F3 champ Hodge to race Dubai 24 Hour
Reigning Australian Formula 3 champion Simon Hodge is eyeing a career in GT racing having now secured a drive at this weekend’s Dubai 24 Hour.
The 20-year-old South Australian, who claimed 12 race wins on his way to the Australian F3 title last year, will make his competitive GT debut behind the wheel of a Porsche 991 Cup car, prepared by British outfit Welch Motorsport.
Hodge is expected to line up alongside team owner and BTCC regular Dan Welch, British GT4 champion Jake Giddings and South African Formula 3 driver Liam Venter for the event at the Dubai Autodrome.
The young Australian has focussed his career predominantly around single seaters contesting the Australian Formula Ford and F3 championships over the last four seasons.
With opportunities to progress up the single seater ladder limited, he feels a switch to GT racing is perhaps the best opportunity to prolong his motor racing career.
Although yet to compete in a GT endurance race, Hodge is already working towards a drive at February’s Bathurst 12 Hour.
“There are lot of very positive openings in the GT world at the moment and especially in Australia and overseas,” Hodge told Speedcafe.com.
“There is no way I can close myself off from that. I wish I could be in a single seater position for 2015 but unless something revolutionary comes up you will see me in GTs or touring cars.
“This weekend will be the first time for a lot of things for me. It will be my international debut, my GT debut and endurance debut so its going to be a massive learning task.
“I’m in very capable hands in Welch Motorsport and although it is a big challenge it is something I am ready for and I can’t wait.
“Should the Dubai 24 Hour go to plan ideally you will see me in a Bathurst 12 Hour drive.
“We are talking to a couple of teams but it depends on the best fit for me in terms of driver seedings.
“We are getting closer to coming to an agreement for the 12 hour but it is a little way away yet.”
While his immediate driving plans are in motion, he is yet to firm up a long term option for 2015 with the Bathurst lap record holder contemplating a move to the Porsche Carrera Cup Australia.
“It would be very silly of us not to look at Carrera Cup both in Australia and some of the other series around the world.
“It is something I have tried my hand at at a couple of test days so it is something we are definitely open to.”