Porsche racer Stephen Grove experienced a ‘dream come true’ moment when racing in Porsche Carrera Cup France at Spa-Francorchamps last weekend, and now plans for more international one-make appearances throughout 2017.
The Australian fulfilled a long-standing ambition to race at the iconic Belgian circuit, competing in the bumper 39 car field featuring both Porsche Carrera Cup France and the neighbouring Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Benelux series.
Grove improved throughout the event – a support category for the FIA World Endurance Championship – finishing 14th in Class B (30th outright) in the opening 13 lap race before claiming 9th in class (23rd outright) in the 11 lap race two.
“The experience was incredible and unlike anything else; it was as if I was driving my own car on a different circuit in a different championship. Therefore I just had to adapt to a new team and get my head around the circuit, which was, outside of Bathurst, the best track I’ve ever been to,” said Grove.
“The first session was on the new Michelin wet tyres, which I hadn’t driven on before, with 40 odd cars charging around the track, so it was a real learning experience. The track was far better than I had ever imagined; watching vision of Spa or even driving it on a simulator didn’t do the track justice. It’s an awesome circuit; its super high speed and you have to be super committed to post a good lap time.
“Eau Rouge is just epic; you’re flat out for most of it and the exit is unsighted so if it goes wrong it’s ‘goodnight, Charlie’. It was my best performing part of the track too; Earl Bamber gave some great advice and I did my track walk with Nick Foster so I was well prepared for when I went on track.
“The championship was super welcoming with a really professional feel. I certainly learnt a lot about European motorsport and I picked up a few ideas I want to implement into our team back home.”
Following his tremendous Spa-Francorchamps experience, Grove is now looking for his next international Carrera Cup adventure.
“I’m definitely going to do more international Carrera Cup racing this year. With so many Carrera Cups around the world there are countless opportunities to race abroad and I expect to see more guys take up this opportunity in the near future.”
Grove will return to Australia for his next event, teaming with a yet-to-be-named high profile professional driver for Porsche Carrera Cup Australia’s annual Pro-Am event, held at Phillip Island on May 26-28, 2017.