News TRT Media Release July 2, 2024 (Comments off) (105)

Preview: Sprint Challenge to the Streets

ONE-MAKE Porsche racing returns to the streets of Townsville at the 2024 NTI Townsville 500 this weekend – but not quite in the way North Queensland Supercars fans have seen before.

In the past the Porsche Paynter Dixon Carrera Cup Australia Championship has been a staple on the Reid Park Street Circuit, however this year it’s the turn of the Porsche Michelin Sprint Challenge series to put on a show.

Round 3 of the highly competitive series will be staged in the North Queensland city and it marks a major milestone for the category, founded in 2008.

Townsville won’t be the first time the championship has competed on the Repco Supercars Championship undercard – it featured on the Sydney SuperNight and Tasmania SuperSprint events last year – but it will be the first ever street circuit event for the category in its 16-year history.

Sprint Challenge’s Townsville debut comes at the time of peak competition for the category which features more depth than perhaps it has ever seen.

At the pointy-end of the field, a host of young stars are battling for the championship, with the top-10 drivers in the standings following the first two rounds having an average age of well under 20.

They’re young, hungry and the result has been feisty racing across two rounds contested to date, at Phillip Island and The Bend, respectively.

Young West Aussie star Caleb Sumich, who drives for McElrea Racing, won the opening round of the year at Phillip Island however it came in a three-way tie for round honours with Team Porsche New Zealand young-gun Brock Gilchrist and Grove Racing’s junior star, Oscar Targett.

Targett, an Australian karting prodigy taken who was under the wing of the Grove Racing group last year, struck at Round two in South Australia last month to claim the round and a narrow championship lead heading to Townsville.

In the six races so far, he’s also the only repeat winner – claiming the season opener at Phillip Island and the most recent race at The Bend – while other races have been shared by young Queenslander Hamish Fitzsimmons, Round 1 winner Sumich, speedy Kiwi import Clay Osborne and Brock Gilchrist.

Former Super2 racer Tyler Greenbury has made a welcome return to the championship this year aboard his own team and sits seventh in the standings.

This weekend will also feature the Sprint Challenge return of Nash Morris, who is this year contesting the Porsche Carrera Cup Australia championship full-time.

Morris, who won races in Sydney, Queensland and at Mount Panorama in a partial Sprint Challenge campaign last year, will race for Scott Taylor Motorsport again this weekend.

Marc Cini, the most experienced one-make Porsche racer in Australia, will also return to Sprint Challenge this weekend in a one-off event aboard his Hallmarc Property Group entry.

As with Carrera Cup, Sprint Challenge features races within the race with class competition a talking point.

The Pro-Am ranks are led by Danny Stutterd with Lachlan Harburg and former champ Brett Boulton in close company. Class B, which features earlier-generation GT3 Cup Cars, is being dominated by Jacque Jarjo.

The Porsche Michelin Sprint Challenge field will contest three races across the Townsville weekend, two sprints and one longer-distance race that has competitors battling for the prestigious Jim Richards Endurance Trophy.

The 25-strong Porsche field hits the track on Friday for practice with Qualifying and Race 1 on Saturday, with two races completing proceedings on Sunday.

As with all the action from the NTI Townsville 500, fans will be able to watch the racing on Fox Sports, Kayo and the Seven Network.

Sprint Challenge has evolved throughout its journey to become not just a key pathway category, but a headliner in its own right alongside Carrera Cup.

While the cars might look and sound the same, there are key differences between the two one-make categories.

Sprint Challenge is to Carrera Cup in the same way the Dunlop Series is to the Supercars’ main game.

Sprint Challenge was founded in 2008 and has evolved to become a key steppingstone in the fabled ‘Porsche Pyramid’, the developmental pathway that propels drivers through the ranks and ultimately to top-level competition either here or abroad.

Drivers like Matt Campbell, Jaxon Evans, Aaron Love and more recently, Ryan Wood, have come via Sprint Challenge and into not only international competitions but also – in the case of Evans and Wood – into the Repco Supercars Championship.

Much like the Dunlop Series, the Porsche Sprint Challenge field uses previous-generation Cup Car machinery and serves as a perfect entry point for drivers and teams before stepping up to the ‘main game’, in this case, Carrera Cup.

The field is predominantly comprised of the Type 991.2 GT3 Cup Cars – the same ones that raced in Townsville’s Carrera Cup races prior to the 2022 season.

ENTRY LIST – Round 3, Porsche Michelin Sprint Challenge Australia

NoCar #SPONSORC/LDRIVERSURNAMESTATE
13Racing To Beat FAPro-AmJonathanGlikstenVIC
24Grove Racing / EBMProOscarTargettQLD
35Jacque Fine JewelleryClass BJacqueJarjoNSW
46Tyler Greenbury RacingProTylerGreenburyVIC
58Car Mods AustraliaClass BBradleyCarrQLD
69Hallmarc Team M.P.CPro-AmMarcCiniVIC
710Team Porsche NZ / EBMProBrockGilchristQLD
811Aera Cloud & Cyber Security GroupPro-AmEricConstantinidisNSW
914McElrea RacingProCalebSumichWA
1015Power and Earth . ComProClayOsborneQLD
1116TekworkX MotorsportProHamishFitzsimmonsQLD
1219Wall RacingClass BBraydenTaylorNSW
1325auticon / Porsche Centre Melbourne MotorsportProBenTaylorVIC
1428McElrea RacingProAyrtonHodsonQLD
1534Hillcrest MerimbulaPro-AmCasperTresidderNSW
1635Rentcorp Hyundai ForkliftPro-AmIndiranPadayacheeNSW
1747Effect Buuilding ProjectsClass BStephenMoylanNSW
1871Sonic / Hi Tech Field ServicesProConorSomersVIC
1984Bold LivingPro-AmBrettBoultonQLD
2091The Cover Shop / EBMPro-AmLachlanHarburgQLD
2199Westcoast Windows / Southern Star WindowsPro-AmRossMcGregorVIC
22116Astrontech / DNA AutosportProAronShieldsNSW
23222Scott Taylor MotorsportProNashMorrisQLD
24702TekworkX MotorsportPro-AmDanielStutterdVIC
25777Sonic / Vision OneProJakeSantaluciaVIC

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