Roar Wrap. Porsche GT Team and Customers Test at Daytona.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

The Porsche GT Team wrapped-up on-track preparations for the 2019 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona. Known as the Roar Before the 24, the three-day official pre-season test at Daytona International Speedway (DIS), two Porsche 911 RSR race cars covered a total of 1,317-miles (2,120 kilometers) under changing conditions ranging from sunny and warm 80 degree Fahrenheit temperatures to cool and overcast 60 F, as well as rain. The varied weather provided the factory effort and Porsche customer programs a broad insight into how the racers will perform on the 3.56-mile road course when they return to Florida for the classic January 26 – 27 24-hour race.

Nick Tandy (Great Britain) and the two Frenchmen Patrick Pilet and Frédéric Makowiecki shared driving duties in the 510 hp Porsche 911 RSR with the starting number 911. Last year the trio won the IMSA endurance races at Sebring and Road Atlanta and look to add the 24-hour race at Daytona to the car's win tally. For the test, their colleagues Earl Bamber (New Zealand) and Mathieu Jaminet (France) shared the cockpit of the No. 912 sister car. Regular driver Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium) missed the "Roar Before The Rolex 24" due to the birth of his first child. The Le Mans winner will be back in the cockpit for the start of the season in late January.

The Porsche 911 GT3 R made a successful debut at the test days and will face stiff competition in the Pro-Am-style GTD class during the 2019 IMSA season.. At the official Daytona test, Porsche customer teams Pfaff Motorsports, Park Place Motorsports, NGT Motorsport and Black Swan Racing gained important insight for the official on-track debut of the 500 hp race car. Over the test weekend, the four identical 911 GT3 R covered  484 laps.

Pascal Zurlinden, Director GT Factory Motorsport.

"That was a successful test. We're very familiar with the car, it's the third outing at Daytona for the latest 911 RSR. The tires are new for us this year. The IMSA series has now adopted the tires from the WEC. This, of course, requires some adjustments. We managed to tick all the boxes on our test list. We experienced rain, sunshine, high and low temperatures – you can't have it better than that for a test."

Sebastian Golz, Project Manager 911 GT3 R.

"The new Porsche 911 GT3 R has passed its first test in the USA. For our customer teams and their drivers, the emphasis on day one was predominantly about getting familiar with the new car. On day two we made great progress in terms of the setup. The lap times were strong and the consistency over longer distances looked good as well. With our customer teams I think we should be well prepared for the race week at the end of the month."

Nick Tandy, Driver, No. 911 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR.

The test was an important preparation – for both the race and the entire season. After the winter break we all had to get back into our normal rhythm. We not only worked on the setup, but above all we practiced procedures such as pit stops and driver changes. It's critical to do this during the 'Roar' so that you can completely focus on the finer details of the car during the race week."

Patrick Pilet, Driver, No. 911 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR.

"Testing at Daytona is always extremely important because the racetrack has unusual characteristics. It's important to have the best possible top speed on the oval, but without being hampered too much by insufficient downforce in the infield. These test days were extremely important for this setup work. Our car made a great impression on me. We were fast and very consistent, and so we're well prepared for the race weekend."

Frédéric Makowiecki, Driver, No. 911 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR.

"Finding the highest possible top speed is not as easy as it sounds. As soon as you reduce the downforce to increase speed on the straights, you often have trouble braking for the tight corners. The rear gets twitchy and the driver has to work really hard. During the test we worked on finding the best compromise and we found a very good solution. So far, our 911 RSR has coped brilliantly on this very exceptional circuit."

Earl Bamber, Driver, No. 912 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR.

"Although the winter break was really short, you still have to work your way back into the procedures. This applies as much to the mechanics and engineers as it does to us drivers. We got back into a really good rhythm during the test, and it didn't take long at all for everything to fall into place again. We're ready and well prepared to start the race week at Daytona."

Mathieu Jaminet, Driver, No. 912 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR.

"I drove the 911 RSR at the end of the 2018 season, but the car is still pretty new for me. For this reason the emphasis over these test days was to continue familiarizing myself with the car and the racetrack. Everything went really well. The car handles the different sectors very well and our pace was also first-class over longer distances."

Dennis Olsen, Driver, No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.

"New team, new car, new drivers – as you can imagine the list of tasks was rather long. We sorted out some basic things on the first day and then went on to work intensively on the setup. We made great progress but we still have to implement some other findings before the start of the race week."

Patrick Lindsay, Driver/Principal, No. 73 Park Place Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.

"A lot is new, but still somehow familiar. The new car immediately feels like a Porsche. I know the previous model and I often drive the 911 RSR. For me, the new GT3 R feels like the perfect combination of the two. The brakes are as powerful as those in the WEC car, it's very user friendly – it's simply great fun. At the 'Roar' we worked on the setup and familiarized ourselves with the car's many details and the tires. Bring on the race week."

Sven Müller, Driver, No. 99 NGT Porsche 911 GT3 R.

"We took things slow initially, first running in the brakes, then working on the setup and testing the tires. We gained a lot of insights and we'll now use these for the race week to make the car even better. There were many new things for our team and the drivers to discover during the test days and that was exciting."

Matteo Cairoli, Driver, Black Swan Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R.

"There were so many new things to discover: car, tires, racetrack. We worked through our tasks systematically and made great progress. That's precisely what test days are for. We'll also use the first sessions of the race week for setup work so that we get the best possible start into the 24-hour classic. At Daytona the name of the game is to have a car that is predictable and easy to handle. We're on the right track."

Natural Porsche. New Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport Unveiled at Daytona.

Three years after the premiere of the first Cayman GT4 Clubsport, Porsche Motorsport North America unveiled its successor on the Roar Before the Rolex 24 weekend at Daytona International Speedway. The new 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport is the most advanced development of the successful model from the German-marque. The near-standard mid-engine racer now is available in two versions: the "Trackday" model for ambitious amateur racing drivers and the "Competition" variant for national and international motor racing, including the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge GT4-class. 

In developing the new 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport, the focus was put not only on improved drivability and faster lap times but also on the sustainable use of raw materials. The 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport is the first production race car to feature body parts made of natural-fiber composite material. The driver and co-driver doors and the rear wing are made of an organic fiber mix, sourced primarily from agricultural by-products such as flax or hemp fibers and feature similar properties to carbon fiber in terms of weight and stiffness.

Powering the 718 GT4 Clubsport is a 3.8-liter flat-six engine producing 425 hp (313 kW). Compared to its predecessor, this represents a 40-hp increase in performance. The power is transferred to the rear wheels via the Porsche PDK dual-clutch gearbox with six gears and mechanical rear axle differential lock. The lightweight spring-strut front suspension is taken from the 911 GT3 Cup car. The racing brake system features steel brake discs all-around, measuring 14.96-inches (380-millimetres) in diameter.

Tipping the scales at 2,910 lbs (1,320 kilograms), the new 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport is delivered with a welded-in safety cage, a racing bucket seat as well as a six-point safety harness.

The base "Trackday" version is aimed at amateur drivers who want to take part in private track and clubsport events without major effort and outlay. The vehicle features a fixed shock absorber arrangement. The ABS, ESC and traction control assistance systems ensure forgiving handling at the limit and can be deactivated. Also delivered ex-works is the air-conditioning system, a rescue hatch in the roof, a handheld fire-extinguisher and a 21.1 gallon (80-liter) FT3 safety fuel cell. The non-road-homologated vehicle can be serviced at all Porsche Dealerships.

The 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport "Competition model features a spec sheet full of details relevant for racing. The shock absorbers can be adjusted in three stages. The safety fuel tank with a capacity of 30.3 gallons (115 liters) is suitable for long-distance events. Thanks to a brake balance system, the bias can be infinitely adjusted between the front and rear axle. An integrated air jack system helps guarantee fast pit stops. The quick-release racing steering wheel adopted from the 911 GT3 R ensures a range of adjustment options for the individual needs of the drivers. An automatic fire extinguishing system adds another safety feature for the racetrack.

A MR lightweight kit adds lightness to the Competition variant and available to race in the highest levels of GT4. Including lightweight BBS wheels, carbon fiber bumper, rear deck lid, front fenders, hood, and rear diffuser, this Cayman GT4 Clubsport is eligible to race in Michelin Pilot Challenge. North American pricing for the Competition version with the lightweight MR kit is $209,000 excluding spares, transport and tax.

The "standard" Competition variant car is $189,000 excluding spares, transport and tax and will be eligible to compete in Pirelli Trophy West. Pricing and delivery dates for the "Trackday" version are not yet available.

Porsche Motorsport North America has already sold and delivered 11 of the new cars with ten more on order for customers. Both versions can be ordered immediately and will be delivered to teams and drivers around the world from February, with additional North American deliveries scheduled for calendar week 35.

Fritz Enzinger, Vice President Porsche Motorsport.

"The new Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport possesses significantly more racing genes than its successful predecessor. The power of the engine has increased considerably. At the same time, we were able to increase the downforce and the cockpit is now even better suited to drivers' needs. I'm confident that we can build on the excellent sales figures of the predecessor, of which we have delivered 421 cars."

Hurley Haywood Scholarship. Sean McAlister Earns IMSA Scholarship Named for Porsche Legend.

The next step in the racing career of 21-year-old Sean McAlister (Beverly Hills, California) will be the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama, and he'll do it as the 2019 recipient of the prestigious IMSA Hurley Haywood GT3 Cup Scholarship.

McAlister won the 2018 Platinum Class champion in the Pirelli Trophy West series with 11 victories in the 14-race championship driving for longtime GT3 entrant, Competition Motorsports. In 2019, the young Californian will join JDX Racing, which won the GT3 Cup Challenge USA Platinum Cup title in 2018 with driver Trenton Estep, in the USA one-make series. JDX earned 14 podium finishes in 16 races with Estep.

A selection committee that included sports car racing legend and the scholarship's namesake, Hurley Haywood, Porsche Motorsport North America Race Director Owen Hayes, Yokohama Tire Motorsport Manager Drew Dayton and IMSA Single Make and Challenge Series Manager Randy Hembrey, chose McAlister.

The IMSA Hurley Haywood Scholarship is open to drivers between the ages of 16 and 25 with no previous full-time experience in GT3 Cup Challenge USA. Successful candidates must have a strong desire to compete in the series, outstanding previous race results and proven on-track potential in junior racing categories, as well as the ability to build a compelling business plan to secure the remaining funding needed to compete in a full GT3 Cup Challenge USA season.

McAlister only has been racing for three years, all of which came in Pirelli Trophy West. He raced a Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport in 2016 and 2017, finishing second in that class championship both years. In 2018, he moved up to the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup machine and turned in a strong season en route to the title. He will make his GT3 Cup Challenge USA debut at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama, which kicks off the eight-round, 16-race season on April 6-7. 

The scholarship provides $80,000 in value for McAlister and includes a full-season, premium entry for the 2019 GT3 Cup Challenge USA season provided by IMSA. An additional $20,000 in parts credit is provided by Porsche Motorsport North America, one free set of race tires per event provided by Yokohama, a custom driver suit and other safety products provided by OMP and promotional consideration by RACER magazine.

The scholarship is named after legendary sports car driver Hurley Haywood, one of the most accomplished endurance racers in history. The Porsche Spokesperson earned five overall victories at the Rolex 24 At Daytona, three victories at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and two wins at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring – all in Porsches – during his remarkable driving career, which spanned five decades.

Haywood also was a mainstay of the illustrious Brumos Porsche team as a driver and a leader for more than four decades. He currently serves as the chief driving instructor at the Porsche Sport Driving School at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama.

McAlister follows in the footsteps of previous IMSA Hurley Haywood GT3 Cup Scholarship recipients Max Root (2018) and Jake Eidson (2017). The scholarship was expanded in 2017 from an initial program started by IMSA, Porsche and Yokohama in 2014. Previous IMSA Scholarship recipients were Victor Gomez IV (2016), Elliott Skeer (2015) and Michael Lewis (2014).

Hurley Haywood, Porsche Spokesperson/Legendary Driver.

"I am proud to see IMSA continue with the Scholarship in my name. I, like Porsche, continue to believe and invest in young drivers more and more each year, and this is yet another way to give back while seeding the sport for the future. As we enter the third year, it is gratifying to see how Jake Eidson and Max Root have made the most of their opportunities. With a 911 GT3 Cup championship already under his belt, Sean McAlister has a head-start towards fulfilling the high expectations expected of our scholarship recipients."

Dr. Daniel Armbruster, President/CEO, Porsche Motorsport North America.

"Each year the Hurley Haywood Scholarship winner has proven himself in the crucible of the IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama series. I do not see any reason Sean McAlister won't do the same in 2019. We watched him compete successfully in the Pirelli Trophy West Platinum championship last year, so he has experience with the current Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car and has already faced intense competition. On the IMSA side, JDX Racing is a proven winner in the series and Sean and the team should be a formidable combination in the GT3 Cup Challenge USA this year. I believe Sean will be an ideal representative of Hurley, Porsche and IMSA."

Sean McAlister, 2019 Driver/Hurley Haywood Scholarship Winner.

"Being the 2019 recipient of the IMSA Hurley Haywood GT3 Cup Scholarship Award is an amazing honor. The scholarship provides a great opportunity for young drivers such as myself, the chance to be a part of a distinguished racing series and championship that can be a springboard to a professional driving career."

Scott Atherton, President, IMSA.

"Sean is a worthy recipient of the 2019 IMSA Hurley Haywood GT3 Cup Scholarship who far exceeded our criteria for selection. There is no question he has the 'chops' to be a rising star in sports car racing, and especially by joining forces with our defending champions at JDX Racing. On behalf of IMSA, I offer congratulations to Sean and JDX and wish them luck in what undoubtedly will be another fantastic and highly competitive season of Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama racing in 2019."

Jeremy Dale, Managing Partner JDX Racing.

"I'm really pleased the judging panel chose Sean as the 2019 recipient of the IMSA Hurley Haywood GT3 Cup Scholarship. Everyone at JDX Racing is excited to get to work preparing for the upcoming season. Driver development is very close to my heart and I'm very proud of what our team has done over the years to help young drivers grow. Combine youthful energy with a Porsche Cup Car on Yokohama tires in the IMSA/ Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama Series and you have an amazing platform for young drivers like Sean. Sean has a steep learning curve in front of him, but I'm confident that our combined hard work and dedication will produce great results in 2019."

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