While there was a curious lack of rally cars on the show floor of the 2019 New York International Auto Show, there were still a few race cars to drool over.
PORSCHE YOUNG PROFESSIONAL DRIVER DENNIS OLSEN AND NURBURGRING LAP-RECORD
HOLDER LARS KERN JOIN HARGROVE/ROBICHON AT DAYTONA 24 HOURS
TORONTO, December 13, 2018 // Hot on the heels of announcing a move to the IMSA WeatherTech
SportsCar Championship in 2019, Pfaff Motorsports today announced that driver Scott Hargrove
has been named a Porsche Selected Driver, and that it will contest the full 2019 WeatherTech
season in the GTD class, including all endurance races.
The team’s driver lineup features Hargrove, who was 2018 Pirelli World Challenge GT Sprint
champion and 2017 Porsche GT3 Cup Canada champion, Zacharie Robichon, 2018 Porsche GT3 Cup
Canada champion. Lars Kern, a Porsche engineer and current holder of the production-car lap
record at the Nurburgring Nordschleife in a Porsche 911 GT2 RS MR, will join the team for all
endurance races, and Porsche Young Professional driver Dennis Olsen will contest the 24 Hours of
Daytona with the team.
“I am excited to expand our IMSA effort beyond the originally planned sprint championship to
include the North American Endurance Cup events,” said Steve Bortolotti, Pfaff Motorsports
manager. “The challenge for our team will be immense, but the Porsche customer racing model is
second-to-none, and their support means we’ll be as prepared as possible for our first endurance
races. I’m also happy Scott is becoming a Porsche Selected Driver. He is an incredible talent behind
the wheel, and a true professional off-track. We are all proud of the role Pfaff has played in his
development, and hope this leads to more opportunities in the future with the Porsche brand.”
“We introduced our Porsche Selected Driver program last year with the expressed purpose of
placing deserving drivers with equally deserving customer programs,” explained Daniel
Armbruster, President and CEO, Porsche Motorsport North America. “Scott Hargrove is a perfect
representative of a Porsche Selected Driver. He is fast, intelligent and has a honed racing savvy in
and out of the cockpit. Scott has worked his way up through the Porsche racing ranks, including a
seat at the 2014 Porsche Young Driver Academy, which makes it that much more satisfying for us
at Porsche Motorsport to name him a 2019 Porsche Selected Driver. We are looking forward to a
strong year for Scott and Pfaff Motorsports in the full IMSA WeatherTech Championship next
“2019 is shaping up to be a massively exciting season,” said Scott Hargrove. “Racing with Pfaff
Motorsports in GTD for the full season showcases the drive this team has on- and off-track. They
are always looking for more. It is an honour to be a part of the effort, and I can’t wait to hit the track
with my new teammates in Daytona.”
Zach Robichon added, “expanding our program to the complete IMSA WeatherTech championship
shows Pfaff’s commitment. When the right opportunity presented itself, we all jumped at the
chance, and we’re looking to get the season started on the right foot at Daytona. We have a huge
challenge ahead of us, but the team has consistently proven they can be successful at new
challenges. The Roar is only a few weeks away, and we’re looking forward to getting our new
Porsche 911 GT3 R on track.”
“Starting the season in January at the world centre of racing, Daytona, is just great,” said Lars Kern.
“And being there with the Pfaff Team and such a superb driver lineup is stunning. I followed closely
what Pfaff and Scott have done this year in PWC. Winning a championship title in their first year
running a GT3-class car in PWC is a sign of what this team is capable of.”
Porsche Young Professional driver Dennis Olsen concluded, “I’m really looking forward to get
started together with Pfaff, and also excited to see how the new Porsche 911 GT3 R will perform at
Daytona! I think we will have a good chance for the win – so we have to stay focused, and make no
mistakes. Consistency is going to be the key!”
The addition of the endurance races to the team’s calendar makes for a much busier year. The team
will add the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona January 24-27, the 12 Hours of Sebring March 13-16, the Six
hours of the Glen at Watkins Glen June 27-30, and Petit Le Mans October 12, to their already-packed
Sprint championship calendar.
Over its 50-plus-year history, the Pfaff organization has been synonymous with developing up-and-
coming Canadian driving talent. In 2017, president and CEO Chris Pfaff was inducted into the
Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame for the pivotal role he played in the development of a long list of
Canadian racers including Richard Spenard, Scott Goodyear, Ron Fellows, and many others.
Pfaff has provided driving and talent development opportunities in karting through the Pfaff Pole
awards in the Sunoco Ron Fellows Karting Championship, the Pfaff Driver of the Day awards in the
Champion Ron Fellows Karting Championship, and title sponsorship of the national-level Pfaff
Kartsport Cup. In 2017, Pfaff also launched a national online racing championship in partnership
with Cineplex and WorldGaming to bridge the divide between the real and virtual racing worlds.
Follow @PfaffMotorsports and @PfaffAuto on Instagram for more announcements and behind-the-
scenes content before the start of the season.
Woodbridge, Ontario, Canada (October 16, 2018) -. AIM VASSER SULLIVAN (AVS) is a newly formed motorsports entity that includes AIM Autosport, a championship-winning organization, partnering with IndyCar winning team owners Jimmy Vasser and James “Sulli” Sullivan to campaign two Lexus RC F GT3 race cars in the GT Daytona (GTD) class of the IMSA WeatherTech Championship beginning in 2019.
Vasser and Sullivan were allied and partners from 2011-2016 with KVSH Racing in the IndyCar Series. During that time they won the 2013 Indianapolis 500 and went on to win five more IndyCar races over a three-year period (2014-2016). In 2018, they formed a partnership with Dale Coyne to establish Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser-Sullivan to compete in the IndyCar Series with driver Sebastien Bourdais. In its first year, the team earned multiple podiums including winning the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, and finishing seventh in the 2018 championship standings.
AIM Autosport has won races and championships in every level of motorsports they have competed in with customer racing programs dating back to the 1990s, including the 2012 GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series GTD championship.
“Having the opportunity to campaign two mighty Lexus RC F GT3 cars in the IMSA WeatherTech Championship in partnership with Jimmy and Sulli is fantastic,” said AIM VASSER SULLIVAN co-owner Andrew Bordin. “To compete for wins and Championships in this ultra-competitive class requires excellence in all aspects of racing and we now have all of the right pieces in place.”
AIM VASSER SULLIVAN will operate from the current AIM facilities in Woodbridge, Ontario, Canada and a newly established US-based race facility located in Charlotte, North Carolina.
“Sulli and I are excited and looking forward to entering a new chapter in our racing careers,” said AIM VASSER SULLIVAN co-owner Jimmy Vasser. “I have driven sportscars before, but my career was pretty much limited to the 24 Hours of Daytona, including a ‘class’ win in 1992 and second overall in 2008. The AIM VASSER SULLIVAN TEAM, with the support of Lexus and our sponsors, has the tools to get the job done and we are looking forward to this new challenge.”
The RC F GT3, which is based upon the production Lexus RC F high performance coup, initially debuted in IMSA competition at the 2017 Rolex 24 at Daytona. In its first two IMSA WeatherTech seasons, Lexus earned five pole positions, two race wins and finished third in the 2018 GTD Manufacturer point standings.
“We believe AIM VASSER SULLIVAN is a great fit for our organization as we continue to evolve our race program,” said David Christ, group vice president and general manager, Lexus division. “Lexus F is a brand infused with motorsports technology and the high performance capabilities of the RC F GT3 on the race track has proven Lexus as more than just a luxury automaker.”
“It’s been exciting for Lexus to get back into sports car racing with the RC F GT3,” said Mark Egger, motorsports manager, Lexus division. “We’ve been able to build our fan base through on-track performance and by engaging with consumers at our Lexus Racing Experience activation, and look forward to continuing that growth in our new partnership with AIM VASSER SULLIVAN.”
The team will announce its 2019 driver line ups in the coming weeks.
While I have known to be a bit of a crotchety guy in the last couple of years, for some reason my overly critical attitude doesn’t often make it into my writing. Not sure why, perhaps I just like to give people the benefit of the doubt rather than throw hard working people under the bus. With the announcement that IMSA is making some procedural changes, perhaps the time has come for me to weigh in on the disaster that is the Tudor United Sportscar Championship.
First off, I must say that I was excited about the so-called merger of the American Le Mans Series and Grand Am, even if it was a not so thinly veiled buyout situation. There are some pretty talented people on both side of paddock, so I was anticipating that they would pull it off.
Two races in, the organizers have done many things well. I was at the Rolex 24 and the crowds were truly impressive, certainly much larger than last year. From what I have heard, the crowds at Sebring were equally large. The field is jam packed full of top level teams with some spectacular machinery. Two of the biggest problems in auto racing these days seem to have been overcome. While there was limited television coverage, depending on where you live, the online stream of Sebring was better than any television coverage I have ever seen, even though it did seem to crap out for an hour or so around the 11th hour.
The problem is that the things the series has screwed up are equally as fundamental as having fans and competitors, so much so that they could very well be starting to lose both already. [Read more…]
Just because race organizers didn’t have their crap together at Sebring doesn’t mean that the event was devoid of great content. Quite the opposite, as my buddies at /DRIVE were on hand shooting their unique style of awesomeness for those of us who weren’t able to attend.
There are fewer things cooler than super high frame rate video of racing cars at full chat, showed right down so the viewer can see the the tires and suspension moving and body panels flexing. This is the second installment of /DRIVE’s newest feature: MOMO SlowMo.
Because of the insanely early broadcast time and the fact that I forgot to PVR it, I didn’t watch the Australian Grand Prix. Then, last Monday all I saw on my various social media streams were complaints of penis nosed cars that sounded like pregnant lawn equipment. Oh, there were also discussions about a Red Bull F1 driver I have never heard of who was disqualified for some technical infraction that sounded like it was at least partly the FIA’s fault. Sounded like I wasn’t missing anything.
I did however watch the excellent internet feed from Sebring, where the IMSA folks seemed to finally figure out how to properly broadcast a race online. I got to watch some monumental incidents that were caused by pay-to-play drivers with limited talent that damn near killed a couple of pros. I did have to get out of the house for a while, so I missed the incidents that led up to IMSA race control’s colossal blunder. In case you missed it, IMSA assessed an 80 second stop and go penalty for avoidable contact to a car that was nowhere near the incident in question. The penalty most likely caused a dramatic change to the podium at the end of the day. This marked two events in a row where IMSA officials had made major gaffs that affected the outcome of the competition.
Racing cars is about much more than just being able to drive fast. To be a real racer requires a mastery of what some of us call racecraft. A mixture of car control, aggression, vision and even networking along with more than a little bit of luck. Continental Tire Series driver Steven McAleer has all of the above in spades.
McAleer’s C.J. Wilson Racing Mazda MX-5 had to start at the back of the grid in this year’s Sebring race due to a tech infraction. In the first lap alone, the driver passed a rather impressive 15 cars. How he does it is a combination of all of the qualities I listed above, not the least of which is vision and networking.
Watch how McAleer is constantly looking at all three mirrors to evaluate the threats and open spaces to the side and behind, while also looking ahead for breaks in traffic that haven’t even happened yet. While reading traffic, the driver is also communicating with other drivers, using hand signals to get them to help out in setting up a draft. This guy is a relationship manager of the first order!
Source YouTube via RACER
A little over five hours in to the inaugural race of the Tudor United SportsCar Championship and it has already been an emotional rollercoaster. The yellow flag is out for the third time at the Rolex 24 at Daytona, this time for a spinner at the entrance to the East Horseshoe.
As soon as the green flag fell, drivers were hard at it, driving as if this were a sprint race and not a 24 hour endurance event. As the sun started to sink, the #62 Ferrari, being driven by Matteo Malucelli had slowed off the pace and Malucelli was sticking to the left side of the track just past the kink. Memo Gidley, at the wheel of the #99 Gainsco Chevy was most likely blinded by the setting sun and slammed hard into the back of the #62.
This is one of those images that would be hard to believe if we didn’t know the shooter involved. Florida photographer Louis Galanos grabbed this shot of “Fast Phil” lapping at Sebring in 1973 with his faithful pooches, Moss & Fangio. Galanos tells the tale:
“On one of his laps he stopped the car on the back airport straight and let out Moss because the mutt wanted to get out and run. Fangio, with his short legs, was not interested. The photo shows Fangio with his head out the window and Moss keeping pace with the Corvette. Those were the early days of IMSA. While the dogs are long gone Phil still has the vintage split-window Corvette and still races. No wonder they call him “Fast Phil.”
April Fools gag or just another example of how things have changed since the golden years of racing! Read the whole story over at Sports Car Digest.