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Cayman Interseries - Series Kicks Season Off This Weekend At Sebring

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SEBRING, Jan. 31, 2013: A full field of past champions, race winners and some promising newcomers have combined for the largest season-opening race field in the four-year history of the Pirelli Cayman Endurance Cup Championship for this weekend’s 20th Annual 48 Hours at Sebring, the debut Interseries race event in a new partnership with the Porsche Club of America.

Running exclusively in 2013 on PCA race event weekends, the Sebring International Raceway opener is the first of eight races on this year’s Pirelli Cayman Interseries calendar. All are legendary racing venues like Sebring, including Road Atlanta, Lime Rock Park, Watkins Glen, Virginia International Raceway, Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Road America and the road course at Daytona International Speedway.

The Pirelli Cayman Interseries will run in the GTB-1 class of the PCA’s race groups with competitors competing for Interseries class honors and championship points. Split starts for the Pirelli Cayman Interseries competitors will be accommodated when possible by PCA.

Among the winning Pirelli Cayman Interseries competitors heading to the Sebring opener is a driver who scored a career breakout victory at the legendary airport road course just last October and another who quietly clinched the 2012 Sportsman Championship at the same event.

Tom Bloom, driving his ex-Lee Davis No. 16 Cayman S that carries the black and red livery of a Brun Porsche 956, raced to overall class honors last fall in the Sebring Historics fueled by Alan Jay Automotive Network two-hour enduro. Bloom followed that victory up with a pair of Sportsman class wins two weeks later at Daytona and is expected to again be among the top contenders at the 48 Hours. His Sebring win last year was his first in Pirelli Cayman competition.

Bob Schneider struggled through a challenging weekend at the Sebring Historics in his white No. 40 Cayman S modeled after the famous Martini & Rossi “Baby” Porsche 935 but that didn’t stop him from clinching the 2012 Sportsman Championship. He joins Bloom in being among the top drivers to watch this weekend.

Other notables include Chuck Smithee who returns to a favorite track at Sebring in his white No. 25 Cayman S that pays tribute to the Le Mans winning Porsche GT1. Sebring will also mark the second career race for endurance race went to Kim Estep who scored a second-place enduro finish in her Pirelli Cayman Interseries debut last year at Monticello. Her then all-white No. 7 Cayman S is expected to show up at Sebring with a new and classic livery.

A typically strong entry from CARS (Classic Auto Restoration Services), a top automotive and race shop located in Omaha, Nebraska, is showing up at the Sebring opener in full force. The team includes Lori Cassling and her brother-in-law Mike Cassling as well as their teammate Henry Davis.

Lori Cassling made series history two years ago at the Sebring opener with a career-best second-place showing in Sunday’s sprint race. She remains the only woman to score a top-three race finish in Cayman Interseries competition and is always a crowd favorite in her popular No. 23 Cayman modeled after the famous “Pink Pig” Porsche 917/20. When she and Estep take to the track this weekend, it will mark the first time two women will compete in the same Pirelli Cayman Interseries event.

Mike Cassling is expected to compete in the black, yellow and red No. 18 Cayman S that pays tribute to the Le Mans winning factory Shell Porsche 962. Davis, who drives a silver No. 21 Cayman S that pays tributes to the memorable Martini & Rossi Porsche 917s, is always a threat to hit the podium.

Other familiar liveries will be showcased by John Marchant in the distinctive red and yellow No. 30 MOMO themed Cayman S, No. 217 Mike Mamanno in another interpretation of a White Martini liveried Porsche and the No. 86 white and black Cayman S of Bob Smith that pays tribute to the Bruce Leven/Bayside Texaco Havoline Porsche 962. Marchant and Mamanno are Interseries veterans while Smith is set for just his second Pirelli Cayman start after debuting at Monticello last year.

Among the Pirelli Cayman Interseries debuting drivers are Matt Dicken, Steve Anderson and Joe Courtney. Dicken is wheeling a black and silver Cayman S modeled after a Porsche GT3, Anderson will drive the red and white No. 14 Cayman S in the colors of a Richard Lloyd Racing Canon Porsche 956 and the theme of Courtney’s Cayman S will be on display at Sebring.

The Pirelli Cayman Interseries has emerged in recent years as the leading North American road racing showcase of current Cayman S models as well as a rolling tribute to Porsche’s rich racing heritage. Every competing Cayman S runs with a specific and assigned livery that pays tribute to a famous Porsche race car of the past. The series has been in operation since a partial calendar of events in 2009 while each of the last three full seasons of competition has produced champions in both the Professional and Sportsman categories.

This year also marks the second season with Pirelli Tire North America as the title sponsor and exclusive tire supplier for the Pirelli Cayman Interseries. The Pirelli P Zero racing slick is the official and series-standard tire at all Pirelli Cayman Interseries Endurance Cup Championship events. Pirelli will also work closely with series organizers in expanding both competitor incentive programs and series-related marketing and advertising initiatives this season.