Australian series announces 2004 schedule

Carrera Cup organisers Cup Car Australia today unveiled plans for a 10 round championship in 2004. The championship, which features a full field of Porsche GT3 Cup cars, will race in a proposed 10 round series in support to the V8 ...

Carrera Cup organisers Cup Car Australia today unveiled plans for a 10 round championship in 2004.

The championship, which features a full field of Porsche GT3 Cup cars, will race in a proposed 10 round series in support to the V8 Supercar Championship Series with some new venues and race formats added to the championship to spice up the action.

Among the main changes in the proposed 2004 calendar are rounds at new venues, including Barbagallo in Western Australia, Oran Park in New South Wales and a huge season-opening round in Adelaide at the Clipsal 500 street race.

The Carrera Cup cars will again return to the Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix at Albert Park for a non-championship special event after a successful category debut there this season.

The all-Porsche championship is also expected to be on the schedule at three other marquee events on the Australian motor racing calendar, details of which will be announced shortly.

A final 2004 schedule is expected to be released within weeks.

Next year's championship will also feature differing race formats, as opposed to the three, 20-minute races at each round this year. In 2004, there will be additional practice and an increase in the length of qualifying sessions.

This season qualifying has been 30 minutes in duration, though in 2004 it will vary between 30 and 45 minute sessions to provide teams and drivers more track time to fine-tune their 400-horsepower Porsche GT3 Cup machines for racing, possibly with changing track conditions providing another variable.

Race formats will vary between 15 minutes to 60 minutes and tyre allocations will also vary depending on race distances. This season each car can use six Michelin slick racing tyres for qualifying and the three races. Eight tyres will be permitted for the rounds with longer distances next year.

Cup Car CEO Jamey Blaikie says that the longer sessions, more tyre choice and different circuits throw in more variables for Carrera Cup competitors in 2004.

"2003 has been an outstanding debut season for Carrera Cup and we don't intend to rest on our laurels," said Blaikie.

"We will continue to increase the entertainment value of Carrera Cup for the paying public and also increase the involvement of the teams in having to make tactical decisions that will affect their performance."

The Carrera Cup is a series run for identical Porsche GT3 Cup racing cars. Producing 400 horsepower, the series is the fastest one-make championship in the world and is based on the same rules and regulations as Carrera Cups in Germany, France, Great Britain, Asia and Japan.

Round seven of the championship is being held at Mount Panorama, Bathurst, this weekend, where a 27 car field is fighting for championship points in the nine-round chase to decide who will win the inaugural Carrera Cup.

-cc.au-

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Series Porsche