World champion karter joins Porsche Michelin Sprint Challenge field

The Porsche Michelin Sprint Challenge Series headlines the Shannons Trophy Series this weekend at The Bend. Image: Supplied

A 28-strong field arrives at the penultimate round of the Porsche Michelin Sprint Challenge Australia Series this weekend at Shell V-Power Motorsport Park.

New Zealand world karting champion Clay Osborne will join an ultra-competitive field led by countryman Marco Giltrap by a comfortable 141 points.

Osborne not only secured a karting world championship in 2019, but has since taken two national titles in New Zealand before converting to circuit racing by racing in Formula First before making the jump to Formula Ford.

Transferring to tin-top racing in 2022, Osborne joined the New Zealand Toyota 86 Race Series, finishing a best of second last summer where he scored two wins, 13 podiums and two pole positions.

Earl Bamber Motorsport’s Giltrap may lead the series on the way to The Bend, but it’s TekworkX Motorsport driver Nash Morris holding the momentum into the penultimate round after taking five out of the last six wins including a clean-sweep at his home round, Queensland Raceway.

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TekworkX enters the round in strong form as Morris’ team-mate Hamish Fitzsimmons has finished runner up in the past two rounds.

Aron Shields sits second in the standings, but pressure is coming from the likes of Ronan Murphy, Oscar Targett, Marcos Flack, Lachlan Bloxsom, Tom McLennan and Harrison Goodman in a strong Pro Class battle.

Pro-Am is led by Sam Shahin replicating his performances in the top-tier Porsche Carrera Cup Australia, but he will have added competition from Brett Boulton, who returns after missing the past two rounds.

An exciting fight is expected in Class B where Brad Carr and Lachy Harburg are tied on points for older specification models in second, as they both try to close the 118-point margin to leader Phil Morriss.

Part of the Shannons Trophy Series, the Porsche Michelin Sprint Challenge Australia Series will qualify on Friday ahead of two races on Saturday and the Jim Richards Endurance Championship decider on Sunday.

Giltrap holds a 16-point advantage to Fitzsimmons and Murphy is a further 10 in arrears going into the Endurance Championship finale.

Sunday’s action will broadcast live on 7plus.

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