PORSCHES SET FOR GRIPPING PENULTIMATE ROUND ON GOLD COAST With two rounds to go in the Wright Patton Shakespeare Carrera Cup Australia, the championship is as close as it has ever been and promises a gripping penultimate round on the streets of...
PORSCHES SET FOR GRIPPING PENULTIMATE ROUND ON GOLD COAST
With two rounds to go in the Wright Patton Shakespeare Carrera Cup Australia, the championship is as close as it has ever been and promises a gripping penultimate round on the streets of Surfers Paradise for the Lexmark Indy 300.
New Zealand 23-year-old Fabian Coulthard holds a slender six point margin over inaugural 2003 series champion Jim Richards -- a margin equivalent to one race place in this all-Porsche championship.
Every advantage is crucial with only six races over two rounds to decide the 2005 champion, and one of the critical races at the Lexmark Indy 300 will be the seven-lap Friday night race.
All 22 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars will race with their headlights on and the track illuminated by the many high rise buildings around the circuit and strategically placed flood lights.
Last year series champion Alex Davison won the first-ever night race at the Lexmark Indy 300 in a bumper-to-bumper duel with Richards, and Coulthard another six seconds behind in third.
The OAMPS Insurance Brokers-backed Richards does have one edge over his rivals around the 4.47km street circuit. He is the only driver to have won in a Porsche at the Lexmark Indy 300, accruing four wins out of the six races held since 2003 and also the round victory in the inaugural Carrera Cup Australia year in 2003.
While the Glenfords Tool Centres and Makita-backed Coulthard has the form on the board after recording a round victory at the Super Cheap Auto 1000 in Bathurst just over a week ago.
The race is also on for third place in the championship with 27-year-old Victorian Luke Youlden representing Queensland-based Team VIP Petfoods holding a 36-point lead over fourth-placed Sydney young gun Jonathon Webb in the Tekno Autosports and Yachting Unlimited-backed Porsche.
Youlden also holds the same margin over Webb in the prestigious Wright Patton Shakespeare Michelin Driver to Europe award. The prize for this top driver aged under 30 yet to race in Europe, is a drive in a Porsche Michelin Supercup round, the support category to the Formula 1 World Championship, in 2006.
Another youngster in David Reynolds, last year's Formula Ford champion, is in a close battle with Porsche veteran Peter Fitzgerald for a top five finish in the Wright Patton Shakespeare Carrera Cup.
Reynolds, 20, currently sits fifth in the standings in his Bob Jane T-Marts-backed Porsche ahead of the experienced Fitzgerald, backed by Abcor and Acer, by 27 points.
In the TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge for privateer drivers aged 35 years or older in 2003-spec Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars, last year's winner Dean Grant (Aqua-Max Water Heaters) continues to maintain a handy gap over main rival Tony Quinn (Team VIP Petfoods) with Marc Cini (Hallmarc) holding down third place.
The top three drivers in the TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge after the nine round championship win a TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph.
The Wright Patton Shakespeare Carrera Cup is the primary support category to the V8 Supercar Championship Series, and is seen as a direct pathway for young drivers into the top tier Australian motor racing series.
All cars in the Wright Patton Shakespeare Carrera Cup are developed and built by Porsche's racing arm in Weissach, Germany. With a top speed in excess of 300 kilometres per hour, the lightweight, high performance vehicles have a 400 horsepower, 6 cylinder Boxer engine which revs to 8000 RPM, producing a sound that is distinctly Porsche.