Stephen Grove and Brenton Grove have both ended their 2017 Porsche Carrera Cup Australia campaigns on a high after an action packed weekend at the Gold Coast.
Stephen was officially crowned Challenge class champion, taking the class championship win by a massive margin of 157-points.
The experienced racer started the weekend off well, finishing Practice 1 fastest in class ahead several Pro drivers and only 1-second off the quickest lap of the session.
Stephen continued his momentum in Qualifying late on Friday afternoon, claiming the Challenge class pole position with one of the fastest ever laps around the Surfers Paradise street circuit by an Elite class driver in Carrera Cup.
The pole position would also be Stephen’s fifth for the 2017 season out of eight rounds, giving him more than half the challenge class poles for the year.
“It’s been great this year for me in Qualifying,” said Stephen.
“Throughout the year my execution on track and my preparation before each session has improved and I have a lot of consistency when it comes to that.
“I just kept doing the same thing at each round and it worked out well with five poles”.
Grove Racing was greeted on Saturday morning by almost torrential rain, with the weather not showing any signs of letting up before the start of Race 1.
Stephen converted his pole position into the class race lead, opening up a 9-second gap to second place, which he increased throughout the race in extremely tricky conditions.
Struggling to even see where he was going in the rain while skating between the concrete barriers - Stephen crossed the line in first place for his class, a well-deserved victory after one of the toughest races the veteran has ever participated in.
An unfortunate incident on Sunday in Race 2 ended the Challenge class champion’s weekend early after he was hit at Turn 4 on the opening lap, scraping back to the pits with ultimately, terminal damage.
Grove however was not disheartened by the incident, receiving the championship winner’s trophy later that day, a far more valuable achievement for the experienced racer after an excellent 2017 season.
“Winning the championship was the ultimate goal for me,” added Stephen.
“I aimed for it at the start of the year and did my best in every session and every race to make it possible and worked hard at it every round.
“It was just unfortunate what happened at the beginning of Race 2, It’s not the way I wanted to end the final round of the year at the Gold Coast, but we got the championship and we’ll move onto next year.”
Brenton also had an exciting weekend on the streets of the Gold Coast driving for Porsche Centre Melbourne Motorsport, picking up notable mentions as he duked it out with some of the quickest Pro drivers in Australia.
Like his father, Brenton charged through Friday, finishing sixth fastest in opening Practice, and Qualifying in an impressive eleventh place.
The 20-year old showed strong pace in the treacherous conditions of Race 1 on Saturday, moving his way up to ninth at the chequered flag, finishing one spot ahead of Supercars co-driver Alex Davison.
The young gun was extremely happy with his performance after executing two outstanding passes on fellow competitors and keeping a charging Davison at bay in the closing stages of the tricky 12-lap hit out.
“The first race in the rain was real tough,” stated Brenton.
“Most of the time I couldn’t even see where I was going with all the mist and spray - some of the craziest conditions I’ve ever driven in that’s for sure.
“I’m happy I managed to make up a few positions in that race, the car felt strong and the boys from Porsche Centre Melbourne Motorsport gave me a perfect car all weekend from the moment it rolled out the truck. I’m wrapped!”
Sunday’s action took place under sunny skies on the streets of Surfers Paradise, with Brenton crossing the line 12th in Race 2 after 28-gruelling laps around the 2.9km circuit in Carrera Cup Australia’s Endurance Cup finale.
The GT3 Cup Challenge graduate finished the weekend off well, sustaining 12th place in Race 3 and finishing the 2017 Carrera Cup championship with 146-points, despite only participating in two rounds for the year.
“It’s been great to have the opportunity to do two rounds in Carrera Cup at the back end of this year,” said Brenton.
“A huge credit to the guys from PCM – it’s really helped with my preparation for next year and the growth of me as a driver. At the end of the day, more time behind the wheel is extremely valuable.”
Grove Racing will sign off what has been an outstanding 2017 motorsport season – beginning in February at the Bathurst 12 Hour – and ending in the USA at the 24H of Circuit of the Americas from November 10-12, in 3-weeks time.