Just two weeks after the season opener at the Clipsal 500, Carrera Cup readies for its 12th visit to the Melbourne event, the seventh of which that awards championship points. After enjoying Michelin as the Event Partner in Adelaide, the championship will have a new Event Partner in premium Australian event hire company, Pages Event Equipment, at Albert Park.
Three former Albert Park race winners will line up this weekend as part of the 19-strong Carrera Cup field.
Alex Davison is the most successful of this trio with eight Albert Park race wins, including a clean sweep at Carrera Cup’s first ever appearance in Australia, held in 2003 as a non-championship round.
Steven Richards has won Albert Park races over the past three seasons, which included the round victory last year as part of his early season domination.
Meanwhile, Nick McBride claimed his maiden Carrera Cup victory in the opening Albert Park race in 2015. The Melbourne ace then started the 2016 season with round victory in Adelaide, entering this weekend’s second round with the best possible preparation.
“Last year’s Albert Park event was certainly special. It’s not only my home race, it was also where I claimed my first race win,” said McBride.
“Entering this weekend as winner of the opening round and points leader is a great feeling, though not something I’ll be thinking about. I’m looking forward to a strong weekend and, hopefully, finish the weekend with another podium result.”
TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge points leader Tony Bates enters the Albert Park round as the form racer in the class. The Melbourne based driver claimed his third straight clean sweep on the streets of Adelaide, where he equalled Rodney Jane’s class record of four consecutive round wins. At the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix, Bates will shoot for an unprecedented five straight Challenge round wins and, in race one, his sixth consecutive class race win.
While Bates has form on track, James Bergmuller enters this weekend as the only current Challenge driver to have taken race victory at Albert Park. The local driver won the opening Albert Park race in class in 2014 and went on to claim second for the round.
Bates, Shane Smollen and Stephen Grove have also stood on the Albert Park podium and will look to repeat the feat, while Marc Cini enters Albert Park having placed second in class for the Adelaide round; his first Challenge podium since the 2011 season finale.
Porsche Carrera Cup Australia presented by Pages will hold its practice, qualifying and opening race this Thursday. The subsequent three races will be held across Friday, Saturday and Sunday in the championship’s first four race format since the 2008 Albert Park round.
Race Schedule (local time)
Thursday March 17, 2016
12:20pm – Practice 1 (20 minutes)
3:55pm – Qualifying (20 minutes)
5:35pm – Race 1 (25 minutes)
Friday March 18, 2016
3:30pm – Race 2 (25 minutes)
Saturday March 19, 2016
12:45pm – Race 3 (25 minutes)
Sunday March 20, 2016
1:50pm – Race 4 (25 minutes)
Entry List: Round 2
#4. Stephen Grove (TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge) Grove Hire
#7. Matt Campbell (Outright) Nuveau Constructions/Phase 8
#8. Dean Fiore (Outright) Saint/Porsche Centre Melbourne
#9. Marc Cini (TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge) Hallmarc
#12. Steven Richards (Outright) Laser Plumbing and Electrical
#13. James Bergmuller (TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge) pricepressure.com.au
#21. Garth Walden (Outright) Commercial Interior Projects
#24. Tony Bates (TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge) Moveitnet/AFS
#25. Alex Davison (Outright) Wilson Parking
#26. Michael Almond (Outright) Stone’s Original
#38. David Wall (Outright) Wilson Security/PAYCE
#39. Adrian Mastronardo (TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge) TOGA/Veritas
#45. Duvashen Padayachee (Outright) Darrell Lea STIX
#54. James Abela (Outright) Horsley Park Gun Shop
#56. Shane Smollen (TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge) McGrath Estate Agents
#77. Nick McBride (Outright) Bob Jane T-Marts
#88. Dylan O’Keeffe (Outright) All Star Equipment Sales/Dexion Supply Centre
#360. Fraser Ross (Outright) 360fly
#777. Ash Walsh (Outright) Bob Jane T-Marts/Infants Friend