While typically competitors on the track, Wright Motorsports and Park Place Motorsports are taking a unique “open-book” approach in this weekend’s California 8 Hours, in the sharing of resources for Porsche’s championship quest.
The German manufacturer has tasked the two American customer teams to run its full-season Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli driver lineups, following Porsche’s breakthrough victory in last month’s season-opening Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour with Earl Bamber Motorsport.
While EBM fielded both cars under its own banner in Bathurst, the John Wright and Patrick Lindsey-owned operations have each taken on a car for the second leg of the globe-trotting championship, which has seen a slightly different approach.
“We’re trying to do this the best we can as a two-car team,” Park Place’s director of operations Mike Johnson told Sportscar365.
“Wright and us don’t really compete head-to-head [in other series]. All the meetings we have [here] are one unified deal.”
The team’s Porsche 911 GT3 Rs are set up alongside each other in the WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca garage, with regular dialogue between the two teams, as well as engineering and operations staff from Porsche.
“It’s a completely open-book system between both of the teams,” Wright told Sportscar365. “They have things to offer and we have things to offer.
“We are sharing some of our experience [from last year’s] 8 Hour. We feed off each other.”
With Park Place embarking on its first California 8 Hours, Wright has been able to lend its previous knowledge of the event, when it ran Porsche’s factory lineup last year.
The two teams have also been able to lean on Porsche’s expertise in some areas as well.
“We are running it as a Park Place program, just with their entries,” Johnson said. “We have a lot of Porsche support.
“Our engineer Jim Kasprzak is making the engineering calls and I’ll make the strategy calls but there’s 20 Porsche guys behind us to bounce ideas off of.
“Instead of me going and hammering the SRO about the rules and the other stuff, we just send the Porsche reps and they figure it all out and bring it back to us.”
Out of the eight registered IGTC brands, Porsche is the only GT3 manufacturer to utilize locally-based teams for its season-long campaign, a concept envisioned by SRO Motorsports Group founder and CEO Stephane Ratel.
“I think it’s an interesting strategy that Porsche is using for IGTC to tap into the customer teams that are local,” said Wright.
“It gives the customer teams an inside to more of a factory type operation and what’s involved and how much logistics and everything that goes into that.”
Despite working closer together this weekend, Wright said the relationship between the two teams has already been going strong, with proof of that coming earlier this month in the Blancpain GT World Challenge America season-opener.
“At COTA, we had an issue and we ended up going to Dallas to get their engine and gearbox,” he said.
“That’s just the type of relationship you have with the other Porsche competitors when you’re in the Porsche family.”