Long-time IMSA competitor Stephen Simpson and current JDC-Miller MotorSports head of corporate development Matthias Czabok have launched a brand new race team, Czabok-Simpson Motorsport (CSM), which will run a pair of Porsche 718 GT4 RS Clubsports in 2024.
This new team will be headquartered in Indianapolis and has formed a partnership with LAP Motorsports, which will handle the team’s race operations. CSM’s cars will also be run out of LAP Motorsport’s base, with Czabok and Simpson opting to sublease a section of its race shop.
As it stands the CSM hasn’t decided where will compete in 2024, instead, it is keeping its options open and will announce its full plans and additional partners in due course. It has however already taken delivery of its first car from Porsche. Its second is expected to be delivered in November.
“Lots of good conversations are happening right now,” said Simpson. “Obviously the beauty about GT4 is that there are plenty of championship options, IMSA alone has two great series’ with the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge Championship and the VP Racing SportsCar Challenge, and then there is also SRO with GT4 America and of course, the Porsche Sprint Challenge. GT4 is a customer-oriented category and we have great customer support from Porsche NA.
“The 718 GT4 RS Clubsport is an amazing car and we are looking to finalize with a couple of funded drivers in the next couple of weeks.”
Speaking with DSC, Czabok said choosing Porsche made the most sense for the team at this embryonic stage, for reasons beyond Czabok’s links to the German marque via JDC Miller’s 963 GTP programme.
“I got to know Porsche well through JDC-Miller’s process of figuring out what it wanted to do after DPi ended,” he said. “But we also looked into BMW, mainly because LAP has a relationship there through running the Minis. I also know Andreas Roos (BMW’s motorsport head) very well.
“But ultimately, we decided on Porsche because of the category. GT4 is customer driven and driving a Porsche has an appeal. I am also doing a lot on the corporate side, to get support for the team, it’s easier to explain that you are racing with Porsche, as opposed to other brands or with cars in other categories like LMP3.”
As for the partnership with LAP Motorsports, CSM feels it’s a natural fit due to Simspon’s longstanding relationship with its bosses Luis Perocarpi and Rob Ridgely. LAP also has years of valuable experience running the MINI John Cooper Works Team in the TC America Series. (Alongside its work with CSM, LAP is expected to continue operating the Minis.)
“I have already worked with and actually raced for Luis and Rob when LAP Motorsports ran the MINI John Cooper Works team in IMSA,” Simpson said. “They run a great operation, so I am looking forward to the four of us doing this programme together.”
For Czabok this isn’t his first foray into team ownership, he was a minor part owner in Larry Blair’s Champcar programme Blair Racing in the early 2000s.
“Stephen and I have known each other since 2013 when we were actually spotting at LOR for JDC’s Road to Indy Pro Mazda programme,” Czabok adds. “Then when JDC-Miller started to run in the new IMSA WeatherTech Championship, Stephen was one of the teams’ first drivers. We won many races together at JDC-Miller over a number of seasons, in DPi, LMPC and TCR.
“I think Stephen’s talent and skills behind the wheel are a big asset for our team, but he also always saw the bigger picture and the commercial side of things; he understands what it takes to make a programme successful; so I am really looking forward to the opportunities of our new team.
“All four of us have known each other for a while so CSM is the culmination of a lot of long-term planning and with Stephen and Luis being Indianapolis residents, as well as it being the home of some of our commercial partners, it made sense to base the team in the Racing Capital of the World. I think we each bring different, complementary skillsets to the team as well as a whole lot of experience. We’ll also be leveraging Stephen’s extensive track record in driver development as a key strength.
“Right now we’re taking it one step at a time as there are a lot of moving parts at the moment but we have big ambitions for 2024 and the future.”
Czabok also confirmed to DSC that this new venture will not impact his current role with JDC Miller going forward.
“I kept John in the loop throughout and in February and March told him that I thought it was going to happen and that we would be ordering cars,” he explained.
“I made it clear that I have no interest in leaving you or JDC-Miller because I have spent a lot of time and effort to get the team to where it is. This is just something I want to do with Stephen.”
Image credits: CSM & IMSA