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GT World Challenge America

Poordad, Root Learning Together in GT3 Transition

Max Root, Fred Poordad learning from each other in first season in Porsche 911 GT3 R machinery…

Photo: Brian Cleary/SRO America

Max Root and Fred Poordad have both credited their previous experience in single-make Porsche racing for the pair’s early success in GT World Challenge America powered by AWS.

Root and Poordad both raced out of the Wright Motorsports stable in Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA competition last year with Root finishing runner-up in the Platinum class and Poordad finishing second in the Masters category.

The duo formed a friendship during the 2019 season, despite a 36-year difference in age, which led to both stepping up to a Porsche 911 GT3 R this year in GTWC America competition.

“Fred had been with Wright well before I got there,” Root told Sportscar365. “Two years ago we were testing at Barber when John [Wright] gave me a call. That was when the relationship first started.

“We’ve become really good buddies through every race weekend, and we stay in contact and support each other as teammates.

“Naturally when he was looking to do some GT3 racing, he gave me a call to see if we could make it happen.”

Poordad said he had set his eyes on shifting his focus to GT3 racing and saw Root as an ideal co-driver.

“I still finished second, and started thinking that while I’m still young and fit enough to race I’d like to venture into GT3,” Poordad told Sportscar365.

“I had driven a Nissan GT3 car at Bathurst before and I thought that was something I’d like to explore.

“I floated the idea to Max last year, he was looking at various options for this year, and once I put that bug in his head and he started looking at it we both thought this would be a good year to do that.

“I trust Max; he’s a fantastic driver and a great young man, and his family are outstanding. I felt like I would trust Max in the car as a co-driver.

“From his perspective, he had a lot of options so I was very happy he decided to give this a shot this season.”

The early returns have been positive, including a sweep of the Am class in the first two races of the season at Circuit of The Americas in March.

Both drivers credited their training in the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup machine for easing the transition into GT3 racing.

“The Cup car is such a raw machine it’s very difficult to get that thing to do what you want it to. It’s always a little bit unruly,” said Poordad.

“The GT3 R is a more sophisticated, civilized machine, but it still can bite you and it demands a lot of focus and skill to make it go at 100 percent.

“The Cup car is a perfect place to transition from and if you’re good at driving a Cup car, it makes the transition into the GT3 R much easier.”

Root echoed his co-drivers thoughts, adding that the additional sophistication of the GT3 R adds a layer of complexity.

“Everything happens a little faster,” said Root. “There’s aero now [in the GT3 R] so you have the aero balance to play with.

“It takes a certain level of comfort with the aero to be able to extract speed from the high speed corners, and there’s where I see Fred still improving.”

“You also have traction control and ABS, which open a whole different dimension for a driver coming from a non-ABS car. It allows you to extract time that isn’t possible in a Cup car.”

Throughout the transition, the pair have leaned on each other for support both inside and outside the cockpit.

“I think Fred teaches me a lot of life tricks, and I show him some on-track tricks!” said Root.

“It’s a fun relationship and I think it’s super cool that we both have equally grown as people and as drivers through this process.”

“When you’re talking 55 years of age versus 19 years of age, it is a big gap!” added Poordad.

“One of the thing that I can bring to Max’s world is just the experience in life and also how to interact with people.

“Whatever I can impart on him I do, and he certainly imparts a lot of race craft. He’s very advanced for where he is in life. It’s a nice symbiotic relationship. We learn a lot from each other.”

Ryan Myrehn is an Indianapolis-based broadcaster and reporter. In addition to his work covering primarily domestic sports car racing for Sportscar365, he is the lead announcer for SRO America's TV coverage as well as a pit reporter for IndyCar Radio. Myrehn, a graduate of DePauw University, is also the host of Sportscar365's “Double Stint” Podcast.

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