On the eve of the second round of the 2017 944 Challenge, the following press release has today been published by Porsche Australia, Chequered Flag Media and the 944 Racing Association:

The best young racer in this season’s 944 Challenge will be the recipient of a Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Australia presented by Pirelli test drive in a move to strengthen the link between the two series.

The top 944 Challenge driver aged under 30 for 2017 will receive a test in Zagame Autosport’s 2011 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car, currently raced in the GT3 Cup Challenge series by former Olympic sprinter, John Steffensen.

The initiative strengthens the state based 944 Challenge series’ position as a breeding ground for future Porsche one-make racing stars, who can subsequently progress to the Porsche operated GT3 Cup Challenge and Porsche Carrera Cup Australia championships as part of its established Porsche Motorsport Pyramid.

Several former 944 Challenge participants have progressed from 944 Challenge to GT3 Cup Challenge, including GT3 Cup Challenge champions Kane Rose, Richard Muscat and Hamish Hardeman, Carrera Cup front-runner Dylan O’Keeffe and GT3 Cup Challenge racers John Morriss and Brenton Grove.

“We have seen many drivers progress from 944 Challenge and be immediately competitive in the GT3 Cup Challenge series, which proves 944 Challenge as an effective stepping stone,” said Paul Ellis, Porsche Cars Australia’s Director of Public Relations and Motorsport.

“We hope that providing a young talent with this testing opportunity can assist in progressing them to the GT3 Cup Challenge series.”

944 Racing Association President Mark Taubitz said the support from Porsche Cars Australia is a valuable addition to 944 Challenge’s offering to competitors.

“944 Challenge represents the most accessible and affordable opportunity for many competitors to have their first taste of racing a Porsche product,” Mr Taubitz said.

“While we’re at a lower profile than GT3 Cup Challenge and Carrera Cup, many of the fundamental principles are the same, including tightly controlled technical regulations and an emphasis on driver ability.

“We’re very appreciative of the support from Porsche, especially the opportunity they have provided for one of our competitors to explore the next step in Porsche one-make competition – we’re sure this is something that will be appreciated by both our current competitors and potential new entrants.”

Zagame Autosport Team Manager Cam McConville is thrilled to have the newly formed Porsche team as part of this initiative.

“Zagame Autosport is thrilled to be involved in this testing opportunity as part of our GT3 Cup Challenge program. We certainly recognise 944 Challenge as a great feeder series to national level competition and it is not short of impressive driver alumni,” said McConville.

“It’s great that our team can provide this opportunity and hopefully assist in the progression of a young driver up the motor racing ladder.”

Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Australia presented by Pirelli will next race at Phillip Island for the 100th Shannons Nationals round on May 26-28, 2017, joined on the race schedule by Carrera Cup.

The second round of 944 Challenge will be held at Phillip Island this weekend, with the series also visiting Winton, Sandown and Mallala throughout the season.

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