Sebring, FL – Every New Year brings new opportunities, and for many racers, those start in Florida at the traditional Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) Winter Majors. The new 2017 Hoosier Super Tour circuit for the SCCA also began at Sebring’s Majors event.
Calvert Dynamics broke in a new Porsche 991 GT3-R with driver Preston Calvert in the GT-1 class over the Florida Majors events, taking home a win in the rain at Homestead, and a second place the next day to former National Champion Michael Lewis in his Jaguar.
That second place result was later negated by a mistake on the pace lap for points in the standings, unfortunately. Saturday’s result was the first win by an FIA GT3 homologated car in the SCCA’s GT-1 class, competing against traditional GT-1 and Trans-Am TA cars with 300 to 350 more horsepower. The SCCA had made the FIA GT3 cars eligible for GT-1 competition in 2014, but few had participated in the class up to this point.
As is the tradition, the opening year events take place on back-to-back weekends in Florida, with racers from all over the country looking forward to sun and palm trees. Pulling “double duty” in GT-1 and T-2 with Phoenix Performance, Calvert returned to the familiar seat of the Porsche 991 GT3-R, a new 2017 chassis the team acquired late in 2016 to replace its former car that was severely damaged last August in a fire while practicing for the Pirelli World Challenge Utah Motorsports Campus SprintX events.
“The new 2017 GT3 car is identical to the 2016 chassis, but with all the cumulative updates that we had applied to that chassis over the course of the year. We brought race engineer Stefan Pfeiffer with us to Homestead and Sebring to help with car setup, and I had the able support of GT3-R crew chief Kurt Rezzetano and his detailed knowledge of the car as well. The GT3-R was amazing in the very wet race on Saturday at Homestead, and but for some mistakes on my part on Sunday, might have been at the front again.” said Calvert.
The next weekend at Sebring, Calvert was second in the running order at the finish on Saturday, but was moved back four spots due the consequences of an inadvertent pass under yellow for the second position. On Sunday, he passed for the lead on the next to last turn, but was repassed by the eventual winner, settling for second place.
In the T-2 class Calvert took his No. 77 Ford Mustang to four victories – in both races at the Homestead road course and the tricky and historic 17-turn Sebring. The strong performance was just what Calvert needed, setting him up for an invite to the SCCA National Championship Runoffs later this year which will be run at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway; giving Calvert a chance for the 2017 T2 National title at the most iconic road course on the planet.
“My trusty Phoenix Performance Mustang GT ran very well in every race over the two weekends. Many thanks to Ben VanDyke, Kurt Rezzetano and Andrew Aquilante for their efforts to make the car consistently fast and reliable. My Hoosier tires were a great asset in every race.” Calvert added.
Calvert Dynamics will be making a news announcement on its 2017 pro racing program in the near future.