After a number of years experimenting with other manufacturer's equipment, paddock favorites Team Sahlen returns to their Porsche roots with a pair of ST class Caymans. Long time team members, Joe Sahlen, Joe Nonnamaker, Wayne Nonnamaker, and Will Nonnamaker will be driving the pair of Porsches in the 12 race SportsCar Challenge series after deciding not to run a BMW-Powered Daytona Prototype in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship earlier last month.
Joe Sahlen - “I am very excited for 2014. We had a very successful maiden season with the Prototypes last season. We were new to the class, going up against some very professional sports car teams with years of experience in the DPs, and to have had the success we did was very rewarding. I very much enjoyed our decade plus adventure in racing in the Rolex series. Now a new chapter begins with our full time entry into the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge. The competition will be tough and we are excited to mix it up with the ST teams on track.”
For nearly a decade, Sahlen has been a staple in the Rolex Grand-Am series. They started their campaign with Porsche, running 996 GT3 Cup cars for a number of years, moving to Corvettes, then Mazda RX-8s, before graduating to the Daytona Prototype class last year. They've accomplished a handful of GT class victories, numerous pole positions, and three "Sportsman" awards.
The ST class will be a return to form of sorts for the team, as they have run similar classes of racing for nearly 30 years. In that time, they have amassed 50 race victories and a total of 7 team and driver championships. Will Nonnamaker is a very experienced ST class driver, with the most starts in the class among active drivers, and three ST championships to his name.
“I have truly enjoyed getting to race the many types of different classes and cars we have raced over the past decade, but my I have always had a fondness for the ST class," said Will Nonnamaker. "To get to come back to the class and compete full time is very exciting. And to be coming back to the class with such a strong effort is a dream come true. The competition will be tough, but I think our team will be up to the challenge.”
Team Sahlen is intimately familiar with Porsche race cars, and they are happy to be back with the team. They have not, however, ever been behind the wheel of a Cayman, only having entered 911-based cars in the Continental Tire Grand Sport class, and Grand-Am's Rolex GT class.
“Having been away from racing Porsches for so long and the Cayman being so different from a 911, I didn't think much of our knowledge base would transfer to these new cars. But I have been pleasantly surprised at what pieces of past information has been useful in the build process," said Wayne Nonnamaker. "I can't wait to drive the Cayman. With its mid-engine layout versus the rear engine of the 911, the racer should be a pure joy to drive.”
The team is a welcome addition to the roster of 2014 Porsche campaign racers, as they are among the nicest in the paddock, always available for an autograph, or to pass out some delicious Western New York hot dogs. Keep an eye on this team, as they'll be likely to do well with their newly acquired Porsches.
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