In its first season competing on the international motorsport stage, Centri Porsche Ticino has claimed the PRO-AM class team title in the Endurance Cup series of the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS, the first international title for the Swiss outfit for which Alex Fontana and Ivan Jacomahave raced throughout the 2023 season.
Alex, how does it feel to win your fifth title in the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS, and with a third different constructor for that matter?
It’s such an honour for me: bringing home a title with an all-Swiss team and a Canton Ticino heart is a unique privilege.This is the fifth title for me in the GT World Challenge Europe, following the win in 2018 in the Silver Cup with Jaguar and the triple in 2021 with Lamborghini, in which we won the Sprint, Endurance and Overall titles, and I have to say I’m very proud.The season didn’t get off to the best of starts at Monza, but following the victory at Le Castellet and with the consistency demonstrated throughout the year we realised that we could fight for something important.We were the only car to win a title in the Endurance Cup with a race still to run, evidence not only of our pace, but also the work undertaken by Centri Porsche Ticino with technical support from Car Collection.
This wasn’t your first season with Centri Porsche Ticinogiven your debut in the GT4 class last year.How have you found working with this team?
“The team has done an exceptional job over the past two years.Last season in the GT4 category Ivan and I were in the running for the PRO-Am class title right through to the final race.This year, the team decided to move up to the GT3 category and has succeeded in putting together a team capable of competing with rivals with much more experience on one of the world’s most important stages. They’ve done fantastically to be so competitive in their first season and I can’t thank them enough.
How does it feel to represent the Canton Ticino in this kind of event and on an international stage, especially together with Centri Porsche Ticino?
“It’s truly special for me: to be part of an all-Swiss team together with Ivan Jacoma and Niki Leutwiler is a source of great pride and a real privilege.I’d already raced with Ivan last year, while Niki has proved to be a driver with great experience who has brought considerable added value.The support from Centri Porsche Ticino was absolutely fundamental for me, not only in my role as a driver but also with regard to the AF Race Performance Academy: this is a project to which I’ve committed over the last few years and one that has got off the ground thanks in part to them.It’s really important for me to have a team willing to provide this kind of support on track and in my training activities.
Fontana’s teammate Ivan Jacoma, needs no introduction: born in 1972 not only is he a driver for Centri Porsche Ticino but also the head and general manager.His dual tole within the Swiss outfit is both truly commendable and fruitful given the title the Swiss team conquered in the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS.
Ivan, what does achieving such results mean to a team like Centri Porsche Ticino?
“ I have to say it’s incredible.Centri Porsche Ticino has always been a company committed to racing, but hitherto in contexts that never strayed too far from home; this was in fact our first international challenge at a very high level.I would like to thank Car Collection for their technical support and Porsche for having believed in this project from the outset, supplying us with the new car among the first deliveries of the year: it is a great honour for us to be able to count on the assistance of a constructor with such an outstanding record on the international motorsport stage.
How do you rate the experience of competing in a championship such as the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS from the point of view of a driver?
“I’m delighted to have had the opportunity to continue to work with Alex Fontana, with whom I had already raced in GT4 last year.The decision to move up to the world of GT3 racing proved to be correct: we won a title that on the one hand was a surprise for us, given that it was our first season in an international championship of this calibre, while on the other not so much as our objective is always to win. Achieving this in our first year is a source of great pride.
This season you’ve also raced in other categories such as the GT4 European Series and several rounds of the 24H Series.How difficult is it as a driver to handle parallel commitments and how do you see Centri Porsche Ticino’s prospects in the other series?
“As a driver it’s always a pleasure to have multiple opportunities to show what your capable of and doing so in diverse contexts with different cars provides a great motivation. All this clearly makes for a frenetic season, as shifting from one car to another in such a short space of time is never easy. However, the backing provided Centri Porsche Ticino has been truly fundamental; it’s a very professional team and this is particularly helpful in those periods of transition between one race and the next.The support of Car Collection has also been incredibly important, as it harmonized all the various processes and helped us reach our objectives.In the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS we achieved a remarkable result, bringing home the title in the PRO-Am category of the Endurance Cup: we did so thanks to great teamwork and the commitment shown by everyone involved makes me so proud.”