After a ground-breaking first season, the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Michelin enters its second year with three times the entries and three more races for 2012.
Last year, less than two months before the first race, Porsche Canada announced North America’s newest single-make racing series, the Porsche GT3 Cup Canada. Designed to develop new drivers and prepare them for competition in the American Le Mans Series, Porsche Cars Canada, Ltd., in partnership with Porsche Motorsport North America and the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA), entered into a two-year agreement for the 20th GT3 Cup Challenge series in the world.
The inaugural 2011 season consisted of three events and a total of six races. And, while the short lead time initially made for small fields, in the end, the series produced some spectacular sports car racing. The high quality of the drivers, cars and teams ensured the results of each race were undecided until the checkered flag finally fell.
The season culminated at Mosport in July with a full field of both Canadian and U.S. drivers battling it out for North American bragging rights as well as the three class championships. Drivers Perry Bortolotti, Shaun McKaigue and Bob Seitz won their respective platinum, gold and silver class championships. All three return to the series in 2012 to defend their championships.
“It was an incredible season of racing,” said Joe Lawrence, president and CEO of Porsche Cars Canada, and one of the driving forces behind bringing Porsche single-make racing back to the place it first started back in the 1980s. “All in all, we could hardly have hoped for a better start – the fans were excited, the fields tripled in size by year end and, after witnessing the buzz, Porsche’s global technology partner, Michelin, jumped in as a sponsor. In addition, we have added three new events to the series calendar. I expect this season will produce some of the best racing Canada has seen in some time.”
Porsche GT3 Cup Canada Speeds Ahead
The first event of the 2012 season will be at Mosport International Speedway’s Victoria Day Speedfest. Two races are scheduled that weekend, one on May 19 and the other on May 20. Eighteen teams have entered 2012’s inaugural event, almost all of which have committed to a full season of racing and a run at the platinum, gold and silver championships.
After Mosport, the series moves to Montreal, June 8 to 10, as part of the Grand Prix du Canada festivities. There, in the series’ only single race event of the year, Canadian entrants will battle their American counterparts in front of one of the largest crowds in Canadian sports. The race has been listed on the U.S. Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge calendar for several years and will be run under U.S. rules once again in 2012. “But, with such steady increases in participation as we’ve seen recently, we could have our own race at the Grand Prix in 2013,” explained Lawrence.
The third stop on the schedule is a two-race event at Le Circuit Mont-Tremblant as part of the 2012 Summer Festival. Held on the weekend of July 6 to 8, the event makes the series’ first trip to the historic Quebec track, formerly the home of the Grand Prix du Canada in the 1960s and 70s.
The Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Michelin returns to Mosport for the Grand Prix of Mosport for two more races as part of the huge American Le Mans Series fixture the weekend of July 20 to 22.
The final two-race event of the year will be at the track where the series first took the green flag last May, Calabogie Motorsports Park just outside of Ottawa, on the weekend of August 9 to 12.
The Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Michelin is divided into three classes; Platinum Cup, featuring the more powerful 2012, 2011 and 2010 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars; Gold Cup, which includes 2005.5 – 2009 Porsche GT3 Cup cars, and the Silver Cup class for 2002 – 2005 996 Porsches. All three classes run on Michelin Cup N1 tires.
“The growth of the series this year is very gratifying because racing is so integral to who we are and where we are going. The Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Michelin brings this essential aspect of the brand to life locally here in Canada,” commented Lawrence. “We are looking forward to the new venues and to see what some of the new drivers can do. Last year Perry Bortolotti emerged as an important new racer. We’re excited to see who steps to the forefront this year!”
Additional information, including a downloadable schedule and competitor regulations, are available at http://www.imsaracing.net.
The Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Michelin features semi-professional drivers racing head to head in the largest single-make series in the world. Powered by one of the world’s most successful race cars, the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car, the multi-class structure of the series teaches drivers essential skills for an eventual career in the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón.