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Pirelli GT4 America

ACI Making Gains in “Toned Down” Porsche Program

Team owner/driver Curt Swearingin on ACI’s split weekend approach in Sebring, Miami…

Photo: Jessica Johnk/Porsche

ACI Motorsports is in a better position this year with a more focused two-series effort according to team owner/driver Curt Swearingin, who along with Kay van Berlo are making inroads the second season as co-drivers in Pirelli GT4 America competition.

The Chattanooga-based operation, which fielded multiple Porsche entries in GT4 America, Fanatec GT World Challenge America powered by AWS, Porsche Carrera Cup North America and Porsche Sprint Challenge North America by Yokohama in 2023, has largely focused on GT4 America and Carrera Cup this year.

This weekend’s efforts, however, are split up, with series in action at Sebring International Raceway (GT4 America/GT America) and Miami International Autodrome (Carrera Cup) which has resulted in the team dividing its resources to a certain degree.

“We’ve done it before with Carrera Cup and Sprint Challenge. We did too many series last year and we toned down,” Swearingin told Sportscar365.

“Last year we were in Sprint Challenge, Carrera Cup and SRO and we had a Fanatec GT car as well, so it about killed us.

“This year before we started we said, ‘OK, we’re just going to pick two series and this is what we’re going to do’ and try and get the customer base for both.

“It worked out that Carrera Cup was really popular and we were able to get seven drivers for that.

“In SRO, it’s just me and my two cars and Kay, which works out good too because it gets me out of racing against the customer or with the customer.

“It’s not a bad thing all the time but this lets me focus a little more on what I need to do, which obviously I need to get faster every day.

“The logistics part of being split like this is always really tough with this many cars and at this level. But we’ve hired in some extra help and just tried to make it the best we can possibly do.”

Among the additions to the team for this year includes Will Bamber, who is assisting on the management side of ACI’s expanded seven-car Carrera Cup operation, five of which are in action this weekend in Miami.

“He’s operating as the team manager when I’m not there,” Swearingin said. “When I’m there, we’re kind of working it together and then we have our engineer that’s handling it in Sebring.

“So we’re able to work it out all out.

“I have Kevin [Klammer], who has been working with me for the last couple of years, he’s been the manager over Carrera Cup and Sprint Challenge and he’s there as an assistant manager.

“We’ve got several key people in place to make sure things go the right way.”

Van Berlo, a Porsche North America Selected Driver who is in his second year with ACI in GT4 America competition, said he’s seen gains in the program from last season.

“We were talking about this when we got to Sonoma this year and we were looking at the team and the way it was operating,” he told Sportscar365. “We were both laughing, just seeing how much the team has grown over the years and the structure that’s now in place.

“I’ve been lucky enough to see them grow over the last year but also when I was doing Carrera Cup with Kellymoss, I already saw ACI in the paddock.

“I’ve seen the team grow over the last couple of years and it’s been great to see how Curt has brought on some really key people, especially this year, and that seems to give the team even more structure.

“But even throughout last year. I have limited experience in that regard but we were able to learn so much from race to race, and I’m talking specifically about SRO, just by going out there, exploring things and debriefing after a weekend, improving and going to the next weekend.”

Van Berlo said the team is focusing on executing mistake-free races, both from the pit box and from behind the wheel, this year.

“This doesn’t just apply to SRO but all series, but you’ve got to stay clean,” the Dutchman said.

“That’s one of the objectives for this year. Regardless of where we’re at, whether we have decent pace, good pace or great pace, we’ve just got to keep our feet on the ground and bring the car back with no damage and no penalties.

“If one day we’re going to score a couple points less but we’re able to secure some good points, we’ll take it. If we have a weekend where we seem to be really strong, we’re definitely going to try to capitalize on that but at the same time we need to be cautious and aware that it’s easy to lose a lot of points and it’s all about consistency.”

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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