FOUR local drivers and ambassadors of the Porsche PAYCE Carrera Cup Australia will make the step into full-time international competition this weekend, when the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup commences in Spain.
Drivers hailing from both the local Professional and TAG Heuer Pro-Am categories will take on the pinnacle of Porsche’s one-make competition this weekend (10-12 May), at the Catalunya circuit near Barcelona.
Reigning Carrera Cup Australia champion Jaxon Evans will commence his debut Supercup campaign as an official Porsche Junior driver, looking to follow in the footsteps of close friend and fellow champion Matt Campbell as he climbs the ‘Porsche Pyramid’ of Motorsport.
The 22-year-old is fresh from the opening round of Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland at Hockenheim last weekend, where he finished on the podium in both races.
Meanwhile, 2018 Carrera Cup Australia TAG Heuer Pro-Am champion Stephen Grove headlines a three-car team Team Australia outfit that includes the local series’ most experienced driver, Marc Cini, and Aussie young-gun Joey Mawson.
Grove and Cini will contest the Pro-Am category, while Mawson makes the switch from open-wheel racing for the first time this year following a successful stint in Formula 3 and GP3.
The trio will proudly fly the Australian flag on each of their cars thanks to a bold livery and Aussie branding shared across the three-car team.
Evans’ Supercup debut will come with Fach Auto tech, the same team that helped Matt Campbell to four victories and third in the championship two years ago.
For Evans, an opportunity to work with his new team owner and engineer last weekend proved a positive experience ahead of the Supercup opener.
“Working with the Project 1 – JBR team, I was also able to work alongside my Supercup team owner and engineer Alex Fach,” Evans said.
“It was good to build our relationship as we launch an assault on the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup this coming weekend.
“Overall, It was a fantastic weekend and a very positive start to my campaign in Europe. It didn’t exceed my expectations but it was a relief to begin with two trips to the podium.”
Cini contested the first two rounds of the 2019 Porsche PAYCE Carrera Cup Australia, while Mawson raced at Albert Park to gain experience ahead of his Supercup debut.
Meanwhile, Grove won TAG Heuer Pro-Am at Phillip Island recently prior to heading to Europe for the official Supercup pre-season test in Spain.
“After going to Catalunya and doing the test a couple of weeks ago, there’s no doubt it’s going to be a very competitive season in Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup,” he said.
“There are eight Pro-Am drivers in the field, so to try and get on the podium in class would be a goal I would like to set. Most of the others have been to Catalunya on many occasions, but for me, I haven’t done a lot of laps there. It’s a technical track, so I just need to make sure I push hard, get a good start — it’s about getting every aspect together.”
Following the opening round in Monaco, the Supercup tour heads to Monte Carlo for the famous Monaco Grand Prix.
Grove raced their last year and said he is looking forward to returning to the principality along several other notable stops on the calendar.
“Monaco is a real highlight on the calendar with the glitz, the glamour, and all the history; it was a great event last year. Monza I’m also looking forward to and I’m pretty excited about Mexico and Silverstone.
“They’re a couple of tracks which are going to be great, so it should be an awesome season.”
With 156 rounds of experience in Porsche Carrera Cup Australia between them, Cini and Grove take extensive experience into the Supercup opener.
Though this year marks the first time each driver will have contested the full Supercup championship, both also have significant international one-make and endurance racing experience on which to draw.
Cini’s overseas experience includes two starts at LeMans, competing in a joint field of Carrera Cup cars from France, the UK and the Benelux region.
His last start at the home of the famous 24-hour race was in 2017 and came against a 61-strong field, where he was running a strong 33rd before being taken out by another competitor.
Grove has also started the LeMans Carrera Cup spectacular, as well as significant long-distance racing experience that included tackling the FIA GT Nations Cup, with son Brenton, in Bahrain last year.
23-year-old Mawson makes the shift from open wheel racing, having been a podium finisher in last year’s GP3 series that races on the Formula One program.
Prior to stepping up to GP3, the 23-year-old from Sydney was a race winner in European Formula 3 racing.
All four Aussie representatives completed the official pre-season test at the circuit in April, Evans and Mawson both comfortably inside the top-10 outright, while Cini and Grove proved competitive amidst the Pro-Am competition.
The opening round of the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup series commences at 8:45pm Australian Eastern Time on Sunday, May 12, with Streaming coverage available via the Supercup official website; http://www.racecam.de.
Schedule: Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup (Catalunya, Spain)
All times Australian Eastern Time (AET).
Practice: Saturday, May 11 (2:45am – 3:30am)
Qualifying: Saturday, May 11 (9:25pm – 9:55pm)
Race: Sunday, May 12 (8:45pm – 9:20pm)