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KCMG Taking “Step Back” to Review Top-Level GT3 Options

Uncertainty over KCMG’s status in top-level GT3 racing after Porsche program stalls…

Photo: Porsche

KCMG has “taken a step back” to evaluate its options for top-level GT3 racing after electing not to continue with Porsche this year, according to team owner Paul Ip.

The Hong Kong-based outfit ran Porsche 911 GT3 Rs in the major 24-hour races at Spa, Daytona and the Nürburgring last season but has downscaled its GT3 involvement amid the German manufacturer’s introduction of the new Type-992 model.

KCMG took a class podium in last weekend’s Nürburgring 24 with a Toyota GR Supra GT4 Evo and is also racing in Fanatec GT World Challenge Asia powered by AWS through Ip’s personal racing program with a Honda NSX GT3 Evo22.

Ip told Sportscar365 that KCMG looked to continue with Porsche for its flagship professional-level GT3 program this year but an agreement failed to materialize.

“We couldn’t come to any deals with any GT3 manufacturers to support us this year,” he said.

“We had a very good relationship with Porsche last year. But with the pandemic recovering and the war in Ukraine etc. I think Porsche is struggling to deliver cars and parts.

“By the time we could have got the cars, it would probably be too late for a program like this.

“At the same time, personal opinion, I think most manufacturers are now focusing on the road car side of things and therefore EVs, which means a lot less support on the motorsport side.

“That’s why we couldn’t get significant support from any manufacturer to do a proper program. To fund it ourselves was maybe a bit too much.”

KCMG ran Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3s from 2018 until 2020 when it switched to Porsche and reunited with a manufacturer it had previously worked with during the 2016 FIA World Endurance Championship season in GTE-Am.

Its GT3 program with Porsche centered on the 24-hour races at Spa and the Nürburgring, often with factory drivers, but the team also ventured to the Rolex 24 at Daytona last year in GTD Pro.

When asked if he is still in discussions with Porsche about returning to major GT3 races, Ip replied: “Not at the moment. But not exclusively with Porsche.

“We have taken a step back and just opened the door a little bit. We have more choices, whether it’s BMW or Mercedes, Ferrari or Lamborghini.

He added: “I think we need to have a good partnership, in both ways.

“Someone who can give us something competitive and good drivers, and at the same time it’s how much support.

“Because everything is getting more expensive, especially post-pandemic. Hotels and flights are at least a 20-30 percent increase in anything.”

Ip explained that it was initially the “idea” for KCMG to continue with Porsche through the transition from the previous-generation 991.2 to the current 992 model.

The team sold one of its 991.2s immediately after last year’s race at Daytona where it finished third in a dramatic final-lap battle with fellow Porsche team Pfaff Motorsports.

Its other car went on to run at the Spa and Nürburgring before joining the second-hand market.

“We had such a good relationship with the previous generation, and we wanted to continue that over to the new car,” said Ip.

“Unfortunately, we couldn’t come to any program.”

Porsche 911 GT3 R project manager Sebastian Golz explained that the manufacturer’s level of GT3 customer support is the same across all teams.

“The level of support for customers is the same,” he told Sportscar365.

“From our situation, we are trying to support every customer on the same level. I do not know if they would like to get a little bit more; this could be the reason. We also lost customers in the past because sometimes they want to be ‘the’ team instead of ‘a’ team.

“But I cannot answer that. It’s sad for us that we lost him because it was nice to work with them together.

“But at the end, we try to support each customer the same and this is part of the concept for Porsche.

“We don’t have one team that gets everything. We try to get everybody on the same page.”

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

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