The 2015 Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge ST champions, CJ Wilson Racing, will switch to the new Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport in 2016.
It’s a shift up to a full season GS class effort, following a handful of starts with the Porsche 997 in 2015. CJ Wilson Racing won the ST class title with Chad McCumbee and Stevan McAleer driving a Mazda MX-5.
Full driver lineups for the two cars will be announced before the end of the year.
Team owner CJ Wilson sees the move to GS as the logical next phase in the development of his racing business.
“Coming off the 2015 Championship in ST, the team’s biggest goal was to continue to move forward and grow as a company,” Wilson said. “The best way to do that is to graduate to the next level of competition which is why the obvious target for us was GS.
“We felt like there were a lot of options in the class and having had such a positive response from sponsors and the rest of the field when we ran our limited Porsche 911 GS program last season, we were intrigued by announcement of the development of the GT4 Cayman Clubsport.
“We felt that it represented a very safe and very exciting move for us.”
“CJ Wilson Racing and the new Cayman GT4 Clubsport are a perfect match,” added Jens Walther, President and CEO of Porsche Motorsports North America.
“The team has made its first steps in racing with Porsche in a modified street car in 2015 and we are very pleased to see CJ and the team stepping up into a full race program with the new product taking the talented team to the next step/level.”
Wilson has talked throughout this year about wanting to expand the team, and being aligned with a manufacturer like Porsche, which has cars in several different IMSA championships, may open that line of further expansion down the road.
“One of the highlights of our affiliation with Porsche is the fact that Porsche Motorsports has such a large presence at the track already and is part of a larger community within the IMSA paddock,” Wilson explained.
“To have GTD cars, GT3 Cup cars and now the GT4 race cars means we are now part of a significant community and in some ways it makes the paddock a little smaller for us as we have connections with some of the other teams that are also running Porsches.”
Team manager Andris Laivins added, “We are all very excited about the new challenges ahead for our team, and we welcome the stiff competition in the GS class. The new Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport is a perfect tool for the job, and being in the top class will have a direct impact on our commercial efforts on and off the track.”
Wilson has had Porsche experience in the past in his personal driving career.
“As a fan of its road cars, a lot of my track experience has been driving Porsches like the GT3, GT3RS, and the 911 Turbo, so this partnership is extremely gratifying on a personal level,” he said.
While this move marks a shift away from Mazda on the motorsports side, Wilson remains committed to Mazda in other areas of his business, and both he and Laivins expressed thanks for all their work together the last several years.
“We are very proud of our young team’s heritage and partnership with Mazda Motorsports,” Wilson said.
“Winning two championships in five years is a great achievement and everyone in our organization and dealer group contributed to that. Obviously as one of the largest Mazda dealers in the country we have Zoom Zoom DNA and that will always be the case.”
Laivins added, “We have had a tremendous run in ST, and we couldn’t have had the success we did without our great partners, ModSpace and Mazda. Our ability to win races over several seasons and, ultimately, an ST Class Championship speaks volumes about both companies’ passion for success in this sport.”