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GT3 Cup Challenge starts 10th season at Sandown

Porsche field marks milestone year with strong opening round

Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Australia presented by Pirelli will this weekend commence its 10th season at Sandown Raceway, marking the momentous occasion with an 18-strong field of 911 GT3 Cup race cars.

Starting in 2008, the popular one-make series has since completed 52 rounds and 155 races en route to establishing itself as both a popular motor racing series for racing enthusiasts and an effective stepping stone for aspiring young racers.

A total of 10 drivers will return to the series for the Sandown opening round, while eight racers will line up in the Porsche series for the first time, the most noteworthy having made a name for himself outside the race car.

Dual Commonwealth Games gold medallist John Steffensen, who recently retired from a successful athletics career, will make his GT3 Cup Challenge debut at Sandown with Zagame Autosport, which itself claimed its maiden Carrera Cup round victory at last month's Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix at the hands of racer and team manager Cam McConville.

Steffensen will be one of three Professional Class drivers in the Porsche field at Sandown. Jordan Love enters the series as its new Porsche Junior after a successful stint in open wheel racing across Australia and Asia. Brenton Grove, who contested the Australian Formula 4 series alongside Love last season, enters GT3 Cup Challenge having won Class B at his sole GT3 Cup Challenge appearance at Phillip Island in 2014. Grove is following in the footsteps of his father, Stephen Grove, who himself raced in GT3 Cup Challenge and now competes in the top-tier Carrera Cup championship.

The Elite Class spans the majority of the GT3 Cup Challenge field and features several returning drivers looking to ultimately take the class crown from departing champion Tim Miles.

Sam Shahin and Anthony Gilbertson placed second and third in the Elite Class, respectively, last season and have their sights set on 2017 class honours, while Ross McGregor returns having placed fifth in the class.

Shane Barwood, the reigning Class B champion, has upgraded to a Class A Porsche and will contest the Elite Class alongside returning Adelaide drivers John Karytinos and Michael O'Donnell and brothers John and Phil Morriss, who both completed part-time GT3 Cup Challenge campaigns in 2016. Other inclusions to the Elite Class include rookies Brett Boulton, Nick Karnaros, Ben Stack – the son of long-time Porsche racer Bernie Stack – and Rob Woods.

Class B will include Michael Tsigeridis, who placed third in the Class B classification last season, and newcomer David Creig, while Aaron Ireland will compete in the Invitational Class in his Type 996 911 GT3 Cup.

Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Australia presented by Pirelli will hold three races across its season opening round at Sandown Raceway as part of the 99th Shannons Nationals event.

To view the final two Porsche races of the weekend, be sure to tune into the event’s Live Stream, available at www.thenationals.com.au.

Race Schedule
Friday April 07, 2017
11:55am Practice 1 (30 minutes)
3:05pm Practice 2 (30 minutes)
Saturday April 08, 2017
11:05am Qualifying (20 minutes)
1:30pm Race 1 (12 laps)
Sunday April 09, 2017
10:20am Race 2 (12 laps)
2:10pm Race 3 (12 laps)

Entry List
1. #13 Sam Shahin (Elite Class) HTFU
2. #16 John Karytinos (Elite Class) Richmonds Automotive
3. #19 Anthony Gilbertson (Elite Class) Hallmark Homes
4. #21 Shane Barwood (Elite Class) Melbourne Orthopaedic Group
5. #23 Brenton Grove (Professional Class) Grove Hire
6. #25 Nick Karnaros (Elite Class) Porsche Centre Brighton
7. #29 Rob Woods (Elite Class) Platinum Nightclub
8. #34 John Morriss (Elite Class) Motorsport Leasing P/L
9. #65 Ben Stack (Elite Class) DNA Racing
10. #66 Aaron Ireland (Invitational Class) Creditline Finance
11. #68 Michael O'Donnell (Elite Class) SHOAL/Thomson Geer
12. #78 John Steffensen (Professional Class) Zagame Autosport
13. #79 Jordan Love (Professional Class) Sonic Motor Racing / Quintis
14. #81 Michael Tsigeridis (Class B) Hunter French Real Estate
15. #84 Brett Boulton (Elite Class) Bold Living
16. #87 David Creig (Class B)
17. #88 Phil Morriss (Elite Class) Morriss Racing Services
18. #99 Ross McGregor (Elite Class) Southern Star Windows

2017 Race Calendar
Round 1 – Sandown Raceway, Vic (April 07-09, 2017)
Round 2 – Phillip Island, Vic (May 26-28, 2017)
Round 3 – Winton Motor Raceway, Vic* (June 09-11, 2017)
Round 4 – Sydney Motorsport Park, NSW* (July 07-09, 2017)
Round 5 – Queensland Raceway, Qld* (Aug 04-06, 2017)
Round 6 – Phillip Island, Vic (September 08-10, 2017)
* denotes Jim Richards Endurance Trophy rounds