Does Porsche still need to go racing to sell cars?
OTTAWA, Ont. - After 20-odd years, Porsche Canada is jumping back into racing in Canada. The first of its inaugural Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada races will be held this weekend at Calabogie Motorsports Park, about an hour’s drive west of Ottawa. Then, on the weekend before this year’s Montreal Grand Prix, the series moves to the Mirabel airport Circuit ICAR June 3-5, then wraps up July 23-24 at Mosport.
Porsche says it’s very happy to be back racing in Canada. Fans may remember the automaker’s first-ever one-make cup series was started here in Canada in 1986 with the Rothman’s–Porsche Challenge Series using normally-aspirated Porsche 944s.
Since then, Porsche’s GT3 Cup Challenge has become a very successful franchise for the German automaker. The Canadian series will bring the total number of Porsche one-make series to 20. And the series is definitely not a run-what-ya-brung proposition. Racers compete in factory-built Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars, like the one above, which helps Porsche claim it’s the largest racecar maker in the world.
Because Porsche Canada made the decision to run the series this year only seven weeks before this weekend’s first race, many racers had already made their plans for the 2011 season. Thus, this weekend’s race will only see eight entries. But the goal is to have about 50 per cent more by the Montreal race.
“It’s realistic to expect fields of 20 or more cars for the 2012 season,” said Joe Lawrence, President and CEO of Porsche Cars Canada at the Calabogie race weekend's kickoff event this week.
Supporting the notion that racing adds credibility to any automaker that sells high-performance image cars, Lawrence went on to add that racing and Porsche go hand in hand. Racing is “part of Porsche’s DNA.” But if you look at the majority of cars Porsche Canada sells, you have to wonder if that’s really the case anymore.
With 323 vehicles sold in Canada in April, sales are up 44 per cent compared to last year at this time, allowing Porsche Canada to claim its best month ever and the first time it’s ever sold more than 300 vehicles in a month. But the reality is, the majority of those vehicles aren’t sports cars. In fact, the Cayenne SUV made up over half those sales, while sports cars (911, Boxster/Cayman) made up only 28 per cent, with the Panamera GT sedan filling in the remainder of the sales figures.
So, I ask: Does Porsche still need to go racing on Sundays to sell cars on Mondays?
Does a spec series like Porsche’s GT3 Cup Challenge Canada add credibility to the brand?
Or does this type of racing only preach to the converted?
[Source: Porsche Canada]