2017 Comes in with a Roar for Porsche

m17_0007The annual “ROAR Before the 24” at Daytona International Speedway will give the planet its first opportunity to see the new Porsche 911 RSR on the clocks against the world’s greatest GT cars. While the newest and most advanced 911 has been run over 20,000 test miles around the globe, the January 6-9 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship test session will remove all doubt to where the new racer stands against the competition.

The “ROAR”, which includes seven test sessions for the GTLM class cars in which the updated 911 RSR shares with Ford, Corvette, Ferrari and BMW factory programs, will give the Porsche GT Team ample opportunity to fine-tune the iconic entry for the 55th Running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona. The official “works” team of the German marque has entered two cars, the Nos. 911 and 912, for the WeatherTech season, which opens January 28-29 with the classic American 24-hour race. Porsche factory drivers will command both machines with the full-season entries being campaigned by 2015 IMSA GTLM Champion Patrick Pilet (France) leading fellow Frenchman Kévin Estre and first year “works” pilots Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium) and Dirk Werner (Germany). Michael Christensen (Denmark), who won at the Circuit of the Americas in 2016, and Austria’s popular Richard Lietz will campaign as third drivers in the longer Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup races, including Daytona. The previous edition of the Porsche 911 RSR won in its North American debut at Daytona in 2014.

Backbone of the Brand. Porsche Customer Teams Look at Daytona Test to Prepare 911 GT3 R.
Five Porsche 911 GT3 R customer programs will test this weekend at the ROAR Before the 24. While each is privately owned and operated, the quintet of teams has a long and impressive tradition with the Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen-based company.

Park Place Motorsports returns for a fifth full-season of competition with Porsche. The No. 73 911 GT3 R is shared by Porsche factory driver Jörg Bergmeister (Germany) and Patrick Lindsey (Santa Barbara, California) for the year. Matt McMurry (Phoenix, Arizona) reprises his role as endurance race driver.

CORE autosport will make its return to the Porsche family having last entered a Porsche 911 GT3 RSR in the American Le Mans Series in 2013. North America’s only Porsche factory driver, Patrick Long (Manhattan Beach, California), and Nic Jönsson (Buford, Georgia) will join full-season aces Jon Bennett (Charlotte, North Carolina) and Colin Braun (Harrisburg, North Carolina) in the No. 54 Porsche 911 GT3 R in Daytona.

TRG, a team with a long and successful connection with the German marque including racing a Porsche 911 to an overall victory at Daytona in 2003 from the GT class, returns after a brief hiatus away from the brand with a five-driver strong effort in the No. 991. Porsche works driver Wolf Henzler (Germany) is joined by top sportscar drivers Jan Heylen (Belgium), Derek DeBoer (Ashland, Oregon), Santiago Creel (Mexico) and Pablo Sánchez (Mexico).

Beyond the three full-season teams, two other programs will preview their Rolex 24 races at the Roar. Manthey Racing, another longtime Porsche customer and starting in 2013 began operating the official Porsche factory effort in the World Endurance Championship (WEC). As a full-works team, Manthey won the 2013 24 Hours of Le Mans and the 2015 WEC LMGTE-Pro championship with a 911 RSR. Manthey is also responsible for the upgraded Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR eligible for the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge GS class this year. Austrian Harald Proczyk and Switzerland’s Steve Smith join Germans Nils Reimer and Reinhold Renger in the car. Manthey is entering the Rolex 24 with the No. 59 Porsche 911 GT3 R as a customer program.

Alegra Motorsports history includes a Rolex 24 class victory and a long list of Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge one-make championships. For 2017, they return to WeatherTech SportsCar Championship competition with a formidable lineup in the No. 28 911 GT3 R. Putting the Porsche ladder system on display, Alegra brings 2016 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama Platinum Cup champion Daniel Morad (Toronto, Canada), 2016 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama Platinum Cup titlist Jesse Lazare (Montreal, Canada) and last year’s GT3 Cup Challenge USA Gold Cup champion Michael de Quesada (Tampa, Florida) to the Rolex 24. That trio has the experienced hand of Alegra team principal and 2007 Rolex 24 GT class winner Carlos de Quesada (Tampa, Florida) as their fourth.

The three-day test marks the first time the car developed to meet the international GT3 rules specifications, of which the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GTD class adheres, returns to a track on which it has raced. The rear-engine, direct-injection racecar, based on the seventh-generation of the iconic Porsche 911, made its international debut here at the Rolex 24 last year with a second-place finish.

Kevin Buckler, Team Principal, TRG.
“Everyone at TRG is eagerly anticipating this weekend’s shakedown of our new Porsche 911 GT3 R. We purchased the very first customer 911 GT3 R available in North America through Porsche Motorsport in December 1999 and began campaigning full-time in 2000 so this has come really full-circle. The new car is absolutely beautiful with every conceivable option and detail and the team has been readying the car for our first laps this coming Friday.

We’re looking forward to reuniting with our partners and friends at Porsche and Porsche Cars North America for a strong and collaborative effort at this year’s Rolex 24 at Daytona and are also looking for our fifth victory. This has got to be the most competitive GT class I have ever seen with nearly all the manufacturers here supporting. But as I have said many times… I would never bet against a Porsche at this race.”

Cayman Continental. GMG Announces Pair of Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR For IMSA CTSCC.
Continuing Global Motorsports Group’s (GMG) expansion of their driver development and performance platform, the team will return to their roots in IMSA competition, taking part in this month’s Daytona International Speedway festivities. As one of the leading Porsche-based driver development teams, GMG will present two Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR machines for the opening round of the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge’s (CTSCC) BMW Endurance Challenge at Daytona. The Nos. 11 and 88 are the first formerly announced Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MRs entered in the IMSA support series. The car was announced in late 2016 and had its first North American race in the Pirelli World Challenge finale at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

As part of a significant format change to IMSA’s famed production-based CTSCC, GMG will be entering the season opener as part of an overhaul that has included a series-move to the worldwide GT4-spec of machinery in the Grand Sport (GS) category, designed for more affordable racing than their GT3 counterparts, as well as an all-new four-hour format for select races. This creates multi-driver experiences which allow multiple drivers to spread-out cost, as well as for inexperienced drivers to align with a roster of veteran teammates. With GMG having competed in multiple Rolex 24 at Daytona events, a return to the 3.56-mile, high-banked track presents a chance for less experienced drivers to compete at an international level of talent during the famed Rolex 24 at Daytona event week.

Entering with the No. 11 Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR will be drivers Elias Sabo, Matt Halliday, and James Sofronas. An excellent mixture of experience, enthusiasm and speed, the trio will head to Daytona in search of a strong experience to open the season. Not to be outdone, the No. 88 Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport will feature a similar mix of experience and talent. Combining youth and experience will be Porsche Young Driver Academy and GMG development graduate and now team coach Alec Udell as well as Andy Lee, joined by professional debutante Carter Yeung, who like Elias Sabo joins the team after a strong year of development under the team’s tutelage.

James Sofronas, Driver/Owner, GMG.
“It’s great to be back at Daytona. It goes without saying that this is one of the most storied and amazing tracks to visit in the world, and we couldn’t be happier to return to such a venue. The new four-hour, multi-driver format has created a fantastic opportunity for a program like ours, and we’re delighted to align a great group together for our IMSA return. We have an excellent mix of talent, experience, and new enthusiasm, and above all I think it should all combine for an incredible month for everyone on the team. This Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR is such an excellent car for developing new talent, and at a place like Daytona… you can’t beat the experience. We’ll have some great and fast veterans in the race, guys like Matt Halliday, Alec Udell, Andy Lee as well as myself, but equally important we’re welcoming two fantastic guys to a new level of racing, as both Carter Yeung and Elias Sabo have repeatedly demonstrated an amazing commitment to growing in the sport, and this is the next logical step. We’re really looking forward to this.”

Alec Udell, Driver, No. 88 GMG Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR.
“It’s tough to say what the expectations will be, but we’re very anxious to get this going. Working with Carter (Yeung) has been very enjoyable during the winter, his commitment to what it takes has been remarkable, and that makes me very happy to join him as a teammate at Daytona. The GT4 Clubsport MR is a very different machine than the GT3 Cup machine that we won so many races with last year, but it’s a very well-behaved machine and should suit the circuit really well. Andy’s experience speaks for itself, so between the three of us it should be a pretty good group.”

Unwrapping the Last Gift. Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge by Yokohama Teams Start to Take Deliveries.
The world’s most prolific racecar manufacturer, Porsche, has begun making deliveries of the newest iteration of the world’s best-selling racer, the 911 GT3 Cup. Teams in IMSA’s one-make Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama and Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama are among the first in the world to have the new rear-engine racer arrive at their race shops courtesy of Porsche Motorsport North America (PMNA).

Boasting a completely redeveloped drivetrain, the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup will take to the starting line on the world’s race tracks beginning in 2017. The rear of the world’s most-produced GT racing car now houses a 4-liter, six-cylinder flat engine for increased power. Thanks to thoroughbred motorsport technology, the compact engine with direct fuel injection delivers peak performance of 485 hp (357 kW).

A range of innovative details also improves efficiency in addition to engine performance, ensuring even better durability of the naturally aspirated engine in racing mode and reduced maintenance costs. A new valve drive with rigidly mounted rocker arms and a central oil feed is being used for the very first time. What’s more, an integrated oil centrifuge is used to optimize oil de-foaming in the engine. A crankshaft with significantly increased rigidity has also been installed.

A new front apron and rear end improve the downforce of the 2017 911 GT3 Cup and therefore enhance traction and performance. The prominent 72.44-inch (184-centimeter) wide rear wing has been retained from the previous model. The wheel dimensions are also unchanged: One-piece 18-inch racing rims with a central locking mechanism are used – with 10.63-inch (270-millimeter) Yokohama racing slicks on the front axle, and a massive 12.2-inch (310-millimeter) tread on the rear axle. The intelligent aluminum-steel composite construction ensures maximum rigidity and a lightweight body. The new 911 GT3 Cup is ready to race weighing in at just 2,645.5 pounds (1200 kilograms).

The engineers have also once again focused specifically on driver safety during development. The driver is protected by a solid safety cage and an innovative, bucket-style racing seat that is molded particularly heavily around the head and shoulder area. The enlarged rescue hatch in the roof, in line with the latest FIA standard, makes it easier to provide initial treatment and recovery following an accident.

Porsche manufactures the 911 GT3 Cup on the same production line as the 911 road car in its main plant in Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen. The basic race tuning is performed at the Weissach motorsport center, also in Germany, where vehicles are thoroughly tested by a professional race driver prior to delivery to the customer. Some 3031 units of the 911 GT3 Cup have been built in the type 996, 997 and 991 model lines since 1998. This makes the brand cup racing car from Stuttgart the most-produced and most-sold GT racing car in the world.

North America joins the Porsche Mobil1 Supercup and Porsche Carrera Cup Germany as the only markets worldwide to receive the newest Cup car for its customer base in the new season. In total, Porsche is organizing 20 of these race series for customer teams around the world, with the 911 GT3 Cup being used exclusively.
North American testing will begin in February at Sebring International Raceway during the official IMSA test for GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama.

Jens Walther, president/CEO, Porsche Motorsport North America.
“It is a nervous but exciting time whenever you introduce a new car. To be bringing to market a car with such a far-reaching impact, one destined to likely become the most produced racecar in the world, it is even important that we put the car in the hands of the teams as early as possible. This is the earliest that Porsche has delivered the 911 GT3 Cup to our customer teams in North America. We are confident these first 20 cars will be well sorted for the GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama season opening round in March at Sebring and then the Ultra 94 GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama opener in the spring.”

Carlos de Quesada, Driver/ Owner, Alegra Motorsports.
“We were very excited to see the car in Atlanta [Editor: At the 2017 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup launch in October, 2016]. The extension of the engine and gearbox life made a huge difference for us. It helped us make the decision to go-ahead and purchase the car for Michael (de Quesada). He won the Gold class championship in 2016 so the next step is Platinum Cup. We are very excited to take delivery of delivery of the new 911 GT3 Cup car and give Michael the opportunity to start testing in it. The first step will probably be at Sebring.”

Moore Announcements. Moorespeed Names Drivers for 2017 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge.
Moorespeed will return to a two-car IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama operation in 2017 with Corey Fergus joining third-year Moorespeed driver Will Hardeman for full-season Platinum Cup campaigns.

Fergus, who comes to Moorespeed with the backing of Ohio-based dealership Byers Porsche, was a regular podium contender in last year’s Pirelli World Challenge Porsche GT3 Cup season, which followed his 2015 championship-winning season in the World Challenge Touring Car class.

Hardeman will benefit from a teammate under the Moorespeed tent for the first time in two seasons. Despite Moorespeed being the only single-car Platinum Cup team in GT3 Cup last year, Hardeman improved throughout the season, closing out 2016 with career-best performances in each of the last two races and a top-10 showing in the Mobil 1 Supercup race at Circuit of The Americas (COTA). Fergus spent the better part of last year learning the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car, finally seeing things click in the season-ending Pirelli World Challenge race at Laguna Seca with a GT Cup class victory.

Both drivers will compete in brand new generation Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars first debuted last October and having their first customer testing laps at Sebring International Raceway in February. The first of the new cars arrived at the Moorespeed shop near Austin, Texas, between Christmas and the New Year. Moorespeed was among the first teams to receive the latest GT3 Cup racecar from the initial allocation.

David Moore, president, Moorespeed.
“Our entire organization is pumped to have two really strong drivers teamed together in our IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama racing program for 2017. This will be Will’s third year in IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup with us and Corey’s first, however, he is no rookie, coming over from Pirelli World Challenge and the GT3 Cup class there. Having two good drivers will be a big help to each as we truly work as a team at Moorespeed. We will be sharing everything with a common goal of putting both our guys up front. I think everyone saw the result of that philosophy at the finale of Supercup in October when Will and Alec Udell teamed up and both finished in the top 10. It’s how we roll.

I know both Corey and Will want to make a serious run at the championship for 2017. That will be our goal, and like any strong two car team, we will go forward with both but with no team orders except for only to not take each other out. I see no reason why they can’t pursue this goal and realistically shoot for a one-two in the championship. It is not going to be easy, so I have to stress the hard work, but it will be a great challenge, one that all of us are willing to take head on.”

Corey Fergus, driver, Moorespeed Porsche 911 GT3 Cup Challenge.
“I’ve always respected the Moorespeed program. We’ve talked before about trying to race together, but we were never able to make anything work. With the help of my friends and sponsors, we were finally able to put a deal together for 2017. We are all so excited for what’s to come.

2016 prepped me well for 2017. There are some very good drivers lined up already for Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge so it’s going to be an extremely competitive season. I’m ready for 2017, and with Moorespeed I should have a very good shot at being a contender in the championship hunt.”

Porsche Entries at Daytona International Speedway.

Total Car Count. 15 Porsche Motorsport-produced cars are competing at Daytona for the Roar Before the 24 test weekend.

IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

Total Car Count: Seven (7) Porsche entries will be competing in the Petit Le Mans IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

GTLM Class – Two (2) Porsche 911 RSR.

No. 911 Porsche GT Team

Patrick Pilet (France)/ Dirk Werner (Germany)/ Frédéric Makowiecki (France)

No. 912 Porsche GT Team

Kévin Estre (France)/ Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium)/ Richard Lietz (Austria)

GTD Class – Five (5) Porsche 911 GT3 R.

No. 28 Alegra Motorsports

Daniel Morad (Canada)/ Jesse Lazare (Canada)/ Michael de Quesada (Tampa, Florida) / Carlos de Quesada (Tampa, Florida)

No. 54 CORE autosport

Patrick Long (Manhattan Beach, California)/ Nic Jönsson (Buford, Georgia)/ Jon Bennett (Charlotte, North Carolina)/ Colin Braun (Harrisburg, North Carolina)

No. 59 Manthey Racing

Harald Proczyk (Austria)/ Steve Smith (Switzerland)/ Nils Reimer (Germany)/ Reinhold Renger (Germany)

No. 73 Park Place Motorsports

Jörg Bergmeister (Germany)/ Patrick Lindsey (Santa Barbara, California)/ Matthew McMurry (Phoenix, Arizona)

No. 991 TRG

Wolf Henzler (Germany)/ Jan Heylen (Belgium)/ Derek DeBoer (Ashland, Oregon)/ Santiago Creel (Mexico)/ Pablo Sánchez (Mexico).

IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge.
Total Car Count: Eight (8) official Porsche entries will be competing in the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge at Daytona.

GS Class – Eight (8) Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR.

No. 4 Team TGM

Ted Giovanis (Highland, Maryland)/ Guy Cosmo (Palm Beach Gardens, Florida)

No. 11 GMG Racing

Clark Toppe (The Woodlands, Texas)/ TBA

No. 12 Bodymotion Racing

Cameron Cassels (Canada)/ TBA

No. 21 Muehlner Motorsports America

Cameron Lawrence (Windemere, Florida)/ TBA

No. 28 RS1

Dylan Murcott (Ancram, New York)/ Dillon Machavern (Burlington, Vermont)

No. 38 BGB Motorsports

James Cox (Nokomis, Florida)/ John Tecce (Gladwyne, Pennsylvania

No. 46 TeamTGM

Ted Giovanis (Highland, Maryland)/ Guy Cosmo (Palm Beach Gardens, Florida)

No. 88 GMG Racing

Clark Toppe (The Woodlands, Texas)/ TBA

Source. Porsche

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