Trenton Estep believes taking part in the early season IMSA GTD races in MDK Motorsports’ Porsche 911 GT3 R will benefit him as he steps up to full-time GT3 competition in Fanatec GT World Challenge America powered by AWS this year.
The Porsche North America Selected Driver will team up with 16-year-old Seth Lucas in MDK’s new Type-922 Porsche for the full season, not only marking the Ohio-based team’s debut in SRO America but also Estep’s first full-season campaign in a two-driver series.
Estep was among the stars in Porsche Carrera Cup North America presented by The Cayman Islands competition last year, scoring three overall wins en route to a fourth place finish in the Pro class championship in a MDK-run Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car.
He was also part of MDK’s lineup in last month’s Rolex 24 at Daytona, finishing sixth in the GTD Pro class alongside Jan Magnussen, Jason Hart and team owner Mark Kvamme, and is due to also contest the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring prior to the start of the GTWC America season.
“Most definitely,” Estep told Sportscar365 when asked if his GTD experience will help in GTWC America this year.
“Any seat time in any type of car is really, really important. At Daytona, having Jan [Magnussen] and Jason [Hart] and all of their experience really helped me.
“Having seat time in the car is going to really help me feel the nuances of it. Granted it will be a different BoP and a different tire but hopefully that will carry over.”
Estep said he believes all of the ingredients are in place to hit the ground running this season, with the 23-year-old working on building chemistry with his new co-driver.
“Seth has been over to the shop and we’ve been building a relationship outside of the car. We do some sim stuff as well,” Estep said.
“Seth has been awesome. He’s really eager to learn; he has great car control.
“I was in his position not too long ago so I can relate to him in a lot of ways. I think us being kind of close in the age gap will help us bond throughout the year as well.
“I’m super excited about it. I know the program and the amount of effort that’s been put in to make it a successful one.”
While it’s yet to be confirmed which class Estep and Lucas will compete in, as a pair of FIA Silver-rated drivers, Estep is confident of being able to make a run for the title.
“The championship is not out of the ballpark at all,” he said. “Seth lives local to Columbus, Ohio; I’m also living in Columbus to be close to the team.
“We really have no excuse for the amount of work we can put in.
“Mark and Megan [Kvamme] have built a great program for us. We just need to utilize the resources now.”
“Great Learning Experience” Seeing MDK’s Growth
Estep said seeing the rapid growth of the team has been a “great learning experience” particularly as he steps up into GT3 racing.
Founded in late 2021, MDK embarked on its first full season of competition last year, primarily in Carrera Cup, prior to an expansion into SRO America this year that also includes multiple entries in the new Toyota GR Cup.
“We grew quite quickly,” Estep said. “Mark and Megan Kvamme have developed a great team and atmosphere to build.
“It’s only our second year but we have some great resources behind us and some great knowledge as well.
“It’s really an honor and a completely different perspective for a driver as well to see the team’s growth as well. Usually as a driver you’re always worried about developing as a driver.
“Being in GT3 racing, it’s really a team atmosphere and it’s a team-driven race. It’s important to build that relationship with the crew.
“If you grow with the crew as well, it just helps with that and makes the bond stronger.
“It’s been a great learning experience.”