Carrera Cup Australia has confirmed plans to run a round of its 2017 series at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia.
The move follows the Carrera Cup Asia’s appearance alongside the Australia series at Sydney Motorsport Park last August.
Porsche Cars Australia will fund the sea-freighting of the full Australia field to Sepang for the July 21-23 event.
A similar format to that seen in Sydney will be used with the Asian and Australian series running their own points-scoring rounds before a combined final.
Porsche Cars Australia Motorsport Manager, Kurt Sakzewski, says that Sepang is the ideal location for the series’ Asian foray.
“Sepang was at the top of our list from the start due to the nature of the circuit,” Sakzewski told Speedcafe.com
“Being a big, open Formula 1 track means it won’t bite drivers like a street circuit might.
“Also Kuala Lumpur is an attractive location and preferable to a new venue that perhaps isn’t quite on the radar yet.
“We also had to keep in mind the availability of dates and how it would fit in both calendars.
“It will be a 11 or 12 day trip each way via sea freight, which we’re working with Gibson Freight on.”
The 2017 Carrera Cup is set to open with its traditional Adelaide and Albert Park fixtures in March before a one-off appearance with the Shannons Nationals at Phillip Island in May for its annual Pro-Am event.
A return to Hidden Valley will take place in June before Sepang, Sandown, Bathurst and the Gold Coast complete the season.
Despite Darwin’s proximity to Asia, Sakzewski – who worked at logistics company Gibson Freight prior to joining Porsche – expects that cars will return to the east coast before being sent to Sepang.
“The original thought was that it might be easier to go straight from Darwin, but with the way that the international shipping routes work it’s actually faster to drive back to Melbourne, Sydney or Brisbane and ship them out of there,” he said.
The Australian and Asian series have also announced a tie-up for their respective Albert Park and Singapore Formula 1 support events.
The deal is expected to see four Asian competitors race in the Australian field at Albert Park in March before four Australians join the Asian drivers in Singapore in September.
Although it is up to individual competitors to fund their own drives, Sakzewski expects that the full quota will make the trip to Singapore.
Each series will make four locally-based cars available for their guests to drive.
“I’d be very surprised if we don’t fill all four seats,” said Sakzewski.
“The Singapore Grand Prix is a blue-riband event. It’s a great opportunity for our competitors.”
The winners of the Pro and Challenge divisions in next year’s Carrera Cup Australia will meanwhile receive a one-off, fully funded drive in an international Porsche one-make series round for 2018.
Porsche will work with the respective winners to determine the series in which they will compete.
Also new for 2017, Challenge drivers will count their best seven rounds towards their end-of-season pointscore, allowing them to miss a round and still shoot for the class title.
Carrera Cup Australia will also introduce an Endurance Cup for its 2017 season.
CLICK HERE for Speedcafe.com’s separate story.
2017 Carrera Cup Australia calendar
Round 1 – TBC*
Round 2 – Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix*, Melbourne, Victoria (March 23-26, 2017)
Round 3 – Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit, Phillip Island, Victoria (May 26-28, 2017)
Round 4 – Hidden Valley Raceway, Darwin, Northern Territory (June 16-18, 2017)
Round 5 – Sepang International Circuit, Sepang, Malaysia (July 21-23, 2017)
Round 6 – Sandown 500, Melbourne, Victoria (September 15-17, 2017)
Round 7 – Bathurst 1000, Bathurst, New South Wales (October 05-08, 2017)
Round 8 – Gold Coast 600, Gold Coast, Queensland (October 20-22, 2017)
* Subject to confirmation
Note: Round 1 is expected to be confirmed as part of a Clipsal 500 support category announcement next week.