Porsche customer teams take on GT competition at CTMP

Preview, IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, Race 7, Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada

* Porsche focused on GT racing at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park
* Two Porsche 911 GT3 R customer cars on IMSA entry list
* AO Racing defends class points lead in GTD Pro First of two races in 2024
* IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship to exclude GTP class

The focus of Porsche Motorsport for Sunday’s Grand Prix at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park is on the GTD classes of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. For the first of two times this season, the feature event will not include the overall GTP class for LMDh hybrid prototypes like the Porsche 963. Instead, the two-hour, 40-minute race will highlight the GTD Pro and GTD classes as well as the LMP2 class. Without the Porsche factory team or pair of Porsche customer 963 racers entered at the ultra-quick Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada race course, two Porsche 911 GT3 R race cars will represent the German sports car manufacturer at the legendary Canadian facility.

Atlanta. Its only trip outside of the United States is also the first of two rounds for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship without the world’s fastest sports cars. As will take place later this summer at VIRginia International Raceway, the LMDh cars that make up the GTP class will not be on the card at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (CTMP). Instead, the Grand Prix at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park will feature the world’s most competitive classes of GT3-spec race cars: the GTD Pro and GTD classes including the celebrated Porsche 911 GT3 R. In addition to the two classes for road car style machinery, the LMP2 class cars will represent the purpose-designed prototype style racers. The entry list features two Porsche 911 GT3 R customer cars, one each in the GTD Pro class (the No. 77 AO Racing “Rexy” entry) and in the GTD class (the No. 86 High Class Racing Porsche). The race held in Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada will take the green flag at 11:05 a.m. EST, 8:05 a.m. PST, on Sunday, July 14.

“The weekends where the majority of the focus is on the GT3 cars are always special events for us,” offers Volker Holzmeyer, president and CEO of Porsche Motorsport North America. “GT racing is the heart of Porsche racing. It is where we got our start, it is how we made our name and it is where we draw from when we develop future generations of Porsche 911 road cars. When you put that together with a legendary track like Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, it offers an exciting opportunity to appreciate the intense competitiveness of the GTD classes.”

The entries.
Two Porsche 911 GT3 R customer cars are on the 34-car entry list for Sunday’s two-hour, 40-minute showdown at the track historically known as “Mosport.” In the GTD Pro class, AO Racing’s No. 77 “Rexy” entry comes to Canada holding the top spot of the class Team championship. 2021 Porsche Carrera Cup North America champion Seb Priaulx (United Kingdom) and former Porsche Junior Laurin Heinrich (Germany) have raced to the top of the Driver standings with five races remaining in the season. The pairing holds the top spot by virtue of two race wins this season in the popular dinosaur liveried Porsche 911. The German marque leads the Manufacturer standings in the GTD Pro class with a 50-point margin over Lexus.

With identical cars to those in the GTD Pro class but with Pro-Am style driver pairings, interclass battles are expected between the GT classes on the fast circuit that demands courage and precision. In the GTD class, a single Porsche 911 GT3 R is included in the 14-car field. High Class Racing continues its inaugural IMSA season with the No. 86 for drivers Andrea Fjordbach (Denmark) and Kerong Li (China) in the normally aspirated Porsche. The veteran European team may be new to the continent, but they have been able to put their drivers, both ranked as “silvers”, into the top 15 after five rounds.

The race.
Wickedly quick, the 2.459 mile, 10-turn road course carved into the elevation changes north of Toronto has been both a nemesis and a name maker for drivers since its founding in the early 1960s. It was Canadian racing legend Ludwig Heimrath, Sr. who christened the track in 1961 winning the first sports car race held at CTMP (then Mosport Park) in a Porsche 718 RS60. He followed with a second win later than summer. The most successful endurance racer America has ever produced, Hurley Haywood, followed in 1975 winning the first IMSA round held at CTMP sharing a Porsche 911 RSR with G.W. Dickinson. From 2002 – 2005 Porsche won four-consecutive GT class races with 911 GT3-based race cars and the streak continued in 2006 and 2007 when Porsche and Team Penske teamed for back-to-back class wins with the RS Spyder in 2006 and 2007. The last overall Porsche win at CTMP came in 2010 when Romain Dumas and Lucas Luhr drove the Porsche RS Spyder Evo to victory lane. Porsche factory drivers Mathieu Jaminet (France) and Matt Campbell (Australia) took the most recent Porsche class win at CTMP when they drove a Porsche 911 GT3 R to a GTD Pro victory in 2022.

With 18 victories at CTMP including eight overall race wins since 1975, Porsche holds the manufacturer records for most trips to victory lane.

The race will air live on USA Network beginning on Sunday, July 14 at 11:00 a.m. EST/8:00 a.m. PST. Flag-to-flag coverage will stream on Peacock while IMSA Radio will have the full race as well as post-race highlights live at IMSA.com, RadioLeMans.com and on Sirius XM channel 206 (Web/App channel 996).

Laurin Heinrich, Driver, No. 77 AO Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R.
“I’m really looking forward to my first-ever race in Canada. I’ve never been to Canadian Tire Motorsport Park and I’ve only heard great things about it. I’m excited to experience the high-speed corners with Rexy and Seb.

We’re still leading the championship, which is great. We’re entering the second half of the season now, so things are getting a bit more serious and tight in the championship fight. We hope to possibly extend our championship lead again. The competition is fierce, and it won’t be easy, but I think the fast and flowing corners of the track should suit our car quite well. We have a long back straight, which makes things difficult for us, but we keep fighting. Up until now, we’ve done a flawless job on track and in the pits, thanks to the crew. They’ve done a great job so far, and that’s the reason why we are up there in the point stands right now.”

An overview of the drivers and teams
GTD-Pro class (Porsche 911 GT3 R)

AO Racing No. 77: Laurin Heinrich (Germany) / Sebastian Priaulx (United Kingdom)

GTD class (Porsche 911 GT3 R)
High Class Racing / MDK Motorsports (No. 86); Anders Fjordbach (Denmark) / Kerong Li (China)

The schedule (local time, EST)
Friday, July 12

1:45 – 3:15 p.m. – Free practice 1

Saturday, July 13
10:35 – 12:05 p.m. – Free practice 2
4:00 – 4:15 p.m. – Qualifying: GTD Pro / GTD

Sunday, June 23
11:05 a.m. – 1:45 p.m. – Race: Two Hours, 40-minutes

  • Image courtesy of Porsche.