Porsche 911 GT3 Cup to Makes its Debut at Pikes Peak Hillclimb; Six-Time Champion Jeff Zwart Takes Purpose-built Race Car to the "Hill" For the First Time
Colorado Springs - June 21, 2010 - For the first time since Porsche began production of the 911 GT3 Cup race car in 1989, the car will contest a major international hillclimb including more than five miles of gravel.
Jeff Zwart, a commercial film director from Woody Creek Colorado, and six-time class winner at the Pikes Peak Hillclimb, will challenge the 2WD Time Attack class with his specially-prepared Luminox Watch Porsche 911 GT3 Cup race car.
With technical support from Porsche Motorsport North America (PMNA) and Pirelli Tires, Zwart will be contesting the 88th running of the hillclimb classic, the second oldest race in America (behind the Indy 500). Zwart said that running a 2WD, normally aspirated, purpose-built race car up the "Mountain" will be a new experience for him despite his nine starts at Pikes Peak.
"In previous years, I have always taken a street Porsche Turbo and converted it into a race car, but this time, with the help of Porsche and Pirelli, we have taken a race car and modified it for Pikes peak unique half tarmac-half gravel course. I practiced in the car last week, and was very surprised at the balance, power, and braking the car provided. The low-ratio sequential gear box keeps me busy through the 156 turns, but it makes the car very quick," said Zwart.
Porsche Motorsport started with a 2007 Cup car, updated it to 2010 specifications, and installed a new 450 horsepower 3.8-liter engine currently in use in the Patron GT3 Challenge, American Le Mans Series Challenge Class, and the Porsche Supercup series. The engine management mapping was modified to perform well in high altitude as the race starts at 9,390 feet and finishes at the summit, 14,110 feet above sea level, and ride height was increased for the gravel sections of the course. The underbody was also modified to protect the car from gravel and stones similar to rally competition. Pirelli has provided road racing-style rain tires which worked very well both on paved and gravel surfaces during last week's test.
"This event should show the real versatility of our Cup racer," said Paul Ritchie, president of Porsche Motorsport North America, Inc.
"With the variety of surfaces and altitude changes, the car was a handful to set up, but, between our PMNA engineers, Porsche Motorsport engineering consultant Roland Kussmaul - a rally veteran - and great help from Pirelli, we think we have given Jeff a car which will provide his best chance for a win," said Ritchie.
"I can slide the car across the dirt and grab gears without even lifting," Zwart added. "Add to that the car's behavior on the tarmac - the surface for which the car was built, and we should have a great chance to win."
Zwart has won his class at Pikes Peak - all in Porsche Turbo street cars - in 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, and 2002, setting new class records three times. Most recently, he co-drove a Porsche Cayenne with Pikes Peak veteran Paul Dallenbach at the challenging TransSyberia Rally (Moscow to Mongolia) in 2007. He also has an SCCA PRO Rally Championship (1990) and a SCORE Baja 1000 class win (2004) to his credit.
The Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car, built on the same assembly line in Stuttgart as the street-legal Porsche 911s, is raced all over the world in the Porsche Supercup series as well as various Porsche Carrera Cup and Challenge Cups. New last year was the additional of the American Le Mans Series Challenge class, where the Porsche Cup cars contest the full endurance series run by the Le Mans racers.
The 88th running of Pikes Peak will start official practice on Wednesday, June 23, with Zwart scheduled to run the bottom third of the 12.42-mile course. The Porsche will run the middle part of the course during Thursday practice, and the top part of the course on Friday. Friday is also Fan Fest in Colorado Springs, and the race Sunday begins at 9:00 AM MDT. Results will be posted on the official Pikes Peak web site - www.ppihc.com.
-source: porsche motorsport