Around The Teams - Australian Carrera Cup This regular bulletin provides key team news throughout the 2004 Australian Carrera Cup season. Up next is round three at Darwin's Hidden Valley from May 21 to 23. Check out the official websites at ...
Around The Teams - Australian Carrera Cup
This regular bulletin provides key team news throughout the 2004 Australian Carrera Cup season. Up next is round three at Darwin's Hidden Valley from May 21 to 23. Check out the official websites at www.cupcar.com.au and www.porsche.com
Greg Murphy Racing
Plans are currently being finalised for Australian Formula Ford graduate Tony Pugliese to drive with the Team Braun outfit in round three at Hidden Valley and round four at Barbagallo. Earlier this year Pugliese agreed on an option to join the team for testing duties and race experience in the event that a substitute driver be required. With Peter Hill unavailable to drive the number 66 Team Braun car at the next two rounds due to work commitments, an opportunity has arisen for Pugliese. If the deal is finalised, he is likely to join Hill and team mate Roger Oakeshott for testing at Winton Raceway on May 10 and 11.
In other Greg Murphy Racing news, the team has now settled into its new headquarters in the Melbourne suburb of Braeside. The Greg Murphy Racing Race Shop houses both its offices and workshop facilitating its transporter and four race cars. On Friday May 7, Team Braun young gun Fabian Coulthard will also host a Team Braun ride day at Calder for 25 of team major sponsor Braun's clients.
International Motorsport NZ
One of the five Carrera Cup race winners from the inaugural season last year, Kevin Bell, will be back behind the wheel of a Porsche GT3 911 at round three at Hidden Valley from May 21 to 23. Bell will pilot Andrew Bagnall's number 82 Porsche at the circuit where he achieved his best result in 2003. It was in race three at Hidden Valley last year that Bell claimed a well-deserved race win, and this result shot him to a third placing for the round. Bell finished the season as the highest placed New Zealand driver in the Australian Carrera Cup in fifth position. After taking some recreational time out to go fishing and boating earlier this year, Bell jumped back into the GT3 911 with Rick Armstrong last weekend to win two three-hour races at Ruapuna and Timaru as part of the Southern Long Distance Series in New Zealand.
Bell will join Paul Pedersen and Ross Rutherford in the International Motorsport NZ team for Hidden Valley. Pedersen is coming off a positive fifth placing for the round at Eastern Creek, while Rutherford is hoping for a change of fortune in Darwin. After vying for third in a wet race two at Eastern Creek, Rutherford slid off the track into the concrete barrier ending his Sydney campaign.
In other team news, International Motorsport New Zealand is still aiming to finalise sponsorship to run the talented Matt Halliday from round four at Barbagallo Raceway in Perth. Halliday won two of the four non-championship races at Albert Park in March, and will be a race front-runner when he gets back onto the track.
Superbarn Emporium Racing
A newcomer to the Australian Carrera Cup from mid-year will be Nations Cup Ferrari driver James Koundouris from the ACT. Koundouris has purchased the 2003 Porsche GT3 911 formerly owned by RT Motorsports, and will campaign it from either round five at Queensland Raceway or round six at Winton. Last year Koundouris drove a Porsche GT3 Clubsport in 32 Porsche Challenge and Nations Cup events, and remained unbeaten by any other Clubsport.
Ash Samadi and his Team ASR have been doing plenty of work behind the scenes to support children's charity, the Starlight Children's Foundation. Team sponsor Globe Projects' chief executive James Vertzayais handed over a cheque for $10,000 to the Starlight Foundation at Eastern Creek, the proceeds of fund raising at the team's corporate box at the recent Foster's Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne. Globe auctioned off an autographed Michael Schumacher photo montage for $6000 at the Grand Prix and Vertzayais added another $4000 to the total donation for the charity. The Globe-backed team will be holding a special ride day at a Sydney track to be confirmed in May for a number of Starlight kids to receive their wish of riding in a racing Porsche Carrera Cup car. Globe Projects is a leading Sydney property developer specialising in prestige residences. Starlight Children's Foundation of Australia is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to brightening the lives of more than 200,000 seriously ill and hospitalised children and their families throughout Australia each year.
Jim Richards Racing
Jim Richards is aiming for his eighth Targa Tasmania while there is a break between Carrera Cup rounds. This year Richards will be piloting a two-wheel drive Porsche GT2, instead of an all-wheel-drive Porsche 911 turbo. The GT2 is about 100 kilograms lighter with greater power, but the decision is a gamble requiring dry conditions to be a contender. On the Carrera Cup front, Richards was pleased to get his first race win under his belt for 2004 in race two at Eastern Creek earlier this month, and is looking forward to his third racing trip to the Hidden Valley circuit. Last year Richards finished second for the round behind Greg Murphy Racing's Tim Leahey after winning two of the three races. An accidental jump start in the third race brought his undoing and the resulting drive through penalty saw his round win hopes end.
Dean Grant welcomes a new sponsor onto his 2003 Porsche GT3 911 this year in Bended Elbow -- a new English Pub located in Albury which is set to be launched next Tuesday. Grant is currently enjoying a fruitful 2004 campaign which included a best-ever round result of sixth at the Clipsal 500. He lies eighth in the championship after two rounds, but is involved in a hot contest with Tony Quinn of Team VIP Petfoods for the Carrera Cup Challenge. This award recognises the top driver of 35 years or older in a 2003 GT3 911. Grant is only 12 points behind Quinn, but is confident of claiming the scalp of the Scottish-bred Queenslander in the heat of battle in Darwin.
Twenty-two-year-old Troy Hunt performed admirably in the Talent 2-backed GT3 911 at the wet and wild Eastern Creek. Hunt achieved a season's best sixth placing in race three to finish equal ninth for the round. He even managed the fourth fastest lap time in the third race as others struggled to come to grips with the volatile conditions. The Carrera Cup rookie has his eyes set on the Queensland 300 as his next outing in early July.
Team VIP Petfoods
It is a busy time at the Team VIP Petfoods workshop with all drivers engaged in other racing and promotional activities in the lead up to Hidden Valley. Tony Quinn, who is currently leading the Carrera Cup Challenge and sits sixth in the championship, will be a major threat to Jim Richards' crown at Targa Tasmania next week. Quinn won the 2003 Targa New Zealand and was runner-up in this year's Rally of Tasmania in his Porsche 911 turbo. While James Cressey, who is placed fifth in the Carrera Cup, and team mate Klark Quinn, who is 10th, will take to drag racing this weekend. The youngsters will line up in Ross Llewellyn Motors Holden V8 One-Tonne Utes in the Celebrity Challenge at the Tin Top Titles at Willowbank Raceway on Sunday.
One of the most decorated Carrera Cup drivers in Australia, Peter Fitzgerald, is busily in search of a major backer for his 2003 GT3 911 to continue his 2004 campaign. 'Fitzy' is not yet a definite starter for the next round at Hidden Valley unless a round-sponsor or season-sponsor can be secured. Fitzgerald will be hoping to continue the momentum after winning race three at Eastern Creek and placing third for the round -- his first podium finish since the Lexmark Indy 300 in October last year. In the meantime, Fitzgerald Racing is supporting up to 10 cars at the Targa Tasmania.
Rodney Jane Racing
The Rodney Jane Racing team has been busy repairing its 2004 Porsche GT3 911 from damage sustained at the Clipsal 500 in Adelaide last month, and is on track to have the car ready for testing at Winton on May 10 and 11. In an interesting turn of events, Rodney Jane had his best ever Carrera Cup result last round at Eastern Creek in his 2003 car. Jane finished fourth for the round and achieved a great third-placing in race three in the abysmal conditions.
Does blue and yellow make Porsches go faster? Maybe not, but Jonathon Webb was encouraged by his performance at Eastern Creek in his TEKNO Autosports-backed 2004 Porsche GT3 911 prepared by Paul Cruickshank Racing featuring bold new blue and yellow livery. The 20-year-old Sydney driver climbed from 18th place after race one to a season high of fourth in race three, to end up ninth for the round. His charging performance between the end of race one and race three where he made up 14 positions, has him placed a close fifth in the Fuchs Hard Charger stakes. This award is for the driver who passes the most number of cars throughout the entire season.
Team MPS Security
Peter Bradbury and his Team MPS Security welcomes Northern Arch and Flowers & Partners as sponsors for his 2004 Porsche GT3 911 in the Australian Carrera Cup -- the first year that both companies have been involved in Australian motorsport. Northern Arch is a New Zealand-based software company specialising in banking, leasing and financial software, while Flowers & Partners is a finance and investment services group. Both organisations along with major sponsor MPS Group Security would be pleased with Bradbury's results in his first year of Carrera Cup racing. The 44-year-old Sydney driver placed an outstanding second in race three at Eastern Creek, is equal leader in the Fuchs Hard Charger stakes, and sits in the top 10 in the overall championship. Bradbury is another Carrera Cup driver embarking on the Targa Tasmania next week -- his second appearance in a Porsche 911 GT2.
Balmoral's Stephen Borness celebrated his best race result in his second season of Australian Carrera Cup at Eastern Creek. A great sixth placing behind Jim Richards in the second race was cause for mild celebrations for the Celerity Racing team sponsored by Logiadd. What made the result even the more sweeter was that Borness made up nine positions from 15th on the grid. This hard charging effort has seen Borness shoot the equal lead in the Fuchs Hard Charger stakes after two rounds of the nine-round series.
Marc Cini is hoping to resume his 2004 Australian Carrera Cup campaign at the Queensland 300 for round five in July. Heavy work commitments are preventing Cini from taking to the track over the next couple of months. The Melbourne driver had a good four-race hit-out at Albert Park before finishing 15th for the round at Adelaide's Clipsal 500 including a best race position of 12th.
Matt Coleman Racing
Following the well-publicised crash involving Matt Coleman at the Clipsal 500, the driver and team are well advanced to return to the racing track at the next round at Hidden Valley in Darwin. Coleman's 2003 Porsche GT3 911 is currently in the workshop being repaired, with the its progress as well as sponsorship negotiations looking 'very positive' to see last year's series sixth placegetter in the Northern Territory.
The Carrera Cup is the most successful 'one make' championship in the world with close-to-identical Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars built by Porsche' racing arm in Weissach, Germany set for racing in 2004. All cars have a top speed in excess of 300 kilometres per hour with a 400-horsepower, 6 cylinder Boxer engine which revs to 8000 RPM.