Lewis earns 2014 IMSA Scholarship toward Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA By Yokohama season drive
Lewis will make his series debut in the season-opening rounds March 13-14 at Sebring International Raceway during the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Michael Lewis has secured a full-season drive in the 2014 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama, in part through a scholarship from the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) and supported by Porsche and Yokohama.
Lewis, from Laguna Beach, Calif., will drive the No. 98 Competition Motorsports/Curb Records/Eibach 911 GT3 Cup Platinum Cup car this season fielded by California-based Competition Motorsports/Curb-Agajanian, owned by three-time series champion Bob Faieta. Lewis will make his series debut in the season-opening rounds March 13-14 at Sebring International Raceway during the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh From Florida.
This scholarship represents a vital first step in building the necessary budget required to race in this highly competitive championship, one of nearly 20 similar Porsche single-make series worldwide.
"It was a very special opportunity to not only receive this scholarship but to simply be invited by Porsche Motorsport North America to their Young Driver Academy, as there were only four drivers at the test," Lewis said. "I was lucky enough to be one of those drivers. As a result, earning this scholarship was something I couldn't have imagined, but it happened! I would like to thank IMSA, Porsche and Yokohama Tire."
Lewis raced for elite teams the last three seasons in prestigious European junior open-wheel formulas, including the FIA Formula 3 European Championship, the Formula 3 Euroseries and Formula 3 Italia. He earned eight top-10 finishes in 2013 in FIA European Formula 3, one victory and seven podium finishes in 2012 in the Formula 3 Euroseries and three victories and two poles in 2011 in Formula 3 Italia. He earned a test in a Ferrari Formula One car in 2011 after his strong performance.
Before his stellar Formula 3 career, Lewis raced in Europe and Asia in Formula BMW. He also has displayed his diverse talents in NASCAR Late Model stock car races and USAC open-wheel short-track competition in the United States.
Lewis started his career in 2003 with multiple victories in quarter-midget racing in California before moving in 2005 to karting, in which he won championships and races in the United States and was a regular podium finisher in Italian and French competition.
"Not only does the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama series provide an opportunity for seasoned veterans to compete as part of high-profile TUDOR United SportsCar Championship events, the equally prepared Porsche 911 GT3 Cup race car provides an ideal platform to showcase and develop new, up-and-coming talent in the highly competitive GT sports car category," said Steven Sewell, director of IMSA Development & Single-Make Series. "Michael demonstrated terrific potential during the Young Driver Academy, and we're pleased with his decision to focus his racing effort in the IMSA paddock."
Lewis showed the skill on and off the track that earned him the IMSA Scholarship as one of four rising talents invited to participate in the Porsche Young Driver Academy last September at Barber Motorsports Park near Birmingham, Ala.
The other three drivers - Angel Benitez Jr., David Ostella and Madison Snow - were veterans of Porsche GT3 Cup competition in the United States and Canada and have advanced their careers in 2014.
Benitez returns to the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama as a favorite for the championship, 2013 Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Michelin champion Ostella just signed a two-year deal with Performance Tech Motorsports for a Prototype Challenge drive in the IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, and 2013 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama champion Snow landed a GT Daytona drive with Wright Motorsports in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.
"We are happy that IMSA has selected a young American driver with international experience to receive the 2014 IMSA Scholarship," said Jens Walther, Porsche Motorsport North America president and CEO. "Even though this was just our second year of holding the Young Driver Academy, we've already been successful at identifying driving talent inside and out of the Porsche world. It is confirmation that Porsche's commitment to recognizing and supporting drivers early in their career is the right thing to do.
"Michael proved himself in our 2013 Academy, and this scholarship will provide him the opportunity to do the same in the Platinum class of 2014 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama."
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