2024 Australian Grand Prix Review
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2024 Australian Grand Prix Review

By Shannons - 02 April 2024

A record-breaking four-day crowd of 452,000 fans piled into the Albert Park precinct over the 2024 Australian Grand Prix weekend, where fans lucky enough to secure a ticket were treated to one of the best GP events to date as it continues to grow strength-to-strength following COVID-19 cancellations in ’20 and ’21 and the recent injection of new fans thanks to Netflix’s Drive to Survive series.

Coupled with the main event, Formula 1, the support card was arguably one of the strongest in world motorsport with Formula 2, Formula 3, Supercars and Porsche Carrera Cup Australia bolstering on-track activity.

The ‘Racing Past Presented by Shannons Insurance’ drew in more than 60 significant racing classics from around the world, highlighting the achievements of Bruce McLaren and the Tasman Era with a curated offering of rare McLaren Formula 5000 and Can Am sports cars.

Fans could see firsthand the historic machines in the static ‘Legends Lane’ display, adjacent to the Shannons Super Rig behind the Fangio Stand, or hear and smell the magic of the cars as they charged around Albert Park in three demonstration sessions. 

Alpine Formula 1 reserve driver, Jack Doohan, and his father, Mick, wowed onlookers as the pair were pitched against each other around the Albert Park circuit, Mick riding a Honda RCV213 motorcycle and Jack behind the wheel of a Benetton B200 F1 car from the year 2000. Fans raced to the fences to bask in the glory of a screaming V10 engine around Albert Park once more.

The demonstration celebrated 30 years since Mick’s first of five 500cc Motorcycling World Championship Titles.

Porsche Carrera Cup Australia – Round 1:

Wood Emerges as Title Contender for Season 2024

Australia’s premiere single make series kicked off season 2024 in its usual curtain raising event at the Grand Prix, with 27 cars entered across the Pro and Pro-Am classes.

Shannons Ambassador Dale Wood, having recently unveiled his new racing colours for 2024 at a test day in Tailem Bend, was among the favourites heading into Round 1, however he faced a big challenge with Harri Jones returning to Australian shores following a season racing Porsches in Europe.

Wood made steady progress in the opening races of the weekend, having qualified P7 in his #992 Porsche during Thursday morning’s qualifying session.

With a brisk start in Race 1, Wood made multiple positions on cold tyres to be P4, capitalising on a coming together between Nick McBride and guest star driver Scott Pye which left the former stricken on the backstraight and forcing a Safety Car.

"I have been working hard on a procedure for my starts and clearly it’s already returning results over a race weekend." said Wood.

Wood pressed on to challenge Bailey Hall and Ryder Quinn for P2 and P3, however his pace meant he had to settle for P4. Jones meanwhile eased a comfortable lead following multiple Safety Car restarts, taking Race 1 victory.

In spectacular twilight conditions, Wood made further progress with a stunning run off the line in Race 2, snatching the lead away from Jones on the opening lap.

"Starting from the front row in Race 2, I got off the line great and held the lead for a stunning half a lap [laughs] … but I was a little off the pace to maintain the lead but remained P2 at the finish." said Wood.

Although unable to stop Jones from taking his second win of the event, Wood held off Quinn in a race-long battle for P2 and denied the young-gun from taking the second step of the podium.

The third and final race of the weekend was again held in twilight conditions Saturday evening, where Wood capitalised on his front-row start to lead Jones on Lap 1.

With an opening lap Safety Car interrupting the race and temporarily relieving pressure, Wood controlled the field when the race resumed and appeared to have Jones covered for pace despite consistent pressure in the battle for the lead.

Quinn and Hall initially featured in the battle for P1, however Wood and Jones eased away to make it a two-way challenge.

The race reached its crescendo when Wood and Jones appeared to fight over the same piece of tarmac, the pair getting too close for comfort seeing Wood squeezed on the inside line at Turn 13 and Jones locking up the front wheels of his Porsche.

Wood snuck back into the lead following this altercation, where he remained for the rest of the race to cross the finish line first with Marcos Flack and Jackson Walls completing the Podium, Jones P4.

"Race 3, the preparation I put into my starts paid off again. Jumped Jones for the lead and managed to avoid the pile up at Turn 1. Following the Safety Car, I held the lead for 10 laps until a close battle saw myself and Jones swap a little paint. I crossed the line first and took a great race win, but unfortunately a post-race penalty took this away from us." said Wood.

A post-race investigation by Porsche Carrera Cup Australia and Motorsport Australia officials resulted in a five-second post-race penalty applied to Wood’s overall race time, demoting him to sixth in official results classification. Jones meanwhile was slapped with a $10,000 fine ($7,500 suspended) for his role in the clash.

Jones leads the 2024 points standings after Round 1 with 169 points. Wood sits in second with 134 points, Flack third with 128 points.

"To finish P2 at the Grand Prix and be second in the championship is an awesome start to the year and I can’t wait to continue the battle across the ditch in New Zealand." said Wood

The next round of the Porsche Carrera Cup Australia heads over the Tasman Sea to New Zealand for the 2024 ITM Taupo Super400 event, April 19 – 21.