Black Swan Racing will reteam with Porsche for the upcoming Intercontinental GT Challenge at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, as well as February’s Bathurst 12 Hour. This will be in addition to a full 2018 schedule that will see the team with Mercedes-AMG in a to-be-announced program.
Joining the team for both endurance events is Jeroen Bleekemolen, who has co-driven with Black Swan team owner Tim Pappas in all of their major victories and championships, and who won this year’s first weekend together in Pirelli World Challenge’s SprintX championship. David Calvert-Jones will also join Black Swan for the Laguna Seca round, as well as share a technical partnership with his own team at Bathurst.
“When we decided that we wanted to return our focus to international endurance racing, we felt they were the obvious choice between not only the car, but also the support structure in place with Porsche Motorsport,” Pappas said. “The Intercontinental GT Challenge has already proven to be a tremendous platform, and competing in the inaugural U.S. round is something we didn’t want to miss.”
Competing in the No. 54 Black Swan Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R, the team will be part of a star-studded lineup during the October 15 event at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, the third round of the 2017 Intercontinental GT Challenge. Making its debut last year, the Intercontinental GT Challenge is the latest broadening of the GT3 specification of GT racing cars. The championship is based on a four-race schedule on four different continents, and Laguna Seca is the first to be held in the United States.
A veteran of Porsche racing, Calvert-Jones, a native Australian who is based in Los Angeles, has competed in everything from the former American Le Mans Series to the IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup USA, but most notably will be entering his fifth Bathurst 12 Hour. No stranger to success, Calvert-Jones is a recent winner of the event, taking his class this year.
“Thanks to our partnership with David Calvert-Jones the opportunity to compete at Bathurst was also an unbeatable opportunity, and one we should relish in,” Pappas said. “We look forward to the program, which we’ll run alongside our efforts with Mercedes-AMG, which we’re still committed to for not only the rest of 2017, but 2018 as well.”
The majority of Black Swan Racing’s major victories have come in Porsche 911s, including two championships in the former American Le Mans Series, victory at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring as well as Petit Le Mans. Most recently, Black Swan Racing took runner-up honors at the 2016 Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona, coming within seconds of the win in the same Porsche they’ll be using this October.
“We are seeing a growing interest in the inaugural Intercontinental GT Challenge in North America, and are pleased that Tim Pappas and Black Swan Racing are the first Porsche Motorsport customer to commit to competing with their 911 GT3 R,” said Owen Hayes, director of operations for Porsche Motorsport North America. “We at PMNA are looking forward to working closely with the experienced team in what promises to be a great event.”
Pappas and Bleekemolen will finish the series’ SprintX season in the Mercedes-AMG GT3 during this weekend’s triple-header at Circuit of The Americas, while Pappas will drive as the solo entry in the season finale at Sonoma Raceway on September 16 and 17.