While this weekend’s Rolex 24 at Daytona features two former Porsche Carrera Cup North America champions on pole in both the GTD Pro and GTD classes – the entire field also is full of former cup stars from around the world.
Inaugural Porsche Carrera Cup North America champion Seb Priaulx put his AO Racing Porsche on pole last weekend in the team’s debut in the GTD Pro class – a popular result for the legion of fans of “Rexy” – their dinosaur livery.
The No.77 car is full of former cup aces. German ace Lauren Heinrich – a former Porsche junior – is making his debut in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship alongside Priaulx.
The German racer is a former German Carrera Cup champion, a two-time Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup race winner, and even has a pole and race victory to his credit at Road Atlanta in Porsche Carrera Cup North America.
These two will be joined by factory driver Michael Christensen. The Dane will return to Porsche Penske Motorsport for the FIA WEC this year, but he initially kicked off his career in the Porsche ladder system – collecting wins in both Supercup and the German series.
The GTD class for the Rolex 24 at Daytona features another North American champion on the pole – 2022 series winner Parker Thompson.
While the Porsche family is thrilled to see our champions progress with the brand – other manufacturers look to Carrera Cup to find new talent as well. Thompson’s 2022 success put him on the radar for Lexus. He was part of their IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s endurance roster last year and has graduated to a full-time seat in 2024.
But that is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to former Carrera Cup aces contesting this year’s Rolex 24 at Daytona.
The Porsche Penske Motorsport 963 GTP squad is full of former Carrera Cup alum. Nick Tandy (2011 German champion and Supercup series runner-up); Mathieu Jaminet (2016 French champion and Supercup racer); Matt Campbell (2016 Australian champion and Supercup racer winner) and Kevin Estre (2011 French and 2013 German champion. Supercup series runner-up) all used Carrera Cup competition to launch their careers.
The complete list is extensive. Former champions competing this weekend in Porsche machinery includes:
- Factory ace and FIA WEC Porsche 963 racer Fred Makowiecki (2008 and 2010 French champion) – racing for Wright Motorsport at the Rolex 24
- Richard Westbrook (2-time Supercup champion) – JDC Motorsport
- Larry ten Voorde (Multiple Supercup, German, and Italian champion) – MDK Motorsport
- Julien Andlauer (former French and German champion) – Kellymoss
- Thomas Preining (2018 German champion) – Andretti Motorsport
- Klaus Bachler – who recorded the fastest GTD class time in qualifying for MDK Motorsports is another racer with a Carrera Cup pedigree.
Additionally, two-time Supercup champion Jeroen Bleekemolen will be in action for BGB Motorsport in Michelin Pilot Challenge competition today.
Clockwise from top: Richard Westbrook, Mathieu Jaminet, Kevin Estre, Nick Tanker, Fred Makoweicki, Matt Campbell
Other Cup notables and champions may have “left the nest,” – but we still look back on their time in Porsche Carrera Cup competition with pride, including Rene Rast, Philipp Eng, Earl Bamber, Mike Rockenfeller, Nick Yelloly, Connor De Phillippi and Dennis Olsen.
The Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup is renowned as the ultimate in Carrera competition, and its list of past competitions includes a few surprises. Kellymoss racer Alec Udell also has a Supercup start in 2016, while Roman De Angelis, MDK Motorsports team owner Mark Kvamme, and even Madison Snow’s mom – Melanie Snow (2011) have raced in the series.
2023 Porsche Carrera Cup North America champion and Michelin Pilot Challenge debutant Riley Dickinson has a Silverstone Supercup start to his credit in 2022. He and fellow Cup ace Michael McCarthy teamed with Brady Golan yesterday to score a Michelin Pilot Challenge victory on debut aboard a Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS (pictured below).
With another massive season of Carrera Cup action taking place around the world in 2024 – next year’s Rolex 24 at Daytona field is sure to include even more ex-cup racers.