Solid 20-car Porsche Michelin Sprint Challenge grid for Phillip Island
After a 16-month forced break as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic, Porsche Michelin Sprint Challenge teams mark their return to the track this weekend at one of Australia’s most iconic race circuits.
Round 1 will see a grid of twenty (20) Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars take to the Phillip Island Grand Prix start line, with the premier Mobil Pro class featuring some of the country’s top junior drivers and the Morris Finance Pro-Am class destined to be one of the mostly hotly contested in the series history.
McElrea Racing teammates Ryan Suhle and Christian Pancione carry strong momentum into the 2021 season after strong performances in both the 2019 series and the more recent Porsche PAYCE and Michelin Cup one-off event at the Sandown International Raceway last December.
South Australian, Tom Taplin returns as well for 2021 and will again be an ever present contender for race honours. Set to challenge the established trio of Michelin Juniors is a swathe of talented newcomers all with strong racing pedigrees. The challengers include Bayley Hall (McElrea Racing); Courtney Prince (Sonic Motor Racing) and the Porsche Team New Zealand pairing of Callum Hedge and Madeline Stewart (Earl Bamber Motorsport).
2019 Morris Finance Pro-Am champion, Sam Shahin returns to defend his class title, but will face strong opposition this season from the likes of Andrew Goldie and David Greig, who have made the step up from the 997 Class. Other experienced contenders expected to challenge the front trio include: Matthew Belford, Ross McGregor, Michael Hovey, Sergio Pires, Marcel Zalloua, Jonathan Gliksten, Shane Barwood, Graham Williams and Nathan Murray, while Terrance Knowles makes his debut in the series with Ash Seward Motorsport.
After two practice sessions and a 20-minute qualifying on Friday 12 March, teams contest two sprint races on Saturday, followed by a final 45-minute race on Sunday morning. All three races will be broadcast live on the 7plus app. The app is free to download and accessible from any computer, smart tv, or mobile phone, together with replays of each race on demand.