AUS: Preseason notes

PLENTY OF PRESEASON MOVING AND SHAKING IN CARRERA CUP The Carrera Cup is embarking on its third season in Australia in 2005, with plenty of preseason driver and team recruitment whetting the appetites of fans for a cracking ...

PLENTY OF PRESEASON MOVING AND SHAKING IN CARRERA CUP

The Carrera Cup is embarking on its third season in Australia in 2005, with plenty of preseason driver and team recruitment whetting the appetites of fans for a cracking championship ahead.

Many of the 2005 Porsche drivers will prepare for the official season with four Non-Championship races at the Foster's F1 Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park from March 3 to 6. Then the official racing begins two weeks later at the Clipsal 500 in Adelaide from March 17 to 20.

In exciting preseason news, last year's Michelin Rookie of the Year and Driver to Europe Award winner Fabian Coulthard will contest the Indianapolis round of the Porsche Michelin Supercup on June 19 as the prize for his award-winning efforts in his debut Carrera Cup season in 2004.

He will form part of a factory-backed Porsche team in the US Supercup round which will precede the Formula 1 Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Coulthard will also head to Budapest in Hungary for two Porsche Supercup official test days on March 31 and April 1, following the Clipsal 500.

Here is an insight into the preseason developments around the 2005 Australian Carrera Cup teams.

Greg Murphy Racing:

The championship-winning team has confirmed three full-time drivers in 2005. Fabian Coulthard will step into the Number-1 2004 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car, to be backed by Glenfords Tool Centres and Makita. Alan Gurr, a three-time starter in the Bathurst 1000 and round winner in the Konica V8 Supercars last year, joins the team to campaign in the Number-3 2003-spec Porsche primarily backed by Glenfords Tool Centres and Hitachi Power Tools. Nineteen-year-old former Formula Ford and Formula 3 driver Ian Dyk enters the Porsche fray with GMR in the Number-6 2003-spec car supported by Glenfords Tool Centres and DeWalt. The three cars also have support from Sidchrome, Selleys, Sirromet Wines, Konica Minolta, Fuchs for the 2005 season. The cars and drivers are set to test at Calder Raceway next week.

Jim Richards Racing:

Inaugural Australian Carrera Cup champion Jim Richards has kept in good racing touch by winning the annual Porsche Mt Buller sprint in January ahead of last year's Carrera Cup champion Alex Davison. The Porsche Mt Buller sprint is a tarmac rally on the 16km Mt Buller tourist road over three days with more than 90 entries. Richards' 2005 Carrera Cup campaign will once again be backed by OAMPS Insurance Brokers, and supported by Greenfield Mowers, Briggs & Stratton and Scania Australia. Watch out for Richards in the three-day Rally of Tasmania starting today. The Jim Richards Racing crew will also service the Porsche of TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge champion Dean Grant in 2005. Grant has also been in winning form by claiming the Tattersall's 1-Hour Enduro at Phillip Island late last year. Grant will have a new major sponsor, Aqua Max hot water heaters, for his drive at the Grand Prix.

Fitzgerald Racing:

Veteran Porsche racer Peter Fitzgerald is set for his third consecutive Carrera Cup campaign in his 2003 911 GT3 Cup car with primary backing from Abcor and Acer, and support from SEW Eurodrive, Van Ek Contracting and Lacey Prestige Panel. In the preseason, Fitzgerald's Porsche has been stripped back, had its engine freshened up and given a new paint job.

Team VIP Petfoods:

There has been plenty of activity among Team VIP Petfoods during the preseason. Recently married 27-year-old Luke Youlden joins the team to take the driver's seat in the Number-28 2004 Porsche. The 2003 Bathurst 1000 and Sandown 500 podium placegetter with Steve Ellery and runner-up in the Konica V8 Supercar series last year gives Team VIP Petfoods its best chance at a championship since Marcus Marshall in 2003. Rising star Klark Quinn who is due to become a first-time father in a couple of months will campaign the Number-5 2003-spec Porsche, while father Tony will continue in the Number-8 car. In a recent test at Queensland Raceway, Klark won a state championship round in his Porsche with a last-gasp win over Tony, after both combined to take out the inaugural 500km enduro at Goulburn's Wakefield Park in January.

Paul Cruickshank Racing:

A driver to watch in 2005 will be 21-year-old Jonathon Webb who finished sixth in the Carrera Cup last year including two late-season round podiums. PCR tested Webb and his 2004 Porsche at Queensland Raceway last week, in the first hit-out the car has had since being repaired following a crash at Indy last year. Both the driver and car were in good shape, and are due to have another test at QR on Monday. The second PCR driver in 2005 will be New Zealand's James Cressey after competing in six rounds in 2004. Cressey's car will be the ex-Tim Harvey 2004 Porsche that finished second in the UK series last year, and is due to arrive for a test in Australia the week before the Clipsal 500. Cressey is currently driving in the Toyota Racing Series in New Zealand, with round four this weekend.

Sonic Motor Racing:

A new team in the Carrera Cup will be Sonic Motor Racing which has developed a great record in Formula Ford over the past six seasons. Sonic's core business is guiding young aspiring drivers in the quest to become professional drivers, and has entered Formula Ford champion David Reynolds for the 2005 Carrera Cup season. The Albury 19-year-old will campaign a 2003-spec Porsche. Sonic Motor Racing will also service the 2004 Porsche of Rodney Jane who finished in the top 10 last year.

Sherrin Hire:

Another new team to join Carrera Cup in the pursuit of success is Sherrin Hire which will be fielding ex-V8 Supercar driver Cameron McLean in a 2003-spec Porsche. McLean was an V8 Supercar endurance driver for championship-winning Stone Brothers Racing last year, and is expected to be in the fight for front position through the nine-round series.

Around the Teams:

As he gains more and more Porsche experience, former Formula Ford rookie champion Bryce Washington from Adelaide is set to rise through the field in his ADRAD Radiators-backed 2004 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car. The ADRAD car will be prepared and serviced by Britek in conjunction with Buik Motor Works. Sydney driver Ash Samadi returns for his second full season backed by Globe Projects and supported by Pan Pacific Property Group. Fellow Sydney-based competitor Stephen Borness has also confirmed his participation to be primarily supported by Adnet Technology. Brothers James and Theo Koundouris are set for a full season under their banner of Supabarn Supermarkets. Today the brothers are conducting a ride day at Wakefield Park attended by numerous ACT businesspeople. The widely experienced Paul Freestone is back in 2005 with Freestone's Transport and Biante. Kiwi campaigners Shane McKillen and Mike Morton are set to represent International Motorsport New Zealand, with another driver likely to be added for the season at the Grand Prix.

The Carrera Cup is the most successful 'one make' championship in the world, and is a primary support category to the V8 Supercar Championship Series in Australia. All cars are developed and built by Porsche' 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.

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Series Porsche
Drivers Tim Harvey , Greg Murphy , Marcus Marshall , Jim Richards , Rodney Jane , Fabian Coulthard , Alex Davison , Cameron McLean , Klark Quinn , Paul Freestone , Peter Fitzgerald , Alan Gurr , Ash Samadi , Jonathon Webb , Bryce Washington , Ian Dyk , David Reynolds , Dean Grant , Paul Cruickshank , Phillip Island
Teams Toyota Racing