The Carrera Cup Australia will introduce its own Endurance Cup next season as part of a bid to add variety to its calendar.
The Endurance Cup has been announced as part of a raft of initiatives that also includes a new round in Sepang, Malaysia.
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Although details are yet to be finalised, Porsche Cars Australia Motorsport Manager, Kurt Sakzewski, confirmed to Speedcafe.com that the enduro races will be single-driver encounters.
Like the annual Pro-Am Carrera Cup races which will next year be held at Phillip Island, distances for the enduro heats will be less than 60 minutes, preventing the need for refuelling.
The longer races are expected to feature as the third heat at three of the eight rounds, with Sakzewski hopeful of securing the required track time at Sandown, Bathurst and the Gold Coast, which hosts Supercars' own Pirtek Enduro Cup.
Porsche already runs a similar format for its second-tier GT3 Cup Challenge, which sees an extended final race at three events count towards the regular points score and the Jim Richards Endurance Trophy.
The move to introduce an Endurance Cup comes amid the Carrera Cup's battle for competitor interest with Tony Quinn's Australian GT, which is running an enduro championship for the first time this year.
“For us it is about getting more seat time for our primary drivers just to mix things up, completing what we do with the (two-driver) Pro-Am event,” Sakzewski told Speedcafe.com.
“The three sprint race format is what we've run since the beginning and it works well, but people are looking for variety and certainly the opportunity to have some extended races is attractive.
“We're looking at a similar format to what we do with the Jim Richards Endurance Trophy, where effectively the Endurance Cup would be based around the longer races, not necessarily the whole weekend.
“At this stage it would be the preferred outcome to have the Endurance Cup coming at the tail end of the season (Sandown, Bathurst and the Gold Coast).
“But if it's something that we have to accomodate at some of the earlier events to make it happen, we will do so.”
Current Australian-delivered Carrera Cup cars will meanwhile be made eligible for the Bathurst 12 Hour for the first time next February.
The cars were previously prohibited from competing in any events outside the Carrera Cup Australia in order to protect the series.
Porsche's decision to utilise the current model for an extra year before introducing the Type 991.II in 2018 has triggered the change.
“The current car is going into its fourth year of use in Carrera Cup,” explained Sakzewski.
“Normally we work on a three-year cycle, so a lot of people that invested in cars were expecting to run their 991s in the 12 Hour in 2017.
“We looked at it and decided that it's a great opportunity for our competitors to get some miles around an iconic circuit and do a bit of pre-season testing as well.”