Polesitter Jake Eidson led the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama series to their first-ever competition Green Flag at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala. Saturday. It was the first of two 45-minute races during the weekend for the series at the scenic and park-like 2.38-mile circuit.
Eidson followed up his second- and first-place Platinum Cup finishes at Sebring International Raceway with an equally impressive run. The IMSA Hurley Haywood GT3 Cup Scholarship winner quickly built a gap on the field that grew to over 11 seconds before a caution period on Lap 20 tightened the field back up. He was never challenged and went on to a flag-to-flag win in Round 3 of competition.
Third-place starter Will Hardeman made a pass on the initial lap in his No. 19 Moorespeed/Continental Automotive Group entry. That early pass secured his second-place finish overall, which was his first podium of the season. Trenton Estep worked his way up to third from his sixth-position starting spot with some late maneuvering in his No. 3 JDX Racing/Hertz GT3 Cup car. It was Estep’s third podium in three races this season as he continues to chase points-leader Eidson in the standings.
Platinum Masters polesitter Jeff Mosing encountered some trouble on Lap 5 in his No. 01 TOPP Racing/Mosing Motorcars GT3 Cup car. This left the door wide open for his classmates to battle for top honors. His TOPP Racing teammate, David Baker, seized the opportunity and the class victory in his No. 56 Apex Capital Corporation entry. Mark Kvamme in the No. 43 of JDX Racing and Alejandro Chahwan in the Powersport Racing No. 22 followed Baker to the class podium celebration in second and third, respectively.
The Gold Cup class is reserved for the previous generation Porsche GT3 Cup cars, but that doesn’t mean they’re slow. Proving the point was Roman De Angelis in his Mark Motors Racing No. 78. The youngster, who recently turned 16, took the win in Gold Cup and a ninth-place finish overall against the new-for-2017 GT3 Cup cars. De Angelis continues to impress with his third class win in a row this season.
Also demonstrating a strong Gold Cup pace, Victory Gomez IV grabbed a top 10 spot overall and second in Gold Cup in his No. 25 NGT Motorsport/Mapfre entry. Kurt Fazekas placed third in Gold in the Kelly-Moss Road and Race No. 52 car. Fazekas improved from 17th to 11th overall.
The Yokohama Hard Charger Award went to Platinum driver Trenton Estep and his JDX Racing team. The award recognizes the Platinum Cup contender advancing the most positions during the race.
Yokohama has served as the marketing and technical partner for the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama since 2009.
Of note, Eidson was joined on the podium by children representing the Racing for Children’s fundraising initiative. The No. 24 is carrying a special paint scheme covered in hand prints by patients of Children’s of Alabama to help raise awareness for the Alabama Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders at Children’s, which treats more than 90 percent of Alabama children diagnosed with cancer or blood disorders.
The Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama series was first on track at Barber Motorsports Park Saturday for a 20-minute qualification round. The early morning session determined the provisional starting grid for the first of two 45-minute races at the 2.38-mile circuit in Birmingham, Ala.
Improving his Platinum Cup class time from practice sessions by over a full second, Jake Eidson jumped to the top of the time sheets to grab the overall pole position. His scored a quickest lap of 1 minute, 26.590 seconds in his No. 24 Kelly-Moss Road and Race GT3 Cup car. It was his second pole for the season in only his second weekend of competition in the series.
The fastest time in Gold Cup of 1:27.482 was posted by Roman De Angelis in his Mark Motors Racing No. 78 car. That lap earned him the pole position in class for the field of 2014-2016 model GT3 Cup cars. De Angelis was also quickest in practice and swept the first two rounds of series competition at Sebring International Raceway in March.
Continuing with speed from Friday’s practice session, Platinum Masters driver Jeff Mosing set the quick time for his class with a 1:27.792 trip around the circuit in his No. 01 TOPP Racing/Mosing Motorcars GT3 Cup car.
Race 1 Driver Quotes:
Jake Eidson – No. 24, Kelly-Moss Road and Race – Platinum Cup Winner
I’ve never gotten a win here. So it’s nice to have a win here and get a good gap on the field. I was just trying to put down good laps and stay consistent. With how hot it is, it’s really easy to make mistakes. But I think I got a little bit of good luck from Medical Properties Trust and Racing for Children. I am super excited to get a win for the kids and hopefully tomorrow we can get another one.”
David Baker – No. 56, TOPP Racing – Platinum Masters Winner
“It was crazy. It was a game of attrition. Jeff (Mosing) had a puncture in his rear left and came off track and got into the tires which put me in first. And then I tried to throw it away on the restart, but even a blind squirrel gets an acorn once in awhile, so I will take it.”
Roman De Angelis – No. 78, Mark Motors Racing – Gold Cup Winner
“I love this track. It’s hard for those of us in Gold Class to keep up with the Platinum guys but this track is awesome. It’s really difficult, but I love it.”
RACE 2 SUMMARY
The second Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama race of the weekend started in wet conditions Sunday at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala. – a stark constrast to the sunny weather during previous sessions. Challenging settings demanded the best from the competitors and their Yokohama tires alike.
Saturday’s overall and Platinum Cup winner, Jake Eidson, headed up the starting grid in the No. 24 Kelly-Moss Road and Race 911 GT3 Cup car. Eidson has led the field to the start of every race thus far this year.
The 21-year-old Eidson quickly found the grip needed to pull away from the field early in the first lap. He built a commanding lead of over 26 seconds before a caution was declared during Lap 19. That caution period lasted until the end of the race allowing Eidson to seize his second victory of the weekend. It was his third flag-to-flag win in a row this season.
In a repeat of Saturday’s performance Trenton Estep advanced through the field in the JDX Racing/Hertz No. 3, turning his eighth-position start into a second-place finish. Estep has four podiums now in four races.
Rounding out the top three in Platinum Cup, Andrew Longe made his first visit to the podium with a third-place result in his No. 47 Wright Motorsports/Trianon Hotels car.
In Platinum Masters competition, Mark Kvamme grabbed his first win of the season in the JDX Racing No. 43. It is his third podium of the season. David Baker in the TOPP Racing/Apex Capital Corporation No. 56 and Alejandro Chahwan’s No. 22 from Powersport Racing followed in second and third, respectively. Only Baker has visited the podium after every race this season.
In Gold Cup, Victor Gomez IV captured his first win of the season and his second podium of the weekend in the No. 25 for NGT Motorsport/Mapfre. His spirited drive from 15th to seventh overall also earned him the Yokohama Hard Charger award.
NGT Motorsport driver Fred Kaimer earned the team a second podium and third for the weekend with a second-place finish in his No. 23 Race Deck Porsche GT3 Cup car. Saturday’s class winner, Roman De Angelis, took third in the Mark Motors Racing No. 78. It is his fourth trip to the podium this season and only his first time without a win.
The Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama series travels southwest to Austin, Texas for the next rounds of competition as part of the Advance Auto Parts Sportscar Showdown May 4 through 6. Expect intense competition among the field of Texas-based drivers and teams, including Estep from San Antonio, Colleyville’s Baker, Frank Raso from Cleburne, Bill Smith of Dallas, and a contingent from Austin – Will Hardeman, Jeff Mosing, Kaimer, and Alan Metni. Teams Moorespeed (Austin), CJ Wilson Racing (Austin) and TOPP Racing (Cresson) also hail from the Lone Star State.
Race 2 Driver Quotes
Jake Eidson – No. 24, Kelly-Moss Road and Race – Platinum Cup Winner
“It was kind of sketchy at the beginning. Starting off a race in the rain you don’t really know what to expect. Especially when you have no practice (at racing in the rain). I was just trying to find a good line around the track. At this track you have to have a very special type of line in the rain, but I got the car figured out and just tried to build on my gap. Passing some of the lapped traffic was difficult at times but I am really happy to get another win for Racing for Children and Medical Properties Trust. Two for two, you can’t ask for a better weekend.”
Mark Kvamme – No. 43, JDX Racing – Platinum Masters Winner
“I can sum it up in three words. Sur-vi-val. That’s what it was all about, survival. But it was great. I had a great race with Mr. (David) Baker and it was fun. I mean, he did a great pirouette, he got a 9.8, and a six from the Russian judge but it was some amazing driving by everyone out there. What was really nice is that everyone was really clean. But it was really tough and super slippery going into Turn 1 and going into Turn 5 and going through the esses in the beginning you couldn’t see anything. But it was a wonderful race and I had a lot of fun.”
Victor Gomez IV – No. 25, JDX Racing – Gold Cup Winner
“After such a tough weekend in Sebring I am happy things turned out the way they did. The conditions changed drastically on the track so I was able to push a little more. But I am happy my teammate and I got one and two.”
CIRCUIT OF THE AMERICAS
May 4 – 6, 2017
Circuit of The Americas
Source. LST Marketing