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Cameron Looking Forward to “New Challenge” in WEC

Dane Cameron on stepping into full season WEC role as only American in Porsche Penske lineup…

Photo: Porsche

Dane Cameron said he’s looking forward to the “new challenge” of racing full-time in the FIA World Endurance Championship as the sole American in Porsche Penske Motorsport’s lineup.

The 34-year-old Californian, a three-time IMSA champion, will step into the world championship’s top Hypercar class for the first time after contesting a three-race program in Team Penske’s LMP2 operation last year.

Cameron joins longtime Porsche factory drivers Michael Christensen and Frederic Makowiecki in the No. 5 Porsche 963.

“I’m really excited about,” he told Sportscar365. “It’s always something I wanted to do, to have a go at that.

“It was really weird not to be in IMSA last year and it will be kind of weird not to do it again but it was a nice feeling to be at Daytona and be back in the IMSA paddock.

“It was really great to do those races because it is a different style of racing. To do Le Mans was really important as well last year.

“I think that’s a huge help because that’s such a unique race in the way it operates and the flow of that race.

“That’s a really good experience under my belt. There’s still more to learn but I have Michael and Freddy in my car that are really experienced to help guide me through whatever else I don’t know at this point.

“I think we’re in decent shape.

“The way the races go is definitely different. I still feel like I have a little bit more to learn there. But I’m looking forward to a new challenge.”

Cameron believes his and Christensen’s experience as third drivers in Porsche Penske’s Rolex 24 at Daytona lineup last month will also help speed up the learning curve, although coming to grips with WEC-specific rules will also be crucial.

“I think there’s a lot to learn in the race scenario, which is always a little bit different than when you’re doing private testing on your own,” he said.

“I think the way the team is going to be structured with Porsche Penske Motorsport and a lot of interchangeable pieces there, with Michael and I having done Daytona, a lot of common ground between the engineering staff, a lot of crossover, guys going back and forth across both [programs], is really going to help accelerate that learning curve.

“From a car standpoint, having this ‘under one roof’ approach that the groups have taken is going to be hugely beneficial to have four of these cars with free-flowing information across everybody and guys cross-pollenating from endurance races to tests.

“It’s really going to help accelerate everything and hopefully we can use that to our advantage to bring the results that are expected of this program.”

“Huge Honor” to Be American Porsche Factory Driver

Cameron said he’s taking pride in following in the footsteps of Patrick Long as the sole American representative within Porsche’s works driver roster.

“Obviously to be the only American one is a honor Pat [Long] had for many, many years and it just sort of happened to transition right about the same time,” he said.

“It’s a huge honor to take that spot, so to speak, with everything he accomplished with the brand.

“It would be an honor to be as synonymous with Porsche at the end of my time as he is with the brand.

“As an American, as someone who has been racing primarily in North America for a long time, it’s definitely an honor to race in the top category in Europe to chase a world championship, to chase an overall Le Mans victory that’s something that is very special and few and far between in that opportunity.

“You haven’t really seen too many guys get that chance, which is why I’m excited about it and am definitely embracing it.

“A lot of [European] guys are able to come [to the U.S.] and race but for whatever reason the top American guys who are here haven’t had as many opportunities.

“Hopefully it’s a chance to fly the flag a little bit for what we’re doing here and how competitive the IMSA championship has been and the talent we have here. I hope to showcase a bit of that.”

Cameron is bidding to become the first American driver in nearly 30 years to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans overall, a feat that hasn’t been accomplished since Davy Jones co-drove a Joest Racing TWR Porsche WSC-95 to top honors in 1996.

Peugeot driver Gustavo Menezes is expected to be the only other American in the top class at Le Mans this year.

“There’s not many things you can bring Mr. Penske that he hasn’t already done and Le Mans is definitely one of them,” Cameron said.

“It would be really special to be able to bring [that win] for him. Obviously we’re also chasing the 20th overall victory for the Porsche brand there. We have some really big targets for sure in terms of that race.

“It would be a lot of really rewarding things to achieve in this program and a lot of work still to do.”

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com and SPEED Channel and has contributed to numerous other motorsports publications worldwide. Contact John

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