Laser Racing will line up for the fourth consecutive Porsche Carrera Cup Australia Pro-Am event this weekend in Sydney, as part of the popular Porsche Rennsport Festival, which will include the third round of the 2016 Carrera Cup Australia Championship.
Driving once more with experienced GT campaigner Dean Grant, former Carrera Cup champion Steven Richards is hoping the pair can enjoy a solid weekend and earn some more valuable championship points in a field that features some of Australia’s leading drivers.
“It’s certainly going to be a challenging weekend,” Richards admitted. “There’s a serious list of experienced drivers who have signed on to join the series regulars this weekend, and the weather looks a little sketchy too, so it’s not going to be an easy feat.”
This year’s event will return to the scene of the very first Porsche Carrera Cup Australia [PCCA] co-driver event, three years after last campaigning the mini-enduro on the Sydney Motorsport Park [SMP] circuit. The last time the Rennsport event was held at SMP, Richards – and then team-mate Theo Koundouris – qualified strongly but just missed out on the podium.
Whilst the Laser Racing team has not enjoyed a great time of it in the longer endurance races – the team’s best finish coming in the second race of the 2014 event at Phillip Island (Richards’ championship winning season) with fifth – the reigning Bathurst 1000 champion is no fan of statistics, and believes that he and Grant have as good a chance as anyone of standing on the podium this weekend.
“We’ve tested at SMP recently, and despite a bit of time out of the seat, Dean was very quick around the circuit, well and truly in the window with the rest of the part-time drivers, and we know our car is quick around Sydney having been on the podium there a lot over the last few seasons, so I think we’re in for an interesting weekend, and I’m sure we’ll be right there in the mix.”
“My job is to just keep it clean, and do my best to hand Steve the car in a position to go after some valuable championship points,” Grant explained.
“There will be a number of variables this year over what we’ve seen in past seasons, and one of them will be tyre strategy. The wear on the control Michelin tyre is a little higher than we’re used to seeing as a result of the new SMP track surface, and tyre degradation will play a big part, so tyre management will form an important part of our strategy, especially as we have only three sets for the weekend.
“I’m really looking forward to getting back in the car. I was a little surprised at my pace when we tested there a couple of weeks ago, because I’d been out of the car for a while, but I’ve been keeping fit with a lot of cycling and doing some karting to keep my eye in.
“There are a lot of talented drivers entered this year too which will make things interesting, I just hope they remember that there’s a good mix of part-time drivers in the field, so they have to remember to give us a little racing room!”
Competition for the Rennsport event gets underway on Friday with three 30-minute practice sessions, including a dedicated session for each of the drivers in the afternoon, before qualifying on Saturday and then two one-hour races, the first on Saturday afternoon and the second on Sunday.
2016 CAMS Australian GT Championship
Porsche Rennsport Australia Festival, Sydney Motorsport Park
(29 April – 1 May)
Schedule: [AEST – GMT +9]
Friday, 29 April
10:25am – Practice#1 (30-minutes)
12:15pm – Practice#2 (30-minutes) – Challenge drivers
2:05pm – Practice#3 (30-minutes) – Pro drivers
Saturday, 30 April
10:40am – Qualifying#1 (20-minutes) – Challenge drivers
12:20pm – Qualifying#2 (20-minutes) – Pro drivers
3:10pm – Grid Walk
3:30pm – Race#1 (34-laps)
Sunday, 1 May
10:15am – warm-up (10-minutes)
12:55pm – Grid Walk
1:15pm – Race#2 (34-laps)
Weather predictions suggest three warm days of temperatures in the mid 20s (˚C) however there is also a suggestion of ‘possible rain’ on both Saturday and Sunday, and with Sydney Motorsport Park in somewhat of a rain belt, Steve’s renowned wet weather skills could come in handy..
Source. Motorsport Media