GRAND-AM Series: GT Champ Segal Tests Porsche Boxster for DeMan Motorsport
MIAMI, Fla. - Reigning GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series GT champion and 2007 GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge GS titlist Jeff Segal recently tested with DeMan Motorsport, driving one of their newly built Porsche Boxsters that compete in the Continental Tire Challenge.
Segal spent three days with the team at Sebring International Raceway, putting the Porsche through its paces with an eye toward helping the development of the Boxster platform, and possibly competing with the DeMan Motorsport team in future races this season.
While driving the Porsche Boxster Street Tuner (ST) car was a first for Segal, the event was in fact more of a homecoming than anything else. Driving a Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge machine is nothing new for Segal, with a GS-class title under his belt at the wheel of a BMW M3 in 2007 and a third-place championship result the following season, both years with co-driver Jep Thornton. Although the 25-year-old driver took time away from his Continental Tire series roots to focus on the Rolex Series GT-class championship fight last year, Segal is enjoying his return to the showroom-stock based machinery of the ST class.
“I had a great time at Sebring behind the wheel of the new Porsche Boxster ST car,” Segal said. “I took a break from the Continental Series in 2010 to put all my effort into the Rolex GT program, and I almost forgot how much fun these cars are to drive. Rick DeMan and the squad from DeMan Motorsport may be a new face in the GRAND-AM pit lane, but they have plenty of Porsche racing experience. Driving one of their cars proved to me that they are ready and able to fight for wins at this level.”
Besides his return behind the wheel of a Continental Tire series machine, the test also marked the homecoming of a successful collaboration with the former crew chief of the 2010 GT championship-winning effort, Marty Kintzi.
“Jumping into a car overseen by Marty gave me an immediate comfort level,” Segal said. “I trust his mechanical ability implicitly and hearing him on the radio felt like a continuation of the successful effort in GT over the past few years. Marty and Rick and everyone at DeMan Motorsport have put together a phenomenal package with the Porsche Boxster in the ST-class, and I think the flashes of speed that they showed during the last race at Daytona are just the beginning of something very successful.”
DeMan Motorsport, based in Nyack, N.Y., is a long-time, all-encompassing Porsche-focused facility that offers services ranging from street car tuning and maintenance, all the way to fabrication, preparation, and trackside support for professional racing efforts. Currently, DeMan Motorsport is spearheading an effort to develop and compete with the new 987-specification Porsche Boxster in the fiercely competitive Continental Tire Challenge ST class. Built in-house from an off-the-showroom Porsche Boxster street car, DeMan racing transforms the Boxster into a potent ST class weapon with modifications that include a full roll cage, dramatic weight-savings and performance tuning of the suspension in line with the CTSCC regulations.
For Segal, his initial run in the Boxster proved to be an eye-opener with respect to the car’s on-track ability.
“I’ve driven several other ST-class cars before, and while the racing and door-to-door action are tremendous in the Continental Tire Challenge, the cars can’t really compete with the Rolex GT-class car in terms of plain driving enjoyment,” Segal said. “When I got behind the wheel of the DeMan Boxster, all that went out the window! This car has a great balance of power and torque versus grip and handling ability. It has rear-wheel drive and it’s mid-engined, so it responds immediately to inputs and it feels like it was made for the race track. The torque of the motor, the crisp gearbox, and the excellent brakes are everything I expected from a Porsche, and they form the basis of an excellent little race car”
Segal is also looking forward to the prospect of adding some Continental Tire Challenge action to the mix later this season.
“So far I’m really excited with the potential of the Boxster ST program and the whole team that Rick DeMan has assembled,” Segal said. “I’m happy that I can be involved in the growing process of the operation, and I’m hopeful that as the season unfolds we can find an opportunity for me to get behind the wheel of one of their cars in a few races in addition to the testing program.”
Next up for Segal is the Grand Prix of Miami at Homestead-Miami Speedway, March 4-5, where he will defend his 2010 race victory with teammate Emil Assentato in the No. 69 FXDD/SpeedSource Mazda RX-8 GT.
Source: GRAND-AM Road Racing