Kiwi racer Madeline Stewart will swap V8 for GT3 this weekend in the nascent Aussie Tin Tops category when she gets behind the wheel of a Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car at The Bend Motorsport Park.
Stewart competed in the all-comers series at Townsville three weeks ago in her Brad Jones Racing-prepared Super3 Holden Commodore VE II where she collected a hat-trick of podiums and the round win for her class.
She had been planning to contest this year’s Porsche Carrera Cup in Asia with Earl Bamber Motorsport but had those plans shelved amid the global pandemic and had thus been focusing on her Super3 campaign.
However, the junior touring car category has also been thrown into disarray with domestic state border closures in Australia putting the series on hold.
Fortunately, the Gold Coast-based Kiwi has been able to keep racefit and will travel with the Tin Tops field from Townsville to South Australia this weekend for another stint in the series, this time graduating to a McElrea Racing-run 911 GT3.
“We had been planning to race a Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car in Asia with Earl Bamber Motorsport, alongside our Super3 campaign with BJR this year,” said Stewart. “But obviously, the global pandemic meant we weren’t able to do that.
“We were still keen to do some Porsche racing this year and after racing at Townsville in the Tin Tops we thought that if that class raced again it might be a good opportunity to give the Porsche a try.
“There has been a lot of negatives from the pandemic but the Tin Tops has been a good positive, allowing people who essentially had nowhere to race to get some racing in.
“We saw McElrea Racing at Townsville and when the Tin Tops were announced for The Bend we approached them to see if they had any cars available and luckily they did.”
Stewart has piloted a 911 GT3 Cup car before with Earl Bamber Motorsport and she is hoping that extra preparation will ease her into the new car in time for the opening practice this Saturday.
“The Porsche is quite different to drive to the Super3 car,” added Stewart. One of the big differences is how much more traction it has off the corners. The throttle application in a Supercar is quite tricky because you have to progress it as fast as possible without it breaking into wheel spin. The Supercars have power and not a very big tyre.
“The Porsche, by comparison, is rear-engined with a much better tyre and less power. You need to be a lot more aggressive on the throttle, carry more mid-corner speed and you can, of course, brake deeper.”
Porsche 911 GT3s were the stars of the show in Townsville, claiming three of the top four results with reigning Porsche Michelin Sprint Challenge Champion Harri Jones clinching the overall spoils.
Storied New Zealand motor racing champion and founder of McElrea Racing, Andy McElrea says the team are excited to have Stewart on board.
“We are looking forward to welcoming Madeline to the team and very confident she will do a great job. We hope she has so much fun, that she wants to drive Porsches more in the future.”
The Aussie Tin Tops will have three races this weekend, the first of which kicks off from 5.45 pm NZT September 19.