The last time we were at Sandown

It’s been a long wait but the Shannons Motorsport Australia Championships will finally return this weekend with the Shannons Motorsport Australia Festival to take place at Sandown International Raceway.

The historic racing venue will host eight categories across a jam-packed schedule over two days which will bring some excitement to many competitors as they look to finish 2020 with a bang.

The last time the Shannons Motorsport Australia Championships ran at Sandown was September last year and it proved to be a memorable weekend as the highly anticipated S5000 cars made their long-awaited public debut, which saw former Formula 1 star Rubens Barrichello grace the famous circuit and show fans he still had it.

This year’s Sandown event looks a lot different, but the headline act is just as impressive with the premier one-make series, Porsche PAYCE Carrera Cup and its development series, the Porsche Michelin Sprint Challenge combining throughout the weekend.

The last time the Porsche PAYCE Carrera Cup made an appearance at the Victorian venue was as a support category for the Wilson Security Sandown 500 in 2017.

Back then, it was Nick McBride who claimed the round win with two race wins to seal the deal. Alex Davison took out the final race of the weekend, finishing in second overall with Andre Heimgartner finishing in third on the podium.

While Heimgartner and Davison have both moved on to the Repco Supercars Championship, McBride has continued in the category and was part of its opening appearances earlier this year.

It was at this year’s Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix where the category was last seen with McBride finishing second behind Cameron Hill in the event’s only official race. In third place was Cooper Murray who had won all three races during the previous round just weeks earlier.

The Porsche Michelin Sprint Challenge last contested at Sandown as part of that September event last year and it was Aaron Love who scored the outright victories courtesy of two race wins. In the TAG Heuer Pro-Am class, Sam Shahin and Brett Boulton shared the honours after being tied on points and David Greig was the victor in Class B.

This weekend, Saloon Cars and BMW E30 classes will also combine as one category for the weekend in what will be a return to racing for the first time since the one and only round of the Victorian State Circuit Racing Championships in February.

Back then, Shawn Jamieson was victorious in the Saloon Cars, claiming the round win with a clean sweep in his Holden VY Commodore. Travis Lindorff finished in second and Anthony Beare rounded out the podium.

It was a similar story in the BMW E30 class as Jeremy Payne also took a clean sweep, easily cleaning up his opposition in each of the three races, including Brian Bourke and Simon Leach who finished in second and third respectively.

The Shannons Motorsport Australia Championships takes place at Sandown from 11-13 December.

Photo: Speed Shots Photography