@Porsche • @IMSA • #GT3CAN • DAYTONA BEACH, FL – Six Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars lined up on the grid at Calabogie Motorsports Park when the Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Michelin debuted in May 2011 as a six-round championship.
Fast-forward just four years, and up to 19 cars lined up for races in the championship during the 10 rounds of competition in 2014.
The growing appeal of the series is due to the professionalism and skill of its teams and drivers. But the constant, increasing support and corporate-wide enthusiasm provided by Porsche Cars Canada also has played a vital role.
“The GT3 Cup Challenge here in Canada is an important part of our marketing mix,” said Alexander Pollich, President and Chief Executive Officer of Porsche Cars Canada. “We are profiting from this exciting race series on different levels. It is something that we’re not just doing with a small number of teams and keep under wraps. We talk about it because we are proud that we are able to put this series together with IMSA and Porsche Motorsport North America, and in particular with the teams, the drivers and our sponsors. So it’s really important for the brand.”
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Porsche Cars Canada remains passionate about its support of the Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Michelin for a variety of reasons as the championship enters its fifth season in 2015.
Motorsport remains a central part of Porsche’s past, present and future. The Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Michelin is one of 20 single-make Porsche series around the world that provide close competition for young and mature semi-professional drivers in the legendary 911 GT3 Cup car. The championship also offers a platform for drivers to ascend to the highest levels of GT competition, such as the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.
Porsche’s racing heritage started more than 60 years ago. The German marque has won overall honors at the famed 24 Hours of Le Mans an unprecedented 16 times, with iconic cars such as the 917, 935/936 and 956/962C. Porsche is entering three factory 919 Hybrid prototypes in a bid for another overall victory this June at Le Mans.
“Racing is part of our heritage; it’s in our DNA,” Pollich said. “We’re a sports car manufacturer. Every car we put on the road is a pure sports car. We have a long history of trophies won – 16 victories in Le Mans, thousands of victories in other race series.”
That heritage isn’t lost on existing and potential Porsche customers, adding to the value created for the brand in Canada by the Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Michelin.
“The 911 is our icon,” Pollich said. “It’s an incredibly strong foundation of our brand. I would say most of our customers that are interested in a 911, a Boxster or a Cayman are interested in the brand’s heritage. They are aware of the motorsports history we have. A lot of our customers are very dedicated to the brand. Some of them know almost everything about the Porsche and its history.”
“So most of these 911 prospects and customers make the connection. They know about the great race history and all the trophies that have been won. They connect the dots.”
It’s one thing for customers and enthusiasts to talk about Porsche’s success in motorsport and that trickle-down connection to its road cars. It’s another to experience it. The Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Michelin provides what might be the ultimate experiential marketing platform for Porsche, both in the driver’s seat and at the racetrack.
The championship provides a venue for Porsche road car enthusiasts and race drivers to enjoy the ultimate level of performance from a 911 GT3 Cup car in the competitive, safe environment of a racetrack. Porsche Cars Canada and its Canadian dealerships also bring existing and potential customers to GT3 Cup Challenge Canada events at prominent venues such as Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, the streets of Toronto and the Grand Prix Trois-Rivières to share in the excitement of competition, learn more about the brand and its models and enjoy a relaxing, fun weekend with complete hospitality amenities.
“We have several dealers that are very actively involved in the series,” Pollich said. “They take customers there over weekends, and so they elevate theory into practice and help those customers really see and feel what is going on and what the 911 is capable of doing. And it’s being put where it belongs, too, which is on the racetrack.”
Drivers, teams, dealers and customers continue to embrace the excitement of the Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Michelin as it starts its fifth season. And the championship also has stoked the fire for motorsport passion in a certain supporter of the series – Pollich.
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Pollich, a native of Germany, became President and CEO of Porsche Cars Canada on Sept. 1, 2013 after working for Porsche in senior management positions in sales and strategy since 2001.
He was an engaged, active visitor at selected Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Michelin events in 2014, during his first full year in his new role with Porsche Cars Canada. Pollich frequently chatted with Porsche guests in hospitality areas and also spent plenty of time in the heart of the paddock, talking with drivers, team managers and owners, and officials from series sanctioning body International Motor Sports Association (IMSA).
“I think everybody that’s working for Porsche has gasoline and motor oil in their veins, in their blood,” Pollich said. “It’s always great to get off the leash and see the cars in action and also spend time with the customers and especially with the teams.”
“The drivers we have are all great people; these are all true brand ambassadors. A lot of them have fantastic history to tell. Some of them do the racing also for a good cause, for charity events. We have young drivers who compete intensively, as we saw last season when we had three young guys (Scott Hargrove, Chris Green, Spencer Pigot) fighting hard every weekend for the trophy, which was great. But we also have more experienced drivers who get out there, have fun and enjoy competing on their level. So it’s excellent to spend time with these guys.”
“I really appreciate their commitment. It’s their spare time. It’s their financial investment and passion that they put on the road. So from my perspective, this is extremely impressive. And the least I can do is be there, encourage them, talk to them and be here to answer any questions or concerns they might have. And for me, it’s also personal fun to get out of the office and see the cars in action and enjoy the competition we have out there.”
Racing is divided into three classes – Platinum Cup, featuring the 2014 and 2015 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car, which is based on the seventh, and current, generation of the street car; Gold Cup, which is comprised of the previous iteration (model years 2010-2013) of the race car; and Silver Cup, which is comprised of 2005 ½-2009 model year race cars. A Masters Championship also is conducted in the Platinum class. Each class is awarded with its own podium at the end of every race and individual champion at the end of every season. Points are awarded by finish in class.
From GRand Solutions