MRS GT-Racing is set to expand its operations into North America next year headlined by a two-car program in the new Porsche Carrera Cup North America according to team principal Karsten Molitor.
The longtime Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup and Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland entrant, which is also active in European GT3 racing, has revealed plans for a multi-faceted U.S. operation with the target of also entering the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in the future.
Molitor, who was on-site during last weekend’s IMSA event at Mid-Ohio, explained that the team had planned to contest this year’s Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama but was ultimately called off due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“It was our plan to step into the GT3 Cup Challenge this year, but due to the COVID pandemic it was simply not possible,” he told Sportscar365.
“As we do with Supercup in Europe and Carrera Cup [Deutschland] and the GT3 program, everything was so tight, schedule-wise.
“We did the Supercup in 68 days for the entire season, which was amazing. That’s why we delayed our [North American] plans to 2021, with the new car.”
Molitor said the timing of the launch of Porsche’s first North America premier single-make series in the 30-year Carrera Cup history and the introduction of the new 992-based Cup car for next year has made it a good “starting point” in its foray into the U.S. racing scene.
“The main goal is to develop drivers for getting them into Supercup or any European racing programs,” he explained.
“The U.S. market is interesting. In Europe, everything has gone down, especially at the moment with COVID. People are not willing to spend money anymore.
“Sponsorships are getting more and more difficult because the market is full. There’s too many racing series and there’s a lot of very competitive racing series.
“It’s a good time for us to step into the U.S. market.”
In addition to a planned two-car effort in Carrera Cup NA, Molitor said they will also likely enter previous-generation 991.2-based Porsche Cup cars in the reformatted GT3 Cup Challenge USA series.
Details on the future of the Cup Challenge, which currently runs on IMSA weekends, is expected to be announced in the coming weeks.
“We have lots of 991 cars in Germany that we don’t use anymore,” Molitor said. “I see it as a good chance to also do the Cup Challenge.
“The plan is to run with some gentlemen drivers, to bring some cars over.
“But the first step needs to be done with the Carrera Cup of course, to create a base, and then we’ll see.”
While a number of European teams have expanded into North America with the help of an existing U.S. team and infrastructure, Molitor said they plan to bring their own crew stateside.
The team is currently evaluating workshop locations, with a likely base somewhere in Florida.
“As we are used to running six series in Europe we have enough equipment and enough staff to do it,” Molitor said. “We want to implement our own system over here.”
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The team could undertake selected WeatherTech Championship races next year with a BMW M6 GT3 ahead of a possible full-season effort with Porsche in 2022 according to Molitor.
“We are running a BMW M6 GT3 in Germany and this is not competitive anymore in GT Masters,” he explained. “There’s 30 cars in one second and this car is getting a little bit old.
“I think IMSA’s BoP for GT Daytona is good for the BMW. Somehow it’s always competitive and it could be an option for us to run Daytona next year.
“We are working on this as well.”
Given its nearly two-decade relationship with Porsche, Molitor envisions the team eventually moving to Porsche GT3 machinery when the time is right.
“We’ve had several tries with GT3 cars in Europe,” he said. “First we started with McLaren, a couple of years ago we ran two Nissans and then we went to BMW.
“The main goal is to go back to Porsche.
“It’s a funny thing. Whenever we made a decision to buy a new GT3 car, Porsche was in the last year of sales with its [current] model.
“It never has fit together. Sometimes we’ve [considered] buying a GT3 R just for one year but it’s not worth the investment. This is one reason why it’s never happened.
“But the goal is of course to get back to Porsche. We are a Porsche team and have belonged to the Porsche family for 18 years.”