SPEAKMAN READY FOR ‘MOST AMBITIOUS’ CHALLENGE YET
An inspirational victory: Paraplegic racing driver Matt Speakman will fulfill his dream of Porsche competition this year when lining up in the 2013 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Australia presented by Pirelli series.
Also,you can get the latest updates and find Matt Speakman on his Facebook Page at Speakman Racing
In joining GT3 Cup Challenge, Speakman will become the first paraplegic driver to ever compete in a Porsche one-make series worldwide. Paralyzed 19 years ago when hit by a drunk driver while riding his motorcycle, Speakman’s dream of a motorsport career was seemingly shattered after having signed a deal to compete in the 1993 Australian 600 Super Sport Championship.
Two decades on and countless challenges later, Speakman will finally return to national-level competition with Queensland-based team McElrea Racing, who has fitted Speakman’s Porsche 911 race car with modified hand controls. Speakman is excited about the prospects of racing in GT3 Cup Challenge and has plans to compete in Australia’s premier one-make sports car category, Porsche Carrera Cup Australia, in the 2014 season.
“My entry into the 2013 GT3 Cup Challenge series has been 25 years in the making and I’m extremely excited,” said Speakman.“It has taken everything I have to gain this opportunity and now I’m seeking support from corporate Australia for this season and then Carrera Cup in 2014.
I guarantee an extremely strong on track performance and return to sponsors.“It has been incredibly frustrating sitting on the sidelines for the past 18 years knowing full well of my racing capabilities.
Now that I have broken down the barrier that stopped paraplegics being allowed on Australian race tracks I intend to really show that I deserve a career in Australian motorsport.”
McElrea Racing Team Manager, Andy McElrea, is pleased to add Speakman to his Queensland based race team.
“Matt commissioned McElrea Racing to improve on the original design of his hand controls. My team built a new system incorporating a combination of the best design aspects we had found in other disabled drivers’ race cars and then customised them to the Porsche GT3 Cup car,” said McElrea.
“Our team has always tried to do things a little differently and having Matt on board fits with this idea. We have three tests planned for this season before Round 1 at Mallala so we can’t wait to get into it.”
Porsche Cars Australia’s Motorsport Manager Jamey Blaikie welcomes Speakman to the championship and believes he won’t take long to become competitive in the one-make series.
“Matt has faced many challenges in his life and I suspect adapting to the Porsche GT3 Cup car will be a minor task in comparison. Matt has a competitive edge and if his determination is anything to go by I have no doubt he will be on the pace early in the season,” said Blaikie.
“GT3 Cup Challenge is known for its amazing atmosphere and great camaraderie between the drivers. Matt will be welcomed with open arms and fit in very well with our great group of racers.”
Since Speakman’s accident two decades ago the 45-year-old has competed in rounds of the NSW Rally Championship and Australian Rally Championship, and more recently after gaining approval to compete in circuit racing, Improved Production, where he won the 2012 six-round Queensland championship title in the 1600cc class. Speakman has also been a member of the Australian Paralympics Alpine Ski team, competed in the 1994 Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race and now volunteers his time educating high school students about the Road Safety Education programme and is an ambassador of SpinalCure Australia.
Speakman’s first appearance in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Australia presented by Pirelli series will be at Mallala Motor Sport Park, South Australia, on April 20-21, 2013.