Porsche Michelin Sprint Challenge returns to Bathurst after 12-year hiatus
The penultimate round of the 2022 Porsche Michelin Sprint Challenge Series sees Porsche teams head to Mount Panorama in Bathurst, New South Wales after a 12-year hiatus. Arguably, the highlight of the 2022 calendar, the Supercheap Bathurst International event marks the longest ever gap in Series history between visits to any given circuit since its inception.
The Sprint Challenge has only raced at Mount Panorama on two occasions, in 2009 and 2010, out of the76 rounds and 223 races contested in Series history. As a result, only four of the drivers entered for Round 5 this weekend – Madeline Stewart, Sam Shahin, Indiran Padayachee and Graham Williams – have raced at Bathurst previously in one-make Porsche racing.
Others, including 2022 Bathurst 6 Hour winner, Sargent, have raced there before in other categories, and include: Courtney Prince (Aussie Racing Cars), Brad Carr (Bathurst 6 Hour), Lachlan Bloxsom and Ryan Wood (Toyota 86s).
Remarkably, Tony Quinn still holds both the race and qualifying records at Mount Panorama for Sprint Challenge (Formerly known as GT3 Cup Challenge) competition and they remain the oldest records among active circuits currently used by one-make Porsche racing in Australia.
Should the weather remain as forecast for Friday’s qualifying and Saturday’s races, these current lap records are almost certain to fall as the lap records for the Type 991.2 GT3 Cup Car – used in Porsche Paynter Dixon Carrera Cup Australia through to the end of the 2021 season – now campaigned in Sprint Challenge, are over 10 seconds quicker.
The last two occasions Sprint Challenge raced at Bathurst, the Series shared / split grid with the Victorian Porsche 944 Challenge category. In 2009, there were 42 entries, of which 21 were 944s, while in 2010 there were 32 in total – and eleven 944s. As such the 28-car field entered this weekend eclipses the previous Series record of 21 set in both 2009 and 2010.
In the championship battle, Race 2 at The Bend was the first of the ten races held so far this season that did not see Thomas Sargent and Ryan Wood finish 1-2. The nine consecutive races they did lock out the top two spots is a record in series history.
Wood’s ninth place finish is the first time either driver has been split by more than 15 points this season, with Sargent now leading by 39 points heading into the final two rounds and six races.
The battle for third remains highly competitive, Aron Shields leading Courtney Prince by just seven points, with Lachlan Bloxsom a further 30 points further back in fifth. Jason Miller is only 74 points off third in the championship but sits sixth, while Madeline Stewart in seventh is 98 points away from third.
Aron Shields (2nd), Madeline Stewart (3rd) and Tom McLennan (4th) all scored season best race results in Race 2 at The Bend. While four Porsche teams – CHE Racing, Team Porsche NZ / EBM, McElrea Racing and Sonic Motor Racing – fill the top four spots in the Championship.
In Morris Pro-Am, Brett Boulton’s double win at The Bend (coupled with Sam Shahin’s Race 1 DNF) has him clear by a full 100 points heading into the final two rounds. Andrew Goldie sits third, just 40 points ahead of old sparring partner and former Class B title rival, David Grieg, in their fight for the final step on the podium.
In Class B, Lachlan Harburg now leads the standings having either won or finished second in his last four races. He leads Nathan Sticklen by 57 points and Bradley Carr by 67 with two rounds to go.
A single practice session, qualifying and the first sprint race will take place on Friday 11 November. Both Saturday’s 25-minute Sprint races will be broadcast LIVE on Stan Sport.
Tickets are available at https://bathurst.international/
If you can’t make it to Mount Panorama, broadcast can be seen live and ad-break free on Stan Sport on Saturday and Sunday. Sign up now for your free 7-day trial >> https://www.stan.com.au/watch/sport/motorsport
The Nine Network will also offer live free-to-air coverage on 9Gem from 3pm-5pm AEDT. Check your local guides.
International viewers can watch on https://motorsport.tv/