Amid a cadre of historic, even legendary, Porsche race and road cars in attendance at Porsche Rennsport Reunion 7, September 28 – October 1 at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, California, will be 36 equally presented Porsche race cars; all built within the last three model years. For the first time in its history, Porsche Rennsport Reunion will host a weekend of a current national championship. The Porsche Deluxe Carrera Cup North America is the premier one-make race series in the United States and Canada utilizing the latest Porsche 911 GT3 Cup race car, Type 992, to challenge the best road and street race courses on the continent.
Announced on September 25, 2020, with its debut event weekend at Sebring International Raceway, March 18 and 19, 2021, Porsche Carrera Cup North America was 30 years in the making. As with all national Carrera Cups worldwide, Porsche manages the single-driver per-entry series. In the U.S., Porsche Motorsport North America (PMNA) manages the series, while the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) acts as official sanctioning body as well as manages scrutineering and steward on-track activity. The Porsche Carrera Cup North America is one of 26 Porsche one-make championships competing in 28 countries.
“Porsche has taken a unique approach to racing since its beginning,” offered Porsche Motorsport North America president and CEO Volker Holzmeyer. “It is not something in addition that we do, it is what we do. Motorsport is the heart of Porsche and one-make racing is the blood. What we do with our one-make series on the Motorsport Pyramid is create talent at the driver level and growth opportunities for the teams. In the Am and many in the Pro-Am class, this is the ultimate destination. For our Pro class drivers, this is a step. We see them come from Porsche Sprint Challenge up through Carrera Cup and move into higher series with Porsche. This is unique. Here in North America, we can show how someone comes to Carrera Cup, learns and moves to the next level with the Porsche 911 GT3 R and wins in open competition. We will see the next Patrick Long come from here and eventually race for overall victories in the Porsche 963. Driver development is why Porsche one-make racing exists and I believe we will accomplish this goal.”
The 16-round, eight weekend championship has raced from coast-to-coast in 2023, returning the WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca for a second consecutive season. Each 40-minute race counts toward a season-long driver and team championship in each of three classes: Pro, Pro-Am and Am.
Head of the class
The Pro class, recognizable on track by its florescent orange number markings, is the highest level of competition in Porsche Carrera Cup North America. For drivers 35 years-old and younger who have career objectives of becoming professional race car driver, the Pro category is where young talent is on display. Past champions, Sebastian Priaulx and Parker Thompson, have each gone on to win in major professional endurance racing at the next level. Two-time runner-up Kay van Berlo, as well as fellow Porsche Selected Driver North America Trenton Estep, have each gone from winning in Carrera Cup North America to representing the marque in IMSA and SRO respectively with race wins in Porsche 911 GT3 R race cars this year. While it is difficult to call a 21-year-old a veteran, it is the case for current Pro class points leader Riley Dickinson. The pilot of the No. 53 Kellymoss Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car comes to the Monterey Peninsula with a commanding point lead in the class and has started every round of Carrera Cup since its first in 2021.
Restricted to drivers who are 36 – 56 years, the Pro-Am class has become one of the most hotly contested battles on the track. Designated by florescent green markings, Pro-Am is the stomping ground for drivers in the prime of their lives with a panache for competition. Having won the class in the series inaugural season, Efrin Castro flies the colors of the Dominican Republic on his No. 65 Porsche prepared by two-time Entrant Champion Kellymoss and on the victory podium. At the time of this writing, Castro – who was in the championship battle with Alan Metni both previous years – leads over Canadian Marco Cirone.
Any driver who has turned 57-years-old, is eligible for the Am class. Still piloting the same Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car based closed on the type 992 Porsche 911 GT3 road car, of the Pro and Pro-Am categories, this class – marked in florescent yellow – is no less heated than the other two. Despite commanding performances in 2022 and throughout this year, Mark Kvamme remains in a fight to the finish with his teammate at MDK Motorsports, Scott Noble.
With the car and tires all being equal, a premium is placed on drivers and team performance. As the pinnacle one-make series of the Porsche Motorsport Pyramid North America, the series is a launching point for young drivers looking to move up to open competition. Previous champions Priaulx (2021), Thompson (2022) and two-time runner-up Kay van Berlo have each moved into the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship with competitive GTD teams in the 2023 season.
The Al Holbert Cup
Awarded to the overall champion of the Porsche Carrera Cup North America, the Al Holbert Cup was created in recognition of Holbert’s commitment, inspiration and leadership in the formation and organization of Porsche motorsports in North America. The silver cup carrying his name has been crafted as a timeless and traditional trophy to commemorate each Pro class champion of the Porsche Carrera Cup North America starting with the inaugural season, 2021. The Al Holbert Cup is engraved each year with the champion’s name and year of the championship. This original cup is on display at Porsche Motorsport North American (PMNA) headquarters in Carson, California. A replica trophy is presented to the champion as their tangible reminder of their milestone season. This award recognizes the true racing spirit of Al Holbert conveying his professional driver’s skill, engineer’s precision and a gentleman racer’s passion. A true link between the past, present and future of Porsche.
While tragically killed on September 30, 1988 in a private plane crash, Al Holbert’s vision for the marque in the United States and Canada lives on. Following his path, the Porsche Motorsport Pyramid North America continues to allow drivers, teams and partners to climb the ranks from novice to club racer and one-make champion to ultimately ascend to prototype racing against full-factory efforts at Daytona, Sebring and Le Mans all behind the wheel of a Porsche.
Porsche Rennsport Reunion 7 is the penultimate weekend of the 16-round championship. The season champions will be crowned following the season-finale at The Circuit of The Americas (COTA) in Austin, Texas when the series races as support for Formula One, October 20 – 22.
Where to Watch
All rounds of the 2023 Porsche Deluxe Carrera Cup North America can be found on IMSA.tv, the NBC Peacock streaming app and PorscheCarreraCup.us. All rounds are archived on the series YouTube channel: Porsche Motorsport North America TV: (https://www.youtube.com/c/PorscheMotorsportNorthAmerica). The experts of IMSA Radio provide commentary and color for the race calls. More on Porsche Carrera Cup North America can be found at www.PorscheCarreraCup.us.