The Patrón GT3 Challenge by Yokohama will mix a little of the new with much of the familiar for the 2010 season. The IMSA-sanctioned championship announced a seven-event schedule, inc with one new venue – to go along with a completely new 911 GT3 Cup racer from Porsche.
For its sixth season of pitting top semi-professional and gentlemen drivers in Porsche's 911 GT3 Cup racers, the series adds New Jersey Motorsports Park to its schedule. The remaining rounds will be in support of the American Le Mans Series, and all event weekends will feature two 45-minute races with the exception of the stop at Mid-Ohio. The championship format also is slightly different for 2010, with a competitor's best 11 of 13 rounds counting toward the final point total.
The Patrón Spirits Company returns as the title sponsor for the championship, with Yokohama as the presenting partner and exclusive tire supplier. All races will be featured elements of the series' full-season television package on SPEED. Along with race recaps and highlights, audiences will have the chance to learn more about the personalities that make up the Patrón GT3 Challenge by Yokohama paddock.
The series will be split into two classifications – Platinum Cup for the new 2010 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup and Gold Cup for the 2009 through 2005 version of the GT3 racer. And for the first time, Porsche Motorsport North America will performance balance the competition within the Gold Cup class.
The 2010 version of the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car is based on the street-legal 2010 Porsche GT3 RS. The 911 GT3 Cup entry features a larger displacement with its flat-six Boxer powerplant (by 0.2 liters) while increasing power by 30 hp. It is nearly 13⁄4 inches wider than the 2009 911 GT3 Cup model, which allows for larger tires. The newly designed front body panels – again taken from the 911 GT3 RSR – allow for more efficient aero on the front end with a lower front spoiler lap that increases more downforce at the front axle. Likewise a larger rear wing provides additional downforce at the rear of the car.
Inside the cockpit, an additional vent in the upper part of the front lid provides the driver with a better supply of fresh air. The controls for the Info Display are now positioned directly on the steering wheel housing. And in addition to fore-and-aft adjustment, the steering wheel may now also be adjusted for height as on the regular production car.
2010 PATRÓN GT3 CHALLENGE BY YOKOHAMA
March 18-19: Sebring International Raceway / Sebring, Fla.
May 21-23: Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca / Monterey, Calif.
June 18-20: New Jersey Motorsports Park / Millville, New Jersey
July 9-11: Miller Motorsports Park / Salt Lake City, Utah
August 6-7: Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course / Lexington, Ohio (single event weekend)
August 20-22: Road America / Elkhart Lake, Wis.
Sept. 30-Oct. 1: Road Atlanta (Petit Le Mans) / Braselton, Ga.