Andrew Longe of Naples, Fla., and McKay Snow of Lehi, Utah led the way for Wright Motorsports in the season-opening doubleheader for the IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama series Thursday and Friday at Sebring International Raceway.
Longe was just 0.059 of a second off a podium finish on Thursday with his Trianon #47, as he placed fourth in the first 45-minute contest on the bumpy, 17-turn, 3.74-mile road course. He started third on Friday, but vaulted into second position on the first lap. He remained in second for six laps, but then spun on the backstretch due to oil on the track and dropped to tenth. In the remaining 30 minutes of the race he was still able to battle back to sixth.
Snow was also able to move through the field with his UIS #63. He posted two solid fifth-place finishes after starting ninth on Thursday and 11th on Friday.
Phil Bloom’s debut in the Platinum class was memorable too, as he earned the Hard-Charger award on Thursday after starting 14th and finishing seventh with his #11 sponsored by Tradewind Aviation and the Philip Bloom Gallery. The New York City-based driver showed similar muscle on Friday by placing eighth after starting 13th.
Anthony Imperato of Brooklyn, N.Y. wasn’t able to finish Thursday’s race due to an accident on lap four. After the Batavia, Ohio-based team made repairs to his Henry Repeating Arms #91, he was able to start 17th on Friday, but he was hit in the rear on the first lap. The Brooklyn, N.Y.- based driver persevered and was able to battle back to a ninth-place finish in class.
Charlie Luck of Richmond, Va., made his series debut and brought home a fourth-place finish in the Gold Cup division on Thursday and an eighth on Friday.
The next event is another doubleheader at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala. April 21-23.
Post-race quotes follow:
Andrew Longe, Naples, Fla.: “Sebring wasn’t the weekend we had hoped for. We showed great pace all weekend, but an unfortunate spin due to oil on the track cost us a strong finishing position. We’ll put this weekend behind us and will move forward and have a strong showing at Barber. As they say, that’s why the rear-view mirror is small and the windshield is big, because we aren’t looking back.”
Anthony Imperato, Brooklyn, N.Y.: “This was a tough weekend for me. We showed good pace in practice and had a really good car. I just couldn’t find a gap and put a lap together in qualifying. We wound up starting 13th in Race 1. I had a strong start and made up a position or two. After a couple of laps, a car spun in front and another tried to avoid it and wound up making contact with me and caused suspension damage. So we were out.
“Race 2 was bittersweet in a way. Starting 17th, I had a really strong start, passing four cars almost by Turn 1. Hanging around the outside, another driver spun me out and I had to drop to the back of the field. I got back on and with some passing and the luck of a yellow, we made it to the top 10 and P9 in class. It wasn’t the results I wanted for the team this weekend, but we are coming back strong at Barber!”
Charlie Luck, Richmond, Va.: “It was the weekend of a lifetime for me. I had a phenomenal first race, with very few mistakes and lots of good passes. The car handled beautifully and the crew’s preparation of my driving over the last three months paid off tremendously.
“In Race 2 I had a lot of close-traffic racing, which I loved. I overdrove the car a number of times that resulted in two spins and I flat-spotted the tires, which required a tire change.
“Overall it was a tremendously rewarding and fun experience. This is a totally addictive sport that is unlike anything else in the world you can do.”
Source. RestartCommunications/Photo. Porsche