Just three weeks after Carrera Cup held its two-driver Pro-Am event at Phillip Island – its southern-most round – the series travels 3,228 km north to Hidden Valley with yet another competitive driver line-up, though this time including two new racers who have scaled the Porsche Motorsport Pyramid towards their Carrera Cup goal.
Tim Miles and Sam Shahin are no strangers to Porsche competition; in fact both have visited the Carrera Cup podium at previous Pro-Am events, though both will this weekend make their maiden appearance in a single-driver round, bringing with them significant GT3 Cup Challenge experience.
Miles has had three Pro-Am starts over the past four seasons, racing alongside Renee Gracie, Matt Campbell and Jaxon Evans in 2014, 2015 and 2017, respectively. During this time Miles visited the Professional Class podium twice – placing third with Gracie in 2014 and third alongside Evans at Phillip Island this season.
The Sydneysider also boasts 20 GT3 Cup Challenge round starts and capped his time in the series by winning the 2016 Elite Class crown.
Meanwhile, Shahin posted his maiden Carrera Cup appearance at this season’s Pro-Am alongside Dan Gaunt. The duo drove an impressive two races and finished equal on points at the top of the Challenge standings for the round, though ultimately finished third for the round in class after the top three in class – all equal on points – were determined by finishing positions in the final race.
Like Miles, Shahin brings significant GT3 Cup Challenge experience – 22 round starts in total – in his climb of the Porsche Motorsport Pyramid to Carrera Cup as a single driver entry. Shahin currently leads the series’ Elite Class standings and is the favourite to emulate Miles’ achievement of becoming class champion with three rounds remaining.
This weekend marks Carrera Cup’s sixth appearance at the 2.87 km Darwin circuit, with many of the drivers looking forward to the challenge.
“It’s nice to go to Darwin being from Victoria, where the weather is terrible at this time of year in June,” said round two winner Cam McConville.
“It’s a very different track; it’s a lot about braking, particularly into turn one. And it’s vital to get a good run out of the final corner as the track has a great one kilometre front straight.”
While many of the series stars have vast experience at the circuit, including six-time Darwin race winner Alex Davison, others, including series rookie Jaxon Evans, will be driving on the circuit for the first time.
“It’s a new track and a new place for me; I’ve never been that far north in Australia. I’m excited about learning the new track but also immersing myself in the culture and seeing what the event is all about,” said Evans.
Andre Heimgartner enters to round with the championship lead, though David Wall, coming off his first ever outright round win at Phillip Island, is only 10 points adrift in second place.
Stephen Grove holds a dominant 109.5 lead in the TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge standings. The Victorian has amassed four straight TAG Heuer Pole Positions in the Challenge class, a feat last achieved by Rodney Jane in 2007, who went on to post a record seven-straight pole positions in class.
“I can’t wait to get to Darwin,” said Grove, who raced at Fuji Speedway two weeks ago as part of the joint Porsche Carrera Cup Asia and Japan round. “Fuji Speedway is a good mix of fast, flowing sections with some very technical corners. The event was great preparation for Darwin; both tracks have a very long straight, heavy braking sections and free flowing elements. I’m looking forward to it.”
Porsche Carrera Cup Australia will hold two practice sessions on Friday, qualifying and a lengthy 25 lap race on Saturday, followed by two 18 lap races on Sunday.
All sessions from Hidden Valley Raceway from Friday’s second practice session can be viewed live throughout the weekend on Fox Sports 506.
Entry List – Round 4, Darwin
#4 Stephen Grove (TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge) Grove Group
#5 Cameron McConville (Outright) Repair Management Australia
#6 Michael Almond (Outright) Repair Management Australia
#7 Jaxon Evans (Outright) Hungry Jacks
#13 Sam Shahin (TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge) HTFU
#33 Simon Ellingham (Outright) Peak Marketing
#38 David Wall (Outright) PAYCE/Wilson Security
#54 James Abela (Outright) Horsley Park Gun Shop/Strathbrook Industrial Services
#70 Tim Miles (TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge) Miles Advisory Partners
#77 Nick McBride (Outright) Bob Jane T-Marts
#88 Dylan O’Keeffe (Outright) APB Group/President Limo Australia
#777 Andre Heimgartner (Outright) Bob Jane T-Marts/Money Now
#888 Alex Davison (Outright) President Limo Australia
Friday June 16
10:00am Practice 1 (20 minutes)
1:50pm Practice 2 (20 minutes)
Saturday June 17
10:20am Qualifying (25 minutes)
1:00pm Race 1 (25 laps)
Sunday June 18
12:20pm Race 2 (18 laps)
3:25pm Race 3 (18 laps)