Muehlner Motorsports is set to return to the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge, with a full-season program with up to two Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsports in the works for 2017.
The Bernhard Muehlner-led squad took part in selected GS races with its GT4-based car this year, highlighted by a runner-up finish at Road America with drivers Jeroen Bleekemolen and Peter Ludwig, and multiple top-five finishes.
With IMSA set to adopt full SRO GT4 regulations beginning next year, Muehlner said they may hedge their bets and enter a new Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR, as well as an existing 2016-spec Clubsport run to grandfathered IMSA rules.
The team has a total of four Clubsports in its possession between its Florida and European bases, with two MR upgrade kits having been ordered.
“We may run one new, and one grandfathered,” Muehlner told Sportscar365. “That’s maybe the best thing to start the season. Then when you see which is the better car, you can change it, either both to the grandfather or both to the new spec. That’s maybe the option I will take.”
Muelner has yet to confirm drivers but is hopeful that more clarity in the 2017 regulations, particularly with grandfathered cars, will help drive interest back to the GS class.
“The problem is, at this moment, the drivers are not committing because they don’t know exactly what’s going on,” he said. “In any case, we need things to be more clear from IMSA. Once this is there, I hope the drivers are willing to commit.
“Since our model is to rent out cars and services, and not to have a team owner who is racing, like others, it’s a different type of business. But we need drivers. As early as they can commit, we can start working on everything.”
While the GS class saw a depleted grid this year, with only four full-season entries and grids averaging eight to nine, the class is expected to see a rebound in 2017, although may not see its full potential until the following year.
Multiple other GT4 Clubsport MRs are expected, along with the debuts of both the Ford Mustang GT4 and McLaren 570S GT4 car.
“Nobody will know exactly know how the Balance of Performance will work between the new GT4s and the grandfathered cars,” Muehlner said. “If IMSA is doing a good job, then maybe for 2018 there will be a boost.
“GT4 is the future because, at the end of the day, people are not willing to spend as much money for racing anymore. They put their focus on other things.”