Valkyrie Velocity Announces Three-Car Driver Line-Up, Partners for Pirelli GT4 America Season

Valkyrie Velocity Announces Three-Car Driver Line-Up, Partners for Pirelli GT4 America Season

24.03.2023: OGH/Valkyrie Velocity Line-Up Includes Pro-Am, Silver, and Am Class Lineups and New Partners Including wear blue: run to remember With a Personal Connection Valkyrie Velocity, the racing platform based in the Team Hardpoint facility at VIR, and OG

OGH/Valkyrie Velocity Line-Up Includes Pro-Am, Silver, and Am Class Lineups and New Partners Including wear blue: run to remember With a Personal Connection

 

Valkyrie Velocity, the racing platform based in the Team Hardpoint facility at VIR, and OGH Motorsports will race under the OGH/Valkyrie Velocity banner with a three-car effort in SRO’s Pirelli GT4 America throughout the 2023 season.



The effort is the first announced under the Valkyrie Velocity banner and bolsters the strengths of the race platform with OGH Motorsports’ hospitality and partner programs to compete in three different classes of the Pirelli GT4 America championship in Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS Clubsports, holding true to the Porsche legacy established under team owner and driver Rob Ferriol.



OGH/Valkyrie Velocity will make a championship run with the No. 96 wear blue/Beacon Building Products Porsche Cayman with Chris Walsh and Dominic Starkweather behind the wheel in the Silver class, Sean Gibbons and Sam Owen will pilot the No. 97 OGH/Valkyrie Porsche Cayman in Am, and Ferriol and Will Owen in the No. 95 GridRival/Valkyrie Porsche Cayman.



“From day one, our focus has been on becoming a leader both on and off the track,” Ferriol said. “Showcasing how the sport we love can be more than just cars racing on pavement. It is a sport where young careers are born, old childhood dreams are realized, and behind it all, a preeminent opportunity for corporate and nonprofit partners to tell their stories to an ever-growing community of fans, partners, and competitors. This Pirelli GT4 America program in collaboration with OGH Motorsports gives us a perfect opportunity to demonstrate that philosophy.”



The 14-race championship begins at Sonoma Raceway, March 30 through April 1, with a doubleheader weekend. All Pirelli GT4 America races stream live on the series website at GT4-America.com or on the SRO Motorsports Group official YouTube channel, GTWorld.


 

No. 96 wear blue/Beacon Building Products Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS Clubsport




The No. 96 driven by Chris Walsh and Dominic Starkweather carries the livery of wear blue: run to remember and Beacon Building Products in the Silver class of Pirelli GT4 America during the 2023 season.



Walsh, an active-duty Air Force officer, brings the support of wear blue: run to remember in several capacities. The non-profit wear blue: run to remember is a running community that honors the service and sacrifice of the American military. The organization brings together military and civilian communities to actively remember service members who sacrificed their lives for this great nation.



Through various training, running and community events, wear blue: run to remember provides opportunities to support and empower veterans, active duty military and their families. The organization is committed to creating living memorials for the fallen and opportunities to heal for those who have served.



Prior to his driving career, Walsh served as a mentor for the organization's Gold Star Youth Mentorship program. He mentored founder Lisa Hallett’s son, Bryce, after her husband, Captain John Hallett, was killed in action along with others in his unit during a tour in Afghanistan. As part of the program, Walsh helped the young Hallett train for a 5k run in remembrance of his father and other fallen soldiers, as well as offering support and friendship in a difficult time for the youngster.



As a driver, Walsh was previously a part of Hardpoint’s eSports program, and has limited experience in the Touring car category of SRO races as well as amateur and pro-am endurance racing experience.



Starkweather drove to two podium finishes in 2022 in the same Silver class as he’ll compete in this year, finishing fifth in the drivers’ point championship. In addition to Beacon Building Products, OGH, and Valkyrie, Starkweather will receive additional assistance this season from Blenders Eyewear, Bell Beef, and Starkweather Roofing.

 


No. 97 OGH/Valkyrie Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS Clubsport




Sean Gibbons and Sam Owen return to Pirelli GT4 America competition as a duo for the third consecutive season, running in the competitive AM category for bronze-rated drivers. Gibbons and Owen made their debut under the Valkyrie Velocity tent utilizing the Hardpoint banner in a single race a year ago and return for the full season in an extended partnership with the No. 97 OGH/Valkyrie Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS Clubsport.



Owen earned his first win, paired with Gibbons, during his rookie season of 2021. Made even more impressive is that the victory came at Circuit of the Americas in just the second race weekend, only two years after Owen had begun driving in any competitive capacity.



Gibbons has parlayed his success off the track into success on the track. Gibbons was the runner-up in the 2019 SprintX East Am category with a win, and followed that up with an eight-win championship season in 2020 in the SprintX Am category. Gibbons has 10 career wins in SRO competition.
 

 

No. 95 GridRival/Valkyrie Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS Clubsport




Valkyrie Velocity team owner Rob Ferriol and co-driver Will Owen (no relation to Sam) each make their SRO championship debuts this season as teammates in the Pro-Am class and will co-drive the No. 95 GridRival/Valkyrie Porsche Cayman.



Ferriol jumps behind the wheel of the Cayman after three seasons in the IMSA WeatherTech Championship GT Daytona (GTD) class, the last two in a Porsche 911 GT3 R under the team’s Hardpoint branding.



Ferriol earned the 2021 Bob Akin award as top Bronze-rated driver and has championship aspirations in the Pro-Am class of Pirelli GT4 America. Ferriol’s racing history is strong with the German marque, as he began as a member of the Porsche Club of America before elevating to Porsche GT3 Cup North America on his way to the top of sports car racing’s ladder as a gentleman driver and as a team owner.



Owen began his professional racing career at 19 years old in open wheel racing’s Road To Indy before migrating to sports car racing, most often in the prototype ranks. Since then, Owen has raced around the world and domestically and earning a podium finish at the 24 Hours of Le Mans among his honors. This season’s challenge will be his first full effort in a GT car. The gold-rated driver is also a data scientist on Valkyrie’s artificial intelligence program in Austin.



Owen is unable to participate in the season opener at Sonoma Raceway due to a scheduling conflict. Instead, Mac Clark, the 19-year-old Canadian fresh off the 2022 USF Juniors open-wheel championship title and entered in the full-season USF 2000 championship this season, will team with Ferriol. Like Owen, Clark is a piece of the Valkyrie driver program and a seamless fit.

 




OGH/Valkyrie Velocity Quote Board



Chris Walsh, Driver, No. 96 Porsche Cayman
: “To say I’m excited about this would be the understatement of the century. I’ve been involved with Rob and the Valkyrie Velocity team for a few years now, and with Lisa and the team at Wear Blue Run To Remember even longer. That entire time, I’ve been chasing my motorsports dream and exploring every opportunity. For this to come together in one package is a dream come true, and I can’t wait to represent on the race track and raise attention and funds for Wear Blue.”



Dominic Starkweather, Driver, No. 96 Porsche Cayman:
“I couldn't be more excited about this upcoming season. I believe I'm driving for one of the best teams in the paddock in one of the best cars which is just exciting in itself. Being in the Silver class is tough, as I learned last year, but I won't accept anything but success from myself.


I need to extend a huge thank you to my parents for always believing in me and supporting me, and my amazing partners Beacon Building Products and Starkweather Roofing Inc., and to Bell Beef and Blenders Eyewear, who were are willing to take on this project with us.


It’s an honor to work with Wear Blue Run to Remember. My goals are to win a championship. A lot of people say that, but I truly believe Chris and I have all the tools for a very successful season and I'm just so excited to show off what we can accomplish.”





Sean Gibbons, Driver, No. 97 Porsche Cayman
: “This season will be the third season that Sam and I are driving together in Pirelli GT4 America and chasing the championship. New this season is our partnership with Valkyrie Velocity and I couldn’t be more excited to start this year.


This comes after a great deal of work by Rob, Sam and I to put together a partnership between OGH Motorsports and Valkyrie Velocity after working together at Road America last year. The goal is to deliver top notch program on the track for our drivers and a platform to do business in our paddock with. As a driver, my goals this year are to turn the improvements in my pace into results. The last couple years I’ve improved my pace but hadn’t converted that to race results, but this is the year to do that.”




Sam Owen, Driver, No. 97 Porsche Cayman: “
Sean and I are extremely excited for the OGH Motorsports/Valkyrie Velocity partnership for the 2023 season. Valkyrie Velocity has repeatedly proven themselves to be at the top of the elite list in the paddock.


The combined skill and experience between both of our groups gives me a lot of confidence going into this season. Sean and I are ready to make this year, with Valkyrie Velocity, our best year yet.”





Rob Ferriol, Team Owner and Driver, No. 96 Porsche Caym
an: “I couldn’t be more thrilled with this chapter in our team’s history. The OGH/Valkyrie Velocity Pirelli GT4 America program will give us an opportunity to lean into elements of the sport we care deeply about: showcasing young drivers, ethically supporting gentleman drivers, and activating our corporate and non-profit partners across the SRO calendar.


Given my own background, I’m especially proud to welcome Wear Blue: Run to Remember to our team as they make their first foray into motorsports. The work they’re doing for Gold Star families around the country is nothing short of heroic. On the track, I’m excited to be back in a Porsche for the 2023 season alongside Mac and Will. I had the opportunity to spend some time in the Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS Clubsport last year and can’t wait to climb back in and send it up the hills of Sonoma.”




Will Owen, Driver, No. 96 Porsche Cayman:
“I am ecstatic and grateful for this opportunity to race in Pirelli GT4 America with OGH/Valkyrie Velocity. Since I have not raced in GT before, it's fantastic to be pairing up with Rob Ferriol who has a significant amount of experience in GT, and an extremely precise approach to racing in general. My past five years of endurance racing have taught me to adapt quickly to new cars, and pushed me to get up to speed with a small amount of laps.


I will be challenged to apply those skills to the Cayman GT4, but I absolutely believe we will be one of the top contenders in the Pro-Am class. My goals for the season are to master the car as quickly as possible, and to build great relationships with all of the drivers in the OGH/Valkyrie Velocity team. It is great to be able to continue driving alongside having a professional career at Valkyrie; I can't wait to get on track.”

 


Reece White, OGH/Valkyrie Velocity photos

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/valkyrie-velocity-three-car-line-up-partners-pirelli-gt4-america---248937.html

24.03.2023 / MaP

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