Laguna Beach, California — After a successful 2014 rookie season in sports car racing, Michael Lewis has joined EFFORT Racing in 2015 to drive a Porsche 911 GT3 R in the Pirelli World Challenge.
Michael will join sports car and Indy car veteran Ryan Dalziel on the EFFORT Racing team as it will field two Porsche GT3 R cars in the series. EFFORT Racing is coming off a successful 2014 season after it earned the Pirelli World Challenge GT-A Championship. Ryan Dalziel competed in six GT races last year with the team, earning two wins and three additional podiums.
Michael will compete in the GT-A division and Ryan will again race in the GT division. While the “A” in GT-A denotes “amateur,” both cars will be prepared exactly the same. Michael will be classified as an “amateur” because this will be his first season competing in the Pirelli World Challenge championship. However, Michael will still earn points toward the overall series’ championship.
Following their 2014 Pirelli World Challenge GT-A Championship, EFFORT Racing has announced an expansion for their racing program with Porsche Motorsport North America (PMNA) for 2015. In addition to EFFORT Racing’s entry in the GT class of the Pirelli World Challenge, the team has joined forces with PMNA to create a new means to develop up-and-coming sports car drivers: The Porsche Motorsport North America Young Driver Program. Michael will be the first young driver to participate in this program.
The program will combine the endeavors of PMNA and EFFORT Racing to provide young racers from the Porsche Young Drivers Academy and the Porsche/IMSA Driver Scholarship with the opportunity to race in Pirelli World Challenge’s GT Amateur class. EFFORT Racing will enter a season long entry in GT-A utilizing the Porsche 911 GT3.
Michael competed in the Porsche Motorsport Young Drivers Academy in 2013, and earned a scholarship to compete last season in the IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama. Michael participated in a tight points battle for the series championship, which came down to the last race, but just missed the title by a few points, finishing third in the series and taking the Rookie of the Year title.
“It is an honor to be racing with a great team such as EFFORT Racing and a historic brand as Porsche Motorsport North America,” said Michael Lewis. “The Effort Racing team is composed of professional and experienced racers who want to win—I feel right at home with this group. I also look forward to racing alongside a veteran teammate in Ryan Dalziel. This will be my first season in the Pirelli World Challenge, and I am extremely excited to represent EFFORT Racing and Porsche Motorsport North America in this adventure. Thank you to Mr. Chuck Toups of EFFORT Racing for this opportunity, and let’s have some fun and contend for good results!”
Eleven race weekends will make up the 2015 Pirelli World Challenge. Each race weekend will feature two 50-minute sprint races, along with practice and qualifying prior to the races. About 50 cars from three divisions will compete on the track at the same time: GT, GTA and GT Cup. This series is a FIA GT3 Spec Championship, so in addition to Porsche, other brands competing in the series include Ferrari, Lamborghini, Audi, Cadillac, Mercedes-Benz, Acura, Aston Martin, and Bentley among others. The series runs in conjunction with Verizon IndyCar Series’ events. All races will be televised on NBC Sports.
Following is the 2015 Pirelli World Challenge schedule:
March 6–8 Circuit of The Americas
March 27–29 Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg
April 17–19 Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach
April 24–26 Barber Motorsports Park
May 15–17 Canadian Tire Motorsport Park
May 29–31 Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix
June 26–28 Road America
July 31–August 2 Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course
August 21–23 Miller Motorsports Park
August 28–30 Sonoma Raceway
September 11–13 Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca