Speedway, IN | The 2023 Porsche Sprint Challenge by Yokohama season concluded this weekend, featuring a joint event for the North American and USA West championships. Ten champions were crowned across the two divisions, following four races that ran through rain and sunshine at the Racing Capital of the World.
Porsche 992 GT3 Cup:
Zachary Vanier capped off his dream, championship-winning season with a double 992 GT3 Cup Pro/Am victory at Indy in the No. 206 MDK Motorsports Porsche. In 2023, Vanier won all but two races of the 14-round season, exuding near dominance no matter the track or conditions.
“This season was remarkable for my team, partners, and I,” said Vanier, who drove to each race on the Sprint Challenge calendar with his father. “We always unloaded the car with a strong baseline set and were able to quickly fine tune it, allowing me to focus on getting comfortable with the car and the track quickly. I give a big credit to the support system I had this season for pushing me to these results and ultimately allowing me to drive with the most amount of maturity I’ve demonstrated in my career.
“I experienced some challenging track conditions, both wet and dry, learned a new car and tire compound, as well as experienced some cool wins at historic places such as Indianapolis and Circuit of The Americas. I’m just extremely grateful for the opportunity I had this year and I’m really looking to use this momentum into next year.”
Vanier finished 44 points in the standings over Aidan Kenny, who looked to close the gap if not for being collected in a first lap incident during Race 1. The ACI Motorsports driver rebounded to finish third on the podium in Race 2, and the pair also finished 1-2 in the 2023 Porsche Juniors Championship.
“The biggest highlight I’ll take away from 2023 is simply the success that we encountered,” added Vanier, who eyes an entry in Porsche Deluxe Carrera Cup North America next season. “It’s not often you win all but two races in a season, so when it does happen, it’s something you cherish and be grateful for simply because it’s unknown if it’ll happen again. Of course, as a competitor you hope it does, but it’s just so unpredictable.”
In the sister USA West Pro/Am category, Robert Todd only needed to start and finish both rounds this weekend to clinch the championship. The BR Racing team owner elected to run conservatively in Thursday’s rainy first round, before gaining five positions and finishing third on Friday to complete the USA West class podium. James Li swept both USA West Pro/Am victories at Indy.
While Todd cruised to his title, the Pro/Am standings finished with only four points separating Kenton King in second, Will Wattanawongkiri in third and Kayden Kelly in fourth.
Championships were also decided in the 992 GT3 Cup Am classes for both North America and USA West. In PSCNA, David Williams topped Mark Boden for the title after scoring a win and runner-up finish this weekend. Boden scored a win himself in Race 1, but finished fourth-in-class on Friday.
In PSCUW, Peter Ludwig swept both Am class victories – and finished on the overall podium in Race 1 –to clinch the championship over Laura Ely by just 20 points.
Porsche 991 GT3 Cup:
Two champions took home honors in the 991 GT3 Cup class – Ashley Freiberg in PSCNA and Casey Dennis in PSCUW. Both drivers dominated their respective classes throughout the season, with Freiberg winning seven races in 2023 and Dennis winning all 12 rounds of his series.
With the 991 GT3 Cup class joining the Cayman GT4 Clubsport field once again at Indy, the 991 drivers competed for the overall lead in entertaining battles. PSCNA driver Dimitri Dimako – joining the series for the first time this weekend – stole the show in both races. However, a late penalty in Race 1 demoted his No. 169 Porsche down the field, elevating Dennis to a noteworthy victory and Freiberg to third overall, second-in-class.
Dimako came back in winning fashion on Friday, with Dennis finishing second. Freiberg was in the hunt for another podium finish, but clashed with a fellow frontrunner midway through the race and brought an early end to her final race of 2023.
Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport:
In the Cayman GT4 Clubsport category, Paul Bocuse had much to celebrate in Race 1 after scoring his first victory of the year and all but clinching the North American title, which he went on to do the following day. While it was only his first win of 2023, a consistent season placed Bocuse ahead of the stacked Pro/Am field throughout the year. The MDK Motorsports driver finished second on Friday behind winner Florian Eyme.
With six wins this season, Jason Golan captured the PSCNA Am title over William Peluchiwski and Alain Scalzo, both of whom were winners at Indy.
In the USA West Pro/Am category, which wrapped up at the last event at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, the championship went to Matthew Paige, while Michael Gaulke sealed the Am title at Indy.
All replays of 2023 Porsche Sprint Challenge North America and USA West by Yokohama races are available to stream live on the series’ YouTube channel. More information can also be found at www.porschesprint.com and on social media via Facebook, Instagram and X.