Connect with us


DICKINSON: It’s Race Week!

Riley Dickinson files his latest Sportscar365 column ahead of Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA’s return to racing…

Photo: Supplied

The past couple of weeks leading up to the continuation of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge has been very action packed!

The Moorespeed crew and I underwent a two-day test at Road America, the site of our upcoming race. Next, I headed over to Barber Motorsports Park and spent some time with the Porsche Track Experience team in Birmingham. And finally, I have been busy with the final touches of preparation for rounds one and two of the IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama which gets under way this weekend.

Starting with our test at Road America. Back in the car – finally! Words cannot describe how great it felt being able to jump into my Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car once again as well as, being back at the track with my team. 

Without going into the minute-by-minute of our test days, day one was all about getting the rust knocked off – of everyone including myself. Day two was the “go fast” day.

Admittedly, Road America was one of the most challenging events for me last year.

Looking back at 2019, the event had limited green flag racing due to multiple on track issues, and I was never able to get fully comfortable and get into a rhythm. 

After this year’s little “break”, testing there was a fantastic opportunity for me to get comfortable in the car and more importantly comfortable at this track.  

During my first on-track session, I had an interesting realization. As you know, just like other drivers I have been doing quite a bit of sim racing during our season pause. With that being said, I had to readjust quite a bit of my muscle memories from sim driving back to the real world.

Even though the sim is very close to the real-world environment, in order to squeeze out the last little bit of time there are subtle differences between the real world and virtual.

Photo: Supplied

It took me a few laps to more or less “rewire” all my inputs. If you recall, this was the first time I’ve been in my Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car since March when we were in St. Petersburg.

After the first session, I felt right at home again and we were able to pick up where we left off!

On day two of our test, we spent the morning essentially putting together everything we learned from the day before.

The Moorespeed team did a fantastic job getting the car ready to go and set up wise, we were on point! I made some fine-tuning adjustments on my end, and then we started the process of putting it all together.

In the afternoon, we found a few things that we’re confident will carry over to the race weekend. 

All in all, I felt like the test went very well and was a success. We all learned a lot, always part of the process of getting back up to speed. There is no question that being able to be back at the track with my guys was the best part. Really looking forward to the upcoming race weekend!   

After our test wrapped at Road America, I was given the opportunity to get involved with Jeff Purner and his team at the Porsche Track Experience at Barber Motorsports Park.   

Way back at the end of 2018, while preparing for my rookie season in the IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama, the first track that I tested at (outside of Texas) was Barber Motorsports Park.

Barber has easily become one of my favorite places to drive at and it truly does have a special place in my heart because of the experiences I’ve had there. 

My first GT3 Cup Challenge USA podiums came from Barber, as well as my participation in the Porsche Young Driver Academy North America, which led to the 2020 Hurley Haywood Scholarship.  

Photo: Riley Dickinson

The Porsche Track Experience is designed to allow Porsche owners (or non-owners) to learn more about maximizing the performance of their luxury hot rods as well as, how to properly drive.

They offer varied levels of participation for customers, from beginners all the way up to advanced driver training.  

I arrived as an intern to assist where I could, and would shadow the instructors to learn their various techniques for coaching, how the program is run, etc. Because of the coaching that I do at local tracks, after the first day I was able to gradually jump in and help the instructors in different areas throughout the program.  

I love being able to give back to racing fans, or to people just starting out in motorsports. 

When I first began racing 11 years ago, there were so many people that helped my Dad and I get going. It’s always been important to me to pay that back.   

I quickly found myself “in my element” talking to the participants going through the program. It was fun to see everyone’s progression during both of the two-day classes.

The way the program is formatted, the instructors end up with a personal connection with a majority of the participants. Seeing their results and progress during these four days is easily my favorite part of the experience. 

Photo: Riley Dickinson

As for the actual program, I can’t say enough good things about it. I’ve never been to Barber when the Porsche Track Experience is doing one of their programs, and I was not sure what to expect.

The level of professionalism offered by the program is second to none, clearly the level of professionalism you would expect from everything associated with the Porsche brand.  

Long story short, the word “Experience” that’s in the title is there for a reason. The program that Jeff Purner and his team have put together is truly an “Experience”. From start to finish they handle it all. Gate to gate service to and from the airport, along with first class accommodations is provided.

You are essentially in the hands of the Porsche Track Experience.

For your stay – breakfast, lunch, and dinner is all part of the program. And best of all…you get to drive an entire fleet of Porsches for at least two days! Everything from the new Taycan to Caymans to the newest 911, you are able to “Experience” the very best that Porsche has to offer.

Photo: Riley Dickinson

Whatever your skill level may be there is a program tailor made for you.

I met many participants who said that the first time they had ever gone over 100 mph was day one of the program. Then on the flip side there were people who have been coming to the Porsche Track Experience for years and have a lot of seat time. There is truly something here for everyone. 

This week we are off to Road America for Rounds 1 and 2 of the IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama. I can’t wait to get our season back underway.

Riley Dickinson (@RileyD253) is the 2020 recipient of the IMSA Hurley Haywood GT3 Cup Scholarship, competing in Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama with Moorespeed.

Click to comment

More in Commentary