Season 2018 of the Porsche Wilson Security Carrera Cup Australia championship has officially started on the streets of Adelaide. At the head of a field of brand new Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars, McElrea Racing duo Jaxon Evans and Anthony Gilbertson set the pace in the Pro and TAG Heuer Pro-Am classes.
Young gun Evans started the season where he left off in 2017, posting the fastest time of the two Thursday practice sessions. The Queensland based New Zealander was the winner of the 2017 season finale on the Gold Coast before returning for his second season in the one-make championship, setting the pace in the opening day of the season.
The performance follows Evans inclusion in the four-driver Porsche Michelin Junior Programme Australia within Carrera Cup, which will see the young driver battle for a spot in the 2018 Porsche Motorsport Junior Programme Shootout in Europe later in the season.
Evans’ best time of 1:21.6986 was 0.24secs ahead of his closest class rival, local racer and practice one pacesetter Michael Almond and former Supercars drivers Dale Wood and James Moffat; all drivers in the top four posting their best time on their final lap of the day.
Reigning champion David Wall was the fifth fastest on Thursday from Nick McBride, Dylan O’Keeffe and GT3 Cup Challenge champion Jordan Love, who was the best of the drivers new to the Adelaide circuit.
For the TAG Heuer Pro-Am pacesetter Anthony Gilbertson, merely driving on the circuit was a dream come true after attending school next to the former Australian Grand Prix venue during its days as Formula 1 host. The reigning Porsche Michelin GT3 Cup Challenge Australia Elite Class champion not only achieved his dream, but was the best of his class across Thursday’s two sessions.
Gilbertson, the only TAG Heuer Pro-Am driver in the top 10, ended the day three-tenths ahead of his closest class rivals Stephen Grove and Roger Lago. Adrian Flack was fourth in class from Marc Cini and high-profile newcomer John Steffensen.
Porsche Wilson Security Carrera Cup Australia returns to the circuit tomorrow for qualifying and the opening race of the season, before the series holds its second and third race of the weekend across Saturday and Sunday.
“I’m really happy with my initial pace. It’s early days but it’s a confidence boost to come away from the first day of the event as the fastest driver.
“The extra power of the new cars is something that will play a big roll coming into the last couple of races for the weekend with tyre life, but the car feels quite similar to last year. I’m really enjoying it.”
“I’m very happy being the top TAG Heuer Pro-Am driver after practice. I didn’t expect it, to tell the truth. I was going to take it super easy today and that’s what I feel like I’ve done. I don’t feel like I got the best out of the rear tyres but I had a good lap to top the Pro-Am class. I’m super rapt and can’t wait to get into qualifying tomorrow.”
Practice Results – combined sessions
1. #7 Jaxon Evans (Pro) Morris Finance – 1:21.6986s
2. #77 Michael Almond (Pro) Sonic/Bob Jane T Marts- 1:21.9385s
3. #100 Dale Wood (Pro) Sonic/Polyflor – 1:22.2418s
4. #18 James Moffat (Pro) PAYCE/Wilson Security/JBL – 1:22.2656s
5. #1 David Wall (Pro) PAYCE/Wilson Security – 1:22.3881s
6. #8 Nick McBride (Pro) Porsche Centre Melbourne – 1:22.6420s
7. #88 Dylan O’Keeffe (Pro) Allstar Equipment Sales – 1:22.6701s
8. #777 Jordan Love (Pro) Sonic/Bob Jane T Marts – 1:22.9723s
9. #19 Anthony Gilbertson (TAG Heuer Pro-Am) Hallmark Homes – 1:23.1326s
10. #111 Cameron Hill (Pro) Southern Star Truck Centre/Any – 1:23.2575s
11. #4 Stephen Grove (TAG Heuer Pro-Am) Grove Motorsport Pty Ltd – 1:23.3610s
12. #23 Roger Lago (TAG Heuer Pro-Am) JBS Australia – 1:23.3709s
13. #14 Peter Major (Pro) Sonic/Totally 4×4 – 1:23.9228s
14. #15 Josh Hunt (Pro) Volante Rosso Motorsport – 1:24.0960s
15. #888 Leanne Tander (Pro) Porsche Centre Brighton – 1:24.4747s
16. #20 Adrian Flack (TAG Heuer Pro-Am) Agas National – 1:24.7502s
17. #12 Adam Garwood (Pro) Garwood Motorsport – 1:24.7513s
18. #9 Marc Cini (TAG Heuer Pro-Am) Hallmarc – 1:24.8225s
19. #808 John Steffensen (TAG Heuer Pro-Am) Crown/Timken/Porsche Melbourne – 1:24.9599s
20. #80 Max Twigg (TAG Heuer Pro-Am) WM Waste Management – 1:24.9639s
21. #6 Tim Miles (TAG Heuer Pro-Am) Miles Advisory Partners – 1:24.9938s
22. #13 Sam Shahin (TAG Heuer Pro-Am) The Bend/htfu – 1:25.4101s
23. #22 Dean Cook (TAG Heuer Pro-Am) BMF/Pitman Racing – 1:25.4714s
24. #5 Greg Taylor (TAG Heuer Pro-Am) Arris/Strongbuild – 1:25.8990s
25. #35 Indiran Padayachee (TAG Heuer Pro-Am) Hyundai Forklifts Australia – 1:30.7300s
26. #131 Graham Williams TAG Heuer Pro-Am) Sonic/WRA – 1:30.9354s
Race Schedule (local time)
Friday March 02, 2018
8:35am Qualifying (20 minutes)
12:45pm Race 1 (15 laps)
Saturday March 03, 2018
11:10am Race 2 (18 laps)
Sunday March 04, 2018
9:05am Race 3 (15 laps)