PFAFF, Wright showcase Porsche young talent last two races

August 8, 2019

PFAFF, Wright showcase Porsche young talent last two races

August 8, 2019

The future of new Porsche GT driving talent has been on display at the last two IMSA races.

Porsche Young Professionals Dennis Olsen and Matt Campbell raced at Lime Rock Park and Road America in separate Porsche 911 GT3 Rs.

Both drivers paid a visit to GT Daytona victory lane in a somewhat unusual arrangement, thanks to fluctuating schedule availability. Both drivers showcased their abilities with two teams and two different co-drivers in as many races.

Olsen, a 23-year-old Norwegian, raced first with PFAFF Motorsports at Lime Rock and then with Wright Motorsports at Road America.

Campbell, a 24-year-old Australian, ran with the same two teams in reverse order. He was in the Wright car at Lime Rock and the PFAFF car at Road America.

Per a PFAFF release, Porsche Selected Driver Scott Hargrove “worked with the team outside of the cockpit.” He is scheduled to return to driving at VIR.

He still raced with AWA in the IMSA MICHELIN Pilot Challenge at Lime Rock, in a GS class Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport. He also races with Wright in another championship.

For PFAFF, in the No. 9 “Plaid Porsche,” first Olsen and then Campbell raced alongside Zacharie Robichon.

At Wright, Campbell and then Olsen raced alongside Anthony Imperato. Imperato stepped up to WeatherTech competition in the Henry Repeating Arms No. 91 car.

NEWER TO WEATHERTECH BUT NOT NEW TO PORSCHE SUCCESS

Both had limited WeatherTech Championship experience prior to these last two races. Olsen and Campbell both raced as fourth drivers in this year’s Rolex 24 At Daytona, Olsen with PFAFF and Campbell with Park Place Motorsports.

Additionally both have raced in Porsche’s GTE-spec 911 RSR. Campbell is a 24 Hours of Le Mans GTE-Am class winner in 2018, as part of a full-season entry with Dempsey Proton Racing. Olsen stepped up to one of the CORE autosport-run, North American-entered GTE-Pro class Porsches this past year at Le Mans.

They’ve won races in Porsches in other championships, with Campbell’s star turn at this year’s Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour providing Earl Bamber Motorsport an overall victory.

TWO WINS COME AS BREAKTHROUGH FOR PFAFF

For PFAFF at least, the last two races could not have gone any better. The team broke through to win at both events.

Olsen held on in the final stages at Lime Rock after getting around Meyer Shank Acura’s Mario Farnbacher, with a final margin of victory of just 0.010 of a second (above).

The Road America race required more in-weekend adjustments to get the “Plaid Porsche” in the window.

After a setup change placed the car in the right direction, Robichon vaulted forward from fourth to second and handed off to Campbell, who extended the lead over the Paul Miller Lamborghini of Bryan Sellers.

“We didn’t have the easiest weekend until qualifying,” Robichon admitted. “We struggled a bit to get the car in the window we wanted, but the crew was here all night on Friday, taking the car apart, checking every part, changing the steering rack, the dampers and the springs, and all of a sudden the car came alive, so we knew we had a setup to work with going into qualifying.”

Robichon and Campbell (center) secured PFAFF’s second straight GTD win after a hard-fought battle with Paul Miller Lamborghini. Photo: Michelin North America

Campbell thanked the Steve Bortolotti-led team for nailing the strategy.

“Zach was able to come from P4, box in P2 and I took over and we were able to capture the Lamborghini quite quickly,” he said.

“It was a bit of a struggle to actually get past, so I settled in and bided my time to save as much fuel and stay as close as possible. We were able run a lap longer and jump him in the pit stop. But it was the shorter stint towards the end was probably the most important part of the race.”

WRIGHT ALMOST FINISHES IN THE RIGHT PLACE
The Wright Porsche in the right light at Canada Corner on Friday. Photo: Michelin North America

Neither of Wright’s finishes were in the right spots, but fifth and eighth were more than respectable in their first GTD races of the season.

Campbell took over from Imperato to help move that car forward at Lime Rock. At Road America, the team fought through a penalty and an off-course moment in the Kink when Olsen kept the car in one piece to end with another top-10 in the 15-car field.

Wright doesn’t have any scheduled GTD races the rest of the year. However PFAFF now has an opportunity to win its third straight race with a third different driver lineup at the Michelin GT Challenge at VIRginia International Raceway.

Robichon, courtesy of his consistency, has now moved into the WeatherTech Sprint Cup GTD points lead and sits third in the overall GTD standings.

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