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Porsche Carrera Cup NA

McElrea Aiming to “Duplicate” Australian Success in U.S.

Australian powerhouse Porsche squad makes North American debut in Carrera Cup…

Photo: Jonathan Grace

McElrea Racing is aiming to replicate its Australian pedigree in the U.S. as the latest high-profile team to join Porsche Deluxe Carrera Cup North America.

The three-time Porsche Paynter Dixon Carrera Cup Australia championship-winning squad, which has amassed a total of 14 major titles in the region, has expanded Stateside with an initial two-car entry in Carrera Cup North America.

Australian rising star Tom Sargent and Canadian sports car hopeful Thomas Nepveu will both compete in a stacked 22-car Pro class field beginning with Thursday’s season-opener at Sebring International Raceway.

Speaking with Sportscar365, team boss Andy McElrea explained that a number of factors went into the branching out into the North American market, including the recent success of his son, Hunter, who competes in Indy NXT.

“There were a few things that lined up at the same time,” he said.

“The first one was adopting the Carrera Cup rules. Obviously in the past it had been Sprint Challenge and other Porsche forms of racing.

“The Carrera Cup rules are something we’re very familiar with and we’ve had success with in Australia. So we figured it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to try and duplicate what we’ve been doing in Australia here in the U.S.

“It’s a big place and there’s a lot of opportunity here so we definitely wanted to see if we could have similar levels of success.”

He added: “My son is [also] racing up here, so we’ve been traveling quite a bit to watch his racing and I figured why don’t have a dual purpose for it.

“It looks like Hunter will have a career up here now, which means we will be traveling more.

“The idea of having our own team [in North America] has been in the back of my mind for quite a few years. Too many things came together at the same time.

“Troy [Bundy, Porsche Motorsport North America single-make and GT sports manager], who I know from Australia, he was quite encouraging as well and said it’s a great opportunity and it operates at a really high level.

“So we thought it would be great place to be measured against. So we’re looking forward to it.”

McElrea set up its satellite workshop in Mooresville, N.C., featuring U.S.-based crew but with several Australian fly-ins planned throughout the season.

“We started putting it together the middle of last year,” he explained. “We didn’t make any noise about it until later in the year and quietly worked away on putting all the pieces together.

“The permanent crew is U.S.-based but what we’re doing is a little bit of a roster system.

“My engineer from Australia is with us this weekend. My crew chief from Australia will be with us at Long Beach.

“Alternatively, we’ll send some of the guys here down to Australia to do some rounds down there to keep the culture the same on both sides.

“We’re really looking forward to it. We’re a very small fish in a big pond over here. We’ll try and earn our stripes as we deserve them.”

While starting with a two-car program, McElrea said he’s hopeful of adding Porsche 911 GT3 Cup entries in the years to come.

“Two was definitely the goal for the first year,” he said. “It’s exactly how we started in Australia back in the day with two cars in 2011.

“We just let it grow organically and more customers came on as we had more success.

“I’m hoping the same thing will happen here but we’ve got to a good job first.”

WeatherTech Championship “Absolutely” on Team’s Radar

McElrea said an expansion into the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship is something the team has aspirations of one day achieving, considering its past success with with GT3 machinery in Australia.

The team has been a regular competitor in the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour, running both Porsche 911 GT3 Rs and McLaren 720S GT3s in recent editions with success, including claiming Pro-Am class honors in a Competition Motorsports-entered Porsche with David Calvert-Jones, Matt Campbell, Patrick Long and Marc Lieb in 2017.

“We run five cars in Sprint Challenge and five cars in Carrera Cup Australia so we’ve kind of grown as big as we realistically can over there,” McElrea said.

“I’m still fierily ambitious so if we could do a good job here and we deserve to grow, I’d love to move into the WeatherTech Championship. It would be exactly where we’d want to be in the future.

“We’re no stranger to that form of racing and we throughly enjoy it. But we’re just going to walk before we run and see where the wind blows us.

“It can be humbling because we may not do as well as we want to. That’s something we’ll have to deal with. But we’ll be working hard try and duplicate the run that we’ve had in Australia the last few years.”

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for and SPEED Channel and has contributed to numerous other motorsports publications worldwide. Contact John

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