Images thanks to Porsche Carrera Cup Australia
Shane Smollen and the Autohaus Hamilton Carrera Cup team did battle with the very nature of motorsport this weekend at the Australian Grand Prix round of the Porsche Australia Carrera Cup Championship, returning with just a handful of points, but a huge haul of experience from the school of hard knocks.
The weekend kicked off brilliantly and Shane set a commanding pace in practice, setting a time nearly two seconds faster than the nearest Elite competitor which put him seventh outright.
Outright pace continued to build through qualifying, when we went faster still to become the first Elite competitor to lap Albert Park in under two minutes and qualified tenth outright and first in Elite, maintaining a one and a half second advantage over our nearest competitor.
Then the weekend started to get a bit wobbly.
“Race one was a double whammy. We finished first in Elite and tenth overall after a nervous start and some battling, but a five second penalty for a jumped start knocked us back to second and we received a six-place grid penalty going in to race two for a race incident.” - Grant Geelan
“I had a solid start to race two and regained second place, but sustained some damage making the pass. That completely toed-out a rear wheel, which I only found out turning in to the next corner, when I spun and ended up beached in the gravel.”
“Having not finished race two we started the third race at the back of the pack. Our start was strong again, but I spun avoiding a race incident directly in front of me. That put us some twenty seconds behind the pack but I was able to reel them in and make a few passes to move up the field and at least bring home a few points.” - Shane Smollen
These weekends happen in motorsport, however, and the team comes away with a lot of hard racing experience and plenty of positivity for the coming rounds.
“The car was mega fast and we clearly had the best car in Elite all weekend by a considerable margin. After this we’ll go away and rethink, test and work on building consistent race pace.” - Grant Geelan
“It’s a reminder that small things in racing can have a huge ripple effect. If I had to bring it back to one thing it would be a poor start in race one, which didn’t put us into a good position to capitalise on our outright speed.”
“We went on to have two strong starts in race two and race three, and have sorted our starting issues from Adelaide, so that’s another positive to take out of the weekend.”
“We’re nailing the setup of the car and I’m very comfortable in it. We’ve now qualified first in Elite for the past three Carrera Cup rounds in a row, and we’re consistently putting together a car with huge outright pace.”
“We’re heading to Phillip Island for a test between now and the Pro-Am, and we’re taking the Pro-Am very seriously and expect to be very well prepared.”
“We’ve learned some good racing lessons this weekend, and will take those, our outright pace and one of Australia’s top professional racing drivers with us to Phillip Island, where we’re pumped to pull everything together in race one.”