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Competitive Porsche Carrera Cup field highlights 2017 Adelaide opener

Nick McBride is the reigning Carrera Cup winner on the streets of Adelaide

A tremendous line-up of sports car racers will highlight this year’s Porsche Carrera Cup Australia presented by TAG Heuer championship as the one-make series returns to Adelaide this weekend to commence its 13th season ‘down under’.

With series champion Matt Campbell stepping up to Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup, many of the championship’s best performing racers from 2016 have returned with the goal of adding their name to the Carrera Cup honour roll.

Alex Davison, who was runner-up to Campbell in 2016, lines up as the only former series champion – winning the title in 2004 – while former race winners David Wall and Nick McBride return having placed third and fourth, respectively, last season.

McBride also enters the opening event as the defending round winner, while Michael Almond returns having claimed his maiden Carrera Cup win on home turf in Adelaide last season.

Two former Supercars Championship racers return after time away from Carrera Cup. Cam McConville completed three rounds at the start of the 2015 season and will now partner Almond in the newly formed Melbourne based Zagame Motorsport. Meanwhile Andre Heimgartner, who contest the 2012 Carrera Cup season – and, in doing so, became the youngest ever Carrera Cup Australia driver – enters the series after two seasons in the top tier touring car championship.

Alex Davison has a new team and will be one to watch in 2017

The list of Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Australia alumni has grown this season with the addition of series runner up Jaxon Evans, who replaces the Europe bound Campbell in the championship winning McElrea Racing 911 GT3 Cup, while fellow Kiwi Simon Ellingham will also line up at the Queensland based Porsche team in his first appearance in the Carrera Cup championship.

Talented teenagers James Abela and Dylan O’Keeffe both stepped into Carrera Cup in 2016 after a season in GT3 Cup Challenge and now return to tackle the series equipped with a season’s experience.

Both David Wall and Stephen Grove will this weekend record their 100th Carrera Cup Australia race start in race one at the Clipsal 500. Wall debuted in the Porsche series in Adelaide in 2006 and has since claimed two race wins and six round podiums. Meanwhile Grove, the 2014 TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge champion, started his Carrera Cup career in Townsville, 2012, and last year became the first Challenge ranked driver to claim outright victory in a Carrera Cup race in Australia, taking the chequered flag at the Carrera Cup Asia & Australia joint Class B race in Sydney.

Stephen Grove will make his 100th start on the Adelaide streets

Porsche Carrera Cup Australia’s most experienced racer, Marc Cini, returns for 2017 and will be lining up for his 89th round start, vastly more than his rookie Porsche Centre Melbourne teammate, Lars Kern.

Entering the season as the only driver not to have local Porsche one-make series experience, Kern will make his much anticipated debut in Carrera Cup Australia in Adelaide. The Europe based test and development driver for Porsche is widely known for his efforts in production sports cars – he holds the record for the first sub-eight minute lap of the Nürburgring Nordschleife circuit (7m59.74s) in a production SUV, achieved in a Cayenne Turbo S, and the fastest lap of the ‘Green Hell’ (7m38s) in a production sedan when at the wheel of a Panamera Turbo.

In addition to extending its partnership with Porsche Carrera Cup for a further two seasons, Swiss watchmaker TAG Heuer will begin the 2017 Carrera Cup season as Event Partner in Adelaide, and will therefore feature on the windscreen banners of every Carrera Cup car in the field.

Porsche Carrera Cup Australia presented by TAG Heuer will hit the track on Thursday for its opening round which will feature two practice sessions, one qualifying and three races across the four day event.

Another long-time competitor, David Wall, also makes his 100th start this weekend