Harry Jones will head into the Porsche Michelin GT3 Cup Challenge’s third round full of confidence after claiming a maiden race victory at the Shannons Nationals visit to Sydney Motorsport Park.
The Queenslander has started the new season well, finishing his first three races at Symmons Plains in second place behind Max Vidau, before picking up two third places and a race win during the second round. A DNF to Vidau in Sydney sent the South Australian below Jones in the standings.
Currently occupying top spot thanks to being the only driver to finish every race on the podium after the two rounds, the teenager is currently enjoying his form and the newfound rivalry with Vidau.
“I went up against Max a couple of a years ago when I first started out racing so I sort of looked up to him as a benchmark of where I had to be,” Jones said.
“He was good benchmark in 2017 and he is still a good one today, but I am just stoked that I can compete with him. It certainly is fun to race against a great driver like him.
“Getting that first race win in Sydney was fantastic and it’s always the hardest to get your first win, but it’s given me a bit of confidence to get more.
“Realistically it’s still a very close series and it’s still early on. It’s important to work hard and keep fighting for those race wins. I know I can do it. There are no excuses for me not to be able to do it.”
After racing in open wheelers for the first few years of his career, Jones made the switch to the one-make category in order to chase a dream of being a professional race car driver.
Before making the transition into tin top racing, Jones had stints in the LMP3 Europe Series and the Middle East’s MRF Formula 3 Challenge, followed by domestic drives in a Porsche, which included a GT4 class victory in the 2017 Bathurst 12 hour.
Now that he is driving in the one-make series, the teenager has chosen to pursue the Porsche development pathway as he believes it will help him achieve his dream.
“I want to chase the Porsche pathway because it seems to have a very well outlined plan for someone like myself,” Jones said.
“I have made the decision that I want to race touring cars for the rest of my life which is the most appealing way for me. I can see a future for myself in a Porsche.
"I really want to become a professional driver and Porsche really support its drivers well, opening a lot of doors where you can choose Supercars or race in the GTs in Europe.”
As for this year’s season, the 19-year-old is gunning to win the GT3 Cup title in a fierce battle with his friend Vidau.
“It was always going to be a learning year but we are fighting as hard as we can to win the series and we have the goal to win the title,” Jones explained.
"Going from an open wheel background to touring racing is quite tricky, but we have worked really hard in the off season and we teamed up with McElrea racing, who are proven team in the category.
"With that said, if we don’t win the championship it's not the end of the end of world, but I am getting older and I can’t really spend too long in the development categories.
“I can confident in my ability as well as the team to get the results and that has been the goal all along so I feel all our hard work is paying off at the moment.”
The Porsche Michelin GT3 Cup Australia will hold its third round at Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit as part of the Shannons Nationals.
The Shannons Nationals’ second round for 2019 takes place at Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit on 7-9 June.