The International Motor Sports Association (IMSA)-sanctioned Single-Make Series will race simultaneously on the same track for the first time with its counterparts to the north, the Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama, at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in support of the Canadian Grand Prix Formula One race.
Rounds 5 and 6 of the series will take place on the 13-turn, 2.71-mile (4.361 km) street circuit located on an island in the St. Lawrence River. It’s the first of two combined races with the Canadian series as part of the newly introduced IMSA North American Cup.
Championship battles are starting to take shape after four rounds of competitive Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama action this season. Hometown driver Jesse Lazare, from Montreal, closed the gap to Platinum Cup points leader Lucas Catania, from Cazenovia, New York, with two wins in late April at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Lazare has won three of the four rounds in 2016 but trails Catania by 11 points, 74-63.
Round 5 is scheduled to start at 4:30 p.m. (ET) Saturday, June 1, with Round 6 following at 10 a.m. Saturday, June 12. Practice and qualifying are scheduled for Friday, June 10.
Competition in one of the largest and most competitive of Porsche’s single-make Cup Challenge series in the world produces intense, exciting racing for semi-professional and aspiring professional drivers in the world’s most produced and iconic race car, the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup.
Racing is divided into two classes – Platinum Cup, featuring the 2014-2016 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car, which is based on the current seventh, and current, generation of the street car, and Gold Cup, which is comprised of the previous iteration (model years 2010-2013) of the race car. A Masters Championship is also conducted in the Platinum Class. Each class is awarded with its own podium at the end of every race and individual champion at the end of every season. Points are awarded by finish in class.
The multi-class structure of the series teaches drivers essential skills for an eventual career in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship or professional GT races worldwide.
Both Lazare and Catania will have to battle Chris Green, from Montreal, for the top position. Lazare and Green both enter Montreal with an advantage. They both have previous racing experience at the riverside circuit. Lazare raced in F1600 competition twice at Montreal, and Green has a win under his belt after taking the victory when the Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama raced there in 2013.
Green raced in the American series for the opening two rounds in March at Sebring International Raceway and picked up two podium finishes but was absent from Rounds 3 and 4, dropping him in the standings.
Ricardo Perez, from Mexico City, has come on strong with three straight podium finishes to put him in third place in the standings followed by Andrew Longe, from Naples, Florida, who has finished in the top five in all four rounds this season.
The Platinum Cup Masters class championship is tight, with multiple competitors putting their hats in the ring for top performances. There have been seven different drivers claim podium finishes through four rounds. Jeff Mosing, from Austin, Texas, leads fellow Lone Star State resident Fred Poordad, from San Antonio, by six points, 70-64.
Right on their heels is Bill Peluchiwski, from Chicago, and Fred Kaimer, from Austin, Texas, who each have at least one podium finish this season.
Competition in the Gold Cup class continues to rage as the top four competitors remain within 14 points of each other.
Michael de Quesada, from Tampa, Florida, and a Platinum Cup regular in the Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama, leads the Gold Cup class with 74 points. De Quesada has three class wins in four USA races. He is coming off of a Platinum Cup podium finish at the Canadian series opening in mid-May at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.
De Quesada is followed by series veteran Michael Levitas, from Baltimore, with 68 points. Levitas has found the podium in each of the first four races. His TPC Racing teammate Sebastian Landy is third in the standings with 62 points, and Philip Bloom of Wright Motorsports is fourth with 60 points.
Joining the class will be Canadian Gerald Panneton, from Terra Cotta, Ontario. Panneton ran in the opening two rounds at Sebring International Raceway and finished with a high of fifth place in Round 2.
All drivers in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama compete in a Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car based on the street version of the current Porsche 911. The 3.8-liter power unit featured in the 911 GT3 Cup car produces 460 horsepower and a maximum engine speed of 8,500 rpm. The 911 GT3 Cup also includes a Porsche six-speed sequential gearbox with a mechanical slip differential, with an electropneumatic paddle shift system creating faster, more efficient gear changes.
The engines and transmissions of all the cars in the series are prepared and sealed by Porsche Motorsports North America, creating a level playing field on which driving talent and team setup skill prevail.
IMSA sanctions an eight-venue, 16-round schedule for the 2016 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama. The series will run 14 of its 16 rounds during WeatherTech SportsCar Championship events.
Follow IMSA on Facebook and @IMSA on Twitter with the hashtag #GT3USA for updates on the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama.
Practice: 8:35-9:15 a.m. (ET) Friday, June 10
Qualifying: 5:35-6:05 p.m. Friday, June 10
Round 1: 4:30-5 p.m. Saturday, June 11
Round 2: 10-10:30 a.m. Sunday, June 12
Driver Autograph Session: 11:15-11:45 a.m. Saturday, June 11, Yokohama Tire Service Centre in Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge combined paddock
Source. LST Marketing