Porsche Race Miami 2023
The Miami F1 was as expected to be - a great entertainer! To keep the largely American audience entertained the Porsche Carrera Cup North America was introduced as the only support event. With 38 entries, this kept the spectators on their toes for most parts as there were independent battles raging. The Pro and the Pro-Am ran concurrently and hence there was always a flurry of action up and down the order. These cars achieve 0-60 mph in an estimated 2.9 seconds. The race is typically run for 45 minutes. The sound of the Porsche wasn't as muted as one would imagine in comparison and the 510 BHP engines sounded impressive as they achieved a top speed of 160 out of their top speed of 175 mph. When the action and competition is tight the racing is always exciting even if it's a few notches slower than the marquee F1 event. But it's obvious that the spectators in Miami were turned on by the tin-top version of speed equally!
I was rather taken aback by one particular competitor - Varun Choksey. Yes, primarily he was an Indian in a mostly Caucasian drivers list and the other is that he drove with aplomb to put it past many a seasoned driver. This aspect was confirmed by the 27-year-old finishing 6th in the main event on Sunday. This event was a precursor to the Miami GP and hence had some relevance.
Varun began his racing career in Karting when he was 12 years old. In today's day and age, one has to start at 7 even but then the era is fast evolving! Seven years of karting got him ready for the next step and when he turned 22 did a few Formula 1600 in Canada followed by F4 in the USA followed by FR Americas (The regional F3 in North America).
This year is his 4th full racing season while it's his second in the Porsche Carrera Cup sponsored by ADR a software consulting company and Melonspeed a jobs-based App outfit. The racing takes him to popular racing circuits such as Indianapolis, Long Beach, Laguna Sera and COTA. Although his best finish has been a 5th in the Carrera chapter he has had many a podium in other series. His best attempt and comeback have been in 8th place after starting p20 due to a penalty in qualifying in Long Beach.
Whilst his Porsche looks similar to the 911 his car comes factory built in Germany. No other features exist in terms of interiors. The stark bare metal and carbon fibre is all that one gets - as expected of course! The factory-installed roll cage other than creating the required rigidity is the sole life-saving device in case things go awry. And in an often contact sport this often occurs with alarming regularity!
The slick tyres, racing spec brakes and a large wing on the rear to keep the grip levels high are all factory supplied. The one aspect that remains unaltered is the engine which is a stock block out of a 911 GT3 2023 that gets mated into a racing gearbox.
The typical starting grid in this series consists of about 20 pilots who are young aspirants and plan to make motorsport a career option. And next is the Pro-Am class with drivers of age group 35-50, the ones that love cars and have made money pursuing the sport. Mind you, they are reasonably quick and not slouches by any stretch of the imagination. And AM category is exactly that - amateurs. Due to the layout of the circuits in America, there is a fine line between these categories and often times the results can be astonishing!
Like many of the motorsport and primarily F1 aficionados Varun's mind is set on the IMSA Michelin pilot challenge in a GT4 car and ultimately in the Weathertech Championship in a GT3 car. His ultimate dream, a doable one, is competing in the Daytona 24 or the Petit Le Mans. The Atlanta, Georgia, 1996-born Varun is certainly going about the right way. Feeding his passion without attempting to overreach his goals! Meanwhile, he has to go thru the challenges of the rest of the 18 races to further show his mettle. His next is one at Watkins Glen for which he is currently testing in June and it would be interesting to follow his progress!
Starts Rs 1.38 Crore