Despite having a Champ Car pole position and podiums to his name – both earned at Road America – Indianapolis-based British racer Dan Clarke still feels a bit like a rookie in this year’s Porsche Deluxe Carrera Cup North America.

While Clarke has remained active in other areas of the sport since his days in the Champ Car World Series in 2006 and 2007, 2023 is his comeback year to full-time competition.

The most recent Carrera Cup round was a break-through weekend for the Brit, his NOLASPORT team, and also his teammate Thomas Merrill.

Clarke scored his first podium in Friday’s race, while his Trans-Am and Asian Le Mans Series championship-winning teammate Merrill scored his first Carrera Cup podium on Saturday.

“I think the first thing I said to the team at the checker was, ‘I need to sit down,'” Clarke said.

“After getting that podium, it took a while for everything to sink in. It’s really been a learning experience for us this year. We’re brand new to Carrera Cup, and normally coming away with a fifth place feels really good for us.”

Clarke earned pole position at Road America in Champ Car in 2006 and returned the following year to finish on the podium in second place. There must be something about the 4-mile Elkhart Lake circuit that gels with the Englishman.

“The Road America thing, that’s something that supporters and friends mentioned to me as well,” he said.

“I don’t whether there is anything specific about this place. My approach all year has been trying to figure out this car, these tires, and this series. But after finishing on the podium here in Carrera Cup, maybe there is something about this place.”

Having witnessed firsthand how competitive the Porsche Deluxe Carrera Cup North America is, Clarke believes the championship can be a giant launch pad for young talent.

“I feel like I’m a generation older now than many guys that would look at this series,” Clarke said.

“There’s a lot to learn about the car, but the Porsche is fantastic. You can drive it and race it hard, but running at the front is certainly tough.

“Talent can absolutely be spotted here. It’s a place where you can get noticed by people, and if you’re fortunate enough to work your way up to the series, it’s a good place to start.

“There’s a lot to learn initially and it’s tough. There are a lot of experienced drivers that moved up from this series last year, but a lot of the new guys coming in have been really, really fast.

“It’s a super competitive year. Finishing in the top 10 is really something, and if you can get in the top 10 qualifying consistently – honestly, that’s been the challenge for us. We’ve only really done it in the last two events, and the results are starting to show.”