Insight: Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup’s presence in F1, and America

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One of the staple partner championships on a Formula One weekend is the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup, which provided a thrilling climax to its 2014 season alongside the United States Grand Prix in Austin this year.

Earl Bamber emerged as this year’s champion after a great battle with Kuba Giermaziak in the pair of races at Circuit of the Americas.

This past weekend, Bamber has now been named as Porsche’s newest factory driver slightly more than a month after Austin.

At Austin, MotorSportsTalk had the opportunity to speak with Jonas Krauss, manager, Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup. Krauss has now left Porsche, with Oliver Schwab replacing him as head of Supercup.

Nonetheless, with the 2014 season in the books, Krauss provided some good insights on where the single-make championship is following this season and where it can go in the future.

Q: What does it mean for Porsche to be on F1 weekends?

JK: F1 for us is a great place. It’s a good place for the teams and our sponsors to present themselves. Worldwide, we have a very good television package, although in America we need to do better. Marketing-wise it’s very good, and for the drivers it’s a very good place.

Q: If drivers are in Supercup, does that mean they are done looking at single-seaters?

JK: If you come to Supercup, your single-seater road is gone most of the time. Richie Stanaway did one season here, and is now back to GP3, but usually that doesn’t happen. A lot of guys come from the single-seater world, in say GP3 or Formula 3. But then they say, maybe we need to go a different way, and they step into our Porsche one-make cups.

Q: Has there been any recent single-seater talent you’ve pinpointed?

JK: There’s a market for us, yes. We have our own driver development program; when you look at a couple of our juniors, they mostly come out of the formula world. Michael Christensen did two years in GP3, then went into our driver development program, and now he’s a works driver. He tested our LMP1 car. If you’re in GP3 or Formula 3, you’re already kind of a professional. You know what needs to be done to race; those series are very intense.

Q: What does it mean for Supercup to have two U.S. races as opposed to standard one on a weekend?

JK: If we go abroad, overseas, we need to have two races. It’s a huge investment we take, logistically, so it makes sense. Having two races for the season final is huge, since most of the time we have the title decision in the last race.

Q: What were your impressions of Americans Sean Johnston and Connor De Phillippi this season? 

JK: Sean Johnston did this a very good way. He moved to Germany. He stays with his racing team, he works with the car, he learns German, and his German is perfect. He’s improved a lot. It’s absolutely the right approach. That’s the same with Connor. It’s very difficult if they live in the U.S. and race in Europe. If they do it, they do it properly (Note: De Phillippi has since been retained as an official Porsche Junior for a second straight season –Ed.)

Q: Has having celebrity/guest drivers such as Patrick Dempsey race in the championship help raise the series’ profile?

JK: Absolutely, it improves it overall. Dempsey raced in Hockenheim for us. The media value he created was large, and he’s great for the series as he is a great person who perfectly fits in.

Q: When Supercup drivers come to America, why is it they are often “under-the-radar” or not recognized?

JK: It’s always tough for them. We found that out with our (previous) juniors, Klaus Bachler and Michael Christensen. They are our junior drivers, yet the Americans said when they first arrived “we’ve never heard of them.” Still, it worked well. At this level, we’re providing them a big step forward. American teams now understand the potential of our Supercup drivers and what they can bring to the team.

Q: Do you see the potential to expand outside more than Europe and the U.S.?

JK: It was always a case to run at all the European events, and to have one overseas event is OK. But we don’t want to be a global worldwide race series. You have to consider the costs and budgets. To do more events outside Europe adds costs for logistics. The cost efficiency is very important for us.

Q: Is cost a factor why drivers go to Supercup instead of single-seaters?

JK: Formula drivers, when you talk to them, in the end they have to decide what they want to do. It’s a dream of almost every racing driver to go to Formula One. That’s the fact. But you need to be realistic sometimes, and that’s the time to move to GT racing. It depends on your personal goal, but don’t go into GT racing if F1 is your goal.

Q: What’s the ultimate goal of Supercup and its drivers?

JK: We want to show the drivers who don’t make it to Formula One that this is a good option. When you look at the guys coming out of a one-make cup, there’s a lot of drivers who are not professional drivers. But here it’s all about the driver. There is no BoP. We can see which drivers have the capabilities.

Final 2023 Rolex 24 at Daytona results, stats

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — The 2023 Rolex 24 at Daytona overall results were all streaks: two consecutive victories in the endurance classic for Meyer Shank Racing and three in a row for Acura.

And Helio Castroneves became the second driver to win three consecutive Rolex 24s and the first to win in three straight years (Peter Gregg won in 1973, ’75 and ’76; the race wasn’t held in ’74 because of a global oil crisis).

Starting from the pole position, Tom Blomqvist took the checkered flag in the No. 60 ARX-06 that led a race-high 365 of 783 laps with co-drivers Castroneves, Simon Pagenaud and Colin Braun.

RESULTS: Click here for the finishing order in the 61st Rolex 24 at Daytona l By class

Meyer Shank Racing now has two Rolex 24 victories and the 2022 championship since entering the premier prototype category of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in 2021.

“I think what’s so special about this team is we are a small team compared to some of our opponents, but the atmosphere, the way we work, enables people to get the best out of themselves, and I think that’s why we’re such high achievers,” Blomqvist said. “I think there’s no egos. It’s a very open book, and that just enables each and every one of us to reach our potential. I think that’s why we’ve achieved so much success in really a short time at this level of competition.”

It’s the 16th IMSA victory for MSR.

The 61st running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona marked the debut of the Grand Touring Prototype category that brought hybrid engine technology to IMSA’s top level.

In other categories:

LMP2: James Allen passed Ben Hanley on the final lap and delivered a victory in the No. 55 ORECA by 0.016 seconds. It’s the second IMSA victory for Proton Competition, which last won at Sebring in 2012. It was the first Rolex 24 victory for Allen and co-drivers Gianmaria Bruni, Fred Poordad and Francesco Pizzi.

GTD Pro: Cooper MacNeil won in the last start of his IMSA career as the No. 79 Mercedes-AMG GT3 scored the first Rolex 24 at Daytona for WeatherTech Racing and the team’s fourth career victory.

MacNeil, who co-drove with Maro Engel, Jules Gounon and Daniel Juncadella, earned his 12th career victory and first at the Rolex 24.

“Winning by last IMSA race is tremendous,” MacNeil said.

GTD: The No. 27 Heart of Racing Team delivered the first Rolex 24 at Daytona for Aston Martin, which has been competing in endurance races at Daytona International Speedway since 1964. Drivers Marco Sorensen, Roman De Angelis, Darren Turner and Ian James (also the team principal) earned the victory in the English brand’s 13th attempt.

It’s also the first Rolex 24 at Daytona win for Heart of Racing, which has seven IMSA wins.

LMP3: Anthony Mantella, Wayne Boyd, Nico Varrone and Thomas Merrill drove the No. 17 AWA Duqueine D08 to victory by 12 laps for the team’s first class win in IMSA.


STATS PACKAGE FOR ROLEX 24 HOURS OF DAYTONA:

Fastest laps by driver

Fastest laps by driver after race (over the weekend)

Fastest laps by driver and class after race

Fastest lap sequence

Lap chart

Leader sequence

Race analysis by lap

Stint analysis

Time cards

Pit stop time cards

Best sector times

Race distance and speed average

Flag analysis

Weather report

NEXT: The 2023 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season will resume with the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring March 18 with coverage across NBC, USA and Peacock.