Pfaff Motorsports Returning to Grid at Motul Petit Le Mans
The “Plaid Porsche” is back!
Pfaff Motorsports announced its intent to return to WeatherTech Championship competition in the Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta from Oct. 15-17. Due to travel restrictions for team members and drivers, the No. 9 Porsche GT3 R hasn’t been in a series race since the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona in January.
“It was very disappointing not to be racing in July when the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship made its return,” team manager Steve Bortolotti said. “We felt we had all the pieces in place to make a run at the championship in our sophomore season.
“Our team is made up predominantly of Pfaff employees who work in our dealerships when not racing. Travel restrictions between the United States and Canada made a full-season return impossible in July when the series resumed. However, for Petit Le Mans, quarantining for two weeks upon returning to Canada for the series’ signature event made sense for all of us, especially as a way to thank our partners for sticking by our side during these challenging times.”
The No. 9 Porsche with Motul sponsorship will be driven in the 10-hour race by Canadian Zach Robichon, Porsche development driver and Nurburgring lap-record holder Lars Kern from Germany, and Intercontinental GT champion Dennis Olsen of Norway. The trio made up the Rolex 24 driving contingent for the No. 9 along with Patrick Pilet.
Compass Racing Adds Kingsley for Remaining IMSA WeatherTech Sprint Cup Events
Compass Racing announced it has signed Jeff Kingsley to drive the team’s No. 76 McLaren 720S GT3 alongside McLaren factory driver Paul Holton for the two remaining rounds of IMSA’s WeatherTech Sprint Cup in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
Kingsley, the current points leader in the IMSA-sanctioned Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama, will sub in the No. 76 GT Daytona (GTD) entry for Corey Fergus, whose wife is expecting their first child in the coming weeks.
“When we started the season, the Sprint Cup would have been finished by October and there wouldn’t have been a conflict,” Fergus said. “With the schedule as it now stands, I’d likely end up missing the birth of my daughter, which I’m loathe to do. I’m thankful to the team for finding a worthy replacement in Jeff.”
Kingsley has compiled six wins this season in Porsche GT3 Cup. The 22-year-old Canadian, who began his career in karting, has 16 championships, 59 race wins and 34 pole positions to his name.
“I’m really excited to co-drive the Compass GTD McLaren with Paul,” Kingsley said. “Corey had two pole positions this year. I know I’ve got big shoes to fill and am thrilled for the opportunity to race at the top level of sports-car racing in America. McLaren is a great brand, Compass is a proven championship winner and the Sprint Cup is an incredibly competitive series.”
The remaining Sprint Cup rounds are Oct. 9-10 on the Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL and Oct. 30-Nov. 1 at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.
Salters Named New President of Honda Performance Development
Honda Performance Development (HPD), which leads all Honda and Acura high-performance racing programs in North America, announced that David Salters will become the seventh president in its history effective December 1. Salters succeeds Ted Klaus, who will retire from HPD after a 30-year career with Honda.
“Ted Klaus has been a great leader for Honda Performance Development, demonstrated by the success we have enjoyed in both IndyCar and IMSA racing in the two seasons he has led HPD,” said Dave Gardner, executive vice president of National Operations for American Honda Motor Co., Inc. “As we prepare for the exciting electrified era ahead in North American motorsports, we are confident in turning to someone with the experience of David Salters from inside HPD to lead us into the future.”
A veteran race engineer with more than a quarter century of experience in the world’s pinnacle racing series of Formula 1 and IndyCar, Salters will lead HPD, founded in 1993, into an exciting new stage of North American motorsports.
Salters joined HPD in 2015 as a chief engineer and engine technical leader, serving as technical director since 2019. As president, he will have responsibility for overseeing Honda’s racing and engineering activities and working directly with the company’s racing teams and sponsors.
Prior to joining HPD, Salters had a series of roles in high-profile racing programs, including serving as the head of ICE power unit development for the Ferrari Formula 1 program, as head of F1 engine development at Mercedes-Benz High Performance Engines (formerly Ilmor) and as a development/design engineer for the CART Indy car program at Cosworth Racing Ltd.
“I am humbled to have this opportunity to lead HPD as we head into a new electrified era of North American pinnacle motorsport,” said Salters. “HPD is unique within the racing community, with so many technical capabilities under one roof that enable us to design and develop powertrains and complete vehicle performance.”
In WeatherTech Championship competition, Klaus helped deliver multiple championships for Acura in the DPi and GTD classes in 2019. The No. 7 Acura Team Penske ARX-05 driven by Helio Castroneves and Ricky Taylor has won the last three races this season and sits just five points off the DPi lead. In GTD, Mario Farnbacher and Matt McMurry, co-drivers of the No. 86 Meyer Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian Acura NSX GT3 Evo, lead the points in GTD.
Atlanta-based AOA Racing to Debut in IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta
AOA Racing will make its IMSA debut at its home track, announcing it will field a car in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge FOX Factory 120 at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta. The Atlanta-based team named Gino Manley and Giano Taurino to drive its Audi RS3 LMS for the race weekend Oct. 13-15.
“To field a car in professional racing as a car owner has forever been a dream of mine,” team owner John De Barros said. “These two drivers are going places and their loyalty to this team is why I’m so excited to be doing this with them.”
United Autosports Plans on Pair of Entries into 2021 Rolex 24 At Daytona
United Autosports confirmed its plans to field two cars in the Le Mans Prototype 3 (LMP3) class for the 2021 Rolex 24 At Daytona in January, subject to an entry acceptance by IMSA. The LMP3 class will be included in the WeatherTech Championship for the first time from next year to run alongside the four existing classes: Daytona Prototype international (DPi), Le Mans Prototype 2 (LMP2), GT Le Mans (GTLM) and GT Daytona (GTD). United Autosports intends to enter two Ligier JS P320s in the 24-hour endurance classic with drivers to be confirmed.
United Autosports last raced in the Rolex 24 At Daytona in 2018, with a two-car LMP2 effort that included two-time Formula 1 champion Fernando Alonso among the drivers. One of the team’s entries finished fourth in class.
“We are really excited to hopefully go racing at Daytona once again,” said Zak Brown, team owner and chairman of United Autosports. “Adding the LMP3 class into the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship is a great idea, and I’m not surprised that there has been so much interest in the category so far. I love Daytona and I love 24-hour races, so this makes perfect sense for us as a team.”