Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA Road America Event News and Notes

ROUND 7 RESCHEDULE SUMMARY – FROM WATKINS GLEN INTERNATIONAL

It seemed only fitting that the abandoned Round 7 race from Watkins Glen International would finally see the green flag today at Road America, in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, under similarly challenging conditions.

Flags flailing in a cold, stiff breeze and a steady downfall of rain served as the backdrop of Friday’s 45-minute race for Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama competitors. Using grid positions set in qualifying at Watkins Glen, the field marched around the 4.048-mile, 14-Turn road course that provides drivers and teams with plenty of challenge and action under perfect conditions, let alone an insistent drizzle that showed no hope of relenting and temperatures below 58 degrees.

Adding an incremental pace lap, and starting the race in single-file formation, set a cautious tone that minimized bolder passes and dramatic moves, keeping the action firmly in-check and studious.

Pole-sitter Jake Eidson in the No. 24 Kelly-Moss Road and Race 911 GT3 Cup Platinum entry led the field flag-to-flag with the consistency of a metronome, taking the checkered flag and the victory in stride. But the dance card behind him ebbed and flowed, shifting throughout the sprint due to the slick track conditions.

Anthony Imperato in the No. 91 Henry Repeating Arms entry of Wright Motorsports started his race in second position, running lockstep and just a small gap behind Eidson and it seemed as though his day would end much the same way. But hard charging Tenton Estep in his No. 3 JDX Racing/Hertz entry had other ideas and swept by on the last lap to take second place overall and in class, as well as secure the Yokohama Hard Charger Award for the driver who advanced the most positions in Platinum.

Estep, who started in sixth position on the grid made immediate progress on the first lap to jump all the way to third place, edging by Texan Will Hardeman in the No. 19 Continental Automotive Group entry for Moorespeed and his teammate Corey Fergus in the No. 00 US LED/Byers Imports car, as well as Wright Motorsports/Snow Racing entry of McKay Snow in the No. 63.

Subsequent battles for fourth, fifth and sixth ensued, with Snow, Hardeman, Fergus and even the No. 49 entry of Sebastian Landy for Alex Job Racing and Forto Strong Coffee shifting positions in treacherous conditions with limited visibility. Hardeman and Fergus ultimately pulled off a team effort and took fourth and fifth overall and in class, respectively.

Not to be outdone by his younger teammate, Mark Kvamme in his No. 43 entry for JDX Racing kept his racecraft consistent and improved on his 14th starting position to run as high as 10th before settling back to finish in 11th overall and first in the Platinum Masters Championship, for drivers 45 years or older.

Kvamme was joined on the podium by friendly rival David Baker in the No. 56 TOPP Racing/Apex Capital Corp. entry finishing in second. Baker’s teammate Jeff Mosing, who is the third part of the Master’s puzzle, did not compete in Friday’s race.

In Gold Cup, for 911 GT3 Cup cars from years 2014 – 2016, Canadian Roman De Angelis continued to prove his dominance in his No. 78 entry for Bestline Auto/Mark Motors Racing, improving from his ninth-place starting position overall to run as high as seventh, before a brief wobble off track pushed him back to eighth. He secured the class victory, giving him his fifth win in just six starts in USA competition.

NGT Motorsport teammates Fred Kaimer and Victor Gomez IV swapped positions as Gomez, in his No. 25 Mapfre/Porsche Center of Puerto Rico entry encountered early trouble, with a spin early on, losing six positions and giving up the advantage to Kaimer in the No. 23 Race Deck car.

Gomez was able to battle back up through the field and not only regain his starting position, but improve upon it. However, it wasn’t enough to catch Kaimer, who finished in second place behind De Angelis, relegating Gomez to third.

The race was only marred by one full-course caution period on Lap 11 to retreive the No. 33 entry of CJ Wilson, who went off track in Turn 14 and got caught in the gravel. Wilson was able to continue his race and improve position after the restart.

Road America Qualifying:

While it seemed a bit odd to follow a race with a qualifying session, a respite from the rain and dry, sunny track conditions made the reversal welcome and competitors focused on speed for Friday afternoon’s 20-minute qualifying session.

It was Moorespeed’s Fergus who made his mark in Platinum qualifying. With on-site support from friends, family and sponsor Byer’s Imports, the Columbus, Ohio, native clocked the fastest lap around the longest road course on the series circuit of two minutes, 11.307 seconds to take the Platinum Pole on Lap 8.

In another twist, it was Snow who was hard on his heels, just a few tenths back with a lap of 2:11.624.

De Angelis captured the top spot for Gold, pushing his No. 78 hard enough to take a quick dive off course for a wild ride that put him back into the pits to monitor for any potential repairs. His time of 2:13.707 was valid and he maintains his pole position streak.

Race 1 Driver Quotes:

Trenton Estep – No. 3, JDX Racing/Hertz – Yokohama Hard Charger

“It was good. The guys at JDX gave me an unbelieveable car, after coming from Waktins Glen. To come back from Watkins Glen after what happened, the guys at JDX worked incredibly hard to get me back to where I am now, so I can’t thank them enough. It was a really good race. It was actually my second time in the Cup car on wets [wet tires]. Every time you get into the car you learn something new, so that was really cool. I was really, really nervous coming into this race after Watkins Glen, so coming back to a podium finish is really rewarding.”

Jake Eidson – No. 24, Kelly-Moss Road and Race – Platinum Cup Winner

“It was a little bit hectic on the start, and especially the restart as well. Obviously when you have a huge lead you don’t want to see a restart, but under the full-course caution on the restart I had a pretty bad exit at Turn 1 and kind of opened the door a little bit, so I am little disappointed in myself for that. But everything else was great. I am really happy with how everything performed, the tires, the team, the car.”

Mark Kvamme – No. 43, JDX Racing – Platinum Masters Winner

“It was misty out there. After that restart it was crazy, especially going down into the kink, you couldn’t se anything. It was a lot of fun. Fun racing with David Baker and we had a great race. (Do you like racing in the rain?) I’ve got two firsts and they were in the rain. So I guess I do.”

Roman De Angelis – No. 78, Bestline Auto Tech/Mark Motors- Gold Cup Winner

“There wasn’t much action. I just kind of stayed clean. There was a battle ahead of me so I didn’t want to get in between them and ruin their race and there was a big gap behind me so there was no need to push really. Plus we were running old rain tires rather than new ones so I was just trying to be cautious with that. Massive thanks to the guys at Bestline and Mark Motors for all their help for a great race.”

ROAD AMERICA RACE 1 SUMMARY

Fergus Carries “Moorespeed”

As the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama teams prepped for the first of two rounds of sprint races that will accrue points for the Road America race weekend Saturday, they were relieved to make the switch to Yokohama slicks due to a complete reversal of weather conditions.

In support of IMSA’s WeatherTech SportsCar Challenge race weekend in Elkhart Lake, the series faced abysmal conditions Friday for the rescheduled Round 7 race from Watkins Glen International. But as the competitors flipped the switch from Watkins Glen to Road America points, the weather conditions improved drastically, creating a perfect backdrop for a 45-minute sprint around the 4.048-mile, 14-Turn road course.

As the longest circuit on the schedule, this event can be the hardest to master, even for the most experienced driver.

With a practiced flick of the green flag by Dr. Michael Steiner, Member of the Executive Board for Research and Development at Porsche AG, polesitter Corey Fergus in the No. 00 US LED/Byers Imports entry for Moorespeed proved that he had just that… More speed.

Columbus, Ohio, native Fergus led the 45-minute sprint from flag-to-flag, his second victory of the season in Platinum Cup competition, and better yet, in front of fans, friends and supporters who made the trip to watch him race at an event that’s close to home.

He was challenged by the ever-vigilant Jake Eidson in his No. 24 911 GT3 Cup entry for Kelly-Moss Road and Race, the hometown team. Eidson started the race in third position, but quickly gained ground on the first lap out with a quick move around the No. 63 of McKay Snow for Snow Racing/Wright Motorsports. Settling into second place, Eidson maintained a steady pace and wound his way through the bucolic countryside just behind Fergus, patiently awaiting any opportunity.

A late full-course caution period gave him his chance. The No. 99 of Alan Metni in the iFly/Kelly-Moss Road and Race entry went off track at the end of Lap 14 in Turn 12, causing a short caution flag period for retrieval. As the field went back to green just two short laps later, Eidson made a dramatic move on the restart to take the lead from Fergus through Turn 1, but he went wide and gave the position back shortly thereafter.

With only a few minutes remaining in the race, Eidson locked in behind Fergus and another full-course caution period for multiple car contact was issued on Lap 18 and ended the race under yellow, preserving Eidson’s second place effort.

The third-place position in Platinum competition was firmly in the hands of Snow for nearly the entire race, but the No. 49 of Sebastian Landy in his Forto Strong Coffee/Alex Job Racing entry was patiently crowding him as the race progressed, until an opportunity presented itself on Lap 12, when he overtook Snow to settle into third position, which he held throughout the remainder of the race to finish on the class podium. This was his first podium of the season.

Anthony Imperato, in the No. 91 Henry Repeating Arms entry for Wright Motorsports started in eighth place, but made a concerted drive up through traffic to finish in the top five overall, which earned him the Yokohama Hard Charger Award in Platinum competition, for improving the most positions in class during the race.

In Platinum Masters, a championship for drivers 45 years or older, it was a triumphant return for Jeff Mosing in the No. 01 for TOPP Racing/Mosing Motorcars who fulfilled his company slogan and “drove himself happy” all the way to the Masters victory, giving him redemption from his lack of points accrued at Watkins Glen. It’s his first time back on the Podium since Circuit of The Americas and goes a long way to catching him back up in the points.

His arch, but friendly rivals Mark Kvamme in the No. 43 entry of JDX Racing and Mosing’s TOPP Racing teammate David Baker in the No. 56 Apex Capital Corp. had a great battle just behind Mosing. Baker started in 11th overall, and gained ground to ultimately finish in second in class and in 10th overall.

Kvamme had an uphill battle throughout the race, pushing up to as high as 14th from his original starting position of 15th, but he faltered on Lap 3, dropping two positions. He recovered quickly and gained speed, pushing back up to 14th to hold it through both late yellow flag periods to finish in third on the podium.

The Gold Cup competition had a shake-up Saturday, as the usual suspect, AKA Roman De Angelis in his No. 78 Bestline Auto/Mark Motors Racing entry led the start from the class pole position, but it was soon discovered that he had a brake light failure, which caused IMSA Officials to issue a Mechanical Black Flag, forcing him to pit on Lap 8 for repairs. The crew was expedient in getting him back on track in under eight minutes, but his loss of position pushed him out of podium contention.

Kurt Fazekas, of Kelly-Moss Road and Race pushed his No. 52 famous purple and green machine to the head of the Gold Cup pack and advanced one position from his starting point, ultimately taking the victory in the class for cars from 2014 – 2016.

He was followed in lockstep by Gold Cup veteran Michael Levitas in the No. 36 entry for TPC Racing/ DSC Sport. It was Levitas’ first podium finish of the season.

Victor Gomez IV in the No. 25 Mapfre/Porsche Center of Puerto Rico entry for NGT Motorsport was in a battle throughout the race with Platinum entry Kvamme, with the two swapping positions throughout the race. Gomez was able to navigate traffic between the two caution periods and ultimately gained three spots to finish third in class and 13th overall.

Dr. Steiner presented all of the trophies to the series competitors, as it was the first race he has attended in North America.

“First of all, it’s really a spectacular racetrack,” said Steiner. “It comes close to the most famous, European racetracks, so I enjoyed it very much. The race was really fun, it was fair and the right guy won. It was wonderful and I had an awesome experience.”

Race 1 Driver Quotes:

Corey Fergus – No. 00, Moorespeed/US LED/Byers Imports – Platinum Winner

“Flag-to-flag, you can’t get any better than that. Quite the challenge there from Jake [Eidson] for the whole race, but especially at the restart. It was a little too exciting for me. When that yellow came out, I was not happy. It definitely made things interesting for me. I just kept driving my own race, hitting my marks, and didn’t make a mistake. That’s what did it today.”

Jeff Mosing – No. 01, TOPP Racing/Mosing Motorcars – Platinum Masters Winner

“I honestly wish that I would have gotten out there yesterday. Not only for the points but just for the additional recon even though we have a beautiful day today. I haven’t had butterflies in my stomach for a while, but going out for qualifying in good conditions, I started getting a few butterflies. I think it was just anxiety or whatever, wondering what my back was going to be like. It was fine for qualifying, and honestly it was ok for the race except when I went to get out of the car and straighten up.

“I’m really happy to be back in competition, especially here at Road America. It’s a great track, a great facility. Todd did a great job with the car. The Yokohamas did a great job holding up in the warmer conditions we had today. We were fighting a little bit of a push, but we’ll probably get that dialed out for tomorrow’s race. I’m just really happy to even finish in the top ten. This is one of the toughest series on the planet to race in and I’m really honored to be up there in the top ten with those young guns.”

Kurt Fazekas – No. 52, Kelly-Moss Road and Race – Gold Cup Winner

“It’s great to be back at Road America. I love this track. We’re just fortunate really to come away with a win. But we didn’t have anything for the 78 car [Roman De Angelis]. He’s in a class all by himself and I was just hoping that maybe he had homework to do and he couldn’t come to this track. But hey, an old guy like me—I’ll take a win any way I can get it.

“The track was a little bit greasy, but it’s a lot better than running in the rain like we’ve done for the past few days, so this is wonderful. Just looking forward to tomorrow and maybe another podium if we’re lucky.”

ROAD AMERICA RACE 2 SUMMARY

It was a fairy tale ending for Corey Fergus Sunday at Road America. As the checkered flag dropped on the second 45-minute sprint race in Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama competition for the weekend, it heralded another victory for the No. 00 Moorespeed/US LED/Byers Imports driver, making it a clean sweep in front of family, friends and partners.

The Platinum Cup competition is always steep, and never infallible, as proven by all the different drivers that have swapped out for the top step of Victory Podium each weekend. Sunday brought Fergus his third series win in 2017 and his continuing hope to make his place on that step a more permanent position.

But it wasn’t smooth sailing on the 4.048-mile, 14-Turn winding road course, the longest track on the series schedule, as pressure from the No. 24 of Jake Eidson in the Kelly-Moss Road and Race entry dogged his footsteps, looking for an opening throughout the entire race.

Starting in fourth position on the grid, Eidson made quick work of moving up in position at the drop of the green, overtaking the No. 49 of Sebastian Landy and the No. 63 of McKay Snow to move into second place by Lap 2. At the beginning of Lap 3, he made a dramatic move to overtake Fergus for the lead, but IMSA officials ruled that he was in violation of track limits and he was forced to surrender the lead. Eidson kept a very narrow gap on Fergus throughout the rest of competition, but was unable to challenge thereafter, and finished second in his 911 GT3 Cup Platinum entry.

And while Snow in his Wright Motorsports/Snow Racing entry and Landy in his Alex Job Racing/Forto Strong Coffee car were shuffled back to third and fourth place respectively, they were far from being counted out, as the two began a heated battle for position, running side-by-side several times looking to gain or keep the advantage.

It was a mechanical issue that Snow ultimately succumbed to, as a brake light issue forced him to pit for repairs and take him out of contention on Lap 11. He was able to make repairs and rejoin the race, but he surrendered his position to Landy, who firmly held on to it to take third place.

The Masters Classmen decided that it should be a drag race to the finish, rather than a gentlemanly sports car sprint. Jeff Mosing in the No. 01 TOPP Racing/Mosing Motorcars entry and his TOPP teammate David Baker in the No. 56 Apex Capital Corp car enjoyed a thrilling race, with a lot of close quarters. The two ran in lockstep throughout the race, pushing each other hard with class points leader Baker holding onto the lead by strength of will.

Hard charging Mosing stuck himself to Baker’s bumper like glue until the very last lap of the race, when Baker made a slight bobble on the last turn on the last lap, giving Mosing the advantage and the victory, with Baker crossing the line in second-place. The two friends were still thrilled at the outcome, and gave the most spirited performance on the podium yet seen in series competition.

Mark Kvamme in the No. 43 JDX Racing entry started the race in 15th position, and saw immediate gains on Lap 1 as he moved up to 13th, but a wobble off track saw him lose positions and he ended his day just one lap back, but in third place in Platinum Masters.

And with perfect weather conditions, and not a single full-course caution event of the race, Gold Cup points challenger Roman De Angelis resumed his winning streak. The No. 78 entry for Bestline Auto/Mark Motors ran a flawless race, making up for dealing with his mechanical issues from Saturday’s sprint.

Starting in ninth position overall, the young driver kept his race craft consistent and steadily gained two positions throughout the race, taking the Gold Cup victory for cars from years 2014 – 2016.

As always, it was a party behind him, with Kurt Fazekas in his No. 52 entry for Kelly-Moss Road and Race setting the pace for the rest of the Gold Class. But on Lap 3, a quick spin off track pushed him down the field to lose position to the No. 45 entry of Charlie Luck of Wright Motorsports.

Luck’s outlook was bright, until the storm that was Fred Kaimer in the No. 23 NGT Motorsport/Race Deck entry swirled up behind him and the pressure was on.

Kaimer, who started in 20th position was supremely motivated Sunday and proceeded to crowd Luck’s mirrors, taking his opportunity on Lap 9, moving into second place in class. But he wasn’t quite finished with taking home second place. His hard charging ways and ultimate 11th place finish overall earned him the Yokohama Hard Charger Award for improving the most positions in Gold Cup competition.

Kaimer’s teammate Victor Gomez IV in the No. 25 NGT Motorsport/Mapfre/Porsche Center of Puerto Rico entry had trouble on the race start, dropping back from his 13th place starting position, but like Kaimer, he put on the speed and deftly navigated Gold traffic to move up through the field, ultimately overtaking Luck on Lap 15 and sealing his third-place finish.

A very special checkered flag signified the end of competition for the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama at scenic Road America Sunday. In celebration of Jens Walther’s last IMSA race, teams, drivers and officials signed an honorary checkered flag for the president and CEO of Porsche Motorsport North America and presented it to him on the podium in honor of his departure from his current role.

Walther will be succeeded by Dr. Daniel Armbruster, beginning Sept. 1, who was also in attendance for his first IMSA race weekend and the presentation. Armbruster enjoyed his first Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge experience Sunday by giving the command to start engines, and waving the Green Flag for Round 2 of series competition.

NEXT EVENT:

Next on the schedule for the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge by Yokohama are Rounds 11 and 12 at the Michelin GT Challenge at VIR, at VIRginia International Raceway in Alton, Virginia, Aug. 25 – 27.

Race 2 Driver Quotes

Fred Kaimer – No. 23, NGT Motorsport – Yokohama Hard Charger

“I feel like a hard charger, sadly it was because I charged from last place, which was due to awful qualifying but it was really my Yokohama tires that got me through the very end. I’ve never had such a tire like the Yokohama tire, it’s a tremendous tire the Yokohama tire. I am guessing the Hard Charger Award is presented by Yokohama?”

Corey Fergus – No. 00, Moorespeed/US LED/Byers Imports – Platinum Winner

“This one was special just because the guys from Byers drove through the night from 10 p.m. to 6:30 a.m. after their flight was cancelled the other day to get here. And to win two races in front of alll those guys just couldn’t be any more special. This is my favorite track as well, so this is special in many ways and I couldn’t be happier, what a great weekend for us for sure.”

Jeff Mosing – No. 01, TOPP Racing/Mosing Motorcars – Platinum Masters Winner

“Hats off to Todd [Opperman] and the TOPP Racing guys. I think everyone was fighting a little bit of a push yesterday. Todd took some notes and made some changes to the car, and the car was absolutely phenomenal on the Yokohamas. I can’t say enough about how they nailed the set up and I was rocking it behind Roman [De Angelis] here, the young one I wanted to give him a race, and even though we’re not racing against each other I locked him up into Turn 1 and started my donuts a little too early on the third lap in, so had to spend the rest of my drive trying to run David Baker down, my teammate. He drove fantastic, I’m so proud of him. I think once he saw me coming he put his head down and he didn’t make it easy at all and I honestly was cheering for him the last lap I almost came on the radio to congratulate him and he had a little bobble out of Turn 14 that just gave me a little opportunity. These Porsches really side-draft well and I beat him by about 3 inches. But it was a great race and I have to hand it to the TOPP Racing team and the crew and all the competitors.”

Roman De Angelis – No. 78, Bestline Auto Tech/Mark Motors- Gold Cup Winner

“It was pretty uneventful to be honest with you. The front of the Platinum field pulled away, and I pulled away from the guys behind me so although it didn’t seem like I learned a lot, I did. I just basically learned how to focus on my own driving without pushing for somebody else in front of me. So I basically just kept trying to beat my own lap time being as consistent as possible and that was basically the key to it. Really good race for us again. Awesome job by Mark Motors/Bestline Auto Tech and it was a good weekend.”

Source. LST Marketing

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