On the eve of Practice before the first round of the 2019 944 Challenge season, we will go through a quick preview of the drivers entered for Round 1 at Sandown – with a higher number of entries than any round in 2018 a positive way to start the new year!
#1 Cameron Beller – Cameron returns for 2019 after clinching his third consecutive 944 Challenge Series Championship – and will have his sights on Championship number 4 this year.
#74 Mark Taubitz – Mark was able to win the unofficial ‘over 20’s’ championship last year with third in the series behind Beller and Jamie Westaway. He will be looking to start his season strongly and will be aiming for podium finishes this weekend.
#64 Keith Marriner – Keith had a strong 2018 season with fourth in the season standings at the end of the year – some further upgrades to his car in the off season have taken place to help him as he attempts to repeat this result for the 2019 Championship.
#8 Dick Howe – Dick showed good speed at times throughout the year but was hampered by a couple of DNF’s that stopped him from placing higher in the points. He will be looking to get the season off on the right foot at Sandown this weekend.
#46 Jim Mitchell – Jim had another very consistent season and fought adversity with a number of mechanical issues to keep running all year – sixth in the pointscore a good reward for his efforts to keep the car on the circuit. With his best result of 2018 coming at Round 1 at Sandown, Jim will look to replicate that performance this weekend.
#98 Pedr James – A good season for Pedr with a season result of 7th despite missing two rounds of the season – he will hand over the reigns of his trusted 944 in exchange for the ex-Ryan Woods machine that Pedr will take control of, as he looks to become familiar with the Left Hand Drive configuration in anticipation of a new build in the works to come on circuit later in the year…
#4 Ken Rowland – Ken sat out the first half of the 2018 season, but proved he hadn’t lost any of his pace as he returned to the circuit in the second half of the year in anticipation for a full season campaign in 2019. Ken will have his eyes on some top 5 finishes this weekend at Sandown.
#32 John Vainoras – John was away from the championship for the second half of 2018, but returns at Sandown for Round 1 and will look for a good start to 2019 this weekend.
#27 Toni Andreevski – Toni only managed to attend three rounds last year, but is hoping to get to more rounds this season – and a good result as he unlocks more speed on his 944 will be the perfect way for him to start the season.
#28 Tony Westaway – Tony handed over the keys of his trusty 944 to son Jamie who took the car to the 2018 Vic State Championship and 2nd place in the 944 Challenge title. Tony only was able to get into the seat for the Tailem Bend round, where he showed he hasn’t lost his speed with a series of podiums on the weekend. He will return behind the wheel for the full season in 2019.
#12 Marius Catrina – Marius was only present for two rounds in 2018 at the start and end of the season, though encountered issues at the final round at Island Magic. He will look for some top tens at Sandown – a track he has had some good performances at in the past.
#31 Adam Brewer – Adam showed good pace in his first race at Island Magic and will be a force to be reckoned with as he gets more experience behind the wheel of his 944 and familiarises himself with the circuits. His first 944 race at Sandown this weekend will prove a new challenge, but Adam will no doubt be up to the task with results in the top half of the field as his intention for the weekend.
#16 Paul Crocitti – Paul sat out the majority of the 2018 season bar the Tailem Bend round – but returns for Round 1 of the 2019 season Paul has shown good speed at Sandown in events gone by, and will be another with aims of a top ten this weekend
#53 Peter Doherty – Peter attended a couple of rounds in 2018 in a season that was highlighted by taking out victory in the final race of the Dennis O Keeffe Cup at Winton. Fuel issues at Island Magic cut his weekend short, he will hope for more reliability this weekend.
#14 Paul Greer – Paul returns to the circuit for the first time in a couple of years – the distinctive Tiger Mica coloured 944 a welcome return to the circuit, and will be looking for some reliability this weekend as he has hopefully solved the issues that have plagued him in recent showings.
We have four drivers making their debut in the 944 Challenge this weekend!
#21 Clayton Sinclair – Clayton is behind the wheel of the Guards Red #21 944 that was last raced by Jim Gallagher and being run out of the Beller Motorsport camp. Clayton has had some track experience behind the wheel of a very potent Nissan – and will find a different experience racing the nimble but underpowered in comparison 944s!
#66 Tim Wolfe – Tim has purchased the ex-Vince Misuraca 944 and returns it to the track with #66 on the door. Coming over from Western Australia, Tim also has experience in WA, but is pumped at the prospect of close racing on the nations best circuits as he takes on the full 2019 season in his 944!
#57 Campbell Hammersley-Alderson – Taking over behind the wheels of Pedr’s familiar white & green PKJ Fencing 944, Campbell has had some experience getting used to the car he will be racing after helping Pedr with crewing on the car over the past couple of seasons before taking over behind the wheel!
#33 Andy Jones – Andy will also debut with the series behind the wheel of a car returning to the series for the first time in 8 years – albeit with a number of upgrades. Andy is also not a complete stranger to Porsches’ and the 944, having done track days in a club spec 944 before taking the plunge to purchase his new steed to get out for some door handle to door handle racing!
944 Qualifying kicks off at 9:10am on Saturday morning with Race 1 at 1:35pm. Come on down to fantastic Phillip Island for a great weekend of racing!