Apr 2, 2024

Lirim Zendeli is set to make a major change to the direction of his racing career in 2024 as he switches his attention to the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup around Europe and the Porsche Carrera Cup in Italy. The 24-year-old, currently the only Albanian racing in top-level competition, has been secured a drive for this season by Monaco Increase Management CEO Salvatore Gandolfo with the successful Ombra Racing Team based in the province of Bergamo, Italy.

Zendeli, whose entire racing career until now has been in single-seaters and who last year competed in the USF Pro 2000 Championship in the USA, will as a result be busy on two fronts.

The first is the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup, the one-make GT production car racing series supporting the FIA Formula 1 World Championship and organized directly by Porsche AG since 1993. This year 24 drivers will compete in identical Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars on the same weekends as 8 Formula 1 rounds, on legendary circuits such as Monaco, Silverstone, Spa-Francorchamps and Monza.

The second, held over 6 rounds / 12 races on some of Italy’s most prestigious racetracks such as Mugello, Monza and Imola, is the domestic series organized by Porsche Italia. In 2022 the Porsche Carrera Cup Italia championship title was won by Ombra Racing, team founded in 1994.

“Honestly, I couldn’t have imagined anything better for this year with this Porsche GT racing programme,” said Lirim. “It all looks so good, and Gandi has done a mega job in putting it together, all within days, maybe hours. I’m not underestimating anything, the level is going to be very high, but I’ve got a lot of single-seater experience so there is no reason why I can’t go well. I’m new to the series but not to the tracks. There isn’t one track I don’t like on the calendar, and there are a lot of tracks where I was very fast in the past. I’m just really looking forward to this year, it’s going to be a lot of racing. Four races in May, four in July, basically I’m not going to be at home! I was at the team’s factory and I like the atmosphere, it’s so welcoming. Very Italian, full of passion. They’re very organized and very structural, and this gives you a lot of confidence as a driver. A big thanks also to the sponsors for this opportunity, now I just can’t wait to start!”

Zendeli’s manager Salvatore Gandolfo added: “I wanted to give Lirim this opportunity because I’m convinced that he will make the most of it positively. Besides this, he’s young, determined and talented and he deserves this chance with Porsche.”

Both these commitments will allow Lirim to shine amongst a grid of hard-charging GT drivers and showcase his true potential in a car specifically built for one-make racing in two series that attract considerable domestic and international media coverage.

Lirim has already begun his experience with Ombra Racing, taking part in a day of private testing with the Porsche 911 GT3 car at Misano on 1 April, and will head to Imola for an official collective test before the Porsche Carrera Cup Italia racing series kicks off in May. “It was a very good test,” added Lirim. “We had dry and wet sessions in one day, and I was pretty quick in both conditions, but I’ve still got a lot to learn. Most important was that this car is fun!”