EFFORT Racing will return to Pirelli World Challenge competition with new and familiar faces to the Texas-based team, having confirmed Wednesday that Ryan Dalziel and Michael Lewis as drivers of its two-car Porsche 911 GT3-R operation this year.
Dalziel, who scored five podium finishes in six starts in 2014, including two wins, will return for the majority of the season in the GT class, while rising star Michael Lewis has been named to the team’s GT-A class entry as part of Porsche’s expanded Young Driver Program in North America.
The 23-year-old American, who participated in Porsche’s Young Driver Academy and finished third in the 2014 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge championship, has been nominated by PMNA for the season-long seat, marking the next step in the manufacturer’s expanded driver development program.
“Thanks to the commitment from EFFORT Racing owner Chuck Toups in keeping with his ongoing interest in driver development, we are able to offer support and resources to give a young talent from North America a unique experience with a championship team in the Pirelli World Challenge,” said Porsche Motorsport North America President Jens Walther.
The new program, focused on the North American market, will also see Porsche factory driver Patrick Long be on hand to coach the nominated driver on and off the track, as his schedule allows.
“At EFFORT Racing, we believe in doing things for a purpose” said Toups. “When we started in 2012, we integrated driver development as one of our core program goals. It’s true in any domain that the investment and training of young talent is crucial to the long term success for any industry.
“The extension of the successful Porsche Young Driver program into North America is an exciting announcement for the motorsports community.”
Lewis replaces 2014 GT-A champion Michael Mills, who will return to focusing on his coaching job at MSR Houston.