NGT Motorsport Enters IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge Season Opener with Expanded Line-Up
IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge by Yokohama Series stalwart NGT Motorsport is off to a “big” start in 2013 as they enter the 61st annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh from Florida with a roster of nine sleek and nearly indestructible Porsche 911′s.
Seven of those entries will run in IMSA’s GT3 Cup Challenge, with two more 911′s entered in the GT Challenge class of American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón (ALMS) competition.
The sizeable entry list for NGT Motorsport demonstrates the team’s continuing commitment to IMSA Development Series competition. The team has been a fixture since the 2005 inception of the popular GT3 Cup Challenge, which annually delivers a one-two punch comprised of talented drivers and swift cars.
“Once Porsche and IMSA announced in early 2005 the GT3 Cup Challenge Series, we knew it was the perfect series for us,” said team founder Ramez Wahab. “It filled the gap in the racing world between club racing and full professional racing. It was the perfect step up. Once I ran the inaugural race in Atlanta in 2005, I noticed how professional the series was and from that day on we got hooked.”
The team has since posted two season championships and two vice championships in the series.
“The key to success is preparation and 100 percent commitment,” said Wahab of his Miami-based team. “This applies from the engineers to the crew member who cleans the wheels as well as the drivers. Part of the key to our success is developing our drivers. We have had multiple drivers who have started with us with no experience. They started at the club racing level, moved up to the IMSA GT3 Cup series winning races and championships, and now compete in ALMS.”
Teams like Wahab’s are vitally important to the success of the series. NGT Motorsport’s dedication to GT3 Cup Challenge competition is clearly demonstrated by the hefty slate of cars and drivers it continues to enter on a regular basis.
“I like the series because it shows the potential of each individual driver and each team,” said Wahab. “It is very competitive as a one-make series. The professionalism starts with the on-track support from Porsche Motorsport and the entire IMSA staff.”
Given its history, NGT Motorsport has seen a fair share of memorable races as it enters a ninth consecutive season of competition with the GT3 Cup Challenge. When asked to share the most memorable race, Wahab simply stated: “There are so many to choose from, but since I have to answer with one I’d have to say 2010, in New Jersey, when we swept the podium finishing 1-2-3!”
And while the team’s success on track speaks for itself, NGT Motorsport’s bonds with its drivers offer an insight into why their operation continues to expand.
“Every one of our drivers brings something unique to the team,” said Wahab. “We have great relationships with all of our drivers. We are like a big family.”
Every year, the IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge by Yokohama grows in popularity with veteran teams like NGT Motorsport leading the way. Next week’s competition in Sebring will see new teams and drivers who have been drawn by the success of the series.
A veteran of IMSA GT3 Cup competition, Wahab had a bit of advice for new teams and drivers entering the budding series: “Good luck and never underestimate your competition.”
In Platinum competition next week, NGT Motorsport will bring back Eduardo Cisneros, brother of fellow driver Henrique Cisneros who will be at the helm of the team’s GTC entry. Both brothers have raced in the series, as Henrique is a two-time IMSA GT3 Cup champion and Eduardo has posted several race wins and a vice championship in 2011 in the Gold class.
Joining Cisneros on the Platinum level is last year’s Gold Class Champion Angel Andres Benitez. Benitez was no stranger to the podium in 2012 and set several track records in his goal of graduating to the faster ranks.
Daniel Duerson, Amadeo Quiros and Carlos Gomez will also return to the team on the Platinum level, having run a select number of events last season. Gomez will be doing dual duty with an entry alongside Henrique Cisneros in the GTC class as well.
While the list of returning drivers clearly demonstrates the strong relationships and connections forged with the team, NGT will also introduce two new faces to IMSA GT3 Cup racing in Mark Llano and Ary Krau. Krau is the team’s only Gold Class entry, and Llano will be running under a strong platform to increase support and awareness for military Veterans and their families. Both drivers are only new to the series and the team, as they have logged countless laps around the Sebring circuit.
Central Florida’s iconic Sebring International Raceway hosts the dramatic IMSA and ALMS season openers next week. Gates open at Sebring on Wednesday, March 13, for four days of racing events culminating with the 61st annual 12-hour classic on Saturday. GT3 Cup Challenge competitors take to the 3.74-mile circuit on Thursday, March 14 for Qualifying and Race #1, with Race #2 on Friday, March 15.