- World First. Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport First International Win Comes in Austin.
- Porsche Podiums. New 911 GT3 R Earns Pro and Pro-Am Class Podiums in SRO.
- Academy Award. Porsche Young Driver Academy Graduates Shine at COTA.
- Around the Mountain. Porsche Division Returns to Pikes Peak in June.
Event Story Lines.
World First. Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport First International Win Comes in Austin.
The Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport scored its first international victory during the opening weekend of the SRO America in Austin, Texas on March 2 and 3. The recently introduced mid-engine Porsche race car won from pole position in Saturday’s 60-minute Pirelli GT4 America event at the Circuit of the Americas (COTA) forever locking the event as the site of the new GT4-class car’s inaugural win. The victory came in the 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport’s second career race – the first outing coming at Daytona International Speedway in January as part of the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge. The Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport is the German brand’s officially entry in international GT4-spec racing series.
Both Saturday and Sunday’s races were held in bitter weather conditions but the road-going based series did not fail to add Texas spice with both rounds being won by Porsche entries with direct ties to the “Lone Star State”. Going down in the record books as the first winner in the new-for-2019 Porsche on March 2 was the No. 47 NolaSport entry shared by Texas-residents Matt Travis (The Woodlands, Texas) and Jason Hart (Flower Mound, Texas). Crossing the finish line first on Sunday was the No. 77 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport entered by Dallas, Texas-Based Park Place Motorsports. The neon yellow machine driven by Porsche Young Driver Academy graduate Trent Hindman (West Long Branch, New Jersey) and Alan Brynjolfsson (Tampa, Florida) was awarded the GT4 East Pro-Am class win while the No. 47 took the SprintX class victory again on Sunday.
The new 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport is the latest development of the successful model from Porsche. The near-standard mid-engine racer focuses on improved drivability and faster lap times but also on the sustainable use of raw materials. The 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport is the first production Porsche race car to feature body parts made of natural-fiber composite material. The driver and co-driver doors and the rear wing are made of an organic fiber mix, sourced primarily from agricultural by-products such as flax or hemp fibers and feature similar properties to carbon fiber in terms of weight and stiffness.
Powering the 718 GT4 Clubsport is a 3.8-liter flat-six engine producing 425 hp (313 kW). Compared to its predecessor, this represents a 40-hp increase in performance. The power is transferred to the rear wheels via the Porsche PDK dual-clutch gearbox with six gears and mechanical rear axle differential lock. The lightweight spring-strut front suspension is taken from the 911 GT3 Cup car.
The SRO Pirelli GT4 America series travels directly to St. Petersburg, Florida for the first rounds of the Sprint Championship, March 8 – 10.
Daniel Armbruster, President/CEO, Porsche Motorsport North America.
“This is a marvelous start to the season. While we are very happy with the performance and results of the Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport right off the trailer, the SRO GT4 America field is very close across all the marques. This means that it requires a combination of car, driver and team to find this level of success so early on. All of the teams prepared the cars extremely well with NOLASPORT having an exceptional weekend but all of the teams were in the mix within the overall and their classes. There were no mistakes, no penalties by any of the teams. It was a failure-free race weekend. Everyone contributed with preparation and the 718 Cayman proved its reliability, which Porsche stands for. We are proud to be showing this brand new car in our market first. Being able to present the professionalism of North American racing with our partners in both GT World Challenge and IMSA is very gratifying. We are very proud of this start."
Porsche Podiums. New 911 GT3 R Earns Pro and Pro-Am Class Podiums in SRO.
The newest Porsche 911 GT3 R made its SRO debut in the Blancpain GT World Challenge America SprintX at the Circuit of the Americas (COTA), March 1 – 3. The 500 HP, rear-engine race car scored five podium finishes across the Pro, Pro-Am and Am classes of the twin 90-minute races at the Austin, Texas-area facility. In all, Porsche had six GT race podiums at the SRO America opening weekend.
Leading the way was the No. 58 Porsche Consulting 911 GT3 R entered for Patrick Long (Manhattan Beach, California) and Scott Hargrove (Canada) by Wright Motorsports. The Porsche factory and Porsche Selected Drivers took back-to-back third-place finishes in cold and windy conditions on Saturday and Sunday. Their team car, the No. 91 Wright Motorsports-prepped 911 GT3 R shared by Anthony Imperato (Brooklyn, New York) and Porsche Young Professional Dennis Olsen (Norway) scored a second-place result in the Pro-Am style race on Saturday and a third-place podium spot on Sunday. Autometrics added a second-place finish in the Am (amateur) class in Race 2 with the previous generation 911 GT3 R race car driven by Joe Toussaint (Worcester, Massachusetts) and IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama regular Alan Metni (Austin, Texas). The No. 14 GMG Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R followed right behind Autometrics with a third-place result in Race 2. The podium by James Sofronas (Villa Park, California) and Brent Holden (Newport Beach, California) ticked the score of top-three finishes for the German marque’s most recent GT3 contender at COTA up to a total of five.
The SRO GT America championship will return for Rounds Three and Four at VIRginia International Raceway on April 26 – 28.
Patrick Long, Driver, No. 58 Porsche Consulting Porsche 911 GT3 R.
“We made a strong debut on the opening weekend. We have some details that are left to be found, but all and all a double podium and great, consistent strategy is something we should be proud of. Our speed on track is as much as we can extract right now. We’re going to have to be there every race weekend. This car is new to us, so we’re still learning what it needs, but I think we can be happy with this result heading to VIR.”
Scott Hargrove, Driver, No. 58 Porsche Consulting Porsche 911 GT3 R.
“We’re coming away from the weekend with a really positive feeling. I think we maximized what we’re capable of this week. Qualifying wasn’t the best, it was in changing conditions, so we didn’t quite get the lap in, which made the races a little bit harder. The team executed flawlessly, both Patrick and I had clean stints and we were able to take it to the front. Overall you can’t really ask for much more than that in an opening weekend. We look forward to VIR and clawing back some points we lost to the race leaders."
Anthony Imperato, Driver, No. 91 Henry Repeating Arms Porsche 911 GT3 R.
“Overall, the team had a great start to the season. Both cars on the podium both days is something to be proud of. We kept improving the car all weekend and we scored good points. I’m really enjoying this format of racing and driving the new Porsche 911 GT3 R. Dennis is a great teammate, and I look forward to driving with him again. We will see where we can improve and try to be on the top step at VIR.”
Dennis Olsen, Driver, No. 91 Henry Repeating Arms Porsche 911 GT3 R.
“It was a really good weekend. I think the whole team did a good job. We finished second yesterday and third today after being last at the start. It’s a shame we got hit today, but the crew did a very good job and so did Anthony. We improved a lot every time we went out and we’re leaving COTA second in the standings so it was a positive start to the year."
Academy Award. Porsche Young Driver Academy Graduates Shine at COTA.
Porsche Cars North America (PCNA) and Porsche Motorsport North America (PMNA) launched the Porsche Young Driver Academy (PYDA) in 2012 as a means to recognize and train race drivers in the best methods to succeed in motorsports both on- and off-track. In that time 29 drivers, between ages 18 and 25, have taken part in the multi-day event. Each race weekend, PYDA graduates can be seen competing in IMSA, Indy Car, NASCAR and other major race series around the globe. The opening weekend of the 2019 SRO America season at Circuit of the Americas was no exception with seven drivers, as well as two instructors, taking part in either the Blancpain GT World Challenge America or Pirelli GT4 America events.
While many of the drivers were in either a Porsche 911 GT3 R or 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport race car for the weekend, others who have come through the PYDA and/or the Porsche Motorsport development pyramid, were not. Among the most successful was Trent Hindman (West Long Branch, New Jersey) who co-drove the No. 77 Park Place Motorsports Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport to a GT4 East Series, Pro-Am class runner-up spot on Saturday and a victory in the second GT4 race of the weekend on Sunday. Hindman was in the class of 2016. PYDA driving coach Andrew Davis (Athens, Georgia) was in the No. 32 Kelly-Moss Road & Race 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport for the GT4 series races. Also in the GT4 series was 2015 graduate Alec Udell (The Woodlands, Texas).
The GT events saw a larger field of PYDA alum headed by the all-PYDA No. 58 Porsche Consulting Wright Motorsports 911 GT3 R shared by Porsche Factory Driver Patrick Long (Manhattan Beach, California) and 2014 graduate Scott Hargrove (Canada). While not a member of a PYDA class, Long is a leading director of the “Academy” since its inception and oversees the curriculum each year. The Wright entry finished in third-place overall in both 90-minute SprintX GT races. Alegra Motorsports also fielded an all-alum 911 GT3 R with Michael De Quesada of Tampa, Florida (2017) and Canadian Daniel Morad (2015) in the No. 22.
2017 graduate Rodrigo Baptista (Brazil) piloted a Bentley to a victory in Race 1 and a fourth-place finish, behind Long, in Race 2. Kyle Marcelli (Canada) raced an Acura NSX with knowledge gained during his experience at the inaugural 2012 Porsche Young Driver Academy.
Daniel Armbruster, President/CEO, Porsche Motorsport North America.
“We are proud to see success from so many of the drivers that have been educated in our Porsche Motorsport Pyramid and through our Porsche Young Driver Academy. We see drivers in GT3 that started in our Cup Challenges and we hope to see the GT4 drivers in GT3 and higher in the coming years. These drivers started their education in our Pyramid. From Trophy to Challenge to GT4 to GT3 R they worked their way up and we are seeing it here in the SRO America series.”
Around the Mountain. Porsche Division Returns to Pikes Peak in June.
Porsche Motorsport North America (PMNA) and the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb Organization (PPIHC) are pleased to announce the continuation of the Porsche Pikes Peak Trophy by Yokohama division for a second consecutive year. Following the successful invitation-only class launch in 2018, the group makes its second-appearance, now as a one-make division and continues to focus on parity among the Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport machines. 2019 marks the 97th Running of the Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, and takes place June 25 – 30. Six drivers have the opportunity to run the German marque’s mid-engine sports car in the “Race to the Clouds” with full support of PMNA, RennsportOne (RS1), Porsche Colorado Springs and Yokohama.
The recently debuted 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport and the previous generation Cayman GT4 race car are both eligible to compete in the division. Appropriate performance balancing will assure an equal field. All cars within the division will utilize Yokohama’s ADVAN A052 high-performance, street legal tires. Yokohama is a longtime partner of PMNA and supported the Porsche Pikes Peak Trophy by Yokohama in last year’s inaugural run. The Japanese tire manufacturer is also the sole-supplier to both the IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA and Canada one-make series. As they were in the first outing of the class, longtime Porsche race team RS1 and local dealer Porsche Colorado Springs will continue to be indispensable partners supporting the participants.
Travis Pastrana returns to defend his Division title. The three-time AMA Motocross and Supercross Champion, X-Game winner and stunt performer set the class-winning time with a 10-minute, 33.897-second lap up to the 14,115 foot high finish line in 2018. Joining Pastrana in his attempt to better that effort will be Blake Williams, George Hess, Phil Bloom, Marc Bunting and Gustav Lundh. Porsche legend Jeff Zwart will reprise his role and coach the six invited drivers providing insights and experience. The Long Beach, California-native is renowned for his prowess on the rally scene, particularly his mastery of the legendary Pikes Peak International Hill Climb where he has won eight times (1994-’98, 2002, 2010, 2015), all in Porsche 911 models.
The first Pikes Peak Hill Climb was run in 1916 on a gravel circuit carved up to the Mountain’s summit. By 2012, the full 12.42-mile, 156-turn circuit was paved over, up to the 14,115-foot pinnacle. The race itself starts at the seven-mile marker giving competitors a 4,725-foot elevation change during their timed run.
As it has since first coming to “America’s Mountain” in 1958, Porsche proved its hill climb heritage in 2018 participating in four of the six PPIHC Divisions earning victories in two classes on the Pikes Peak, Colorado course.
Porsche created a video showcasing the debut of the Porsche Pikes Peak Trophy by Yokohama class during last year’s event. Follow the participants up the Mountain: 2018 Travis Pastrana + Porsche Pikes Peak Challenge: https://youtu.be/2Wt5GGfVeX0.
Dr. Daniel Armbruster, President and CEO, Porsche Motorsport North America.
“We are very pleased to announce the continuation of the Porsche Pikes Peak Trophy by Yokohama. The partnership with the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb Organization and Yokohama exceeded every expectation in 2018. It is only natural that all three partners are excited about returning the class in 2019 and, I hope, for years to come. This fits perfectly within the objectives of Porsche Motorsport North America in providing our customers an excellent platform with the Cayman GT4 Clubsport, one which can participate in one of the world’s premier motorsport events.”
Travis Pastrana, Driver, Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport.
“I had more fun at last year’s Pikes Peak Hill Climb then I have had at any event in a very long time. It’s a week of driving an historic and epic road in a fun class with some amazing drivers. This year is going to be even more fun because my friend and competitor Bilko Williams will be racing against me in the same class. This year is going to be one hell of a close race and I can't wait!”
Fardad Niknam, Senior Director of Consumer Product Planning and Product Marketing, Yokohama Tire.
“We’re honored to support Porsche again in this exciting class at Pikes Peak. Yokohama’s return last year to the mountain was a resounding success punctuated by Travis’ incredible victory. We can’t wait to see what he and the other competitors can do again driving the Cayman GT4 Clubsport machines on ADVAN A052 street tires.”
Megan Leatham, Executive Director, The Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.
“We are extremely excited to have the Porsche Pikes Peak Trophy by Yokohama division returning in 2019. We pride ourselves in showcasing the best competition in hill climb racing and nothing is more competitive than six guys in basically the same car on the same course. Last year was really successful and our fans enjoyed seeing the all-Porsche class take on the mountain. We anticipate this year will be even more exciting and we’re eager to see who comes out as number one!”