Wright Motorsports to Compete in Michelin Pilot Challenge in 2021
BATAVIA, Ohio. (January 13, 2021) – With the Roar Before the 24 less than two weeks away, Wright Motorsports has announced an expansion of their Porsche customer racing team to include a full-season entry in the 2021 Michelin Pilot Challenge. Ryan Hardwick and Jan Heylen will race the No. 16 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport , with returning sponsors 1st Phorm, Mountain Motorsports, and Una Vida Tequila.
The idea to run in both the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and Michelin Pilot Challenge came from Hardwick after watching some of his fellow GTD competitors gain more track time in the support series each weekend. As race weekends were condensed in the 2020 season, seat time became even more valuable for Hardwick, the Am in the Pro/Am lineup with Patrick Long. Other GTD drivers such as Jan Heylen, Corey Lewis, Robby Foley, and Trent Hindman also participated in the Pilot Challenge’s GS class, earning valuable insight an experience to improve with every lap. Hardwick proposed the idea to team owner John Wright, and the pair met with Porsche Motorsport North America.
“We met with Porsche and came to the decision that it would be beneficial to everyone to have the manufacturer represented by a great customer racing team like Wright Motorsports,” said Wright. “Jan will be able to continue his strong driving record in the series, and Ryan will be able to gain more experience to continue to improve his progression in GTD. We know they’ll be a strong pairing and we’ll take full advantage of the extra time on track.”
The Michelin Pilot Challenge currently acts as the support series to the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Challenge, sharing ten race weekends with the headlining series. The 2021 schedule is comprised of 10 races, with eight of them having a runtime of two hours, and the remaining two running for four. The first race of the year will be the BMW Endurance Challenge at Daytona, held on Friday, January 29 at 1:35PM Eastern. The race will air in its entirety on imsa.tv and NBC Sports Gold TRACKPASS. The series is comprised of two classes: the Grand Sport (GS) and Touring Car (TCR). The No. 16 Porsche will compete in the GS class, making its on track debut for the first practice session on Friday, January 22. For full event information, visit imsa.com.
Ryan Hardwick | No. 16 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport
I have yet to race in the Michelin Pilot Challenge, and I’m really looking forward to racing in a new series. I’m also very excited to be teaming up with Jan Heylen who has already proven to be a front runner in that series. I appreciate the support from John Wright and the team for putting so much work into such a short off season to not only prepare our GTD car for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season, but also a new Porsche Cayman for a full season in the Michelin Pilot Challenge. This opportunity will really be a blessing for me in gaining more track time. Jan and I can be competitive for podiums and wins, but I think this will also help us greatly in GTD as well.
Jan Heylen | No. 16 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport
I’m very excited to start the new season with Ryan and Wright Motorsports in the Michelin Pilot Challenge. It’s great to see Wright Motorsports making their debut in GT4 as well as Ryan making the step to gain more experience and gain track time on the GTD weekends.
There’s nothing like GT4 racing, with lots of action and close racing. It’s everything we love. With the continued support from Porsche Motorsport North America and Wright Motorsport, I know we’ll be at Daytona with a strong car.