Five IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge by Yokohama teams tested the new, 2017-specification Porsche 911 GT3 Cup race car Feb. 8 at Barber Motorsports Park, and the verdict is in about the “Generation 2” machine.
“The new car looks and sounds spectacular, and we couldn't be happier with the development of this car over the already impressive Generation 1 car,” said Steve Bortolotti, team manager of Pfaff Motorsports. “Porsche Motorsport, IMSA and Yokohama have done an amazing job in creating a true driver's car that's both comfortable for gentlemen racers and precise enough for up-and-coming racers to prove their capabilities as a driver.”
Four standout Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama teams participated in the test at Barber, located in Birmingham, Alabama – test host Moorespeed, Alex Job Racing, TOPP Racing and Wright Motorsports. Pfaff Motorsports represented the Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama at the test, which was shortened from two days to one due to thunderstorms Feb. 7.
Eleven series regular drivers and an array of test drivers and driver coaches turned laps in the Generation 2 machine on the 15-turn, 2.38-mile circuit at Barber, which will host Rounds 3 and 4 of the USA series April 21-23, the series’ first trip to the picturesque track.
The new-for-2017 Generation 2 model will comprise the Platinum Cup class in the USA and Canada series. The Generation 1 car becomes the Gold Cup class in both series.
“It felt like an official test with around 13 or 14 Cup cars in attendance,” Moorespeed driver Corey Fergus said. “It's always great to have your competition testing with you because you get a better idea of where you stack up.
“Now that we have the same tires and springs as last year, the Generation 2 car behaves very similar to last year's model. We do have a little more power and torque and front downforce, but it's a smooth transition between models. It was amazing to see at the test the Generation 1 and Generation 2 on track together. I thought the Generation 1 car was fast, but the Generation 2 eats it alive.”
Said Todd Oppermann, president of TOPP Racing: “Both David (Baker) and Jeff (Mosing) were excited about their first time in the Generation 2 cars. They were pleased about the new car's ability to absorb the curbs without unsettling the car. The extra power and torque was appreciated, as well. We are ready to get the season started.”
This was the largest gathering of the 2017-specification cars for testing anywhere in the world to date. The new car will be used this season in the USA and Canadian Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge series and the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup, an official support series to the FIA Formula 1 World Championship.
Porsche Motorsport North America, Yokohama, VP Fuels and IMSA provided technical support to teams at the test. Engineers from Porsche Motorsport Germany also attended the test to assist teams and learn more about the new car.
“We really want to thank Porsche and Yokohama for sending out the troops in total support,” Moorespeed President David Moore said. “I talked with Owen Hayes, director of operations of Porsche Motorsport North America, and he was very pleased with the test and the performance of the new Generation 2 car. He said there were no issues, and that everyone was pleased with the direction we are headed.”
Said Owen Hayes, director of operations, Porsche Motorsport North America: “This was an excellent opportunity to get many of the 2017 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars on track well before the first race of the year. For most of these teams, this was their first chance to run the cars.
“I'd like to thank Moorespeed for hosting this test at Barber Motorsports Park, a track new to the IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama this season, as it will give all of us a good baseline when we return in April. Barber is a very challenging track, which gave us insights to help at a wide range of other tracks we visit. I certainly want to thank everyone for persevering with the changeable weather, too.”
The 2017 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama season opens March 16-17 at Sebring International Raceway in Sebring, Florida, during the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh From Florida IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship endurance classic.