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GP-Elite Evaluating GT3 Expansion Plans

Dutch squad looking to expand new Porsche GT3 program into WeatherTech Championship, IGTC…

Photo: 24H Series

Team GP-Elite is evaluating an expansion of its fledgling GT3 program, looking at the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli as avenues of exploration.

The Dutch squad, which is well known for campaigning Porsche machinery in several of the German marque’s single-make series, recently completed its second outing with a Porsche 911 GT3 R at the Hankook Dubai 24H.

Team manager Torsten van Haasteren told Sportscar365 that the team is expecting to take delivery of a Type-992 GT3 R in the summer ahead of a potential expansion to major endurance events outside Europe, labeling the GT3 effort a “longer term thing.”

“For the rest of the season we are looking into what the options are, where we want to go to and what the drivers want to do,” said van Haasteren.

“But our goal is basically GT3 races around the world. There’s an option that we go IGTC by the end of the year, there’s an option we go to IMSA by the end of the year.

“These are the programs we’re looking into. So most likely not only in Europe, but outside of Europe. We’ll need to check.

“When we’ve received the car, we will do a proper testing program and we will start from there.”

The Dutchman said that a presence at the Gulf 12 Hours is under consideration, in addition to the two major late-season enduros in the U.S. at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta and Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

“We’re thinking between Petit Le Mans, the Indianapolis 8 Hour and the Gulf 12 Hours, which means we’re in the Middle East again and we can do the Dubai 24H as well after that.

“This is where we go. If we do Petit, it makes sense to try and stay there to do Daytona as well the year after. But we’re still in the middle of that, we’re looking into it.”

Van Haasteren added that some level of local support would be likely in the case of a WeatherTech Championship effort, while predicting that it would not be necessary if the team opted to run in IGTC.

GP-Elite’s expansion into GT3 competition was described as the result of natural progression for its quarter of Silver-rated drivers Jesse van Kuijk, Daan van Kuijk, Lucas Groeneveld and Max van Splunteren.

Van Haasteren also stressed that the team will continue to compete in Porsche’s Carrera Cup series alongside the new GT3 effort.

“Our Cup program stays the same, this is basically the core of our business,” he said.

“GT racing is a different thing. But now with Jesse, Daan, Lucas and Max, they all did a couple of years of the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup and Porsche Carrera Cup Germany.

“They will step up from that now and move up to GT racing. So it was a natural movement from them doing the Cup races, to get the experience to be a good race car driver to go up now to do the big endurance races in the world.

“This is also why we were at the Dubai 24H last year with the 992 GT3 Cup, just to get a bit of experience and to go from there to GT racing.”

The idea of expanding into Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Endurance Cup was dismissed as a backup plan in case WeatherTech Championship plans fall through.

“It’s an option, but it is not really a thing we are looking into now,” Van Haasteren said. “It can also be an option for 2024, if we don’t go to IMSA for example, but we first need to see what’s happening here.

“If IMSA would be happening, then GT World Challenge is not an option. If not, it could be an option but we don’t want do too many races a year with the driver lineup we have.

“They all have jobs so they can not be racing 20 weekends a year.

“They’re not full Pros, so these are our options but we’re first looking into the options in IGTC and IMSA.”

Davey Euwema is a Sportscar365 reporter based in The Netherlands, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, DTM, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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