• Porsche Carrera Cup North America to Debut in 2021. • 2021 Porsche Carrera Cup North America Schedule. • Mead Honored for as Top Rookie. Pikes Peak International Hill Climb Names Kathryn Mead Rookie of the Year. • Porsche Podium. Wright Motorsports Earns Second-Straight IMSA Third-Place. • Sweeping Mid-Ohio. Kingsley Extends Points Lead in GT3 Cup Challenge USA After Three Wins.
Event Story Lines.
Porsche Carrera Cup North America to Debut in 2021
30-years in the making, the Porsche Carrera Cup North America is scheduled to debut in 2021. The premier one-make race series in the United States and Canada will utilize a combination of the latest yet-to-be-unveiled Porsche 911 GT3 Cup race car 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), will manage the single-driver per-entry series. The International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) will act as official sanctioning body as well as manage scrutineering and steward on-track activity. Opening its season in March 2021 at Sebring International Raceway, the Porsche Carrera Cup North America will take its place as the pinnacle of one-make cup championships on the Porsche Motorsport Pyramid in North America. Brian Blocker of PMNA has been named the Series Manager by Dr. Daniel Armbruster, CEO & president, PMNA.
The inaugural season of the championship will host 16-rounds at eight venues in the eastern United States and Canada. Each 45-minute race will count toward a season-long driver and team championship in each of three classes: Pro, Pro-Am and Rookie. All drivers can contend for Pro class victories but must utilize the newest Porsche 911 GT3 Cup race car to do so. The Pro-Am class is eligible for “Gentlemen” drivers – a driver who does not make a primary profession of automobile racing. A driver in the Pro-Am category may use the newest machine or the previous generation. The Rookie class is only open to drivers who are 23-years-old or younger. All drivers age 23 and under enjoy the additional benefit of inclusion in the Porsche Carrera Cup North America Junior program. As a Junior, drivers receive valuable training tools for those wishing to make a career of professional motorsport. A driver will be selected from the Porsche Carrera Cup North America Junior program to represent the region in the annual Porsche Junior Shootout in Germany at the end of the year. The Team Championship is eligible for full season entries running the current generation race car.
The Porsche Carrera Cup North America joins the 21 Porsche one-make championships competing in 31 countries on five continents. It becomes the tenth Carrera Cup worldwide. Each race will enjoy live streaming accessible through the IMSA app and Porsche Motorsport North America web page (www.PorscheCarreraCup.us). Additional broadcasting and production plans are being finalized and will be communicated in the coming weeks.
The original Carrera Cup concept was founded in 1990 with the Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland (Germany). One year later, France had its own one-make championship. By 1993, with the opportunity to race from within the Formula 1 paddock, Porsche Supercup was created. The Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup remains the highest single make series globally utilizing the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup race car. A fourth Carrera Cup was added in 2001 when Japan began its own series. 2003 saw further growth of the concept with the addition of Great Britain, Australia and an overall Asia championship coming online. One year later, Carrera Cup Scandinavia was added into the mix while Brazil and Italy debuted the following two years. Since 2007, those nine regional Carrera Cups have been part of the global Porsche Motorsport Pyramid funneling the very best of their champions to Porsche Mobil Supercup and into professional sports car and GT racing.
With the addition of Michelin tires, the Porsche Carrera Cup North America stays in lock-step with Carrera Cups run around the globe, each of which utilizes the official Porsche Motorsport partner to support safe, competitive and consistent racing. Michelin and Porsche have enjoyed a successful partnership in both motorsports and production vehicles for decades, with the French premium tire brand and the German sports car manufacturer working hand-in-hand since 1961. It is a partnership that has repeatedly produced sensational supercars, championship seasons and world record lap times in both race car and production cars. In North American motorsports, Michelin has partnered with Porsche in more than 120 sports car racing wins.
Porsche Motorsport North America (PMNA), founded in 1985, is the only authorized sales, parts and service provider in the United States and Canada for all purpose-built Porsche race cars including the 911 GT3 R, 911 GT3 Cup, Cayman 718 GT4 Clubsport, 911 GT2 RS Clubsport and 935-19. PMNA provides engine and transmission servicing, on-site race support and restoration services for historic Porsche race cars. A wholly-owned subsidiary of Porsche AG, PMNA is headquartered in 15,000 square feet of the Porsche Experience Center Los Angeles.
Dr. Daniel Armbruster, President/CEO, Porsche Motorsport North America.
“For those aware of the Carrera Cup tradition worldwide, they will understand that this is a new and unique series to anything we have ever had in North America. Carrera Cup is the ultimate regional step in the one-make championships globally. While we have always run our Cup Challenge program at the highest level possible, and closely on par with any Carrera Cup, the Porsche Carrera Cup North America provides us the opportunity to present an even greater product to our customer and to racing fans.
We are very excited and very pleased to continue our partnership with IMSA, who has proven so vital to the growth of Porsche one-make racing. Through the addition of Michelin as our tire partner, we bring in a longtime associate of Porsche Motorsport and now completely align Porsche Carrera Cup North America with the other nine championships worldwide. We will have several more exciting additions to announce in the coming months. For now, we could not be more pleased with the future for Porsche Motorsport here on this continent and for what the Porsche Carrera Cup North America means to the global racing scene. We look forward to this next chapter starting at Sebring, 2021.”
John Doonan, President/CEO, International Motor Sports Association.
“Many aspiring sports car racers in other parts of the world have used the Porsche Carrera Cup as a springboard to a professional career in sports car racing. IMSA is proud to open the next chapter in our decades-long partnership with Porsche Motorsport North America, to bring this opportunity here to the U.S. and Canada next year with the launch of Porsche Carrera Cup North America. Competition in other Carrera Cup races is fierce, and I have no doubt this series will bring that same level of entertainment to race fans on this continent.”
Brian Blocker, Series Manager, Porsche Carrera Cup North America.
“Our goal with Porsche Carrera Cup North America is to create a customer racing series that truly addresses the needs of the market. We want to create a new championship that is in the best interest of those who compete in it, aspire to it and watch it; not a rebranding of what we had nor a plug-and-play to what other regions around the world do. North America is a unique market with opportunities and potential that others do not enjoy. We will hold and honor the best traditions of Carrera Cup globally, but we will also think outside of the box to create a new and unique type of experience for our competitors and fans. As an example, we have developed a working relationship with Patrick Long and the team at Luftgekühlt to bring an innovative new design and feel to the paddock, and to create an immersive Porsche-branded atmosphere celebrating the past, present and future of Porsche Motorsport. We are collectively exploring different ideas to improve the series from a real racer’s perspective and to highlight and bring attention to the personalities and the teams that put in a massive amount of work behind the scenes to make it all come together.
We spent a lot of time talking with all of our partners: teams, drivers, marketing partners, suppliers and IMSA, over the last several years and particularly during the downtime earlier in the spring. The goal is to develop a series that meets the goals of everyone involved. We have taken that feedback and implemented it into what you will see on track for the first time at Sebring, March 2021.”
Tony Ménard, Motorsport Director, Michelin North America.
“Michelin has enjoyed a six-decade partnership with Porsche Motorsport that has defined the track-to-street programs that companies strive for. The addition of the Porsche Carrera Cup in North America is another thread in the fabric of the global customer racing partnership between the companies.”
2021 Porsche Carrera Cup North America Schedule (provisional)
Date - Event/Venue
March 17 – 20 - Sebring International Raceway
May 20 – 23 - Canadian Tire Motorsport Park
June 24 – 27 - Watkins Glen International
July - Toronto Indy
August 6 – 8 - Road America
Aug. 20 –22 - VIRginia International Raceway
September - TBA
Oct. 6 – 9 - Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta
Mead Honored for as Top Rookie. Pikes Peak International Hill Climb Names Kathryn Mead Rookie of the Year.
The 98th running of the Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, brought to you by Gran Turismo, welcomed only one female competitor, Kathryn Mead, to the field in the Porsche Pikes Peak Trophy by Yokohama Division. Behind the wheel of a 2019 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport, Mead finished in third-place in the division with a time of eleven-minutes, 36.345-seconds which was cause for celebration at the summit. Mead’s biggest goal was just to get to the top and have a clean run and did she ever. Laying down the quickest time of all rookies on the mountain Mead earned 2020 Rookie of the Year honors.
When asked about the best part of her experience on Pikes Peak this year Mead recalled, “If I had to choose one thing, it was race day and the feeling I had when I crossed the finish line. Without the hard work to get there, it would not have felt so rewarding.”
Racing as a rookie in anything is tricky but being a rookie at the “Race to the Clouds” provides an added level of difficulty. Luckily for all the newbies to the mountain, the world of hill climbing is a welcoming community with many drivers willing to offer advice to first-time racers. Mead says the best advice she received was from Pikes Peak Hill Climb Hall of Fame driver, Jeff Zwart, “He coached me in practice and told me to always leave time on the table in each practice run so I could learn and get faster each session. He also emphasized that you race the mountain, not the other competitors.”
Mead’s racing career began in 2016, however the first time she heard of the mountain itself when she was an active runner and heard about the Pikes Peak Ascent and Marathon. When she began auto racing and learned about the opportunity to run the mountain on four tires instead of her own two feet, it seemed totally crazy and not something she would do. Yet, sometimes things just work out, and when the Porsche division was created and her car fit the profile, she knew she had to go for it. Her original plan to visit Pikes Peak in early April to check out the course and the mountain had to be scrapped due to the pandemic. She had practiced in a driving simulator and spent hours watching onboard videos in her hometown of Austin, Texas but it was not until early August that she actually experienced the race course in person.
Not only did she compete, but Mead designed the wrap for her race car. She stated, “With so many things outside my control, the one thing I could control was how this car looked. I think it looks happy. Every time I get behind the wheel, I know it makes me happy.” Mead was happy to finish, happy to capture third in her division and happy to be named Rookie of the Year on Pikes Peak – America’s Mountain. “My goal was to get to the summit on race day. Getting a trophy for fastest rookie was the cherry on top. Beyond that, it would take too long to explain. It was about more than just racing.”
Mead is already making plans to return for the 99th running on June 27, 2021.
Porsche Podium. Wright Motorsports Earns Second-Straight IMSA Third-Place.
A trying week for Porsche Motorsport concluded on an upbeat with a podium finish at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Customer team Wright Motorsports earned a third-place finish in the highly competitive GTD class of the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship on Sunday, September 27 at the Lexington, Ohio-area track. Following the withdrawal of the Porsche GT Team on Tuesday, September 22, out of an abundance of caution as a result of Covid-19 tests among the team members that attended Le Mans, the No. 16 Wright Motorsports-entered Porsche 911 GT3 R shared by Patrick Long (Manhattan Beach, California) and Ryan Hardwick (Atlanta, Georgia) was the sole Porsche entry in North America’s premier sports car series. A keen pit strategy coupled with a smart run by Hardwick to open the two-hour, 40-minute race followed by a dynamic drive by Long in the closing stages garnered the Batavia, Ohio-based race team a third-place finish in the Pro-Am style class. It was the second-consecutive podium result of the season for the John Wright-owned program and puts them in contention for the class points championship.
On the shoulders of the longtime privateer-focused commitment of Porsche, the entry of the No. 16 continued an unprecedented streak by the German sports car maker as the only manufacturer to enter every IMSA sports car race ever run.
The WeatherTech SportsCar Championship will next compete with a GT-only race (GTLM and GTD class cars) at the Charlotte Motor Speedway “Roval” on October 10. The factory Porsche GT Team is slated to return to competition with its full range of regular-season drivers in the No. 911 (Nick Tandy/Fred Makowiecki) and No. 912 (Earl Bamber/Laurens Vanthoor) after COVID concerns kept the team from racing at Mid-Ohio. The Wright Motorsports entry will challenge for three-straight podiums and its first win of the season at Charlotte in the 100-minute race on the NASCAR Cup weekend.
Patrick Long, Driver, No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.
“It's fantastic to back up Road Atlanta with another podium position. I feel like we're just finding our stride as a group. Continuing to back-up these results will yield well for the remainder of the year. We had a little more adversity today than we may have wanted, but the yellows came our way we had the pace to fight at the end.”
Ryan Hardwick, Driver, No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.
“One podium is great but two podiums in a row is even better! It felt really, really good to earn our second consecutive podium finish at the home track for Wright Motorsports. My teammate, Patrick Long, drove an amazing double stint to bring us home in third, and our pit crew was absolutely perfect all day. Our strategy was spot-on after getting dropped back a little at the start, and it’s just another example of how racing at this level is such a team sport.”
Sweeping Mid-Ohio. Kingsley Extends Points Lead in GT3 Cup Challenge USA After Three Wins.
By virtue of three victories in three races, IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama Jeff Kingsley (Canada) has extended his lead in the Porsche one-make series. Kingsley’s No. 16 Kelly-Moss Road & Race Porsche 911 GT3 Cup race car bettered his nearest Platinum class rival Riley Dickinson (New Braunfels, Texas) in all three of the 45-minute races held at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio. Despite Dickinson placing the No. 53 Moorespeed Porsche on the pole position for the three events – two held on Saturday September 26 and one the morning of Sunday, September 27 – the 2020 IMSA Hurley Haywood Scholarship winner was not able to fend-off the Canadian at the green flags. The two had a spirited competition each race out but the three-peat padded Kingsley’s championship points lead by 22 markers of Dickinson.
The IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge by Yokohama returns to his traditional two-race per weekend format at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta, October 15 – 16.
Porsche GT Team (North America). @PorscheNARacing
Porsche Motorsport – GT Cars. @PorscheRaces
Porsche Racing. @PorscheTeam
Porsche Motorsport North America. @PorscheMotorsportNorthAmerica (Instagram)
Porsche Formula E. @PorscheFormulaE (Twitter)
@porsche.formulae (Instagram) Porsche Newsroom. @PorscheNewsroom (Twitter)
Porsche 99X Electric. #99XElectric
Porsche 911 RSR. #911RSR
Porsche 911 GT3 R. #911GT3R
Porsche 911 GT3 Cup. #911Cup
Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport. #GT4Clubsport
Porsche 935. #Porsche935
Porsche 911 GT2 RS Clubsport. #GT2RSClubsport
Series Hashtags and Handles.
GT3 Cup Challenge USA. #GT3USA
GT3 Cup Challenge Canada. #GT3Canada
Porsche Sprint Trophy USA West. @PorscheSprintTrophyUSAWest (Instagram)
SRO America @SROAmerica
SRO GT4 America #GT4America
FIA World Endurance Championship. @FIAWEC
Intercontinental GT Challenge. @IntercontGTC
FIA ABB Formula E Championship. @FIAFormulaE
*Photo courtesy of Porsche