Laurens Vanthoor will make the move to the GT Daytona class next year, joining Porsche customer squad Pfaff Motorsports, which has committed for a full-season campaign in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
The former GT Le Mans class champion will join Zach Robichon in the No. 9 Motul-sponsored Porsche 911 GT3 R, which contested only two races this year due to travel-related challenges for the Canadian squad amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Porsche development driver Lars Kern rejoins the team for the Michelin Endurance Cup rounds while Matt Campbell will complete the four-driver lineup in next month’s season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona.
With changes made to the team’s personnel, Pfaff is set to contest the full GTD season.
“I couldn’t be more excited to be back in the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in 2021,” said team manager Steve Bortolotti
“Obviously we started last season showing some great promise, and we’re looking to pick up right where we left off.
“Primarily, I’m looking forward to our four drivers working together; in some way, Lars, Matt and Zach have all worked together.
“Laurens will be working with the three of them for the first time, but he obviously comes with some incredible experience and an impressive resume, so I’m sure it will be a seamless adaptation between all of them.”
Vanthoor, who is developing rental properties in Florida, will remain racing full-time in the WeatherTech Championship despite the German manufacturer’s exit from the GTLM class.
The Belgian will join his longtime co-driver Earl Bamber in the GTD ranks, with Bamber confirmed in Team Hardpoint/EBM’s Porsche alongside Rob Ferriol.
“To be able to continue here and build on my future in IMSA with Pfaff is something I’m very happy about,” Vanthoor said.
“I’ve done my homework on Pfaff Motorsports and have heard a lot of good things, so I think together with Zach Robichon, we have a very good package to go for the championship.
“That’s clearly our goal and mine as well, so I’m very much looking forward to that.”
Silver-rated Robichon, meanwhile, will be back for his first full season since winning the WeatherTech Sprint Cup in 2019.
“I don’t think we can underestimate the excitement that myself and the team have just to be racing again,” he said.
“Looking at both our performances from [Daytona and Road Atlanta] last season, we believe that we can accomplish a lot going into 2021.”
Pfaff Looking at “Bigger Picture” for 2021
Bortolotti said the team is taking a revised approach for the coming season, which will mark its third year in WeatherTech Championship competition.
“Firstly, I would like to thank our partners for sticking by us during all the uncertainty we faced in 2020,” he said.
“We’re really looking forward to having Motul back on board for the new season, because they’re instrumental in making all of this possible. Porsche Centre Markham, the Pfaff group’s new dealership, joins Pfaff Porsche on the car alongside our other long-term partners.
“We’re really looking at the bigger picture in 2021.
“In 2019, we proved that we had the pace, but I think our downfall was that we were too focused on winning every race we attended.
“Going in with the mindset of maximizing points week in and week out, I believe with our driver lineup and the team we’ve built that we can contend for the championship. Within that, the wins will come.”