He grabbed headlines with his fiery incident in the Aussie Racing Cars at The Bend, but Ollie Shannon will return to national-level motorsport in style this weekend, securing a ride with GWR Australia for the fifth and penultimate round of the Porsche Michelin GT3 Cup Challenge at Sandown.
The 19-year-old will drive the Porsche 991 GT3 Cup car campaigned by Cameron Crick in the first four rounds of this year’s series, joining GWR’s two-car attack that also includes Pro-Am Class contender Rob Woods. The car will be presented in Race for a Cure colours this weekend, raising awareness for the breast cancer research program championed by GWR production car drivers Ben and Michael Kavich.
Shannon, who made his circuit racing debut last season in the NSW Production Touring Car Championship, completed a test day at Wakefield Park on Saturday and said he was highly motivated to return to a race car after his scary incident at Tailem Bend.
“Physically I’m fine, but mentally it was a pretty tough incident to deal with, so it was important for me to get back into a race car and get back on the horse as soon as I could,” Shannon said.
“The test day at Wakefield Park was mind-blowing – the Porsche is a lot more powerful and has a huge amount more grip than the cars I’ve raced before.
“Garth and the GWR team were sensational with their support – it was the first time I’d worked with a proper engineer, so I had the chance to analyse data and learn where to improve my performance.
“I’m excited about my debut in a Porsche this weekend – it will be good to have a taste of GT3 Cup, because it’s a category I’m aiming towards for a full season in the future.”
Team owner Garth Walden said he was impressed with how quickly Shannon adapted to the Porsche.
“Ollie did a really good job in his first Porsche drive, we were all impressed,” Walden said.
“He dialled himself in really well, he was willing to listen and learn, and he made some significant improvements over the course of the day.
“For his debut round this weekend, Ollie’s priority will be finishing every session without any incidents, to maximise his track time and ensure his learning curve is as smooth and fast as possible.”
Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Round 5 schedule
Friday, 20 September
11:40pm – Practice 1 (30 min)
2:45pm – Practice 2 (30 min)
5:35pm – Qualifying (20 min)
Saturday, 21 September
10:45am – Race 1 (20 min)
3:05pm – Race 2 (20 min)
Sunday, 22 September
9:10am – Race 3 (45 min)