David Heinemeier Hansson and Porsche Napleton Racing (PNR) Set for 2011 Season in IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge by Yokohama
Hansson and PNR Team on pace during Winter Testing this Week at Sebring
SEBRING, Fla. (February 11, 2011) - David Heinemeier Hansson and the debuting Porsche Napleton Racing (PNR) team will contest the full 2011 IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge by Yokohama in an all-out assault on the platinum-class championship in the No. 37 Porsche Napleton Racing/37signals Porsche GT3.
The new effort moved off to a promising start during 2011 Winter Test at Sebring International Raceway this past Monday and Tuesday where Hansson and the PNR team were among the pacesetters each day. Hansson is set for his first full season in the series after a gold-class victory in his GT3 Cup debut last October during Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta in a one-off ride with AASCO Motorsports. Although PNR is new to GT3 Cup, Hansson and the team have extensive experience racing and winning together in the Cayman Interseries the last two seasons.
"We have a strong team, a great car, great advice and help from everybody, so I am feeling pretty good about it," Hansson said. "At the same time I am also being realistic. I just want to show up, do well and not stick my car in the wall. Hopefully we'll get some podiums, and even some wins out of it, but it's not just about that. It's just as much about me getting some good experience and using this as a stepping stone to get into some of the longer endurance racing, and just having fun."
Porsche Napleton Racing is led by Team Principal Ron Barnaba, Team Manager and Crew Chief Tim Olsen and veteran Race Engineer Marc Manning. Hansson is also working with top American Porsche driver Patrick Long as his driver coach, who is very familiar with PNR's No. 37 Porsche, one of the first 2010 GT3s that has now been updated to 2011 specifications.
"I had driven this car when it was actually brand new, I turned the first laps right at the end of 2009, and then the next time I drove it was almost a year later, and it had a tough 12 months," Long said. "What Marc and Tim and all of the Napleton guys have done is really just revive this car into a really, really sound piece. And certainly David has come a long way, so the combination of the car's improvement and David's acceleration in his driving is great."
Long is very enthusiastic about Hansson, a driver that could emerge as his star pupil this year.
"He might not have the experience and know all of the tracks, but David proved to me last year when we put him in the gold-class car at Road Atlanta that he has the maturity and the natural car control," Long said. "If you have those two things, then all you need is seat time and experience, and that's going to come. That's what we will work on and it is just going to continue to improve."
One of the world's most successful young entrepreneurs, Hansson has already developed the ability to balance his global business demands with his emerging racing career.
"When I am in the car I am not thinking about anything else but taking that apex perfectly, getting on the throttle and all of that stuff," Hansson said. "Those distractions don't factor in once I am in the car. The time commitment for doing some of these things is a little stiff but I have my wireless Internet and laptop and I am making it work."
Hansson has been racing for four years but is a lifetime automotive enthusiast. In addition to racing Formula Mazdas, Caymans and other Porsches, he also drives a wide array of high-performance street vehicles.
"What's unique about him as that he drives so many different types of things, and that is something I really preach to a lot of people," Long said. "I don't think he does that because I told him, I am just saying he always has, and it really shows in his car control and how he has adapted and improved in such a small amount of time."
After winning his very first GT3 Cup race last year and this week's productive test, a rookie championship for both Hansson and PNR is not out of the question in 2010.
"It is going to be great to watch this year and the championship is pretty up for grabs," Long said. "A couple of kids that were in here last year showed some promise, but I think there could definitely be some surprises this year, and David is definitely going to be one that people are going to watch. It's going to be an interesting championship."