23Red planning driver development program
23Red Racing is planning a driver development program as part of Phil Munday’s long term vision for the team.
The squad is currently working with Luis Leeds to lock in a program that would see the teenager compete in the Porsche Michelin GT3 Cup Challenge Australia this year.
A successful campaign there would see Leeds promoted to Carrera Cup in 2019 and the Super2 Series the following season.
Leeds spent 2017 in Europe racing in the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 series, following a year in the British Formula 4 Championship which netted three wins.
He’s since returned to Australia, where he had a one-off Formula 4 outing at the Gold Coast, and now targets a career domestically.
“At the moment the plan is to race with 23Red in GT3 Cup Challenge,” Leeds told Speedcafe.com.
“They’re going to run a car for me, and I’ve taken up a role as Development driver for the (Supercars) team.
“We’ve got a four year plan in place, and that’s to race GT3 Cup Challenge this year, Porsche Carrera Cup next year, Dunlop Super2 the year after and then hopefully at that stage I’ve earned my stripes to go and race Supercars.
“That’s not the final plan, that’s not what’s 100 percent happening, but in theory that’s the career path I’m going to take from now.”
Team boss Munday is enthusiastic about the prospect of developing Leeds into a Supercars driver, having supported Alex Rullo throughout last season.
However, after a tough season for Rullo, Munday believes it’s important that Leeds has a chance to learn and develop as a driver before being thrust into the main game.
“I think the whole sport understands there’s a bit of a process in taking three or four different categories to get to that point, and I think it’s a great opportunity for Luis to show what he can do,” Munday told Speedcafe.com.
“It’s a bit difficult to go straight away, without anything, straight into the main game, so there’s got to be a system in there.
“We’re talking to Luis to put together a program for him, and hopefully it all comes together and he can go into the GT3 Cup Challenge with us, and potentially go up the food chain a bit further eventually into Supercars.
“He’s a good kid, he’s got some good talent behind him, really it’s just a matter of getting the program put together.”
Leeds meanwhile is set to compete in Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge, in the car used by McConville in last year’s Porsche Wilson Security Carrera Cup Australia, which has now been grandfathered down to series.
The program however hinges on finance, with both Leeds and Munday upfront about the need for sponsorship to ensure the project sees fruition.
“Sponsorship’s getting harder and harder to get, for any of us,” Munday conceded.
“I certainly am happy to help him where I can but we need money ourselves to do what we do.”
Munday has given the program until mid-February to get off the ground, with the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge series kicking off at The Bend Motorsport Park on April 13-15.