Team Sahlen will be returning to its roots next year to compete in the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge. The team will be entering the ST class with the newly classified Porsche Cayman.
Team Sahlen will be campaign two entries full time in the 12- event series. Drivers for the No. 42 and 43 ST cars will be Joe Sahlen, Joe Nonnamaker, Wayne Nonnamaker and Will Nonnamaker.
“I am very excited for 2014,” said team boss Joe Sahlen. “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 the past decade, Team Sahlen has competed in the Rolex Grand-Am series, where it contested both the GT and Daytona Prototype classes. Types of race machinery ranged from Porsches, to Corvettes to Mazdas and BMW Prototypes. Success was had on track with 3 GT class race victories, numerous poles in both classes, and as well as winning the Bob Akin GT Sportsman Award (2005 & 2011) and the Jim Trueman DP Sportsman Award (2013). Now the team will come full circle and be re-entering the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge ST class where the squad got its start in 1984 with a VW Golf. It went on to take seven Team and Driver Championships in the series, and 50 race victories.
A majority of the team’s 30 years of racing has been spent within the ST class, utilizing a wide array of machinery including VW GTI, VW Corrado, Mazda MX-6, Acura Integra, Dodge SRT-4, Mazda RX-7 and Mazdaspeed3 cars. One driver who is more familiar than most with the ST Class is Team Sahlen driver Will Nonnamaker a three-time ST champion and the all-time leader among active driver in series history in starts.
“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.”
Although Team Sahlen has raced Porsches to many race wins and titles, this is the first time the team will be racing Porsches in the ST class. Previously, the team had only campaigned Porsches in the GS class and the 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 vs. the rear engine of the 911, the racer should be a pure joy to drive.”
The entire crew that ledTeam Sahlen’s success in the Prototype class will be returning, including team Manager Jay Chapman. The engineering side of the team will be led by Kate Crawford.
“I am very happy to have our full crew back for 2014,” said Joe Nonnamaker. “Jay Chapman has done a fantastic job in the short amount of time we have given him to make the transition from the Daytona Prototypes to building the Porsche Caymans. The entire crew has jumped into this with both feet, getting us moving forward for the season ahead. As well, everyone here at Team Sahlen is very excited to have Kate Crawford back as our Lead Engineer. She was instrumental in our success with the Mazda RX-8s and the BMW Powered Prototype, and would expect her magic touch to have the same effect on our ST class Porsche Caymans.”