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Chouest Povoledo Setting ‘Very Realistic’ Targets in GT3 Debut

Aaron Povoledo on team’s rise to Fanatec GT World Challenge America after multiple GT4 seasons…

Photo: John Dagys

Chouest Povoledo Racing is setting “very realistic” expectations for its first weekend as a GT3 operation according to team principal Aaron Povoledo, who has outlined the team’s rise to the top ranks of SRO America competition.

The Lousiana-based squad makes its Fanatec GT World Challenge America powered by AWS debut this weekend at Sonoma Raceway with a Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo for the Pro-Am pairing of Povoledo and Ross Chouest.

It comes after multiple seasons of GT4 competition, in both Pirelli GT4 America and GT America with Aston Martin Vantage GT4 machinery, highlighted by the 2022 GT America class title for Bronze-rated Chouest.

“Ross was ready for the next challenge,” Povoledo told Sportscar365.

“I think he felt like he learnt most of the things he designed to learn in the GT4 category and always had a larger goal of running bigger cars in bigger endurance races and learning what it takes to do those bigger races.

“Also just the sheer joy of a GT3 machine; the extra power, the downforce. They really are amazing machines to drive these days.

“As a guy who comes from a background in formula cars, getting into GT3 cars is very reminiscent of a sexy formula car in a lot of ways.”

While having been previously aligned with Aston Martin, Povoledo explained that the move to Mercedes-AMG was a two-fold decision.

In addition to having a proven GT3 car for gentlemen drivers, Povoledo’s sister team, NFC Motorsport/Povoledo Racing, campaigns Mercedes-AMG GT4s in World Racing League (WRL).

“Looking at this massive matrix of performance, BoP, and what’s a good car for a gentleman driver, and what’s a good car to find crew people that have experience with it,” Povoledo said.

“Getting thrown in the deep end to run our own team two-thirds of the way through our first season of doing pro racing together, I had just gotten my feet underneath me for running an efficient and strong GT4 program.

“But I know a GT3 program is a huge step above that. We’re under no illusions of grader or visions of it. It was more a matter of it that.

“I don’t want to be developing a team and developing a new car.

“I have familiarity with the AMG GT3 platform from years ago when I worked with another team doing all their test driving.

“I know a lot of good, quality people who have experience with that car, so it was a little bit more plug and play.”

Povoledo has made a number of key hires for the team’s jump into GT3 competition, including Maciej Kruszewski as the technical director and lead engineer, team manager Amir Bentatou and crew chief Charles Price.

The team also moved shops to Covington, La. to better integrate alongside Povoledo’s sister NFC Motorsport operation.

He said: “Watching all of this take place in the amount of time that it’s turned around in… Even just getting our support trailer here and finding the right rig for that. It’s been a ton [of work].”

When asked about their expectations for this weekend at Sonoma and the season ahead, Povoledo said: “I hate not winning. We’ve had a history of showing up and being right at the front.

“But I’m very realistic about what a bigger challenge this is and massively perturbed that we haven’t had any of the real practice yet, even just the last few days.

“I know we’re in the ballpark right now. We did one test day last Thursday and then got rained out.

“We have some really basic and relevant setup changes to work through that will put us in a very competitive window.

“I just don’t know if we’re going to have time [this weekend] the way that we’d want to.

“My goal right now is to finish both races cleanly and learn a whole bunch of stuff.

“I realize that coordinating a new crew of guys, changing tires, doing fuel, all the lines and cables, plus a driver change and the stuff that needs to go on, I want to have a smooth weekend of operations.

“I’m very realistic that we’re up against some of the best in the world, specifically running these cars.

“They’ve been running these cars [for a long time] like Colin Braun and Riley and Phil Ellis, guys that I respect 100 percent as drivers and engineers.

“I think we’d be very arrogant to think we’d just show up with no practice and beat them.

“None of this is rocket science and every level of my career whenever I’ve stepped up, it’s been a matter of working hard, thinking hard, driving hard and wins will follow.

“That’s my plan here.”

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for and SPEED Channel and has contributed to numerous other motorsports publications worldwide. Contact John

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