TPC Racing opens a long-anticipated IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup season this weekend at Road America, bringing a six-car and driver effort to the famed four-mile track. The season opens with a doubleheader after a nearly 300 day off-season, lengthened by the effects of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Vernon McClure (No. 10 Main Street Homes Porsche GT3 Cup), Michael Levitas (No. 36 DSC Sport/Erin Levitas Foundation/TPC Racing Porsche GT3 Cup), Tom Kerr (No. 74 The Vein and Vascular Institute of Tampa Bay Porsche GT3 Cup) and Dan Hardee (No. 69 Student Wireless/Drive Revolve/Method Seven/Apple Rush/Hardee Family Foundation Porsche GT3 Cup) will all take the green flag in the Platinum Masters class, while Efrin Castro (No. 65 Fine Fare Supermarkets Porsche GT3 Cup) competes in the 2020 Gold Cup championship for TPC Racing.
The team was last together officially for the schedule opener in St. Petersburg, Florida in March, but the event was postponed following just one practice session. The Road America season opener comes after a four-month delay, with 45-minute races at 1:45 p.m. ET Saturday and 10 a.m. ET on Sunday. Both races can be seen live on IMSA.tv and as part of an NBCSN Broadcast on Tuesday, August 11 at 4 p.m. ET.
During the downtime, TPC Racing has filled the void off-track with a booming street car business, but on track has offered private test sessions available to each of its drivers.
"TPC Racing is thrilled to be able to have our IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge program get back to racing," Harris Levitas, Director of Race Operations, said. "During the downtime from actual racing since March, we have been holding as many private test events as possible to keep our drivers and team fresh going into this event as the 2020 season restarts. The majority of the drivers on our team have been able to take advantage of these testing opportunities and I think that it will really pay off."
TPC Racing returns to a track where it has seen its share of success through the years, both on the professional and club racing levels. The team placed a driver on the podium in 2018, and scored a Gold Cup sweep of the doubleheader in 2016.
"I think Road America will be very exciting," Levitas said. "This is a track that is very fast and also challenging which has made for close racing in the past but also races that we would not like to look back on as well. TPC Racing has had a great deal of success at Road America with many wins and podium finishes in the past, so we hope to be able to have more of this success there again. It might be July, but it is just the start of the season now and we have a long way to go in a short period of time."
This year’s event will have a unique feel to it, as each team member is required to follow IMSA safety protocols that include social distancing and PPE for drivers and crew members. Working closely with the sanctioning body and local officials, however, has allowed Road America to open the weekend up to spectators.
The IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup USA restarts the season with a 45-minute practice session at 9:45 a.m. CDT Friday morning in the start of a busy day, which also includes a 30-minute practice at 1:30 p.m. CDT and qualifying at 4 p.m. CDT. Saturday’s first race is scheduled to go green at 12:45 p.m. CDT with the weekend’s second and final race on Sunday at 9 a.m. CDT.
Danny Hardee, Driver, No. 69 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (Platinum Cup Masters): This is my third time to Road America, and I absolutely love it. It’s in my top-three tracks that IMSA goes to. I’m really looking forward to getting back to the track. During this summer break, I’ve tripled the amount of time I’ve put into the racing simulator. I’ve got the full support of a variety of great sponsors, and I’m looking forward to racing with my 2020 livery that is a tribute to Porsche’s racing heritage.
Vernon McClure, Driver, No. 10 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (Platinum Cup Masters): It’s been a while since we left St. Pete with just one practice session, so I’m really looking forward to getting the season started again. I’ve done some testing with the TPC Racing guys so we’ll get the chance to put this all to use at Road America. Wisconsin is a beautiful part of our country and I love being there. Road America is big, fast and a lot of fun. It’s amazing how much speed can be carried thru the Carousel and the Kink has to be timed right. But most of all, I’m looking forward to getting back behind the wheel for my 2nd season and testing myself with all of the Porsche GT3 Cup field.
Efrin Castro, Driver, No. 65 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (Gold Cup): It’s been a challenging time, and we were very uncertain about what was going to happen with racing this year. Now that we’re starting, I’m very excited about it. It’s a chance to get back to some normalcy. I love Road America. It’s an amazing track. Last year, I didn’t do that well because I didn’t get comfortable enough with the track. But this year I’m ready for it. I have high expectations for this weekend.
Michael Levitas, Driver, No. 36 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (Platinum Cup Masters): We couldn’t be any more excited to get together as a team this weekend, first and foremost. We have a bit of brotherhood at TPC Racing. The atmosphere we have as a team, with the crew, engineers and drivers is great, and we’re all looking forward to the camaraderie. We know we can stay within the requirements and be safe with COVID, and still share each other’s company. And beyond that, I can’t wait to get into the race car and go fast!