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Olsen Keeping Porsche Factory Goal Despite Losing Status

IGTC champion Olsen confident of future prospects despite shift in status with Porsche…

Photo: Porsche

Dennis Olsen remains confident of working towards a Porsche factory seat despite losing his official Young Professional status with the German manufacturer.

The Norwegian ended 2019 as the Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli drivers’ champion but his official label as a Porsche works asset was later withdrawn along with that of Matteo Cairoli.

However, Olsen is still contracted to Porsche and was placed in Pfaff Motorsports’ full-season IMSA lineup by the constructor.

He will share Pfaff’s Porsche 911 GT3 R with reigning IMSA Sprint Cup champion Zach Robichon and is also likely to appear in European competitions with other teams.

“Looking at it from the outside, I was a bit disappointed at first, but if you look at the big picture, I’m doing the same types of races that I did in 2019,” Olsen told Sportscar365.

“I’m happy with the program that I’m doing. At the end of the day, of course, I want to become a factory driver. It’s my goal this year to show that I have the experience and all the aspects needed to become one.

“I also want to hopefully even top the season that I had last year. I think over the past few years, running together with Porsche, I learned a lot as well.

“I can really use all that experience and knowledge from the program in a good way.”

Olsen felt that his 2019 campaign, in which he became the first Porsche driver to win the IGTC drivers’ title, marked a notable improvement compared to the previous year.

“2018 was a tough one for me, so my goal was to have a much better season because I didn’t have too many races and not really a good chance to prove myself,” he explained.

“For 2019 I had a good program and I knew that I at least had a good chance to show what I could do.

“Starting off in Daytona last year, we were a bit unlucky and unfortunately retired, but went to Bathurst and won that race. Everything looked positive and clear.

“I would say that it was more than I expected, to win Bathurst and Kyalami and then the IGTC championship. It was for sure a goal and a dream, but it’s not something you can expect from the beginning of the season.”

Pfaff Aiming to Build on Strong Debut

Olsen reckons that Pfaff’s Porsche 911 GT3 R entry will be an even more competitive proposition in the IMSA GTD ranks this year than it was in 2019.

Last year marked the team’s foray into IMSA while it also heralded the first year of competition for the current-gen GT3 Porsche model.

Robichon claimed back-to-back class victories with Olsen at Lime Rock Park and Matt Campbell at Road America before going on to finish third in the drivers’ standings.

“I am looking positively at the season,” said Olsen, who contested two races with Pfaff last season. “We have good drivers, a good car and good support from Porsche as well.

“It’s more or less the same people, there are a few new crew guys, but at the end of the day it’s the same team and they’ve all got the experience from doing the full season last year.

“I think this is critical to achieving good results, to work as a team and to have the same goals. Last year we came in with no experience at all, a brand-new team to the series, and a brand-new car.

“For sure, the package we had last year wasn’t as good as what we have this year, so we can find more in the setup from what we learned over the season and put it together.”

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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