BATAVIA, Ohio, March 7 — Wright Motorsports will go for its third straight driver and team championship in the IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama in 2014.
The Batavia, Ohio-based team won the series’ top class, called the Platinum Cup, in 2012 and 2013 with Sean Johnston and Madison Snow, respectively.
Kasey Kuhlman of Cincinnati, who finished seventh overall in the Platinum point standings last year and second in that division’s Masters class, returns to the team with a brand-new Kuhlsport Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car, #15. The Masters class is for drivers 45 and over.
He’ll be joined by two new Platinum class drivers for Wright Motorsports in 2014: Michael Schein of New York City and Santiago Creel of Mexico City, Mexico. They both have brand-new Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars too. Creel’s is sponsored by Hotbook and Under Armour.
Representing the team in Gold Cup for 2010-2013 Porsches will be returning drivers John Baker of New York City; John Ellis of Charlottesville, Va., in the SageWater #8 and another new member of the team, Kristin Treager of Tulsa, Okla. She’s sponsored by the Sheehan Racing Team, Women’s Sports Foundation, Women in the Winner’s Circle Foundation and Boston Avenue Law PLLC. Wright Motorsports also won the Gold Cup championship in 2011 with Snow.
The 2014 season gets underway with two 45-minute races at Sebring International Raceway in Sebring, Fla., at 3:05 p.m. on Thursday, March 13 and 8:55 a.m. on Friday, March 14.
The doubleheader supports the 62nd annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh from Florida, the second event in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship. Wright Motorsports will provide technical support for Rum Bum Racing’s Porsche in that race. Its drivers will be Snow, Jan Heylen and Matt Plumb. Snow Racing with Wright Motorsports finished third in that series’ season opener, the Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway, in January with Snow, Heylen and Marco Seefried driving.
Several Wright Motorsports drivers were among the 30 who tested at Sebring Feb. 24-25. The test helped the team gain a better understanding of the brand-new car and helped the new drivers get acquainted with their equipment.
Kuhlman said his goal for 2014 is to win the Platinum Masters championship and finish in the top-five overall for the season. He missed the Masters championship in the Platinum class by only two points last year.
He hopes to leave Sebring with valuable points. “Sebring is always a great event due to the large number of entries and because it’s the first event of the season,” he noted. “By the time Sebring rolls around I have been away from the track for too long. I’m really looking forward to a good result there and starting off the season strong. Every year the front-runners get faster and younger!”
One of those younger ones will be his teammate, Schein, who is a general contractor in the New York City area. He’s 25 and he’s been racing since he was 18 or 19. He ran two seasons in this series before switching to the Ferrari 458 Challenge, and he’s happy to be back racing a Porsche with Wright Motorsports.
“My goals for the season are to be consistent, run at the front and be a better driver at the end of the season,” Schein said. “If I can do that I will have a shot at finishing pretty high up in the championship.
“I’m a big fan of Sebring,” he added. “I enjoy the track and the atmosphere during the Twelve Hour really adds to the excitement. I haven’t been to Sebring or raced a Porsche since 2011, so I hope to get up to speed quickly.”
Creel comes to the team from Porsche GT3 Cup Mexico and other tough series like the LATAM Challenge series, Telcel Seat Super Cup and Formula Abarth, and he’s even competed in the 24 Hours of Barcelona. All of Mexico will be cheering for him and they won’t have any trouble finding him in the field, as his car has “Mexico” on its sides.
One of Creel’s biggest challenges will simply be to get to know the different tracks he’ll compete on this year. “It’s going to be my first time for most of the tracks, but my goal is to be in the top 10 overall,” said Creel, a corporate lawyer off the track who is coming home in a way, since the first race car he ever drove was a Porsche.
Creel has at least three things in common with one of his new teammates, Treager. She’s a lawyer off the track too, she’s also entering her first full season of IMSA GT3 Cup USA competition, and she also drives a race car with eye-catching livery. Her Wright Motorsports Porsche has a dramatic white tiger on its side panels.
Treager is the current Porsche Club of America GTC4 national champion. She raced in two IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge doubleheaders last year, and she was on the Gold Cup podium in three of those four races. She’s also the co-host of The Car Guy Show (see TheCarGuyShow.com), which premiered on March 1 at KTXD, Channel 47 in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, and can be viewed on line on YouTube.
“My goal for the 2014 season is to be a consistent podium finisher and to improve my skill set as a driver,” Treager said.
“I picked the IMSA GT3 Cup series because it is one of the best development programs for up-and-coming drivers,” she added. “The competition is intense and that is exactly what I need in order to become a better driver!
“I decided to join Wright Motorsports because they are the best in the business,” added Treager, who said she’s really looking forward to the season opener at Sebring.
“It has been a long off-season,” she noted. “No one hates winter more than a race car driver who is itching to get back on the racetrack!”