Park Place Motorsports is going where it has never gone before, the Michelin Pilot Challenge. In 2019, Park Place Motorsports is set to run Alan Brynjolfsson and co-driver Trent Hindman in the Michelin Pilot Challenge with the new Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport. Brynjolfsson and Hindman will run under the Park Place Motorsports banner with VOLT Lighting, a manufacturer of outdoor lighting, as the primary sponsor. The blending of teams was decided as the best option for both VOLT Racing and Park Place Motorsports as IMSA competition continues to strengthen.
The driving pair competed together last season under VOLT Racing in the Grand Sport class. The team ended the season eighth in the championship with a win at Road America, two top-five finishes and two top 10 finishes to its name. “This was a complex decision. I really liked and believed in the guys that ran VOLT Racing in 2018; I can’t say enough good things about them, especially my Team Manager Chris Vallee,” Brynjolfsson said. “They did a great job getting us wins in both IMSA and PWC. The GT4 field is growing quickly, and we will probably see 30 cars in 2019.
“To fight for a championship, we needed a larger operation and the economies of scale of multiple cars. Park Place is a proven Porsche program in WeatherTech, we will be running two Porsches next year, so it was a natural fit. With Mike Johnson my Strategist moving to Park Place and taking the helm as Team Manager it made it a very attractive deal.”
While Park Place Motorsports is competently ready to take on the Michelin Pilot Challenge series, Brynjolfsson is equally prepared to take on the nuances of driving a Porsche after spending a year in the Ford Mustang. The 2019 Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport was designed with the racetrack in mind. The Porsche GT4 gives a nod to the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup in its chassis design and boasts a 3.8-litre mid-mounted flat engine, 385 hp and 420 Nm maximum torque. The redesign makes it more than a competitor; it will be a podium contender.
“I am very excited about the switch,” Brynjolfsson said. “The Mustang was a point and shoot car where you would diamond off corners to utilize its great torque off the corner. The Porsche has great balance, and you can carry more speed through corners and slide the car, call it a momentum car if you like. I think Porsche will suit my driving style better. The a/c will be a welcome bonus, but the reliability and thorough development of the Porsche GT4 is the crucial ingredient for being competitive at year end with a large field.”
Though much is scheduled to change next year for the VOLT Lighting entry, one much-welcomed consistency is the driver pairing. Brynjolfsson and Hindman enter their second season together as co-drivers. While Brynjolfsson enters his third season of racing Hindman, 23, is a seasoned professional.
“Trent is an amazing driver, and I feel fortunate to get to drive with him again for the 2019 season,” Brynjolfsson said. “If I hand him a good car in decent position, I expect him to win the race. For the season I expect nothing less than for Trent to win his second IMSA GS Championship and me to win my first. As for my personal goals for next year I want to work on increasing my situational awareness, increasing my speed, and having zero accidents. If I can work on those three things, we’ll have a great year.”
Hindman enters his sixth season in the challenge series and first season with Park Place Motorsports. In those six seasons, he walked away with a championship in 2014, as vice-champion in 2016, third in the points standings in 2017 and with numerous wins to his name.
“I’m very much looking forward to a sixth season in the Michelin Pilot Challenge,” Hindman said. “Having the opportunity to work with Alan and VOLT Racing throughout 2018 and to be a part of his development behind the wheel once again is a very exciting prospect to me. However, the potential of winning races and fighting for another GS championship is what motivates me the most. I feel that we have an excellent team behind us in Park Place Motorsports that will certainly help Alan and me achieve this goal.”
With all of the success, Hindman has seen in the Michelin Pilot Challenge it only makes sense some of it was done in a Porsche. Hindman will look to utilize experience from previous seasons of running a Porsche entry to help Brynjolfsson feel comfortable in their new ride. He also looks forward to the success he sees in his future.
“Fortunately, I had the pleasure of driving the Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport in 2016 and 2017,” Hindman said. “It was a phenomenal car, but I absolutely cannot wait to drive the 2019 Porsche Cayman GT4. By all indications, it’s going to be a very competitive platform for the GT4/GS category, and I have no doubts that our Cayman GT4, in the hands of Park Place, will be up towards the front for the entirety of 2019.
“Sitting behind the wheel of a Porsche Cayman gives us a quite a large confidence boost. We have all observed the competitiveness of the car in seasons past but now understanding the improvements and updates with the newest generation Cayman GT4 makes us even more excited to get it on track.”
Success is never possible without drivers willing to do the work behind the wheel and off track. Hindman does not doubt that he and Brynjolfsson will be a strong entry in the Michelin Pilot Challenge after watching his teammate develop over the past season.
“Alan is really the guy behind what VOLT Racing has developed into, and for me, it’s a huge honor to remain as a part of it,” Hindman said. “Just about every time Alan climbed in the car last year, we saw improvement in some area or another, which is very encouraging for the entire team and me. For only two years of racing at this level he’s come an incredibly long way, so to keep that momentum moving forward into next year will be most important.
Alan has done a fantastic job so far by placing an excellent team around him, as well having a high level of motivation himself to improve and ultimately win races. I don’t think there is any more of a competitive combination in the Michelin Challenge paddock than Park Place and Porsche. We certainly hope to continue the team’s run of success moving into 2019.”
The Michelin Pilot Challenge starts up in early January at Daytona International Raceway for the Roar Before the Rolex 24. At the official IMSA test, Porsche teams will take possession of the Porsche Cayman GT4 for the first time as the manufacturer is set to release the car in North America. The first race of the year, BMW Endurance Challenge At Daytona, will be in coordination with the Rolex 24 At Daytona weekend, January 24-28.