DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 13, 2013)Drivers and teams in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama will zero in on the impending 2014 season during testing Feb. 24-25 at Sebring International Raceway, site of the opening race March 13-14.

The International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) unveiled Feb. 11 an eight-venue, 16-round schedule for the 2014 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama. The series is one of 19 global Porsche 911 GT3 Cup one-make championships that provide thrilling action and groom drivers for future TUDOR United SportsCar Championship competition in North America or professional GT races worldwide.

Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama events will compete alongside other IMSA series at every race weekend, and the series will run 14 of its 16 rounds during TUDOR Championship events.

"Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama represents some of the most competitive single-make racing in North America," said IMSA Development Series Director Steven Sewell. "This well-balanced schedule of high-profile sports car racing venues is a fitting tribute to the series' 10th season of competition."

The Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge by Yokohama features semi-professional drivers racing head to head in matched Porsches in the largest single-make series in North America. Powered by one of the world's most successful race cars, the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car, the multi-class structure of the series teaches drivers essential skills for an eventual career in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship. The three class divisions are Gold Cup, Platinum Cup and a Masters Championship (for drivers 45 and over). Each class is awarded with its own podium at the end of every race and individual champion at the end of every season. Points are awarded by finish in class.

Developed for Porsche one-make Cups worldwide, the 2014 version of the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car is based on the street version of the current Porsche 911. The power unit featured in the new 911 GT3 Cup car was largely identical to the production engine of the 911 GT3 RS with the same output of 460 bhp and the same maximum engine speed of 8,500 rpm. The 2010-2013 versions will compete in the Gold Cup class, while the new 2014 model will race for Platinum Cup honors.

Tight competition on great circuits in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama has launched many drivers and teams to success in higher levels of professional sports car racing over the last decade. The excellent pedigree of the series was on display in late January during the Rolex 24 At Daytona weekend.

2013 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama champion Madison Snow, 18, was a member of the Wright Motorsports team that finished third in the No. 58 Snow Racing Porsche 911 GT America in the ultra-competitive, deep GT Daytona (GTD) class of the Rolex 24. The Wright Motorsports/Snow Racing combination prepared the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car that Snow drove to the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama season championship in 2013.

Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama graduate Ashley Freiberg drove for the winning Fall-Line Motorsports team in the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge race at Daytona. Freiberg was the first woman in North America to win a race overall in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge, last year at Watkins Glen.

Preseason testing at Sebring could give an early indication at which drivers will contend for race victories and the championship in 2014, as teams continue to prepare for the North American competition debut of the all-new 2014 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup race car.

The season gets underway March 13-14 at Sebring International Raceway in Sebring, Fla., as part of the prestigious Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh From Florida race week. High car counts are expected for the traditional Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama season opener, especially due to the excitement bred by the historic merger of North American sports car racing debuting this season with the TUDOR Championship.

Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama competitors will reach top gear with two events in May on opposite coasts. The first will take place May 3-4 at the picturesque Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif. Then teams and drivers will head across the country for a Memorial Day weekend event May 24 at Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, Conn., the series' first appearance at the track since 2011.

After making its inaugural appearance at historic Watkins Glen International in 2013, the series returns June 27-28 to Watkins Glen, N.Y., as part of the popular Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen event weekend.

The series heads north of the border in July to start the second half of the season at Canada's beloved, challenging Canadian Tire Motorsport Park on July 12-13 in Bowmanville, Ontario.

Then the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama travels Aug. 9-10 to the beautiful, popular Road America circuit in Elkhart Lake, Wis. From one of North America's most historic facilities, the series will make its way to the continent's newest road racing facility for an event Sept. 19-20 at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.

 The 2014 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama season once again will conclude Oct. 2-3 at Road Atlanta in Braselton, Ga. Series champions will be crowned on the eve of the prestigious, 17th Annual Petit Le Mans, which will close the inaugural TUDOR Championship season. 

In addition to unveiling the 2014 schedule, IMSA and Porsche Motorsport North America also introduced a new logo to update and streamline the identity of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama. The new logo mirrors the brand carried by all Porsche one-make series worldwide.

"Porsche Motorsport North America is very proud to continue our partnership with IMSA for the 2014 GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama season," said Jens Walther, president and CEO, Porsche Motorsport North America. "The series has long been an integral part of Porsche's international one-make Cup network and a vital stepping stone for driver and team development in North America, as evidenced by our Young Driver's Academy program here in the U.S.

"The series provides a mixture of experienced drivers with young, up-and-coming talent on an affordable budget in a professional environment which is unique in the United States and Canada. In 2014, the GT3 Cup Challenge will introduce new tracks to the schedule as well as Porsche's newest generation 911 GT3 Cup car to the platinum class. We are looking forward to seeing these positive additions to an already exciting and highly competitive category."

2014 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama Schedule

Date Venue

March 13-14 Sebring International Raceway, Sebring, Fla.*

May 3-4 Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, Monterey, Calif.*

May 24 Lime Rock Park, Lakeville, Conn.

June 27-28 Watkins Glen International, Watkins Glen, N.Y.*

July 12-13 Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, Bowmanville, Ontario*

Aug. 9-10 Road America, Elkhart Lake, Wis.*

Sept. 19-20 Circuit of the Americas, Austin, Texas*

Oct. 2-3 Road Atlanta, Braselton, Ga.*

* -- In conjunction with IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship events