TruSpeed Motorsports, the 2011 Pirelli World Challenge GT champions, announced Monday it had signed Lawson Aschenbach and Justin Marks to the team for the 2012 World Challenge season. Both Aschenbach and Marks have long histories in the World Challenge series. Aschenbach's two series championships include the last year's Touring Car (TC) class title, while Marks will make his return to the racing series where he launched his professional driving career in 2001.
Driving the No. 1 PrivacyStar/Entrust Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, Aschenbach will look to replicate the consistency and outright pace that won him the 2011 TC championship. He re-enters the top class of World Challenge after demonstrating the ability to maximize the performance of his prior cars, which ranged from a Honda Civic Si to a Cadillac CTS-V and Porsche 911 GT3 Cup.
“It's very exciting to be returning to the Pirelli World Challenge series in 2012 with TruSpeed and Porsche,” he said. “This feels like a bit of a homecoming for me, and I still have fond memories from my first year in 2006. Having partners like PrivacyStar and Entrust is an honor and we are very proud to be representing them on our No. 1 Porsche GT3 Cup in the GT Class. The World Challenge GT Championship is going to be a battle this season and we are ready to get it started in St. Petersburg this week!”
“TruSpeed is a first class organization and I can't thank Rob (Morgan) and Tyler (Tadevic, team manager) enough for the opportunity. I've been blown away at their constant commitment to professionalism and an unrelenting desire to defend their championship. I've got some big shoes to fill after Patrick's title winning season last year and I'm looking forward to the challenge. It's also great to be joining my friend and teammate, Justin Marks, for the season. We are both looking forward to working together to be a solid 1-2 punch for the championship.”
Driving the No. 46 GoPro/Mooresville Motorplex Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, Marks will return to his sports car roots after several seasons of stock car racing. A class winner in the 2009 Rolex 24 at Daytona and with a slew of podium finishes in every category of sports cars in which he's ever raced, Marks is excited to get back to racing after champing at the bit to drive all winter long.
He said, "I'm thrilled to be back in World Challenge after so many years, especially with an operation like TruSpeed. I met with a few teams last fall and it became apparent that TruSpeed was the best positioned from a business standpoint and exhibited unmatched organization and professionalism. I've had some very special moments in my career aboard a Porsche race car as well so to be able to make my return in the same car I started my career in is pretty special.”
TruSpeed will also field a third and fourth Porsche 911 GT3 Cup for the 2012 season. In the No. 47 Porsche, sports car stalwart Tomy Drissi will drive for the team at St. Petersburg, Long Beach, Laguna Seca and Detroit. 16-year-old phenom Madison Snow will drive the No. 47 car at Miller Motorsports Park outside Salt Lake City, and Brett Sandberg will race the TruSpeed Porsche at Mid-Ohio and Sonoma. Rounding out the team's lineup will be longtime World Challenge competitor Jeff Courtney, who will drive the No. 99 Kenda Tires / RecStuff.com Porsche 911 GT3 Cup at St. Petersburg, Long Beach, Laguna Seca and Detroit.
Team manager Tyler Tadevic expressed optimism about the upcoming season.
“To be sure, 2011 was a season to remember for us, and it will be awesome to roll out onto the track for the first practice in St. Pete with the No. 1 decorating Lawson's car," he said. "Our championships in World Challenge last year were hard earned and very satisfying, but by now, they're ancient history. We went out and signed two of the best sports car drivers in the paddock, and I speak for our whole team when I say that we can't wait to get out there and compete.
"It'll be very busy for us with four cars at half the races, but we feel we've got the best organization, the best drivers and the best equipment under us in the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, and after a long winter's worth of preparation, it's time to go turn potential into results.”