast.

All cars are identical Porsche Competition Department-built 911 GT3 Cup racing cars, producing 294kW (400HP) from their identical naturally-aspirated 3.6 litre 'boxer' six cylinder engines. They weigh 1,150kg without driver and run control engine management systems and Michelin tyres.

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Series General
Drivers Bob Jane