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2021/03/01 | Motorsports | Press Release

Porsche Motorsport Weekly Event Notes: Monday, March 1, 2021

This Week.
  • Porsche Junior. Young Racers in North America Have New Program to Advance Career.
  • Second Generation. Dylan Murry Follows Father David’s Footsteps into Porsche .
  • U.S. Esports Victory. Californian DeJong Wins in Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup at Montreal.
  • Starting Spark. Porsche Scores Points and Important Insights at Formula E Season-Opener.
  • SRO Sonoma. New and Old Return for Start of 2021 GT3 and GT4 Race Seasons.

    Porsche Junior. Young Racers in North America Have New Program to Advance Career.
    Porsche, in North America and around the world, has long been a supporter of young driver talent. The German sports car manufacturer was among the first to recognize the benefit of nurturing up-and-coming drivers with useful skills for on the track and off. Once placed with privateer and factory race teams, these young pilots learned “on the job” from the best of the “works” pilots. They gained skills not only in driving and team interaction firsthand from the veterans but also had the opportunity to watch interactions with the media, marketing partner and fans. In time, Porsche formalized the technique by creating the Porsche Junior Programme where a more academic approach was taken. With the introduction of the Porsche Carrera Cup North America in 2021, Porsche has moved the bar forward with a dedicated program to support drivers 24-years-old and younger within the new one-make championship: the Porsche Junior Program North America.

    Officially introduced to participants on February 22 by Porsche Motorsport North America (PMNA) president and CEO Dr. Daniel Armbruster, the North American adaptation of the longstanding Porsche Junior Programme provides assets to build racecraft as well as engineering, marketing and media skillsets. Other physical assets include a Stand21 Porsche Carrera Cup North America-branded firesuit. As the ultimate prize, one driver will be selected to represent the North American region at the annual Porsche Junior Shootout in Germany. While North American drivers have been given “wild card” slots in the past, 2021 will mark the first year a spot will be guaranteed. Once at the Shootout, the Porsche Carrera Cup North America representative will have the opportunity to challenge for a seat as an official Porsche Junior and a partially funded ride in the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup for 2022.

    Seven drivers are currently entered to participate in the inaugural season of the Porsche Carrera Cup North America that meet the criteria to be considered part of the Porsche Junior Program North America.

    This is not the first foray into supporting young talent for the legendary company on the continent. Because of the intense competition, multiple opportunities and brand savoy marketplace, North America has long been a key training ground for drivers Porsche has earmarked for factory driver roles. Additionally, to help cultivate driver talent in the United States and Canada, Porsche Cars North America (PCNA) and Porsche Motorsport North America (PMNA) combined to create the Porsche Young Driver Academy (PYDA) in 2012. Until COVID-19 forced its closure – and with the creation of the Porsche Junior Program North America eventual replacement – in 2019, 33 drivers had graduated from the PYDA. Of the drivers who attended the three-day course held once a year at the Porsche Driving Experience facility at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama, 26 went on to become race and championship winners in significant high-level championships including in the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, SRO GT, Indy Lights and in NASCAR.

    The basic concepts of the PYDA created by North American Factory Driver Patrick Long (Manhattan Beach, California) and racing legend Hurley Haywood (St. Augustine, Florida) along with the PCNA Public Relations team, television and film media experts as well as mental and physical fitness specialists are being carried over in a new six module concept for the Porsche Junior Program. Drivers will have up to two hours of “class room” time on six different dates covering topics to build their value as drivers in and out of the cockpit. These range from branding, learning the new Porsche 911 GT3 Cup race car and MICHELIN® Pilot® Sport Cup N3 racing slicks, how to improve their data analysis and setup skills, mental focus and physical nutrition, how to take greatest benefit of driver coaching as well as training in media and marketing skills.

    Dr. Daniel Armbruster, President & CEO, Porsche Motorsport North America.
    “Developing young talent has always been important to Porsche. In 2012, we started the Porsche Young Driver Academy to help aspiring factory drivers in North America. We have wonderful talent here but there are so many options, so many places to race, it is hard to focus on this as the goal. As the only American factory driver, Patrick Long recognized the need and a way to help give drivers a fair opportunity at the Junior Shootout. Together with PMNA and PCNA, he and Hurley Haywood created such a curriculum to do this.

    COVID forced us to pause the Young Driver Academy but Carrera Cup North America has given us the chance to take what we learned there and make it even better through our new Porsche Junior Program North America. It is the best of PYDA mixed with the best of the Junior Programme in Germany in real world conditions. As an engineer, I see this as the perfect laboratory for these drivers to learn. We feel this, along with a full season in the new 911 GT3 Cup race car and on the same Michelin tires as the rest of the regions, will provide the driver selected to represent North America a much improved position from which to compete at the Shootout.”

    Generation Two. Dylan Murry Follows Father David’s Footsteps into Porsche.
    Dylan Murry, who made his IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship debut at the Rolex 24 at Daytona in January, has announced he will also compete in the Porsche Carrera Cup North America during the 2021 season. The Athens, Georgia-resident will pilot a new Porsche 911 GT3 Cup race car for BGB Motorsports during the inaugural season of the Porsche one-make series. The 20-year-old driver is the son of David Murry (Atlanta. Georgia) who raced as a Porsche factory driver at the 1998 24 Hours of Le Mans in the “works” Porsche LMP1-98.

    The younger Murry will be one of the more active drivers in the IMSA paddock this season. In addition to piloting the No. 38 BGB Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car, he will also be driving the Riley Motorsports Ligier JS P320 in the LMP3 class of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

    Dylan Murry is not new to the Porsche world. Murry made his IMSA debut in the Michelin Pilot Challenge series in 2018 sharing a Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR with his father. They were the first father-son combination to race in the series. In 2017, he finished in the top 10 in both NASCAR K&N Pro Series races that he competed in. He also has 12 overall championships to his credit in go karts as well as in the Pro Class Legends and Pro-Legends Winter Series at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

    Murry, who will contest the championship in the Pro class, will be part of the two-car team managed by John Tecce. Driving his traditional No. 69, Tom Collingwood (Canada) will campaign the season in the Pro-Am class as Murry’s teammate.

    The inaugural season of the Porsche Carrera Cup North America is scheduled for 16-rounds at eight venues in the eastern United States and Canada beginning at the legendary track in Sebring, Florida. Each weekend is scheduled for two, 45-minute races. Teams took delivery of 23 of the seventh-generation Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car on February 18 – 19. They, along with a contingent of sixth-generation type 991.2 machines who will comprise the Pro-Am 991 class, will have an open test at Sebring March 8 – 9. The first two races of the season will take place on March 18 and 19 during the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring weekend at the Sebring International Raceway.

    Dylan Murry, Driver, No. 38 BGB Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 Cup.
    “This is a tremendous opportunity. By racing in this series, I will also be part of the Porsche Carrera Cup North America Junior Program, which makes it that much more exciting. It’s a great feeling to be with Porsche, not only for what they have achieved, but through my dad’s history with them. To be able to continue the legacy with them will just be incredible. The name on the car will also be David Murry as a tribute to his long career with Porsche. Now, I just have to go out and perform as well as he did.”

    “This year will be all about development and learning even more detail about racing. I think racing in this single-make series will add an entire new dimension to my racing experience. It is going to be good, hard fighting all the way to the end of the season. Hopefully, I will be standing on the top step of the podium several times.”

    U.S. Esports Victory. Californian DeJong Wins in Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup at Montreal.
    Mitchell deJong (Temecula, California) piloted the Virtual Racing School Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car to victory in main race of the 2021 Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup on the simulated Montreal street circuit. In a gripping three-way battle on the virtual Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, the American came out on top against Kevin Ellis Jr. in the entry of the Ohio-based Rahal Letterman Lanigan Esports team and Tuomas Tähtelä (KOVA Esports) on Saturday, February 27. The victory was the first for the Porsche Young Driver Academy graduate in the global esports racing series run on iRacing’s simulation platform. The championship leader, Joshua Rogers (Australia), won the sprint race and scored a seventh-place finish in the main event. The results strengthened the 87-point lead he has over deJong in the season-long championship.

    The seventh event of the 2021 Porsche TAG Heuer ESports Supercup will be contested on March 13 on the virtual version of the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium. A six-lap sprint and a 12-lap main event as part of the popular esports racing series will be contested on the so-called “Ardennes rollercoaster” with its 21 corners over 4.35-miles.

    Mitchell deJong, Driver USA/Virtual Racing School Porsche 911 GT3 Cup Virtual.
    “Nothing really ran smoothly for me in practice, but then it did when it mattered. That was my first victory in the main race and it feels great. After the last event, we only had one week to prepare for the Montreal circuit. It’s a track that needs at least a couple of weeks of practice. My teammates helped me a lot with the setup and choosing the ideal racing line. Thanks a lot guys.”

    Kevin Ellis Jr., Driver, UK/Rahal Letterman Lanigan Esports Porsche 911 GT3 Cup Virtual.
    “I didn’t at all expect such a good result. The Circuit Gilles Villeneuve has never really suited me – the practice for today’s event underlined this. Then suddenly, and quite inexplicably, everything went well in the main race. We did a great job as a team and collected a lot of points. Now I’m looking forward to the remaining four races – especially on the Nordschleife.”

    Starting Spark. Porsche Scores Points and Important Insights at Formula E Season-Opener.
    Porsche kicked off its second Formula E season with two night races in the desert of Saudi Arabia. The world’s first fully-electric racing series celebrated its premiere as an official world championship on the demanding street circuit in Diriyah – and the TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team harvested points from both races. Pascal Wehrlein (Germany) achieved a strong fifth-place on Friday, February 26 at his debut race in the Porsche 99X Electric race car. In race two on Saturday, February 27, he finished in tenth-place. His teammate André Lotterer (Germany) concluded race 1 in 16th-place and race 2 on the Arabian Peninsula in 11th-place.

    The next race on the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship for the TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team is scheduled for April 10 in Rome, Italy.

    Amiel Lindesay, Head of Operations Formula E.
    “We took a bit of a risk when we let André start from the pit lane so that we could save some energy. Unfortunately, it didn’t quite work. Two full course yellows and the premature termination of the race didn’t help either. Still, there are many positives that we can take from this season-opening round, and some important insights that can help us progress. After a fantastic qualifying performance, Pascal started Friday’s race from the first grid row, and André Lotterer from the fourth grid row – that was a great team effort. Today didn’t go smoothly. The team did an outstanding job, and they rebuilt André’s car in time for the race. Such a race is like a puzzle, and for us today some of the pieces didn’t quite fit. Still, that doesn’t faze us. We know what we can do and we remain confident.“

    Pascal Wehrlein, Driver, No. 99 TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team Porsche 99X Electric.
    “All in all, that was a good start to the season for us. Above all, Friday’s great qualifying, a top-five placing in the race and the top-ten result today make me optimistic. Today was more difficult. When you drive among a bunch of cars that were strong in the first race, it’s not easy to get ahead. I tried everything and was a little too optimistic at one point – I was handed a drive-through penalty for the maneuver, and a better result wasn’t possible. Now we have to see how we can improve for the next race in Rome. I’m confident that we’ll return stronger.”

    André Lotterer, Driver, No. 36 , Driver, TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team Porsche 99X Electric.
    “It’s a pity that we couldn’t demonstrate how much progress we’ve made compared to the previous season. Unfortunately, this was a weekend to forget for me. Yesterday a screw in the tire, today an accident during free practice, so that I missed out on qualifying. A huge thank you to my crew for repairing my car in time for the race. Things can only get better in Rome.”

    SRO Sonoma. New and Old Return for Start of 2021 GT3 and GT4 Race Seasons.
    The 2021 SRO season in North America is staged to begin March 6 with GT3 and GT4 competition at Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, California. Porsche will be represented by 14 entries across the three major SRO race series. The German sports car manufacturer will compete in the GT World Challenge America and GT4 America SprintX series with the Porsche 911 GT3 R and Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport respectively. Both cars will compete in the new GT America series. The 2.51-mile, 12-turn race course in the “wine country” of California will play host to a total of six races – two for each series – on Saturday, March 6 and Sunday, March 7.

    GT World Challenge America.
    Wright Motorsports returns to the SRO carrying the sole banner for Porsche in the GT3-only, two-driver GT World Challenge America. At 90-minutes, the pair of races are the longest of the weekend and will see Fred Poordad and Jan Heylen (Belgium) contend for top-honors against a loaded field. The pairing raced together to close the 2020 season and looks to carry the lessons learned at the Indianapolis finale into the new season. Poordad came up through the Porsche Motorsport Pyramid with Wright and took the step into open competition with the 911 GT3 R in 2020 in the SRO GT class. Heylen has become the key player at all levels of Wright’s multi-pronged Porsche racing team including key driving roles in the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and Michelin Pilot Challenge as well as SRO.

    GT4 America SprintX.
    The largest grid scheduled to compete at Sonoma, the SRO GT4 America SprintX, has seven Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport race cars on the 32-car entry list. Two, 60-minute races will be run over the weekend with two drivers per car. A trio of the mid-engine, road car-based Porsche are entered by 2020 GT4 Champions NOLASPORT. Nolasport with OGH has Sean Gibbons now teamed with Sam Owens in the Am class in car No. 7. Russell Walker will lead the No. 46 car of the New Orleans-based race team with a co-driver yet to be announced. The third NOLASPORT-prepped machine, the No. 47, will see Matt Travis and Jason Hart back together in the Pro-Am class. Kevin Buckler’s The Racer’s Group (TRG), will have two Porsche race cars on the grid at its home track. The No. 17 of James Rappaport and Robert Orcutt will fight for Am class honors while the traditional No. 66 will see longtime Porsche expert and TRG driver Spencer Pumpelly team with veteran Derek DeBoer in Pro-Am class. Murillo Racing brings the all-female line-up of Porsche GTD class regular Christina Nielsen alongside Aurora Straus in the No. 43 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport of the Silver class. The final Porsche entered at Sonoma will carry the well-known No. 54 and colors of Black Swan Racing. Owner/driver Tim Pappas teams with Porsche specialist Jeroen Bleekemolen targeting the Pro-Am class victory in the season-opening weekend.

    SRO GT America.
    The newest series on the SRO landscape is the multi-class GT America category. Six Porsche-built race cars from both the GT3 and GT4-spec classes are entered. Of the Porsche 911 GT3 R race cars set to be on the grid in the 40-minute, single-driver format will be the No. 32 GMG Racing entry Kyle Washington and the No. 45 of Charlie Luck. Luck is making his GT3-debut after having followed the Porsche Motorsport Pyramid up the ranks with the Ohio-based race team owned by John Wright.

    The remaining four entries in the inaugural season of GT America are all Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport machines. NOLASPORT brings its expertise in preparing SRO GT4 machines to the new series with Jason Hart behind the wheel of the No. 49. Like Hart, Tim Pappas will play double-duty running in both the SRO GT America and GT4 America series. Pappas will be behind the wheel of his No. 54 Black Swan Racing machine. ST Racing will field the No. 69 for Dan Miller in his SRO debut. Also making its SRO first appearance at Sonoma is Premier Racing with the No. 120 of Adam Adelson. This is familiar territory to Premier Racing’s owner, Kent Moore. Moore is a three-time winner in World Challenge as crew chief of Porsche cars fielded by White Lightning Racing. In this role, the Las Vegas-based shop also oversaw the preparations for 24 Hours of Daytona and 24 Hours of Le Mans GT class titles. Adelson is making his first start in North America’s top sprint format GT racing series.

    Official test sessions for each category get underway on Thursday, March 4 in Sonoma with practice starting on Friday, March 5. Race 1 for GT4 America, World Challenge America and GT America will be run on Saturday, March 6 with Race 2 for each coming on Sunday, March 7.

    John Wright, Owner, Wright Motorsports.
    “It is great to be back for another year in SRO America. I’m proud of both Fred and Charlie for wanting to challenge themselves and continue their driver development with us. This will be an exciting season, and I can’t wait to get it started.”

    Fred Poordad, Driver, No. 20 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.
    “Following an interesting 2020 season with so many national and international distractions, as well as many eventful race weekends, the season ended on a positive note for the No. 20 Wright Motorsports Entry, winning the Am Championship. After what seemed like a short off season, which I spent resting and rehabilitating some nagging injuries, I am excited to enter the No. 20 car in the Pro/Am group, driving alongside Jan Heylen. I look forward to the hard work and challenges, as the 2021 season promises to be a competitive one in GT world challenge.”

    Jan, Heylen, Driver, No. 20 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.
    “It’s great to be back in SRO America. I love the SprintX formation and the hard battles that come along with it. I’m excited to be back in the car with Fred after a strong end of the season last year at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. I believe we have a strong package with Fred, Wright Motorsport and Porsche that will put us in a position to fight for the championship. Pre-season testing has been very promising, and I can’t wait to get to Sonoma to get the season started.”

    Charlie Luck, No. 45 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.
    “My hope is to get comfortable and competent in the GT3 R, and potentially consider an endurance race or two towards the end of the year, depending on how the season progresses. We know which cars will be on the grid this year, but we don’t know the names of all the competitors yet. There are always people you can trust to race close with, and when you enter into a new series, you have to figure out the competition. I look forward this new season.”

    Kent Moore, Team Principal, Premier Racing Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport.
    “We have been focusing on our road car and club racing programs in Las Vegas since I stepped away from professional racing. We had options before but nothing that really met our standard. However, when Adam came to me and discussed his goals as a driver, we laid out plan for him. The next step, the biggest step so far, happens this weekend at Sonoma. I am really excited about getting back to this level, back to where Premier started 20 years ago. Being able to get back into this pro racing with a driver and team I believe in makes it even more exciting. Our goals remain the same as they have always been: to get Adam to where he wants to go, have fun and win a lot along the way.”

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    • Motorsports
    • Season 2021
    • Formula E
    • IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship
    • Porsche Carrera Cup North America
    • Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup
    • SRO America
    • Racingcars
    • 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport
    • 911 GT3 Cup - Type 992
    • 911 GT3 R
    • 99X Electric

Porsche Motorsport Weekly Event Notes: Monday, March 1, 2021

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