Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport claims first CTSC win at Sebring

Photo courtesy of IMSA

SEBRING, Fla. – With five of the new Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsports entered in the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge’s Sebring 150, it was only a matter of time before it won its first race overall in the series.

The team that delivered the win for Porsche’s new factory-supported car though wasn’t the much heralded and ST class champions CJ Wilson Racing, though.

Instead, courtesy of a brilliant drive from 2014 GS class champion Trent Hindman and a great leadoff stint from co-driver Cameron Cassels in the team’s No. 12 Porsche, it was the Mike Bavaro-owned and Geoff Abel-led Bodymotion Racing that captured the win Friday at Sebring International Raceway.

It’s Hindman’s second straight win, having also won the season finale at Road Atlanta last year co-driving with Ashley Freiberg in the No. 46 Fall-Line Motorsports BMW M3. The team missed the first race owing to a family commitment Cassels needed to attend to.

Bodymotion pitted only twice while most of the other GS cars pitted three or four times. Alas, Hindman still needed to pressure Matt Plumb into a mistake, which he did, in a rare mistake for the driver and team manager of the No. 13 Rum Bum Racing Porsche 997.

Plumb, who’d emerged ahead of Hindman on the final pit stop sequence, ran wide through Turn 17 on Lap 49. Hindman went to the inside and made it past Plumb.

Billy Johnson, in the No. 15 Multimatic Motorsports Ford Shelby GT350R-C he shared with Scott Maxwell, got by Plumb not much later to get into second.

Meanwhile in ST, courtesy of a typically brilliant strategy call from the Rum Bum crew that also services the CRG-I Do Borrow Honda Civic Si, Owen Trinkler and Sarah Cattaneo scored a popular and perhaps surprise win in their No. 44 car.

Honda bagged a 1-2 finish with the CRG-I Do Borrow car ahead of the No. 93 HART Honda, driven by Chad Gilsinger and Michael Valiante.

The No. 84 Bimmerworld BMW 328i made it up to third with James Clay and Tyler Cooke, Cooke having driven a sterling opening stint from the back of the 26-car ST field up to second before handing over to Clay. The car had an engine change and went to the back of the field.

Cadillac confirms WEC driver lineup with Chip Ganassi Racing that will race Le Mans in 2023

Cadillac Ganassi Le Mans
Cadillac Racing

Cadillac and Chip Ganassi Racing announced their driver lineup for a 2023 entry in the FIA World Endurance Championship, the sports car series that includes the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The Cadillac V-LMDh entry will be driven by Earl Bamber and Alex Lynn, who were teamed on the No. 02 Cadillac that competed in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship DPi class this season and won the Twelve Hours of Sebring. The third driver will be Richard Westbrook, who will return to Ganassi after helping the team to a GT class win at Le Mans in 2018.

The team also will compete in the Rolex 24 at Daytona in the rebranded Grand Touring Prototype premier category, which is designed for crossover between the top prototypes in IMSA and WEC. Ganassi will field a second entry at Daytona with its No. 01 Cadillac that will compete full time in IMSA with Sebastien Bourdais and Renger van der Zande.

A Ganassi spokesman said the team hopes to run its second entry in the 2023 24 Hours of Le Mans but only its WEC team is confirmed (an AOC invitation would be required for the IMSA team). The team also is exploring options but currently plans to have the WEC’s team base of operations in Indianapolis.

Ganassi is the first American-based prototype team to confirm its entry in the 2023 24 Hours of Le Mans. It’s expected that Team Penske, which raced this year’s Le Mans with a full-time WEC entry in LMP2, also will race Le Mans with Porsche’s new LMDh car that is set for IMSA, but the manufacturer has yet to confirm its driver and team lineup.

Next year will mark the return of Cadillac to Le Mans for the first time since 2002.

Before joining Ganassi last year, Lynn made 28 WEC starts since 2016, winning the LMGTE Pro class at Le Mans in 2020.

“I’m absolutely thrilled to continue with Cadillac and Chip Ganassi Racing,” Lynn said in a release. “It’s a huge honor to drive for Chip in any capacity but certainly on a full factory sports car program, it’s seriously cool. Cadillac has so much heritage as a luxury North American sports car brand, so to be able to represent them is a huge privilege. I’ve had a lot of fun in my first year doing it and to continue that onto the World Endurance Championship stage is fantastic.

“For me, returning to WEC is sort of what I’ve always known and it’s a bit like going into my wheelhouse. This year in IMSA was a bit different with getting to know all-new circuits and a new style of racing so 2023 will be filled with a bit more of what I’m used to with more of a European focus. I think what’s significant about WEC is without a doubt Le Mans. As a sports car race, Le Mans is the crown jewel and everything that we want to win. To be able to take Chip Ganassi Racing and Cadillac back to Le Mans to fight for overall honors is a huge honor and that’s something that I’m going to work tirelessly to make sure we achieve.”

Bamber won the Le Mans overall in 2015 and ’17 with Porsche teams and also was a 2019 GTLM champion in IMSA.

“I am really happy to continue at Chip Ganassi Racing and Cadillac,” Bamber said in a release. “I’ve loved my first season in DPi and now to continue over into the LMDh era and WEC is super exciting. Looking forward to fighting for a world championship and another Le Mans victory.

“The World Endurance Championships gives us the opportunity to race at the world’s biggest race, which is Le Mans, the crown jewel of sports car racing. I’ve been lucky enough to win it before and it’s obviously a huge goal for Cadillac and everyone at Chip Ganassi Racing. To have that goal in sight is really exciting. It’s been great to have Alex as a teammate in 2022. We’ve been able to learn and grow together in the DPi, and we have a really good partnership going into WEC. We know each other really well and believe adding Richard will be a seamless transition.”

Said Westbrook: “After four really good years at Chip Ganassi Racing, I’ve got so many friends there and I’ve always dreamt to come back one day. It just worked so well between 2016 and 2019, and I’m delighted we found a route to come together again. I can’t wait, it’s an exciting era in sports car racing right now.

“I feel like I know Alex and Earl really well. I did Le Mans with Alex in 2020 and I’ve known him for years. It feels like I’m going back with an ex-teammate and exactly the same with Earl. Although I’ve never shared a car with Earl, we’ve always done the same sort of racing be it in WEC or in IMSA. We’ve had lots of battles, including this year in our dueling Cadillacs. We’ve always gotten along quite well, and I can say we’re going to have a great year together.”

The seven-race WEC season, which also includes a stop at Spa, will begin March 17 with the 1,000 Miles of Sebring at Sebring International Raceway in Florida.