• Sim Virtuosity. Ten Virtual Porsche Race Cars Entered for IMSA iRacing Round. • America’s Supercup. Californian Conwright Sole American Competing in Top Porsche One-Make. • Grid Set. Global Porsche Esports Championship Has Finalized Impressive Lineup. • 2020 Schedule. Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup. • PYDA Reflections. Madison Snow, Class of 2013.
Event Story Lines.
Sim Virtuosity. Ten Virtual Porsche Racers Entered for IMSA iRacing Round.
Ten professional race car drivers with deep Porsche roots are entered to campaign virtual Porsche 911 RSR race cars in the second race of the 2020 IMSA iRacing Pro Series on April 16. Among those entered are three Porsche Factory Drivers – Patrick Long (Manhattan Beach, California), Nick Tandy (Great Britain) and Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium) – Porsche Junior Ayhancan Güven, Porsche Test and Development Driver Lars Kern (Germany) and 2020 IMSA Hurley Haywood Scholarship winner Riley Dickinson (New Braunfels, Texas). The 90-minute sim race – using the industry-leading iRacing platform – will be held at the digitally modeled WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. While drivers will have earlier practice sessions, official public action for the IMSA iRacing Pro Series will start at 6:00 p.m. ET/3:00 p.m. PT, Thursday, April 16.
The virtual Porsche 911 RSR is one of four brands being raced in the GTLM class-only championship. Drivers are allowed to select from the IMSA-accurate Porsche, a BMW M8, Ferrari 488 or the retired Ford GT. The entry list is capped at 50 drivers, all of whom must be invited to participate. Beyond Long, Tandy, Vanthoor and Dickinson, four other drivers readily recognized as Porsche “experts” will campaign the simulated version of the 510-HP motorsport flagship of the German brand in round two.
Ryan Hardwick (Atlanta, Georgia) will race a machine identically liveried to the No.16 Wright Motorsports machine he shares with Long in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s GTD class. Porsche stalwart Jeroen Bleekemolen (The Netherlands) will simultaneously carry the banner for Black Swan Racing and Wright Motorsports. Bleekemolen’s charge for the coveted Porsche Cup – awarded the most successful non-Porsche Factory Driver around the globe – has been put on hold as the world battles the COVID-19 outbreak. 2015 Porsche Young Driver Academy graduate Daniel Morad (Canada), who won the GTD class of the 2017 Rolex 24 At Daytona in a Porsche, will race in a WRT entry while countryman Roman DeAngelis takes the simulator rig steering wheel of a Heart of Racing Porsche. DeAngelis, PYDA Class of 2018, was the first person to win both the USA and Canada championships in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge by Yokohama in the same year, 2019. All four of the drivers raced in round one at Sebring.
A points championship has been created by the sanctioning body to be awarded back to the championship’s premier at Sebring SuperSaturday on what had been scheduled to be the date of the 68th Running of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring in March. A drivers’ champion will be crowned at the finale of the IMSA-sanctioned six-race season which will run bi-weekly. It began at Sebring International Raceway on March 21 with Sage Karam driving to a Porsche-best finish of fourth-place. The simulated “Corkscrew” will highlight this weekend’s round in Monterey, California with the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course – modeled by iRacing laser and coding to be as accurate as possible – on April 30. The remainder of the calendar, with venues yet to be announced, will finish on June 11. The IMSA iRacing Pro Series is currently scheduled to conclude one week prior to the much anticipated “return to racing” at the Six Hours At The Glen in Watkins Glen, New York on June 28.
All races will be streamed live on iRacing’s YouTube channel and Facebook page. Keeping the action as closely aligned with the real sports car racing experience, IMSA Radio lead announcer John Hindhaugh will call pass-by-pass action from his home in England. Extensive pre- and post-race programming is also scheduled with hosts Justin Bell and Tommy Kendall on “The Torque Show”.
2020 IMSA iRacing Pro Series Schedule.
Round 1 - March 21, IMSA Sebring SuperSaturday
Round 2 - April 16, WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca
Round 3 - April 30, Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course
Round 4 - May 14, IMSA venue to be determined
Round 5 - May 28, IMSA venue to be determined
Round 6 - June 11, Watkins Glen International
Patrick Long, Driver, No. 45 Hagerty/Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 RSR-Virtual.
“I am excited to jump back into the sim/online community. I have modest expectations for this first race as I am just getting back on track after about five years away. This downtime has allowed me to get my hardware tuned-up. It’s been amazing to see the surge of enthusiasm and attention that these unique times have brought to the very advanced and successful online community that’s existed for a decade. I commend IMSA for providing a platform for our fans to engage and even compare their lap times to some of their favorite drivers.”
Nick Tandy, Driver, Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR-Virtual.
“I’m looking forward to the IMSA races coming up. I’ve missed the competition and I hope we can give something for the awesome IMSA fans to follow. I don’t expect to win as I’m not the most experienced online racer but be sure we’ve been putting some practice in!”
Laurens Vanthoor, Driver, Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR-Virtual.
“I am really excited to join the IMSA iRacing virtual race. We are all sitting at home and it allows me to compete with others and get that ‘race car driver’ competitive feeling out a little bit. I am not quite sure how we will do. I must admit I am not the very best sim racer. So, I don’t expect to win but I hope to do OK. I love driving my sim but there are guys who spend every day on it, and I have my wife and baby and my bikes, so I don’t have the time. But I am practicing. We’ll see where we get.”
Riley Dickinson, Driver, Moorespeed Porsche 911 RSR-Virtual.
“Having the opportunity to compete with drivers across all IMSA-sanctioned series is something I am really looking forward to. Even though this event is in the Esports format, everyone will be competing as if it was an actual race, and I will be as well. I am expecting this to be an extremely high-level event, just like the recent race at Sebring. This is going to make for some great racing to watch from home as well as for me competing in the event.”
Ryan Hardwick, Driver, No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 RSR-Virtual.
“I'm looking forward to the WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca iRacing event. The Super Saturday race at Sebring was my first time ever competing in an iRacing online event, and I learned a lot. Getting the ideal car setup is key, but even more important is that you survive the first couple of laps! My goal is to keep it on track and in one virtual piece this week.”
America’s Supercup. Californian Conwright Sole American Competing in Top Porsche One-Make.
Jaden Conwright began racing karts near his Bay Area home in California at age of 10. A decade has taken the young racer around the world and landed him in the enviable, but challenging, position as the sole driver from the United States to compete in the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup, the premier one-make championship, in 2020. While the motorsport world awaits to return to live racing, Porsche and Conwright have continued the single-driver, Porsche 911 GT3 Cup race car series in simulated form with the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup Virtual Edition. Following two rounds held at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on April 4, Conwright is in second-place in the Rookie Championship as a result of a rookie class victory and third-place finish at the Spanish race track. He enters rounds three and four at the England’s classic Silverstone Circuit on April 18.
Early success in karting garnered Conwright the World Speed Motorsports Rising Star Award and VMB Driver Development Scholarship in 2014. Making the move to race cars, he charged into the west coast Pro Formula Mazda scene. Forward progress gave the then teenager a choice for his next career move and he picked the cutthroat open-wheel world of the Formula 4 racing in Italy (2016). Taking the road less traveled for American racers again proved advantageous as he began racing in Formula 3 – first in England and then Asia – in 2017 and 2018.
Another major move came for Conwright in 2019, as he left open wheel racing to take on the challenge of the Porsche one-make family entering the Porsche Carrera Cup Italy with Dinamic Motorsport – Centro Porsche Bologna. The 20-year-old showed well in the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup race car earning nine podiums in 14 race starts. Despite missing the top-step of the podium, he was able to finish fourth in the overall championship. The success was enough for making the decision to move up into the world’s premier one-make Cup series… Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup. While eager to start in the Formula One support series, again racing for the Italian Dinamic Motorsport in the No. 11 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup race car, Conwright will have to settle for his second racing love, sim racing, to challenge his new Supercup competition.
Conwright has been an avid sim racer since 2012, using the digital racing world to hone his real-life racing skills.
The Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup Virtual Edition utilizes the iRacing simulation portal. The calendar consists of four events – each with two, 25-minute races. The first double-header round on the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya held on April 4 will be followed by three more meetings at the Silverstone Circuit (Great Britain, April 18), the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps (Belgium, April 25) and the Autodromo Nazionale Monza (Italy, May 16).
Jaden Conwright, Driver, No. 11 Dinamic Motorsport Porsche 911 GT3 Cup.
About Porsche Decision to Take Mobil 1 Supercup Virtual.
“I thought the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup Virtual Edition was a great event for Porsche to host during this time where we can't race in real life. All of us have been itching to get back into the competition, so this was the perfect event for us while we're all stuck at home.”
Biggest Challenge of Sim Racing Versus Real Racing.
“A lot of the competitors tried racing the sim the same as real life, but unfortunately you don't have as much leeway with contact on the sim. Even the contact that ended up putting me out of race two wouldn't have had such an extreme effect in real life. So, it's all about balancing your real-life aggression and what's possible in the sim.”
About Sim Racing History.
“I actually started sim racing back in 2012 on iRacing, but I took a break the last two or three years because I didn’t have time to build up a new sim and computer with all of my travel for racing. I originally planned on building a new sim at the end of the year, after I came back home from racing, but this whole situation has sped-up the process because I needed something to keep my skills sharp against real drivers while we’re in this time of uncertainty. I actually just finished my sim this past Wednesday before the Virtual Supercup round. I’ve been driving around six to ten hours a day to get up to pace in as quick of time as I could.”
Differences Between Porsche 911 GT3 Cup Race Car Versus Virtual Variant.
“The real Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car and it's iRacing counterpart are actually very similar in feeling and technique to drive. You can drive the car more aggressive and slide around in real life compared to the sim, but the overall technique with steering and brake release are almost identical. If you're curious to how a 911 GT3 Cup drives, definitely give the iRacing version a try.”
About Strategy for Silverstone.
“With the first round of the Virtual Edition completed I'm looking to close the gap to the leaders a bit more heading to Silverstone. Barcelona was definitely a hectic round with a lot of fast guys that weren't the most familiar with the sim, so I am looking forward to racing now that everyone has had a bit more sim time under their belts.” My time in the F3 Driver Development Program with Carlin Racing will definitely help me heading into the Silverstone round. I may have only driven Silverstone one day in the BRDC F3 but seeing and feeling a circuit in person gives you a better understanding that you may miss only driving on a sim. Now all I have to do is adapt the info I have about driving a Formula 3 car around Silverstone into how to drive the 911 GT3 Cup.
About Lessons Learned in Round One.
“A few things I took away from Barcelona are how to better position the car during qualifying and what’s the best approach to fighting during the race. I wasn't sure who was quick and who wasn't heading into the qualifying for the first round, so I unfortunately got held up during my fastest lap after miscalculating the pace of the driver I was following. Now with a better understanding I can avoid making that mistake again. I terms of fighting in the race, I think a lot of us used the same approach to racing in real life. The amount of aggression and contact is a lot higher in real life, so I think the key to strong and consistent results in the Virtual Edition will be keeping your nose clean and minimizing contact earlier in the race.
Grid Set. Global Porsche Esports Championship Has Finalized Impressive Lineup.
After two and a half months, the qualification process for the Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup has come to an end. A strong line-up of 40 sim racers from 14 countries makes the final grid for the second-season of the Porsche one-make sim racing series. 22-year-old Formula 1 driver Max Verstappen (The Netherlands) is one of 20 drivers to secure a spot via the “Porsche iRacing Cup” qualification procedure. The second-half of the grid consists of the top-20 competitors from the 2019 season of the first Porsche Esports initiative. Among those are Californian professional sim racer Mitchell deJong and last year’s champion, Joshua Rogers (Australia). The 10-race season of the digital racing series takes the green flag on May 2 at the virtual Circuit Zandvoort in the Netherlands. Drivers will compete for a total of $200,000 (USD).
deJong, a 2018 North American Porsche Young Driver Academy (PYDA) graduate finished in fourth-place in the inaugural season of the Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup in 2019. As such, deJong automatically transferred to the 2020 race series that uses a virtual Porsche 911 GT3 Cup race car on the iRacing platform.
Over 5,000 participants took part in the qualifying races for the Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup. Joining Verstappen (Team Redline) and deJong on the grid this season is the 20-year-old title defender Rogers (VRS Coanda Simsport) from Gladstone, Australia. Also, among this season’s participants are 25-year-old Maximilian Benecke (Germany/Team Redline) and Sebastian Job (Great Britain/Red Bull Racing Esports Team). This trio claimed the top three overall spots in 2019, one spot ahead of the American.
Ten events make up the 2020 calendar of the world championship series. Each race day consists of five sessions. A free practice (20-minutes) is followed by a 12-minute qualifying session run as an individual time trial, a sprint race over 15-minutes, a warm-up (ten-minutes) and the 30-minute main race. Drivers earn points towards the championship from both races. Victory in the sprint event is rewarded with 25 points, with the winner of the main event receiving double the points. The top five qualifiers also receive additional points. The pole-sitter earns ten points for the overall classification.
Porsche is heavily embracing sim racing and was doing so before the current COVID-19 crisis temporarily placed on-track motorsport on hold. The Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup was the first official one-make virtual race series fully sanctioned by a major manufacturer. The addition of the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup Virtual Edition – which opened the simulated portion of the Supercup one-make season on April 4 at Barcelona – to the officially-recognized sim racing series further shows the German sports car manufacturer’s commitment to developing both physical and virtual motorsport around the globe.
Further information is available on the Porsche Motorsport Hub: https://motorsports.porsche.com
Marco Ujhasi, Manager Esports, Porsche Motorsport.
“Last year we added sim racing to our motorsport family. We’ve set ourselves the goal of professionalizing virtual motor racing and developing it into an exciting spectator sport. In the current situation, we’re attracting a huge following. The Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup with the world’s best (sim) racers offers authentic, entertaining racing at the highest sporting level – which is precisely what motorsport fans want.”
2020 Schedule. Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup.
Event Date Location
Round 1 - May 2, Circuit Zandvoort
Round 2 - May 9, Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya
Round 3 - May 23, Donington Park Circuit
Round 4 - June 13, Circuit de la Sarthe
Round 5 - July 4, Nürburgring Nordschleife
Round 6 - July 18, Silverstone Circuit
Round 7 - August 1, Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta
Round 8 - August 15, Brands Hatch Circuit
Round 9 - August 29, Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps
Round 10 - September 19, Autodromo Nazionale Monza
PYDA Reflections. Madison Snow, Class of 2013.
One of the first manufacturers to create not only a “factory driver” group but also a “Junior” program, Porsche continues its efforts to assist young racing talent beyond its “works” team. Since 2012, Porsche Cars North America, Inc. (PCNA) and Porsche Motorsport North America (PMNA) have provided aspiring race car drivers from the United States and Canada an opportunity to develop their professional skills at the North American Porsche Young Driver Academy (PYDA). While tweaked each year, the PYDA syllabus is founded on the principles and practices of the marque’s Junior selection process. The Academy puts four drivers through intensive classroom activities with the objective to broaden and sharpen talents not only behind the wheel but also out of the cockpit. While education has always been the hallmark of the two-day invitation-only event held each fall, the “Academy” is also a determining factor for the IMSA Hurley Haywood Scholarship. The annual honor provides the selected driver with a package of tangible assets to present to teams in the IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama for the upcoming season.
Each week we will spotlight one of the 33 drivers who have taken part in the PYDA. Since 2012, graduates have gone on to win races and championships in series around the world, both in Porsche race cars and not. To date, drivers have won five IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championships, 13 IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge championships, three SRO-sanctioned championships, the Indy Lights Championship, the Rolex 24 at Daytona, Petit Le Mans as well as races in NASCAR, Trans Am, Rallycross and more. This week, we look at Madison Snow (Lehi, Utah).
Madison Snow Highlights.
- PYDA Class: PYDA II, 2013 - 2011 IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama, Gold Class Champion - 2013 IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama, Platinum Class Champion - 2018 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, GTD Class Champion - 2020 Rolex 24 At Daytona GTD Class Winner - Multiple-Time IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Race Winner
Madison Snow raced karts as a kid. He didn’t travel the country in search of championships like many karters do. He just raced karts with the support of his parents, both championship Porsche racers in their own right. Mother Melanie earned the 2009 IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama Gold class championship. Together with Madison’s father, Martin, the husband-wife driving pair charged to the 1999 Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring GTS class victory in a Porsche 911 GT2 and the American Le Mans Series GTC championship in 2009 driving a Porsche 911 GT3 Cup race car. The Utah native’s parents’ expertise was something Snow could tap into in for his gain. They got Madison into racing and it wasn’t until Snow started in cars that his career trajectory began to rise. His first race car was a Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car.
“I went from karting to a car and that’s when things began to change. It got better for me. My parents didn’t really have any kart experience, it was more in the car,” said Snow. “They helped me progress and when they got the call from Porsche to see if they were interested in racing, I took the seat.”
Beginning in 2011, Snow competed in the IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama series under the family’s racing team banner. In conjunction with Wright Motorsports for the following ’12 and ’13 campaigns, the teenager at the time won the championship twice and was runner up on the third occasion. It seemed clear that Snow was meant to follow in the family footsteps and drive successfully in Porsche race cars. At the end of the 2013 season, the German marque had taken notice of the success he had earned.
“To be honest I didn’t quite know much about the PYDA since it was a relatively new thing,” Snow thought back. “To me it was obviously about Porsche seeing what you could do, but it was also a way to get you in an unfamiliar environment. The other drivers and I together would not have competed head-to-head otherwise.”
Snow was invited along with other young drivers to participate in the 2013 North American Porsche Young Driver Academy (PYDA) put on at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama. Not just a full-on competition to see who is the best, the PYDA is a chance for Porsche to offer experience and advice to young driving talent. Things like personality profiles, media training and technical briefings are just some of the intangibles the drivers can take away from the multiple industry specialists that are there during the weekend.
“Porsche helped me throughout the weekend, but the media training was something I had never seen before,” reminisces Snow. “It was all new. I never had that before. Each of us had to find out what we needed to get out of it the most. The practice is necessary to help take with you and the feedback we got from it was great.”
North America’s only factory driver Patrick Long was the co-creator of the Academy. He has helped mold the PYDA into a chance for young drivers to see what is necessary in order to gain the attention of race teams and even manufacturer’s programs. Long is paying it forward to give the next generation of racing talent a boost early in their careers. It is something that Long got himself thanks to the generation before him, including Porsche legend Hurley Haywood who also plays an important role in the PYDA.
“I knew Patrick a good amount before going due to when my mom raced. I would always hang around the track and see him on and off,” laughed Snow about his younger self. “But when you’re in a more private environment like that you’re able to learn more. As for Hurley, I had never met him before but after attending I got the chance to know him better later on. It was very cool.”
In 2015, Snow raced the Rolex 24 At Daytona and the 12 Hours of Sebring with Dempsey/Wright Motorsports in a Porsche. Alongside Porsche brand ambassador and renowned actor Patrick Dempsey, the Utahn was able to share a second connection with Haywood, racing under the famous Brumos colors in a Porsche.
“When I participated in PYDA it was great because Porsche was paying attention to me and so obviously, I was doing something right. It got me ready for a career in racing. I was able to there and up to now work with people in racing I never thought possible,” said Snow.
Starting in 2016 Snow began racing in the Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America and IMSA WeatherTech series for Paul Miller Racing. Snow has earned multiple wins, podiums and the 2018 WeatherTech SportsCar Championships GTD title with the Italian manufacturer since then. Most recently a victory in the GTD class at the 2020 Rolex 24 followed, now back racing for Paul Miller Racing after not competing at all in 2019.
Porsche GT Team (North America). @PorscheNARacing
Porsche Motorsport – GT Cars. @PorscheRaces
Porsche Motorsport North America. @PorscheMotorsportNorthAmerica (Instagram)
Porsche Formula E. @PorscheFormulaE (Twitter)
@porsche.formulae (Instagram) Porsche Newsroom. @PorscheNewsroom (Twitter)
Porsche 99X Electric. #99XElectric
Porsche 911 RSR. #911RSR
Porsche 911 GT3 R. #911GT3R
Porsche 911 GT3 Cup. #911Cup
Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport. #GT4Clubsport
Porsche 935. #Porsche935
Porsche 911 GT2 RS Clubsport. #GT2RSClubsport
Series Hashtags and Handles.
GT3 Cup Challenge USA. #GT3USA
GT3 Cup Challenge Canada. #GT3Canada
Porsche Sprint Trophy USA West. @PirelliTrophyWestUSA (Instagram)
SRO America @SROAmerica
SRO GT4 America #GT4America
FIA World Endurance Championship. @FIAWEC
Intercontinental GT Challenge. @IntercontGTC
FIA ABB Formula E Championship. @FIAFormulaE