THEY JOINED forces at the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour this year and now Father and Son team, Stephen and Brenton Grove, will take their family team even further afield.
The pair will team up as the Australian representatives for the inaugural FIA GT Nations Cup to be held later this year in Bahrain.
It is the first time the international event – promoted by global GT entity SRO, who promote the Intercontinental GT Challenge – will be held, requiring a combination of both bronze and silver rated drivers to share a car representing a particular country at the 5.412km Bahrain International Circuit.
Set to climb behind the wheel of a Herberth Motorsport prepared Porsche 911 GT3 R, the father-son team were attracted to the event due to their acceptable driver ratings.
While Brenton Grove made his 12-hour debut this year, Stephen is a multiple class winner in Australia’s International Enduro racing a Porsche GT3 Cup Car.
Herberth Motorsport are one of the most successful and professional Porsche GT3 outfits in the world, having competed in world-renowned events such as the 24 Hours of Spa, as well as the ultra-competitive ADAC GT Masters in Europe and the 24H Series in which they have countless wins.
For Brenton, a silver rated driver, the idea of representing Australia on the world stage with his Father was one of the main ambitions for applying.
“To represent Australia at an international event with my father is pretty special,” Grove said.
“We have strong ties to Porsche in Australia and Germany so to be able to do the event in a Porsche GT3 R, representing Australia is a really special thing.
“For us, it’s one of the most exciting racing programs we have embarked on. For everything to line up and fit into our schedule was pretty fortunate and also to both qualify for the required driver ratings.”
While the pair will be going into the event full of confidence after successful campaigns in a Porsche, including a class win at the Bathurst 12 Hour earlier this year, another factor in their decision to partake was the opportunity to make the step up from a Carrera Cup car to GT3 R.
However, Brenton admits there will be some added pressure, not being able to experience the car or circuit before the event, arriving the day before opening practice begins.
“Neither of us have ever driven a GT3 R before and we’ve never been to the circuit, so the preparation will be quite different,” Grove said.
“Because we can’t get there any earlier or drive the car beforehand, there will be a lot of simulator stuff in attempt to adapt to the car as quickly as possible.
“When we arrive, we will catch up with the team at Herberth Motorsport and they will get us up to speed with everything we need to know ahead of the race. They are an extremely experienced team and I’m sure they will accelerate our learning curve.
“It’s one of the main reasons we chose to do the event with Herberth. They are well regarded within the Porsche family and have had tremendous success with the car.”
Despite their short preparation time, Grove believes they will not be attending just to make up the numbers or for a holiday.
“If you ask my dad, he’ll say it’s more for fun but for me, I am going there to do well,” Grove joked.
“We are both pretty competitive people and whilst it is an event that will be a highlight for our careers, we are both wanting to do as well as possible.”
With only a few months to go until the Nations Cup, Grove has been busy bringing all the parties together as well as doing a lot of work behind the scenes.
However, while a lot of time and effort is going into the finer details, Brenton and Stephen Grove remain grateful and committed to making their country proud.
“For CAMS [Confederation of Australian Motor Sport] to give us the opportunity to apply and partake is such a good initiative,” Brenton added.
“The support we have received from everyone is amazing, so we are really wanting to do the country and CAMS justice, as well as try and receive as much exposure for Australian motorsport as possible”
The FIA GT Nations Cup will be held at the Bahrain International Circuit from 30 November – 1 December.