Lazare Clinches Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA Platinum Cup Title in Style with Victory in Round 14 at COTA

jesse-lazareA new era dawned for Jesse Lazare just 30 minutes after the sun dropped behind the Texas horizon Friday at Circuit of the Americas.

He is a Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama champion.

Lazare, 19, from Montreal, clinched the Platinum Cup title with a victory in Round 14 in the No. 21 Kelly-Moss Road and Race Porsche. It was the only night race of the season.

Third-year series driver Lazare leads Lucas Catania by 54 points, 253-199, with just 40 points available in the final two rounds of the season Sept. 28-30 at Road Atlanta.

“I can’t describe them,” Lazare said of his emotions. “This is such a great feeling because I didn’t do this by myself.

“There were so many factors that took place for me, having an outcome like this. Kelly-Moss, every crew member has been just outstanding. I’m so fortunate to get to work with them for the last two years.”

Lazare earned his series-record 11th Platinum Cup victory of the season and has won six consecutive races. The previous record for Platinum Cup wins in a season was nine by Bob Faieta in 2008 and Ross Smith in 2010.

2016 Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama Platinum Cup champion Daniel Morad, from Toronto, recorded his second runner-up finish of the weekend in the No. 17 Porsche Centre Oakville/Alegra Motorsports Porsche. He ended up .919 of a second behind Lazare.

Will Hardeman, from Austin, Texas, completed a dream week at his home track with his second consecutive third-place finish in the No. 19 Moorespeed Porsche. The podium finishes were his first in the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA)-sanctioned Single-Make Series.

Lucas Catania, from Cazenovia, New York, finished fourth in the No. 26 NGT Motorsport Porsche. Andrew Longe, from Naples, Florida, rounded out the top five in the No. 47 Wright Motorsports Porsche.

Jeff Mosing, from Austin, Texas, inched closer to the Platinum Masters championship by sweeping the weekend in the class at his home track in the No. 01 TOPP Racing Porsche.

Sebastian Landy, from Great Falls, Virginia, used a last-lap pass to also sweep the Gold Cup competition for the event in the No. 49 TPC Racing Porsche.

Morad started from the pole, but Lazare wasted no time moving to the front. Morad went wide in Turn 2 to avoid contact with other cars, and Lazare swooped past to take the lead.

Lazare never trailed thereafter. He gradually pulled away from Morad, building a 1.118-second lead at the halfway point of the 45-minute race. That lead grew to 3.075 seconds with two minutes remaining on the 20-turn, 3.4-mile circuit.

Morad, 26, closed to within 1.986 seconds of Lazare at the white flag and sliced another second off the lead on the final lap. But it wasn’t enough to catch his fellow young Canadian star.

“I had to do a little accident avoidance,” Morad said of his off-track excursion on the first lap. “In the end, that kind of cost us the race because Jesse and I were so even for lap time the whole way through. In the middle of the race, he pulled a little gap, but it seemed like his tires fell off at the end, and we started to catch him. We got the gap down to next to nothing there at the end.

“But my Alegra Motorsports team gave me a great car. We rebounded from yesterday and made great changes to come back today. It just fell a little bit short.”

Lazare led Catania by just 16 points at the halfway point of the season after Round 8 at Watkins Glen. But he has been untouchable in the last six races, finding a higher gear than his competition by learning how to control his pace.

“The most important thing is managing your tires,” Lazare said. “They’re 45-minute races; they’re long races. I can’t exactly push at 100 percent. Maybe you push at 95 percent, and at least your consistent speed is great. That’s why we were able to get some nice gaps in the last few races.

“Obviously, the team found something with the car because the car has been outstanding in any condition. They never missed it once, and I can’t explain how great this feels.”

Platinum Masters

Mosing earned his 10th Platinum Masters victory of the season and his sixth in a row. It also was his second victory of the day at his home track, as he and co-driver Eric Foss won the ST class in the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge race this afternoon.

Fred Poordad, from San Antonio, finished second in the No. 20 Wright Motorsports Porsche.

“Getting the win earlier today was awesome, and it was just a shot in the arm, of course, to get in the car tonight and do what I had to do for Poordad,” Mosing said. “It’s probably my favorite race to do here. It’s awesome, and I love running at night.”
David Baker, from Colleyville, Texas, completed an all-Texas podium in the class by finishing third in the No. 56 TOPP Racing Porsche.

Mosing controlled the race from the pole, never trailing. He pulled away to beat Poordad to the finish by 14.184 seconds.

The event sweep helped Mosing build a 255-240 lead over Poordad as he tries to win a championship for the third consecutive season in the series. Mosing won the Gold Cup and Gold Masters titles in 2015 and the Gold Masters crown in 2014.

“I keep improving in these 991 GT3 Cup cars and am looking forward to continuing my learning curve next year,” Mosing said.

Gold Cup

Landy earned his class-leading eighth victory of the season after arguably the fiercest but cleanest three-way fight of the season in any class. He passed Michael de Quesada on the final lap for the victory by .455 of a second.

Phil Bloom, from New York, finished third in the No. 11 Wright Motorsports Porsche.

“Greatest Gold race ever!” Landy said. “A lot of these races are the longest 45 minutes of your life, and I think this one felt like five times that. It was a mental workout and a physical workout the whole time.”

De Quesada, from Tampa, Florida, leads Landy by 15 points, 242-227, with two rounds remaining at Road Atlanta.

The top three finishers never were separated by more than 1.2 seconds for the entire race and usually raced around the circuit within one length of each other in a stunning show of aggression and precision.

De Quesada, 16, started from the class pole in the No. 31 Alegra Motorsports Porsche and kept Bloom and Landy at bay for the first 15 minutes. But then Bloom passed de Quesada for the lead with 30 minutes remaining.

Just one lap later, Bloom ran wide in Turn 12 but managed to keep the lead from de Quesada and Landy, running second and third, respectively. Bloom’s gap over de Quesada was just .6 of a second with 12 minutes remaining as the trio charged around the challenging circuit.

One of two flashpoints in the race took place with six minutes to go. Bloom locked his tires in Turn 12, opening a hole that de Quesada and Landy threaded through for first and second, respectively.

Landy pulled to within one length of de Quesada with two minutes left in the race, but de Quesada wasn’t yielding an inch. He led by .41 of a second at the white flag.

But on the final lap, Landy sneaked past de Quesada exiting Turn 6 and leading into Turn 7 to take the lead. He kept his cool and held off de Quesada for the victory. Landy earned the Yokohama Hard Charger Award for advancing the most positions in the race.

“Bloom and Michael, I felt they were faster than me the whole time,” Landy said. “I was just trying to hang on and hope they drove their tires off. I tried to drive a smart race. Thankfully, things came to me a little bit.

“I think it was some of the best racing that the Porsche GT3 Cup USA has seen, let alone just the Gold class, so hats off to everyone who puts the show on.”

Up Next

Rounds 15 and 16 – the final event of the season – will take place Sept. 28-30 during the Petit Le Mans Presented by Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort at Road Atlanta.

Both 45-minute races will be streamed live at imsa.tv, with a delayed television broadcast on Sinclair Broadcast Group affiliates in major United States markets.

ROUND 14 POST-RACE QUOTES:

JESSE LAZARE (No. 21 Kelly-Moss Road and Race, winner, 2016 Platinum Cup champion): “I can’t describe them (emotions). This is such a great feeling because I didn’t do this by myself. There were so many factors that took place for me, having an outcome like this. Kelly-Moss, every crew member has been just outstanding. I’m so fortunate to get to work with them for the last two years. I feel like I’ve come so far as a driver, and I really hope to get to keep working with them to accomplish more. I can’t do it also without my parents and the sponsors we got to help throughout these years. It’s been great. This series has been amazing, and I’m really excited to go to Road Atlanta and go have some more fun.” (You have won six consecutive races. What has changed with you?): “Honestly, the most important thing is managing your tires. They’re 45-minute races; they’re long races. I can’t exactly push at 100 percent. Maybe you push at 95 percent, and at least your consistent speed is great. That’s why we were able to get some nice gaps in the last few races. Obviously, the team found something with the car because the car has been outstanding in any condition. They never missed it once, and I can’t explain how great this feels.”

DANIEL MORAD (No. 17 Porsche Centre Oakville/Alegra Motorsports, second): “The start was crazy. Yesterday we had a great start. Everyone made it through cleanly. Today we had a few heroes out there who thought they could go from several rows back to the lead. So I had to do a little accident avoidance. In the end, that kind of cost us the race because Jesse (Lazare) and I were so even for lap time the whole way through. In the middle of the race, he pulled a little gap, but it seemed like his tires fell off at the end, and we started to catch him. We got the gap down to next to nothing there at the end. But my Alegra Motorsports team gave me a great car. We rebounded from yesterday and made great changes to come back today. It just fell a little bit short. But we’ll be back in Road Atlanta.” (About racing in the USA series): “I appreciate the competition down here in the U.S. It’s just unbelievable racing. In Round 13, Jesse and I had an incredible duel, and we must have passed each other twice a lap for the first three laps of the race, and not once did we touch each other. That’s what you want to see in this kind of spec series racing.”

WILL HARDEMAN (No. 19 Moorespeed, third): (About scoring first two podium finishes of career this weekend at home track): “This could not have worked out better. I’m so happy. We’ve put in the work, and it’s so gratifying to know that we’re finally making progress, getting on the podium, because there have been so many near-misses this season that it’s hard to get back out there and go do it again. And now that we’re making progress, it’s the best feeling in the world when your hard work pays off.”
(About duel with Ricardo Perez for third place): “I was able to run a really smart race, thinking with my head, in the sense that I let Perez by. I gave him an inch; he took a mile. That’s OK. That’s racing. But I saw once again, he’s having to drive really hard to maintain that pace. And I know it’s only a matter of time before he drops back, and I was comfortable with my pace. My car was rock solid, so I didn’t have to push hard. I knew I had more tires at the end. Eventually I prevailed. I could duck under him, and I had more grip. He gave me an inch, and I took a mile right back at him.”

JEFF MOSING (No. 01 TOPP Racing, winner, Platinum Masters): “Getting the win earlier today was awesome (SportsCar Challenge race), and it was just a shot in the arm, of course, to get in the car tonight and do what I had to do for (Fred) Poordad. It seemed like I had him covered all weekend, but I had a little bit of trouble from (McKay) Snow. He was really on and coming, and hats off to him: He was racing me clean through (Turn) 13 and (Turn) 14. No contact and side-by-side. So good, close racing there. I didn’t have anything for the top five guys, but I keep improving in these 991 GT3 Cup cars and am looking forward to continuing my learning curve next year. Thanks to Porsche Motorsport North America and IMSA and thanks to COTA for putting on these night races. It’s probably my favorite race to do here. It’s awesome, and I love running at night.” (Is it more special to win at home?): “I had my wife and my brother here earlier today, so most of my family is here supporting me. It’s just really awesome to have them here and have my friends here tonight, and I know they are all waiting to cheer for me when I’m up on the podium.”

SEBASTIAN LANDY (No. 49 TPC Racing, winner, Gold Cup; Yokohama Hard Charger Award winner): “Greatest Gold race ever! A lot of these races are the longest 45 minutes of your life, and I think this one felt like five times that. It was a mental workout and a physical workout the whole time. (Phil) Bloom and Michael (de Quesada), I felt they were faster than me the whole time. I was just trying to hang on and hope they drove their tires off. I tried to drive a smart race. Thankfully, things came to me a little bit. I think it was some of the best racing that the Porsche GT3 Cup USA has seen, let alone just the Gold class, so hats off to everyone who puts the show on. I am really happy for everyone at TPC Racing and all the guys who worked their butts off with all the issues I had this weekend. Thanks to the Texas hospitality of Jeff Mosing for giving me parts and David Moore at Moorespeed for letting us use his shop in the middle of their party. It felt like the opposite of what it ended up being, and it turned out to be a pretty charmed weekend. Our ‘never say die’ attitude really paid off for Forto Strong Coffee.”

Source. LST Marketing

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