Australia has held a special place in Porsche’s history since Melbourne entrepreneur Norman Hamilton imported two early 356 models in 1951, making Australia Porsche’s very first right hand drive market and one of its first export territories.
Since those early days, when prevailing import quotas allowed fewer than two Porsches to be sold a year prior to 1954, Australia’s passion for Porsches has grown, with a record 1,905 delivered in 2013.
With the arrival of the new Porsche Macan in mid-2014, Australian Porsche sales are expected to rise to more than 3,000 annually.
Underscoring Australia’s respect and love of Porsches, the majority of the approximate 27,000 Porsches delivered from the factory to Australia over the past 62 years are still to be seen on Australian roads.
An important ingredient of Porsche’s success in Australia has been its close, long-term relationship with both the Porsche parent organisation in Germany and with its customers.
Porsche Cars Australia is a wholly owned subsidiary of Porsche AG, with its range of Sports Cars, Grand Tourers and Sport Utility Vehicles sold and supported via a network of 12 Official Porsche Centres throughout Australia.
Motorsport has also been a strong focus for Porsche in Australia from the earliest days of the marquee ‘Down Under’.
Within months of its arrival, the first Porsche 356s were participating in hillclimb and speed events, while in 1953, the first Coupe was classified as a finisher in the historic first 10,600km REDeX Reliability Trial held in remote regions of Outback Australia.
Other 356 models took part in circuit racing and further ‘Around Australia’ Trials in the 1950s, but it was the arrival of the new Porsche 911 in Australia in 1965 that really accelerated the hearts of Porsche enthusiasts.
Alan Hamilton, the son of then Porsche importer Norman Hamilton, surprised everyone when he finished third in the 1968 Australian Touring Car Championship and then came within a point of winning the 1969 title in his 2.0-litre 911 S/T coupe. Porsches continued to challenge the traditional American V8s at the leading edge of Australian Touring Car racing until a change of regulations effectively outlawed them at the end of 1972.
Undeterred, Porsche enthusiasts then turned to Sports and GT Racing, with Porsche 911 coupes winning six successive Australian Sports Car Championships from 1976-1981 and seven Australian GT Championships from 1982 to 2013.
Porsche has also dominated Tarmac Rallying in Australia, with Jim Richards winning eight Targa Tasmania rallies in Porsches from 1996 to 2006 – a record unmatched by any other driver or vehicle make.
Porsche’s racing heritage continues today in the Carrera Cup Australia series. Inaugurated in 2003, the National series for identical factory-built GT3 Cup cars traditionally supports the V8 Supercar Championship and this year is being held over eight rounds, including marquee events such as the Formula 1® Australian Grand Prix, Bathurst 1000 and at the popular street racing events in Adelaide, Townsville, the Gold Coast and Sydney.
A highlight of the 2014 Carrera Cup is the arrival of the new, faster and even more track-focused 991-series GT3 Cup cars for all participants, while previous 997-series GT3 Cup cars now compete in the GT3 Cup Challenge Australia series in the hands of aspiring, non-professional Porsche enthusiasts.