Porsche Motorsport Pyramid stars prove value of system on IMSA stage

Porsche one-make alumni earn Daytona victories in 24-Hour classic and support race

• Porsche Motorsport Pyramid drivers demonstrate the value of the system on one of the world’s greatest auto racing stages.
• Over 40 drivers with Porsche Motorsport Pyramid experience appeared on Daytona entry lists.
• Riley Dickinson, Michael McCarthy and Brady Golan earn first career victories in multi-brand competition at Daytona season opener.
• Eight Porsche one-make entrants among teams in IMSA Daytona features.

Porsche Motorsport Pyramid drivers demonstrated the value of the stepped system on one of the world’s greatest auto racing stages in January. Drivers who have progressed through the program’s ranks won overall in the 24 Hours of Daytona and in the four-hour production car-based IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge supporting proof of concept again on a decades-old structure of driver development. In total, over 40 drivers who each have substantial experience in Porsche one-make racing competed in either the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship or the Michelin Pilot Challenge rounds at Daytona International Speedway during the season opening weekend of international sports car racing. An additional eight teams who are regular entrants in the Porsche one-make race series were represented in the two top races on the card at Daytona.

Carson, California. Be it in the elite level of professional motorsport or in the training ground of future stars, the Porsche Motorsport Pyramid North America is on full display. In fact, over 40 graduates or current participants of the system were on the entry list of either the 62nd Running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona and/or the four-hour IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge race, the Endurance Challenge. Additionally, eight teams who were racing Porsche Motorsport machinery in the two races are also regular entrants in one of the multiple single-make race series the German sports car manufacturer manages on its Motorsport Pyramid North America. Drivers who have come through the system were also represented in both the overall winning Porsche race cars of those events at the Daytona International Speedway the last weekend of January.

Race results were not the only measure of success as pole position-winning drivers for both the GTD Pro and GTD classes of the 24 Hour were graduates of the program. 2021 Porsche Carrera Cup North America champion Seb Priaulx clocked in as the fastest GTD Pro class car in qualifying while 2022 champion Parker Thompson was just behind as GTD class pole winner. Riley Dickinson, 2023 Carrera Cup North America series champion, won his first Michelin Pilot Challenge race earlier in the weekend.

Priaulx (United Kingdom) co-drove the No. 77 AO Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R to a second-place finish in the GTD Pro class with Porsche Factory Driver Michael Christensen (Denmark) and 2022 Porsche Carrera Cup Germany champion Laurin Heinrich (Germany), all successful on the Pyramid. Dickinson (New Braunfels, Texas) co-drove the No. 91 Kellymoss with Riley Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS Clubsport with an all-Porsche Motorsport Pyramid North America lineup of 2021 Porsche Sprint Challenge North America by Yokohama champion Michael McCarthy (Clearwater, Florida) and Sprint Challenge regular, 16-year-old Brady Golan (Austin, Texas). The winning Michelin Pilot Challenge entry, Kellymoss with Riley, is a stalwart of the Pyramid with cars entered from Porsche Sprint Challenge up through the WeatherTech GTD class.

Porsche Motorsport Pyramid North America.
The Porsche Motorsport Pyramid North America provides the racing industry’s only clear path for drivers, teams and marketing partners to progress through the ranks of sports car racing. From novice instruction and track days with Porsche road cars through full participation in professional open competition around the world with purpose-built Porsche racing machines, Porsche Motorsport North America (PMNA) provides a map, appropriate car and support throughout the journey. It is the perfect career pathway to move through the sports car racing echelons. At each step on the Pyramid, Porsche provides the appropriate tools, personnel and strategies to realistically model the career path for drivers, teams and partners.

Volker Holzmeyer, President and CEO, Porsche Motorsport North America.
“Daytona was a very good result for Porsche, obviously. To capture the brand’s 19th overall victory at one of the greatest endurance races in the world was very rewarding as was earning the GTD Pro class pole position with the Porsche 911 GT3 R. However, it was most gratifying for Porsche Motorsport North America to watch three of our Porsche Motorsport Pyramid North America drivers, Riley, Michael and Brady, win in the intensely competitive GT4 field of the Michelin Pilot Challenge. To be the first time any of them had ever shared a race car or heard any strategy than ‘full attack’, speaks well of the training they have received, and well of our Motorsport Pyramid system which they all have worked their way through. This is very gratifying and a testimony of the platform we have created from Porsche Club track days up through the Porsche Sprint Challenge North America by Yokohama, the Porsche Carrera Cup North America and into open competition with the SRO and IMSA. To count over 40 drivers on the entry lists for these two events, the majority in the 24 Hour, who have spent significant time in the system is more than noteworthy.”

Riley Dickinson, Driver, No. 91 Kellymoss with Riley Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS Clubsport.
“The aggressive nature of the drivers around you is the same as I have seen throughout my career in the Porsche one-make series. What is different is that it isn’t always the same driver or the same car around you. I had to learn how to judge that. The other thing is this was a four-hour race instead of a 40-minute race. So, I had to adapt and learn and be there at the end. On the final stint, I got in and they said: ‘maximum fuel save’ and I replied ‘what is that?’ I have never fuel saved in my entire life because I came out of the Porsche Carrera Cup North America, and we didn’t have to do that. I had to learn on the fly there, but I guess I did OK because we made it.”

Michael McCarthy, Driver, No. 91 Kellymoss with Riley Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS Clubsport.
“Going into the weekend I knew it was going to be a different situation than normal. We are used to getting in the car and driving as hard as you can the entire race. So, I was prepared to take calls and do exactly what I was told. I knew it was a team effort. I am going into this with two guys, and everyone has to work together. I worked my hardest to keep the car clean, to go fast and it worked out. The one-make racing helps so much to learn racecraft and where the limit of a car is. It helped us get into the car and find that limit quickly. You have to learn that in one-make racing because the fields are so tight.”

Andy Kilcoyne, Co-Owner, Kellymoss with Riley.
“Amazing effort. It came together last minute but it was a great result. It was a culmination of all the effort of the Kellymoss with Riley team; all the drivers executed well. We didn’t have the outright pace to run at the front but good strategy, good driving by the guys and no mistakes was the recipe that it took to win. It is pretty emotional. It is pretty cool to watch these kids that have worked so hard at their craft get the opportunity at the next level. It is great to see. I am really proud of them. Trying to take them out of the sprint racing mentality and into the discipline of endurance racing was a little bit of a struggle. They are fierce competitors and want to put down fast laps and do well but they did a great job of doing what they needed to when they needed to. That proved to be the difference.”

  • Image courtesy of Porsche Motorsport North America