PORSCHE: LMP2 EFFORT WON'T TAKE FOCUS FROM GT2 EFFORT IN AMERICAN LE MANS SERIES Braselton, Ga. - Porsche's announcement that it is fielding an LMP2 team in the American Le Mans Series with Penske Motorsports sent shockwaves through the series...
PORSCHE: LMP2 EFFORT WON'T TAKE FOCUS FROM GT2 EFFORT IN AMERICAN LE MANS SERIES
Braselton, Ga. - Porsche's announcement that it is fielding an LMP2 team in the American Le Mans Series with Penske Motorsports sent shockwaves through the series and the racing world. But for those wondering if it will have any effect on Porsche's GT2 effort in the ALMS, the answer is a resounding "NO."
Both Peter Schwarzenbaurer, President and CEO of Porsche Cars North America, and Uwe Brettel, President of Porsche Motorsport North America, said as much at Road Atlanta last week in a CBS television interview announcing the Porsche program.
"It will not have an effect on our ALMS customer GT2 program or any other racing program," Brettel insisted. "We are so proud of our GT2 customers, and we intend to support our GT2 customers for more victories in the races to come."
Some GT2 drivers and teams felt at ease with those statements, believing that Porsche's attention to the LMP2 also will mean more attention to the GT2 entries.
"It is very exciting to see Porsche moving back into prototype racing. With the announcement of its racing program expansion, I think we can also expect an expansion in service and support, which will benefit all GT2 teams running Porsches," said Seth Neiman, driver of the No. 44 Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche.
Tom Moore, head of public relations for the No. 31 Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Race team, also thinks Porsche's rise to the prototype ranks will have far-reaching effects, both inside and outside of GT2.
"We are excited that Porsche is taking the step into the LMP2 class. A program of this kind only further energizes the entire organization and the sport," said Moore, whose team fields one Porsche in GT2 and won in class at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring in March.
"Porsche Motorsport North America has a strong and established customer support process in place for its GT2 teams, and we don't anticipate any change in that," Moore added. "Therefore, we see only positives coming from this. We are looking forward to a long and successful relationship with Porsche and wish them the very best with the prototype effort."
There was a sense of excitement and wonder throughout the paddock at Road Atlanta, site of the Sportsbook.com Grand Prix of Atlanta and the earth-shattering revelation of the Porsche-Penske team.
"Many of the people who are working within Porsche wanted to see Porsche competing in a class other than GT2 where we have been very successful," Schwarzenbauer said. "This possibility gives us an opportunity to show a little more excitement in the ALMS."
The new LMP2 is expected to debut at Road Atlanta for the Petit Le Mans in October. The other "test" race for the Porsche will be at the ALMS' season finale at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca two weeks later.