The Plaid Porsche team is back at it again, trying to get its third IMSA title in as many years in 2023 with its new freshly-delivered 992-generation GT3 R. The defending GTD Pro champions are back for another round of fighting the best in the GT game, and they’ve got a new crew of drivers to take on the world. Last year the team made use of Matt Campbell and Mathieu Jaminet, with Felipe Nasr joining for endurance rounds, and all three of these drivers have been promoted to Porsche’s 963 prototype program. As a result, Pfaff have signed Porsche aces Patrick Pilet and Klaus Bachler for the full season, with 2021 Pfaff champion driver Laurens Vanthoor joining to complete the trio for endurance events. Pilet and Vanthoor have lots of experience with IMSA in general and with Pfaff specifically, but this will be Bachler’s first full season ride in the series, having only participated in a handful of Daytona 24 events in the past.
“I drove in the U.S. for many, many years and I had the chance to win the championship in GTLM and finish second and third in other places,” Pilet said. “I really feel like home there; it’s a great championship. I love every track and the way you race there. I’m really looking forward to that, especially with Pfaff.”
“Competing the whole season in IMSA for the first time makes me very proud and happy,” commented Bachler. “I always wanted to tick that box. I am really looking forward to experiencing and getting to know these iconic racetracks with a strong field of drivers and epic battles. Contesting my first season in IMSA with Pfaff Motorsports really honors me. Being part of the Pfaff Motorsports family means being part of an extremely professional and successful team.”
“I’m extremely looking forward to working together with everyone at Pfaff again,” Vanthoor agreed. “First of all, we had a successful relationship with two victories and the championship in 2021, but mainly as well, we have a very good private relationship where I had and still have a good understanding with everybody on the team. I’m very much looking forward to being back with them.”
The team is currently participating in a two-day test at Daytona International Speedway, with Bachler stepping in to do the driving this week, ahead of the season’s proper kick off in late January. Obviously this new season comes with a new car as the 992-generation GT3 R is finally here and ready for prime time. The new car features a larger 4.2-liter engine, up two tenths of a liter from last year, and the car has all-new aerodynamics with a more adjustable and modular design. According to the team it comes apart easier and goes back together in less time, making repairs a snap.
Pfaff Motorsport team manager Steve Bortolotti had a lot of good things to say about the new car and his new driver lineup in a recent conversation with Sportscar365.com:
“Every piece of constructive feedback that most teams would have griped about in the past [regarding the car], I feel like it’s been implemented. It’s very positive.”
“Klaus is impressive so far. He hasn’t driven the car yet but his attention to detail and the time he has to respond and be involved with the team has been incredible.
“He has a lot of GT3 experience and has such a great attitude. Everything’s so positive and upbeat with him all of the time. It’s good.
“I’m happy for the Matts and Felipe obviously for their opportunity but we knew that at the start of last season that it was a one-year thing.
“Hopefully we have some continuity here for more than a season and it can be something we can build off of.
“Klaus and Patrick have driven together a bunch so they know each other quite well and Larry has driven with Patrick a fair bit and Klaus some.
“Having guys that know how to drive a Porsche is very important. It’s such a unique car to drive and I’m sure they’ll get the most out of it.”
All of that sounds pretty good. We’ll see what happens when the car hits the grid in January, but from where we sit right now, it looks like a few steps have been made in the direction of a third Pfaff championship. Let’s go Plaid!