The Porsche Michelin GT3 Cup Challenge returns to action this weekend as part of the Shannons Nationals at Sandown Raceway after a six week break for the penultimate round of the 2019 season.
While the 20 crews will be hitting the famous Victorian circuit for the series’ fifth round, the event will also double as the season finale of the prized Jim Richards Endurance Trophy.
In honour of Australasian racing legend, Jim Richards, the trophy has been held every year since 2011 and in 2019, there are three drivers in contention for the prestigious top honour.
Current series leader Harri Jones holds a 30 point lead over Aaron Love in the separate endurance trophy, while Victorian Christian Pancione sits a further 18 points behind the runner-up.
All three drivers are also in a tight outright series battle, with South Australian Max Vidau also in the mix for some silverware at the end of the year.
After winning the opening round at The Bend Motorsport Park, Vidau has suffered issues in two rounds this year, registering DNFs in Sydney and Queensland, however he will be looking to bounce back in style at the track where he broke the lap record in 2018.
However Vidau needs to get a hurry on if he is to have any chance of a title, which in itself is a difficult task due to Jones enjoying a sensational year thanks to finishing every race on the podium.
A big round in Sandown for Jones could all but seal the title for him with 60 points on offer per race, with the Queenslander currently sitting around 120 points ahead of the second placed Love.
The Sandown round will welcome a new face into the ranks with Oliver Shannon from the NSW Production Touring Series replacing Cameron Crick in the Garth Walden Racing car after successfully completing a test at Wakefield Park earlier this month.
In the TAG Heuer Pro-Am battle, Sam Shahin leads the way over Brett Boulton with 76 points separating the two. While Shahin dominated the class in the first two rounds, Boulton has since clawed his way back into the contest, winning four of the previous six class races.
Sitting just 33 points behind Boulton is Ross McGregor. There is more to his entry than just being in contention for the class title, as the Southern Star Windows entry will equal John Goodacre’s record of the highest number of round starts in the series’ history this weekend.
This weekend will also welcome back a number of former series campaigners in Jonathan Glikste and 2018 Pro-Am champion Danny Stutterd.
It’s a much closer affair in Class B, where only six points separate David Greig and Andrew Goldie, the former having last year’s round victory to draw inspiration from.
The category will have two practice sessions and qualifying on Friday before holding the first of two races on Saturday and the final on Sunday.
The Porsche Michelin GT3 Cup Challenge is just one of six categories competing at a jam-packed Shannons Nationals with S5000 to hold its first ever race and the Kumho Tyres Super3 series to host its final round for the year.
Tickets for the Shannons Nationals sixth round are now available with 10 per cent of all sales going to charity partner Very Special Kids.
Fans unable to attend the round can watch via SBS or on the live stream on speedseries.com.au.
The carsales TCR Australia Series forms part of the Shannons Nationals visit to Sandown Raceway and takes place on 20-22 September