Porsche World Challenge Racecar Shows Promise at St. Petersburg for Professionals and Amateurs
Mills, Baldwin Podium finishes, Porsche 911 GT3 R Top Ten Overall Highlight St. Pete Pirelli World Challenge
St. Petersburg, Fla. The Porsche 911 GT3 R making its North American debut and the Porsche Cayman S, racing on the 1.8-mile circuit through the streets of downtown St. Petersburg, Fla., showed the 49-car field that both cars will be factors in 2014 Pirelli World Challenge series.
We are pleased to be included in this years Pirelli World Challenge, and today's race was a good start to the season. Class podiums for Michael Mills and Jack Baldwin showed potential for Porsche in both the GT and GTS classes, and we look forward to the race officials reviewing the results and making adjustments to the Balance of Performance regulations to make sure everyone has a fair chance, said Jens Walther, president of Porsche Motorsport North America.
Tim Bergmeister, of Langenfeld, Germany, driving the No. 31 EFFORT Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R, started 13th overall and finished ninth in a Porsche racecar making its competitive North American debut today.
The EFFORT Racing crew brought this car along nicely during the weekend, and I was able to overtake several competitors near the beginning, but we struggled with our straight-line speed, said Bergmeister.
The EFFORT Racing team car, the No. 41 Porsche 911 GT3 R, driven by Michael Mills (Angleton, Tex.) finished 11th overall and third in the new GT-Amateur (GT-A) class a great result considering this was Mills first World Challenge race.
Ive been aiming towards this series since 1996, and its an honor to drive for EFFORT Racing in a Porsche that has a technical partnership with Porsche Motorsport North America. We turned the fastest race lap in GT-A, so I know were headed in the right direction, said Mills, who had five podium finishes last year in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge.
In the GTS class, Jack Baldwin (Marietta, Ga.) in his No. 73 GTSport Porsche Cayman S prepared by Goldcrest Motorsports, started the race on the pole, and traded positions in the top three for the entire race before finishing third. But Baldwin knows its a long season, and he was pleased with the future prospects for his Porsche.
We battled the Camaros, Mustangs and Astons during all the practice and qualifying sessions, and the race was no exception. With the competition as close as it is in GTS, we could have won or came in sixth. Our Porsche Cayman S will win some races before the end of the season, and we should contend for the championship again, said Baldwin, who scored three GTS class wins a year ago.
North Carolina-based Taggart Autosport, with Jim Taggart (Cary, N.C.) at the wheel, did not fare as well as he was running seventh in the GT-A class in his Porsche 911 GT3 R on lap 11 when he made contact with a GTS Mustang, bringing out a yellow flag and ending his day.
"After a promising weekend and solid sessions on Friday and Saturday, we are disappointed with the crash. The season's a long one and we hope to build on what we learned here with the new Porsche and move up the grid," said Taggart, last years World Challenge Rookie of the Year.
The 911 GT3 R, based on the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, which was developed for the FIA GT3 racing class (the name GT3 is a class name, not associated with the Porsche GT3 designation) in Europe, has never raced in North America as the car has never met any of the past series regulations. It features a four-liter engine which is rated at 470 horsepower with the 56mm restrictor assigned by World Challenge, and features many of the latest technological innovations on the other Porsche racecars including a six-speed paddle shift transmission.
The Pirelli World Challenge Championship races are 50-minute sprints, featuring top- notch drivers and teams, zero scheduled pit stops or driver changes. It is the only North American sports car series featuring a standing start and all the top manufacturer brands from around the world that race in the series run on Pirelli P Zero Racing Slicks.
To view complete race results from today's event, click on the following link: http://www.world-challenge.com/images/events/PRV-Race-Results-1-.pdf
The next Pirelli World Challenge event will take place April 11-13 at the Long Beach Grand Prix street circuit. This first round of the Pirelli World Challenge will be telecast on a delayed basis on Sunday, April 6, at 5:30 PM on the NBC Sports Network.