The Porsche Carrera Cup North America comes to the Circuit of The Americas (COTA) in Austin, Texas, starting Friday for its second weekend of competition.
The premier one-make Porsche racing series on the continent moved the event from Canadian Tire Motorsport Park due to travel restrictions into Canada and the resulting schedule modification has forced several changes for participants. While logistical issues had to be overcome to secure teams, television and support at Rounds 3 and 4 of the 16-race inaugural season, 27 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup race cars are entered. The addition to the established SRO America weekend on the 3.4-mile, 20-turn COTA circuit – site of the Formula One United States Grand Prix – has forced on-track schedules to be adapted with competitors racing both 45-minute events on Sunday.
Porsche Carrera Cup North America: Circuit of The Americas Entry List
Official practice gets underway Friday, with qualifying slated for Saturday. With the first 45-minute race scheduled for 8 a.m. CT Sunday and the second later that day at 2:50 p.m., drivers, teams and series officials will have a quick turnaround to prepare between rounds. This will put a premium on programs who can go mistake-free in the first race.
One of the newest major racetracks in the United States, COTA provides ample runoff space to help mitigate heavy damage in the event of an off-course excursion. However, its fast turns and long straights are punctuated by tight switchbacks including the trademark uphill charge into the first turn. These often encourage door-to-door, bumper-to-bumper battles that, while exhilarating for the audience watching the livestream at www.porschecarreracup.us, can prove a nightmare for teams trying to quickly prepare for the second race in the single-make, single-driver series.
Of the 27 cars entered to race, 14 make up the Pro class for the newest Porsche 911 GT3 Cup race cars, based on the 992 generation of the iconic sports car. In the opening weekend last month at Sebring International Raceway, Seb Priaulx and Kay van Berlo exchanged the top two podium spots in their Kelly-Moss Road & Race prepared machines. Veteran Leh Keen earned third place in Race 1 driving for 311RS Motorsport while New Braunfels, Texas-resident Riley Dickinson, driving the Team Hardpoint EBM and Porsche Austin-backed 911 GT3 Cup car, stood third in Race 2.
Six type 992, normally aspirated, flat-six machines make up the Pro-Am class for drivers ages 40 and older. It was Austin’s own Alan Metni who secured both Sebring wins for the class in the No. 99 Kelly-Moss Road & Race Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car. The remaining seven drivers on the entry list will sit behind the wheel of the previous generation Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car, the type 991.2, in the Pro-Am 991 class. Five of those cars – including Sebring class winner Matt Halcome – are prepared by Goldcrest Motorsports.
Live timing and scoring of every session, as well as live streaming of races, can be found at www.PorscheCarreraCup.us.
Brian Blocker, Series Manager, Porsche Carrera Cup North America: “We have all had to learn to adapt quickly over the course of the last year. Motorsports is no different. We have advantages and challenges due to the fact that Porsche Carrera Cup North America is in its first year. I believe one area we have an advantage is scheduling. We don’t have 10 years of ‘this is how it is done’ so our teams and partners have been great at working with us to achieve a common goal. Every race team, driver, our partners like Michelin and suppliers have all been pulling together for the greater good. We particularly have to thank IMSA, the SRO and COTA for working so hard to make this event happen. It is not often you can interchange – on short notice – an iconic track like CTMP with a marvelous facility like Circuit of The Americas this seamlessly. We are looking at an incredible weekend of racing in Austin.”
John Wright, Team Principal, Wright Motorsports: “We’re excited to get such a packed weekend at Circuit of The Americas underway, starting with a brief test for the Porsche Carrera Cup, in which three of our five entries for the weekend will be running. We had some adversity in the opening arounds at Sebring, but we’re ready for what COTA has in store. With both races on Sunday, it’ll be important everyone has a clean race in the morning. Overall, I think we’ll have a strong run here.”
Riley Dickinson, Driver, No. 15 Team Hardpoint EBM Porsche 911 GT3 Cup: “There’s nothing like having a home race. Being able to sleep in your own bed is so nice, and the track is one of my favorites anyway. I’m really looking forward to it because it is my first professional race at COTA. I did a test in the old Porsche Cup cars in February of 2020, but I’ve driven a lot of Porsches out here with Hill Country PCA and doing some coaching. But being here for a Porsche Carrera Cup North America race is long overdue. It’s going to be a fun week.”