The Grand-Am Rolex Series GT points leader moves from AJR Audi to Muehlner Motorsports Porsche for the COTA event.
Austin, TX - Rolex 24 at Daytona winner and GRAND-AM Rolex Series GT points leader Dion von Moltke heads to Austin this weekend aboard a new ride - swapping his Daytona Audi for a Porsche entered by Muehlner Motorsports.
For the GRAND-AM Rolex Series' debut at Austin's Circuit of the Americas (COTA) this weekend, von Moltke will swap to a Muehlner Motorsports Porsche - rejoining the team with whom he raced in the 2011 Rolex 24.
The PR Newswire-sponsored von Moltke will be keen for a strong performance at COTA which will also play host to a large group of corporate guests from the leading news and multimedia content distribution company.
He will be joined in the Muehlner entry by young Canadian star Kyle Marcelli. A pole winner and top contender in the PC class in the American Le Mans Series, Marcelli also has considerable experience aboard Porsche machinery.
DION VON MOLTKE
Q: WHAT WILL IT BE LIKE SWAPPING FROM THE AUDI TO THE PORSCHE? "It will definitely take me a few laps to get used to the Porsche again. They are extremely different, and also the styles you need to drive them.
"The Audi is a car that tells you how it likes to be driven. You're very smooth with it and guide it to the corners. The Porsche, on the other hand, has a really different driving style. You can kind of tell it what you want and you really can be aggressive with it.
"It's a night-and-day different driving style, and it actually does take you quite a few laps.
"Since Daytona, the last car I actually drove was a Porsche. I went to the ALMS Sebring Test and drove the WeatherTech Porsche in GTC spec, which is quite close to the GRAND-AM spec.
"In one regard, it's nice that I've actually gotten some laps in a Porsche recently. It will again take me a few laps to learn the car, especially when you're learning a new track.
"I've never driven at the Circuit of The Americas before. It's an extremely technical track, especially the first section. When you combine having to not only learn the car but also learn a new track, it's definitely going to be a steep learning curve.
"You don't have much track time and you don't have much time to sit back and learn and take your time. It's important for the team that the driver learns the track quickly so we can start taking advantage of our test times and make changes on the car to make us the fastest car there."
Q: YOU GO INTO AUSTIN AS THE GT CHAMPIONSHIP LEADER. HOW IMPORTANT IS IT TO HAVE A STRONG WEEKEND AND PUT SOME POINTS ON THE BOARD? "It's extremely important. We're all after the goal of winning races and the ultimate target of winning the championship.
"Daytona was a great event and a great way to start off our season. But it's done and over with and we're now completely focused on Circuit of The Americas and putting all of our efforts into this race.
"You can't get caught up thinking where you are in the points and what went on in the last round or what could come in the future, especially this early in the season. We're going to go there to battle and fight hard.
"I've got a great team with Muehlner Motorsports. They're very determined to come out strong and show they belong and can fight for wins in the Rolex Series. So I'm excited to join up with them again.
"I've also got a really strong teammate with Kyle Marcelli, who has a lot of experience in Porches and has been really strong in the ALMS in the PC class.
"We're all completely focused on this race and want to go there and put in the best result possible that we can achieve."
Q: OUTSIDE OF THE ROLEX 24, THIS WILL BE MUEHLNER MOTORSPORT'S FIRST ROLEX SERIES REGULAR SEASON RACE. DOES THAT CHANGE THINGS AT ALL? "I first drove for Muehlner Motorsports back at the Rolex 24 at Daytona in 2011. It was a joy to work with them. It was actually their first race here in the U.S.
"Being based in Belgium and being used to European racing, it's really different here. The tracks are extremely different. The way you set up the cars and also the rules are really different.
"They had a huge learning curve but they've gone about things the right way. They've experimented and have learned the way things work over here. They did the Rolex 24 this year and this will be their first regular season Rolex Series race.
"It's a really different ballgame in some respects, but in other respects, it's also very similar. In the 24-hour nowadays, we're running 100 percent, flat out the whole race. It's the same way in the two-hour and 45-minute races.
"The strategy and the way we work things are going to be a little bit different, but all in all, I think they've learned the ropes and already understand U.S. racing.
"Circuit of The Americas is actually a very European-style race track in the U.S. It's a very smooth circuit and it's almost like they've looked at Europe and they built to the specs that everyone uses over there.
"We're hoping to show up there and be strong out of the box."
Q: YOU WERE BORN IN TEXAS SO HOW MUCH ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO GOING BACK TO THE LONE STAR STATE? "I'm actually really excited. My brother still lives in Dallas, where I spent quite a few years. So he's going to be able to come down and visit.
"It's always nice to have family support at a race. It enables you to relax a little bit and feel more comfortable in your surroundings.
"Circuit of The Americas is not just in the state that I was born and spent many years of my life in, it's also probably one of the newest and biggest attractions in motorsports worldwide. It's a massive event for the Rolex Series for its first year there.
"I watched the Formula One race there and will probably watch it again. I've also watched tons of on-board videos. You try to learn the circuit as much as you can.
"When you break the track apart and look at the first sector, Turns 1 through 11... It's extremely technical, fast and flowing and there are a lot of corners that lead directly into other corners, so you have to compromise a lot.
"Sector two is long straightaways and huge brake zones while sector three has really fast sweeping corners that are uphill and downhill and are also second-gear corners leading on the big straightaway.
"The driving style you have will have to change quite a bit for the three sectors. You're also going to have to compromise on setup and try to find the best car over the entire lap and not just in one sector.
"It's going to be a big challenge for us drivers. Definitely the drivers that have been there before and have tested are going to have a pretty big advantage.
"Having that all in mind, we're trying to prepare as much as possible so once we're there, we're ready to go and have a good idea of what to expect."
Dion von Moltke