A brand-new season of motor racing has dawned on us, and 2018 is already shaping up to be one of the strongest years ever for the Porsche Wilson Security Carrera Cup Australia–the nation’s favourite one make series.
With the fresh, new generation Porsche 991 GT3 Cup race car finally getting reigned in for this season, teams and drivers will be opening up a new can of worms and will have to adapt to the new cars quickly.
Speaking of drivers, an exceptional grid this year sees a total of 26 entries, all itching to get on track for the opening round at the Adelaide 500.
Among the former Supercars fulltimers on the grid is an impressive roster of young, up and coming superstars, distinguished Pros, a raft of handy Pro-Am drivers and even an Olympic Silver medalist.
Australian former track and field athlete John Steffensen will make his debut in Carrera Cup Australia this year, following a season in GT3 Cup Challenge Australia–the Australian Porsche development series for Carrera Cup.
The Western Australian will race for Porsche Centre Melbourne Motorsport in a car leased out by local favourites Grove Racing, who will also field a car for team owner Stephen Grove, last year’s Pro-Am champion.
Headlining the Pro field is Tickford Racing Supercars co-driver and former Garry Rogers Motorsport pilot James Moffat, returning to Carrera Cup for the first time since 2008, while former Erebus Motorsport full timer Dale Wood also joins the field.
Moffat will compete with Wall Racing, with the team fielding another two cars for team owner and 2017 Carrera Cup champ David Wall, as well as Pro-Am racer Greg Taylor.
Wood, however, joins Melbourne-based outfit Sonic Motor Racing, who are in addition running young gun Jordan Love, Michael Almond, Peter Major and Graham Williams in a five-car entry.
Some of the other Pro contenders include Adam Garwood, who moves to Carrera Cup from Touring Car Masters, Alex Davison, Dylan O’Keeffe and Toyota 86 racer Cameron Hill.
Queensland squad McElrea Racing will once again campaign Jaxon Evans in the Pro class, while Tim Miles and Anthony Gilbertson will represent the team in Pro-Am.
Nick McBride has moved to Porsche Centre Melbourne Motorsport for 2018 after a number of seasons with Sonic, with the team also fielding a third entry–including Steffensen–for Marc Cini, who will make his 275th race start at Adelaide.
Rounding out the Pro field is Volante Rosso, a team run by ex-F1 engineer Chris Papadopoulos and driven by Josh Hunt.
While the Pro field may be strong, the Pro-Am class is just as competitive this year with a total of thirteen runners.
In addition to the already mentioned Grove, Taylor, Cini, Miles, Gilberston, Williams and Steffensen, a raft of other Pro-Am names are also locked and loaded for the season opener.
Sam Shahin, the executive director of South Australia’s brand-new The Bend Motorsport Park is one of them, and he can’t wait until Carrera Cup Australia heads to the fresh venue in August for round six of the series–a program Shahin has played a very important role in.
Adrian Flack is another competitor in the Pro-Am class, while Roger Lago returns to the series along with Indiran Padayachee.
Australian GT driver Max Twigg will be hoping to make his mark this year in the Pro-Am class, after rejoining Carrera Cup at the back-end of last season.
The series begins at the opening round on the streets of Adelaide from March 1-4, before heading to Melbourne to compete on the Formula One Australian Grand Prix support card.
Phillip Island plays host to round three, ahead of Darwin’s Hidden Valley Raceway, Sydney Motorsport Park and The Bend Motorsport Park.
Mount Panorama will hold the penultimate round of the season at the Bathurst 1000, before proceedings come to a close at the finale on the streets of the Gold Coast on October 19-21.
Photo by Porsche Carrera Cup Australia.