Following an encouraging first full season of competition in the American Le Mans Series, NGT Motorsport is set for an attack on the new GT Daytona category in next year’s TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.
Sportscar365 has learned that the Florida-based team has ordered a brand-new Porsche 911 GT America, which will be entered in the entire 11-round championship for Henrique Cisneros and a to-be-announced pro driver.
Cisneros, a former IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge champion, scored two GTC class victories this year, in a car he shared with Sean Edwards for most of the season. The 26-year-old British driver was tragically killed in a testing accident in Australia last month.
While having withdrawn its MOMO-sponsored Porsche at Petit Le Mans in memory of Edwards, team owner Ramez Wahab is determined to come back even stronger in 2014, which will see them campaign Porsche’s new GTD entry, based on the 991 Cup car that competed in this year’s Porsche Supercup.
“We’re starting to do our homework in a very, very strong [way],” Wahab told Sportscar365. “Our engineer for next year will already have done Supercup this year, so he’ll already know the car. And I already hired some technicians from Supercup who also have experience with the Cup car. Our competition is obviously not sleeping so we’re hoping to have a slight advantage in the beginning.”
Following its maiden ALMS class victory at Petit Le Mans last year, NGT kicked off the 2013 season with an impressive run at Daytona, which saw its Porsche lead the GT class until a brake rotor exploded in the 18th hour.
NGT went on to score class wins at Long Beach and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, but faced bad luck along the way as well, en route to a third place finish in the ALMS teams’ championship.
“We had ups and downs this year,” Wahab said. “Obviously we always had the pace and a chance of finishing on the podium. But we unfortunately had a lot of accidents, and never really caused by us. We had the speed in every single race but it just didn’t work out.”
While having fielded two Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars on a multiple occasions, Wahab said they plan to focus on a single-car program for the TUDOR Championship next year, while also continuing its successful multi-car operation in the IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge with an expected six-car entry.
As for their chances in the GTD category, which will likely see a full subscribed field of 19 entries for the season, Wahab is optimistic, particularly considering the strength of the Porsche and the team’s increased commitment.
“The main difference next year is that it’s not only going to be Porsches,” he said. “But I’m quite confident because from what I understand, that they’re going to do the Balance of Performance according to the GT America car, so I’m pretty confident it’s going to be a competitive package next year.”
Wahab said their new GT America will be shipped from Porsche’s factory in Weissach, Germany on Thursday, in time for the team to take part in the pair of pre-season tests at Sebring and Daytona later this month.