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Porsche in “Transition Year” Ahead of New GT3, GT4 Cars

Porsche in “transition year” ahead of new GT3, GT4 cars in 2019, according to PMNA boss…

Photo: Jake Galstad/IMSA

Porsche Motorsport North America President and CEO Dr. Daniel Armbruster believes 2018 is a “transition year” for its GT3 and GT4 customer programs, as the German manufacturer ramps up for the debut of new machinery next year.

New versions of the Porsche 911 GT3 R and Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR are due in 2019, which is expected to lead to increased car counts in both IMSA and Pirelli World Challenge competition.

Porsche has seen a drop in customer teams in the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, with Wright Motorsports so far the only GT Daytona team committed for the full-season, along with fewer GT4-spec Caymans on the grid in Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge as well.

Armbruster, who took over from Jens Walther as PMNA’s new boss last September, said a concerted effort is now underway to grow its customer base around the upcoming two new models.

“For us it’s a transition year,” Armbruster told Sportscar365. “We’re still waiting for the new cars; it will be launched pretty soon.

“A lot of GT4 customers changed to other brands and entered the market with downsized GT3s. You can see that with the car counts at the track; they’ve dropped down.

“But we’ve already started to talk with teams for next year.

“The feedback we’ve gotten is that if a customer moves to a different brand, they realize the benefits of Porsche and the customer support and what we can deliver at the race tracks.”

A timeline for the rollout of the new GT3 and GT4-spec models is still being determined, although both are expected to debut next January at Daytona, following end-of-year test races in Europe.

“Right now, it isn’t published yet when we will launch the car, but we are still planning for it to be this year,” Armbruster said. “If you want to run in Daytona, you have to [be ready].

“We are still in planning but starting to discuss with teams about the concept.

“My intention is to use this year to define more precisely our ecosystem so it’s more visible and understandable for our customers.”

Porsche’s Customer Ladder System

Armbruster said he’s also looking to reinforce Porsche’s customer ladder system, which begins at the club racing level and goes up to the GTD class in the WeatherTech Championship, which he considers as the pinnacle of privateer GT racing in North America.

“IMSA is very attractive, also with the races like Daytona and Sebring,” he said. “When I speak with the customers everyone wants to go to IMSA but some of them can’t afford it.

“I think it’s part of the customer’s journey.

“A team, for example, runs Cup Challenge, the next step is driving a GT3, normally, I would propose to start with PWC.

“It’s affordable; you can do Sprint and SprintX and adjust it to your needs and your personal performance level.

“For me, out of the one-makes, the next step is PWC and after that IMSA.”

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com/SPEED Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

13 Comments

13 Comments

  1. jason

    March 28, 2018 at 8:55 am

    I hope the new GT3 Porsche has the same look and sound as the current 911 RSR. That car is hot in the GTE market. Imagine what it could do in the GT3 market.

    • Trevor

      March 28, 2018 at 12:17 pm

      Can’t speak to the looks, but the odds are very good that the sound remains. Porsche has stated that they will continue to build NA motors for GT3 and GT4 so long as BoP dictates minimum weight. The NA powered cars are lighter than their turbocharged competitors, and thus allows for ballast to be placed in the car where it is most advantageous.

      • Larry

        March 29, 2018 at 11:55 am

        Trever, the sound of a turbo flat 6 is not that much different than an NA, but either way they sound sweet.

        Also, I wish they WOULD go with turbos. It’s not like they haven’t raced turbos before. 🙂

        Also, all their street cars are turbo now except the GT3 and the GT4.

        I would rather have to be pegged down that have them help me up.

        • Larry

          March 29, 2018 at 11:56 am

          Sorry Trevor, didn’t mean to fatfinger your name.

    • gtgianlu

      March 28, 2018 at 3:21 pm

      Gt3 regs don’t allow to move the engine like the RSR

      • Actually read the rules

        March 28, 2018 at 6:05 pm

        That is so patently incorrect I don’t know where to begin. The engine was contained within what was already defined as engine compartment under the regs. Hence why it could be moved, but hey why read the rules when you can make up bs.

        The GT3 rules are as open as you can think. Hell you can still swap engines. So before you think GT3 had hard rules about anything, try reading and seeing what they allow first.

        • Larry

          March 29, 2018 at 11:49 am

          read the rules, maybe you better read the rules.

          GT3 is much more strict than GTE on that and it has to be exact same location as the street car.

          Also, as a Porsche owner, I have had someone tell me that the GT3 car would have moved the engine but the regs don’t allow it.

          Before you chastise someone, be sure you are correct.

    • Larry

      March 29, 2018 at 11:52 am

      Jason, after listening to the RSR versus the GT3 R, the RSR is much louder and harsher. The exhaust is allowed to be much more open and I like the sound of the GT3 and GT4 better. They sound more like what I have heard from Porsches over the last 30 years.

  2. Just a guy

    March 28, 2018 at 9:40 am

    Exactly, “everyone wants to go to IMSA but some can’t afford it”

    PWC’s slogan “this is how Racing should be” , what PWC’s slogan should be “ where you race when you can’t afford IMSA”

    • pierre

      March 28, 2018 at 9:56 am

      pwc is inherently cheaper because of how short the races are and fewer events compared to imsa. so naturally the cars don’t take as much of a beating and last longer.

      • jason

        March 28, 2018 at 10:53 am

        I think the biggest thing going against PWC is that they don’t really have any blue ribbon events. Any series based on the sprint races that is the case though.

        Still about Porsche specifically, they can make a really good car that resembles the 911 RSR in looks, sound, and performance, but make it relatively affordable. They will bring themselves and GT3 as a whole on the rebound.

  3. who

    March 28, 2018 at 11:25 am

    One of the largest costs on a race weekend is CREW! For an IMSA event, teams have 15-20+ crew members for a single car at a time. Flights, Hotels, Food, expenses… ADDS up very quick.

    PWC you dont need a huge crew for a single car. 5-6 people.

  4. daedalus

    March 28, 2018 at 4:31 pm

    The gentleman drivers aren’t running the 911 GT3 for the same reason they are not running the Mclaren 650s GT3. The weight distribution is too far back leading twitchy handling and understeer (especially when following another car closely). Combined with the patchy factory support when they had a LMP1 program it means many customers have jumped ship.

    They solved the handling in GTE by moving the transmission around but they can’t do that in GT3 unless the new road car has it so they are stuck between a rock and a hard place. They should make a Cayman GT3 but it will never happen because porsche wants the 991 to be top dog even through it’s inferior chassis wise. I remember when Kaffer ran a privately built GT cayman in VLN, porsche practically begged them to stop as it was making the 991 look bad with its better performance.

    This is really history repeating itself. The exact same thing happend with the old 997 GT3 R and porsche said the current car would fix the understeer and other issues but as we see it hasn’t and I doubt the new car will either. No amount of suspension tweaks and track width widening will change the center of mass problem inherent to the 991 design.

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