In 2018, one of Australia’s favourite Porsche race teams, Grove Racing, will make an ambitious step up. One of biblical proportions for the Melbourne-based, independently run team. Whether it be a two car Porsche Carrera Cup Australia effort, or a father-and-son driver combination at next year’s Liqui Moly Bathurst 12 Hour, prepare for something colossal.
Stephen Grove and his son Brenton Grove have motorsport pumping through their veins. Successful businessman away from the race track, Stephen initially burst onto the Australian motorsports scene in 2012, racing in Carrera Cup Australia. Five years on, Grove has well and truly engraved his name on the local landscape recording multiple victories and podium finishes.
Following in his father’s footsteps, Brenton is also looking to make his intentions clear with an outstanding debut year in Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge, the builder series to Carrera Cup.
Overall, the second generation driver has enjoyed a very unique introduction into the motorsport industry: “My racing career comparative to everyone else my age is actually quite short,” said Grove.
“I never did the whole go-karting route, and I did a few rounds in a Porsche before I went to single-seater Formula 4.
“I did F4 last season more as a learning year to understand racing and what it’s about and then moved into Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge at the beginning of 2017.”
“I got the racing bug a lot earlier than when I actually started racing, I was probably 12 or 13 when I first went to proper rounds and actually hung around teams, and that’s when I started to develop the ‘racing bug’ as it’s called. From there it just kept growing until I got the opportunity to drive a race car and I haven’t been able to control the bug ever since.”
They say; ‘If you can steal with your eyes, you’ll be a million dollars richer in experience’. So thats exactly what Brenton does when he watches his dad racing in Carrera Cup. The young ‘Melbournian’ applies what he learns from his father, to his own racing, resulting in astronomical improvements every time he hits the track.
“When you watch someone drive, you learn everything, to be honest. Being around Stephen on the Carrera Cup weekends helps me grasp so many different aspects, from the best way to maximise the weekend, how to work with engineers, how to understand the car and then get the most out of it.
“It’s also the little things. I mean, he’s not going to like me saying this, but the mistakes he makes are probably the biggest thing I can learn from. You see the cause and effect of those mistakes and from that, it kind of shows you–unfortunately for him–first hand of what to do and sometimes what not to do. So, I can take a lot out of that from the good, and also the bad.
Brenton has experienced a more than successful debut year in GT3 Cup Challenge with two race wins and a raft of podium finishes. An intense championship fight has also highlighted his season with fellow competitor Jordan Love, but with one round remaining there can only be one winner.
“If I walked away with the championship it’s awesome and a real bonus, but for me, it’s not really why I’m here. Everyone wants to win and get points and then work towards the championship, but this year has always been about learning and building and understanding how to drive a race car.
“Even next year is not really about the championship; for me it’s all about being consistent and making sure I can maximise all I can and make sure that next year I am as polished of a driver as I can be.”
With 2018 fast approaching, there is only one way forward for the team, and that’s up.
“We still haven’t one-hundred percent decided what the plan is for next year, I’d like to move up to Carrera Cup and hopefully there is an opportunity to do that. We are working through that at the moment to see what’s best for me.
“Carrera Cup is obviously the goal for next year and the year after, it’s a two-year process, and then after that I have no idea, we’ll see where it takes me. Hopefully I can end up with a professional drive somewhere, but at the moment it’s about doing the best I can now.
“There are plans for us to do the Bathurst 12 Hour next year and Stephen and I will perhaps share a car, so that will be cool.
“We will be using the current-era 991 that’s in Carrera Cup and hopefully we will get a big name Pro driver to come do the round with us. We haven’t quite worked out who yet, but if you look at the history of drivers that have driven with us, we are always sure we have world-class professionals and next year will be no different.”
Images: Edge Photographic’s and Porsche Carrera Cup and GT3 Cup Challenge Australia.