Following the first of two days of open testing, the verdict on the new Porsche 911 GT3 Cup race car is back. The decision: it is fast, comfortable and ready to race. Making its international customer debut today at Sebring International Raceway, the first race car produced on the type 992 chassis, turned 420 laps (1,571-miles) of testing across 19 cars. 20-year-old Sebastian Priaulx (Great Britain) was the quickest of the drivers on the venerable 17-turn circuit in central Florida with a best time of 2:00.870. The lap was a half-second quicker than his nearest rival, Kelly-Moss Road & Race teammate Kay van Berlo (Netherlands). Riley Dickinson (New Braunfels, Texas) was third-quickest in the No. 3 Team Hardpoint-EBM Porsche 911 GT3 Cup race car in Day One testing. In total, 28 Porsche-built race cars turned laps at Sebring in preparation for the March 18 – 19 series debut of the Porsche Carrera Cup North America to be held the same weekend as the 69th Running of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.
Earmarked as the top contender in Porsche one-make race series around the world, North American entrants received the first 23 examples of the model year 2021 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup race cars produced. Ten of the 4.0 litre, naturally aspirated flat-six engine-powered machines were entered in the Pro class – for professional drivers – while an additional nine were entered in the Pro-Am class for drivers who make their primary living outside of racing. The top-four best times on Monday were turned in Pro entries with Leh Keen (Dublin, Georgia) making his competition return turning a 2:03.647 in the No. 311RS Motorsports Porsche. Three additional Pro class cars are expected to turn their first laps on Tuesday. Two of the new cars were not present for the first test.
It was Alan Metni (Austin, Texas) who broke into the top-five overall with the quickest Pro-Am lap in the No. 99 Kelly-Moss Road & Race Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car with a time of 2:04.549. Efrin Castro (Palisades Park, New Jersey) was second in the Pro-Am class, tenth-overall, in the No. 10 Team Hardpoint-EBM entry.
Nine previous generation Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars – type 991.2 – also lapped the circuit in preparation for the twin, 45-minute races to be run next week. The No. 55 Goldcrest Motorsports Porsche driven by Matt Halcome was the quickest in the Pro-Am 991 class with a time of 2:05.214. Halcome’s time was two-seconds quicker than the pole position time set in a Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car at Sebring in November 2020.
Announced on September 25, 2020, Porsche Carrera Cup North America was 30-years in the making. The premier one-make race series in the United States and Canada utilizes a combination of the latest Porsche 911 GT3 Cup race car, type 992, and MICHELIN® Pilot® Sport Cup N3 racing slick to challenge the best road and street race courses on the continent. As with all national Carrera Cups worldwide, Porsche, through Porsche Motorsport North America (PMNA), manages the single-driver per-entry series.
The inaugural season of the championship will host 16-rounds at eight venues in the eastern United States and Canada. Each 45-minute race counts toward a season-long driver and team championship in each of three classes: Pro, Pro-Am and Pro-Am 991.
Each race will enjoy live streaming accessible through the IMSA app and Porsche Motorsport North America web page (www.PorscheCarreraCup.us).
Daniel Armbruster, President & CEO, Porsche Motorsport North America
“We could not be more pleased with how the first day of the Porsche Carrera Cup North America went. It is testimony to the PMNA team. Additionally, the customer debut of the new Porsche 911 GT3 Cup race car was equally successful. The cars were immediately fast and the teams and drivers showed how professional they are by finding speed right from the start. We still have one full day of testing and I expect each team will leave fully ready to make the car’s competition premiere here next week. We have every expectation that Porsche Carrera Cup North America will prove equal to any Carrera Cup around the world.”
Team TGM Enters Porsche Carrera Cup North America
Team TGM has announced that it will expand its footprint in Porsche Motorsport with the addition of a Porsche Carrera Cup North America entry in Rounds 1 and 2 of the new one-make series. Ted Giovanis (Highland, Maryland) will pilot a Porsche 911 GT3 Cup race car (type 991.2) in the Pro-Am 991 class of the series at the season-opening races at Sebring International Raceway on March 18 and 19. The entry into the first-year championship adds to the Porsche 911 GT3 R in the team’s stable. Giovanis, joined by Owen Trinkler, Hugh Plumb and Matt Plumb, competed at the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season-opener with the Porsche 911 GT3 R in the GTD class. Additionally, the owner/driver campaigns the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car in the International GT Mission Foods GT3 Cup, a series in which he is the 2020 Champion.
Ted Giovanis, Team Principal/Driver, Team TGM Porsche 911 GT3 Cup
“This is an opportunity for me to continue to compete in a Porsche in IMSA competition which I also race in International GT events. The Porsche is a car that I enjoy driving, and I like the idea of the Porsche Carrera Cup North America single-make racing. It’s a unique challenge for drivers to navigate heavy race traffic in similar cars and handle the bumps that Sebring is famous for. I look forward to racing in the Carrera Cup and bringing more hands-on experience which can benefit the entire team.”