Is once again Italy’s Gianluca Roda. With a large point advantage, the 52 year old Italian native successfully defended his title from last year. The Porsche Cup has been awarded by Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG, Stuttgart, since 1970. As the brainchild of Ferry Porsche, the company honors the best private Porsche race driver each year with this trophy.
Again in 2011, Gianluca Roda celebrated a large part of his success with the Autorlando Sport team, which has its headquarters in Pedrengo near Bergamo (northern Italy). The entrepreneur from Como earned most of his points towards the Porsche Cup in the International GT Open, which runs two races per weekend. Already at the season-opener, everything went smoothly with Roda and his team mate Fabio Babini (Italy) yielding a win and a third place in their Porsche 911 GT3 R. Over the course of the season, Roda achieved five victories in the GTS class as well as four other podium results. The highlight of the year: double victory on the high-speed circuit in the Royal Park of Monza. At the season final in Barcelona (Spain) a retirement put a spoke in the wheel of his campaign. In a repeat of the previous season, Roda, Babini and the team concluded the year with vice-championship honors in the fiercely-contested GT Open Championship.
In the Blancpain Endurance Series, Gianluca Roda launched into the season with a victory at the wheel of the Porsche 911 GT3 R fielded by Autorlando Sport – in Monza of course. Joining forces with his Italian teammates Paolo Ruberti and Raffaele Giammaria they secured podium results in Navarra (Spain) and Magny-Cours (France) as well as fourth in Silverstone (Great Britain). Only at the 24 hour race of Spa-Francorchamps (Belgium), which also counted towards the Blancpain series, did he come home empty-handed in twelfth.
The ambitious Porsche driver also competed for the German Proton Competition squad in the Porsche 911 GT3 RSR – with top results. At the Sebring 12 Hours in Florida, one of the world’s great endurance classics, Roda underscored his reliability and skill. Teaming up with Christian Ried (Germany) and Porsche works driver Richard Lietz (Austria), the Italian climbed the podium after twelve hours in second place. The Sebring race also counted as the season-opening round of the American Le Mans Series. Team owner Ried also signed up the experienced Roda for the races of the Le Mans Series in Imola and Silverstone. And again he finished both races second in the GTE Am class; in Italy with Porsche factory pilot Patrick Long (USA) providing back up and supported in Great Britain by works driver Patrick Pilet (France).
By again clinching the Porsche Cup, Gianluca Roda has secured a very special place in the long list of Cup winners. The only other drivers to manage the feat of taking the coveted trophy home two consecutive times was the current Porsche team boss Franz Konrad (Austria) and Frenchman Bob Wollek who died in 2001.
Second place in this year’s Cup goes to Paolo Ruberti, making it a one-two for the Italians. The 36-year-old from Legnano in the Veneto region predominantly earned his points with excellent results from the Italian GT Championship, where he yielded three wins and four second places. Alongside Gianluca Roda in the Blancpain Endurance Series, he harvested a stack of points for his excellent results.
After an extremely successful season in the American Le Mans Series, Bryan Sellers clinched third place in the 2011 Porsche Cup. The 29-year-old American was supported by Porsche works driver Wolf Henzler (Germany) competing for the Falken Tire team. The highlights of the year for the privateer and professional with the Porsche 911 GT3 RSR came in Mid Ohio and Baltimore. Both times the Falken-911 saw the flag in first against high caliber competition in the GT class.
On 17th December at the Porsche Night of Champions in the R&D Center in Weissach, Gianluca Roda received the Porsche Cup from Dr. Wolfgang Porsche, Chairman of the Supervisory Board at Porsche AG. In addition to the valuable challenge cup, the best Porsche private driver of the year takes home a Porsche 911 Carrera S. The Porsche Cup carries a total value of over 250,000 Euro, with positions two to ten receiving prize money. Drivers earned points towards this year’s traditional competition in 18 Grand Touring and prototype race series worldwide as well as at selected long distance races.
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Porsche Motorsports Around the World: 2011 Volume 9