Houston, Texas – Pirelli World Challenge GTA champions EFFORT Racing and Porsche Motorsport North America (PMNA) have announced the next step in Porsche’s overall strategy to search and support young sports car racing driving talent – the new Porsche Motorsport North America Young Driver Program for 2015.
The two drivers who will pilot the EFFORT Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R race cars are veteran Ryan Dalziel (Winter Park, Florida) and Michael Lewis (Laguna Beach, California). Dalziel, who won two races and earned five podiums in six races for EFFORT Racing last year, will be driving the professional entry in the GT Class, while Lewis will pilot the Porsche in the GTA class.
EFFORT and PMNA will use the Pirelli World Challenge’s GT class platforms to showcase young drivers in the Porsche 911 GT3 R race car, with a Professional driver running in the top class and a PMNA Young Driver running in the GTA class. According to PMNA President and CEO Jens Walther, this program is the next logical step after the Porsche Young Drivers Academy and the Porsche/IMSA Driver Scholarship.
“Thanks to the commitment from EFFORT Racing owner Chuck Toups in keeping with his ongoing interest in driver development, we are able to offer support and resources to give a young talent from North America a unique experience with a championship team in the Pirelli World Challenge,” said Walther.
“At EFFORT Racing, we believe in doing things for a purpose” said Toups. “When we started in 2012, we integrated driver development as one of our core program goals. It’s true in any domain that the investment and training of young talent is crucial to the long term success for any industry. The extension of the successful Porsche Young Driver program into North America is an exciting announcement for the motorsports community.”
Michael Lewis, the 23-year-old driver who nearly won the 2014 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge and both participated in the Porsche Young Driver Academy and was granted the IMSA Driver Scholarship in 2014. Lewis was nominated for the EFFORT Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R seat after a competitive test held by the team. Dalziel, an established winner in World Endurance Championship and the IMSA TUDOR United Sports Car Championship, was the highest-finishing driver in the second half the Pirelli World Challenge series in 2014.
Porsche factory driver Patrick Long (Playa del Rey, California) will be on hand to coach the drivers on and off the track as his schedule allows.
This new program is focused on the North American market, and is integrated into the overall Porsche philosophy to search and support young sports car driving talent.
The Pirelli World Challenge season opens March 6–8, 2015, at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.