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MDK Planning GTD Pro Return for Watkins Glen, Petit Le Mans

Mar 16, 2023

Mark Kvamme explains Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring absence, team’s long-term prospects…

MDK Motorsports is planning to return to IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship competition for the final two Michelin Endurance Cup rounds of the season according to team owner Mark Kvamme, who has explained the team’s absence from this weekend’s Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.

The Ohio-based squad withdrew its Porsche 911 GT3 R entry from Sebring in the wake of a challenging debut for the car at the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

Kvamme explained the decision to forgo the race was made nearly a month ago, prior to IMSA’s release of an updated Balance of Performance for the new-for-2023 GT3 car, where it has been given a power increase compared to the Daytona levels.

“We had committed to doing Sebring and did our entry fees and all that kind of stuff,” Kvamme told Sportscar365.

“Because we have to turn the car over for [Fanatec GT World Challenge America presented by AWS], the first race for SRO is in Sonoma in two weeks, it was going to be logistically difficult but we were committed to doing it.

“However, I had to make a tough decision about three, four weeks ago when the BoP hadn’t been announced. It was pretty frustrating at Daytona.

“I think it’s all been worked out. I think the new BoP should work out pretty well. That’s how these things go. John Doonan [IMSA President] has been great and Volker [Holzmeyer, Porsche Motorsport North America President and CEO] as well.

“We just had to make a hard decision and that was the decision we decided to do.”

While focusing on its six-car Porsche Deluxe Carrera Cup North America program this weekend, Kvamme confirmed it will return to WeatherTech Championship competition for the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen and Motul Petit Le Mans in GTD Pro.

It will see a reprise of three-fourths of its Rolex 24 lineup, with Jan Magnussen, Trenton Estep and Jason Hart confirmed.

“Our current plan is to do Watkins Glen and Petit,” Kvamme said. “I actually won’t drive but it will be Jan, Trenton and Jason. We’ll stay in the Pro class and see how it goes.

“This year in IMSA was really just like last year in Carrera Cup, which was trying to prove what we could do.

“I was very proud of the team at Daytona. We ended up getting sixth [in GTD Pro] out of ten cars and the guys did a great job. The car came back clean and the pit stops were great.

“We had a couple of mistakes here and there but I was really pleased with how the team performed. It was a good practice race.”

Kvamme, meanwhile, has expressed interest in expanding into a two-car WeatherTech Championship program in 2024, or potentially embarking on a FIA World Endurance Championship effort amid the series’ switch to GT3 regulations.

“I’d like to do WEC, if not next year, the year after,” he said. “The move to GT3 is the main reason [for wanting to do WEC]. I think we’ll get another GT3 car.

“I think there’s a way we could do two GT3 cars in IMSA next year. Or one in WEC and one in IMSA. It depends on what the drivers and sponsors want to do. But we’re still working out the details.”

The longtime IMSA driver turned team owner is hopeful of eventually fully embracing Porsche’s pyramid system, from the German manufacturer’s single-make series to the upper echelon of the sport.

In addition to Carrera Cup, MDK is committed to Porsche Sprint Challenge North America by Yokohama as well as GTWC America this year, also in Porsche machinery.

“My goal here is to grow with Porsche,” Kvamme said. “I’d love to see us one day in the GTP class. I don’t know when that’s going to happen.

“It’s kind of what I did in Supercross. I started as a privateer team, then we were a Honda support team, then a KTM factory team. I’m hoping that in 2025 or 2026 we could go all the way up.

“I love the idea of the gentlemen racer all the way through to super high, tip-of-the-spear pro. I like that idea.”

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