McElrea Racing

Porsche Carrera Cup & Australian GT

It was nice to get back to the sunshine and warmth of Townsville after a cold weekend at Sydney Motorsport Park.

Although the Porsche Carrera Cup and Australian GT were on the same weekend the format was slightly different with two 1-hour races for the AGT drivers and three 20-lap races for Carrera Cup.

We were also thrilled to welcome Chris and Sharon Gurton and the team from Nuveau Constructions Qld supporting Matt Campbell’s campaign.

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The team take a look at track conditions in preparation for a big weekend of racing at Townsville.
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A great shot of the MR crew watching lap times from Pit-lane during the race on Sunday.

Australian GT Championship

Tony Walls – Champ class 11th, 4th

Wallsy qualified 10th in Champ class, which wasn’t good enough for him by his usual high standards!

He had a good race 1, but was held-up by a few slower Champ class cars and although he finished 11th just behind Pro-driver Klark Quinn in the same model McLaren, he had been expecting a better result.

We’re not sure what he had for dinner on Saturday night but on Sunday he had a great race beating many Pro-drivers to finish fourth outright.

While strategy is rather basic in a 1 hour race, the MR boys nailed it and Wallsy drove out of his skin in the last half of the race to equal his season best result.

03

Simon Ellingham & Matt Campbell – Trophy Class 8th, 6th

Simon was joined by Carrera Cup team-mate Matt Campbell for this round.

Matt managed to qualify 3rd in class on Friday morning and Simon qualified 8th in much cooler track conditions early on Saturday morning.

Simon started the race and Matt finished with the duo finishing in 27th.

For race 2 Matt started and despite being attacked by an optimistic Champ class car, did a great job to hand the car over in to Simon inside the top 20.

Simon was under strict instructions to push as hard as possible in the opening laps of his stint and was going great until being hit from behind by Mark Griffiths, which ruined a potentially great result.

The next round for Simon is the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge in 4 weeks.

04

Michael Hovey – Champ Class DNR

Hoves’s weekend was cut short after an accident in qualifying.

He was sitting in the top ten in qualifying with the fastest first and second sector times in the field before brushing the inside wall at turn 10.

Being the fastest corner on the track with a concrete wall marking the outside of the track, the Ginetta sustained moderate damage to the left side.

Normally the crew would be able to repair damage like this at the circuit, but we were not able to guarantee that the temporary repairs would be safe under the extreme aero loads at this circuit so we reluctantly decided to retire the car.

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Porsche Carrera Cup

Matt Campbell – Pro Class 4th, 6th, 5th

Matt did a great job to qualify on the front row for the 3rd time in 2015.

After a decent start in race 1 he dropped to 6th in the very long run to turn 2. He then made 2 spots when Almond and Padayachee came together to finish the race in 4th.

In race 2 he had a good start, but Bairdo and Richo had better starts and were able to get by in the long run to turn 1.

Although he was battling minor over-steer, he had a great battle with Baird shadowing the multiple champion for the whole 20 lap race.

Race 3 was similar to race 2 and gained some great experience to chase Baird and Richards again for 20 laps.

He has further proved his pace by doing the third fastest race lap of the weekend only 5 1/100ths off the best lap time.

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Shane Smollen – Challenge Class 1st, 1st, 3rd

In race 1 Shane dropped a few spots off the start, but only took a couple of laps to get to the front of his class to dominate the race.

In race 2 he got a great start and managed to stay with the Pro-drivers for most of the race.

He pulled a huge gap on Championship rival Steve Grove to win by over 10 seconds!

We were hoping the last race would be as uneventful, but no such luck! After a shaky start he was attacked by Scott Taylor into the last corner which spun him around and pushed the left rear quarter on to the tyre creating a huge trail of tyre smoke until the tyre wore away enough.

A late safety car gave him the opportunity to get to the end of the race without a blowout.

He has increased his lead in the championship with his second round win in a row.

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Summary

In the Australian GT, we were gutted for Hoves not being able to start the first race, but we will never risk our drivers safety if there is any doubt.

It was great to see Wallsy match his 4th place from round 1 at the Clipsal 500 and we are looking forward to seeing his pace for the rest of the season.

Simon had allot of pressure from Andy to make improvements in certain areas of his technique which he achieved so this was a good result.

In the Carrera Cup we are very pleased with Shane’s second round win and Matt’s solid top-6 performances.

As a side-note it’s pretty cool that we still have the Townsville street circuit lap record set by MR and driver Jonny Reid in 2011.

Thanks everyone for following our progress and we will see you again in a few weeks at Sydney Motorsport Park with the Porsche Carrera Cup and Australian GT.