Battle of the Borders at Watkins Glen International for Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA and Canada

This weekend’s IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge almost needs one of those vintage drag racing radio commercials to do it justice.

Like this, perhaps? “This weekend, it’s the battle of the borders! One country can’t contain the excitement you’ll see when the invaders from the North – Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada – take on Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA for a pair of winner-take-all matches! Bragging rights are on the line as Canadian hot-shoe and series points leader Scott Hargrove squares off against U.S. points leader and Hurley Haywood Scholarship winner Jake Eidson, as the two lead a field of 40 around the fast, unforgiving Watkins Glen International race track for the biggest Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge event you’ll see in North America all season!”

Well, that may be over the top – at least we left out, “Be there!” and “We’ll sell you the whole seat, but you’ll only need the edge!” – but it does tell the story: The Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama is hosting the Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama for the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen weekend, and it should be a stellar event.

There are 30 Porsche GT3 Cup Platinum cars on the entry list – that class uses the brand-new 2017 GT3 Cup car introduced for this season. And there are another 10 entries in the Gold class, using Porsche GT3 Cup cars from 2014 and newer. Though they all compete against each other, they are running for a separate championship.

Also, in a class-within-a-class, 13 of the Platinum drivers are also earning points for a Masters championship, for drivers 45 and over. But both countries have drivers who are in the top 10 in overall points, so don’t think they won’t put the throttle to the floor.

As mentioned, presently leading points are Jake Eidson in the U.S., and Scott Hargrove in Canada. Hargrove, a past champion, has already drawn blood racing against his counterparts in America by winning the season-opening race in March at Sebring International Raceway in Florida. Since then, Hargrove, of Tsawwassen, British Columbia, has won all four races in the two events held in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada, at Montreal and Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Ontario, driving the No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports/Castrol car.

Eidson, of Littleton, Colorado, was the first recipient of the IMSA Hurley Haywood GT3 Cup scholarship, named for one of the best Porsche endurance racers in history. It has helped finance a season of racing for Eidson with the respected Kelly-Moss Road and Race team, and Eidson has driven the No. 24 to three victories – including the second Sebring race, beating Hargrove. That makes this season’s score so far one for Hargrove and one for Eidson, so this weekend will be the tiebreaker.

Not that the rest of the field plans to just move over and let Eidson and Hargrove by. Trenton Estep is a close second in the points in the USA series, winning outright in one of the last two races, at Circuit of The Americas (COTA) in Texas, and finishing second to Eidson’s third in the other COTA race. Corey Fergus, who is third in points in his No. 00 Moorespeed/US LED car, beat both Eidson and Estep in that final COTA race.

A few other drivers to watch from the USA’s Platinum roster include Wright Motorsports drivers Phil Bloom (No. 11) and Anthony Imperato in the Henry Repeating Arms No. 91. Both are from New York – Imperato from Brooklyn, Bloom from New York City, so that may give them a home field advantage.

Also a crowd favorite: Rookie C.J. Wilson, in the No. 33 C.J. Wilson Racing/Porsche Fresno entry. Wilson, as baseball fans likely know, is a former Major League Baseball pitcher, a two-time All Star who began his career as a Texas Ranger and ended it with the Los Angeles Angels.

Wilson, who already owned a very successful IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge team, intends to make a second career as a pro race car driver, with plans to compete at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. His best finish is eighth at the first race at COTA, and he’s currently 12th in points.

From north of the border, Scott Hargrove’s toughest competition has come from Zacharie Robichon, the Ottawa, Ontario driver of the No. 98 Mark Motors Racing entry. Robichon is second in the Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada points, with four straight second-place finishes to Hargrove.

Third in points is Remo Ruscitti of Vancouver, British Columbia, in the No. 69 OpenRoad Racing car. He has a narrow lead over Michael de Quesada and his No. 31 Alegra Motorsports entry. De Quesada had a storybook season-opener, co-driving to a GT Daytona-class win in the 2017 Rolex 24 At Daytona in his family-owned Alegra Motorports Porsche 911 GT3 R.

In the Gold class in the USA, Fred Kaimer is just two points ahead of Kurt Fazekas in the championship standings, while in the Canadian Gold points, Roman De Angelis is solidly in command. All three are on the entry list for Watkins Glen, as is Victor Gomez IV, who has wins in the USA series at Barber Motorsports Park and Circuit of The Americas.

In the Platinum Masters, Canadian points leader Marco Cirone and USA points leader Jeff Mosing are both coming to Watkins Glen, so there will be very personal battles all over the track.

The Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama and the Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama will run a pair of 45-minute races, the first Friday, June 30 at 6:00 p.m. EDT with the second taking the green flag on Saturday, July 1 at 10:30 a.m.

Schedule (all times ET):

Practice: 9:15 – 9:45 a.m. and 1:05 – 1:45 p.m. Thursday, June 29
Qualifying: 10:25 – 10:45 a.m. Friday, June 30
Round 1 (45 minutes): 6:00 – 6:45 p.m. Friday, June 30
Round 2 (45 minutes): 10:30 – 11:15 a.m. Saturday, July 1

Source. LST Marketing

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