Astute motorsports fans watching Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama action this season likely recognize the name of Geoffrey Boss, who drives the No. 12 Wyndham/Paul Davis Porsche 911 for JDX Racing in the Platinum Cup class.
Boss, who hails from Narragansett, Rhode Island, came up through the open-wheel racing ranks. After starting in Skip Barber competition, he made his way into Indy Lights – scoring a victory on the streets of Toronto in 1999 – and eventually making it all the way to the Champ Car World Series with Dale Coyne Racing in 2003.
But after making his final Champ Car start in Surfers Paradise, Australia in 2003, Boss sort of disappeared from the scene.
“When I did my last season in Champ Car with Dale Coyne, our first daughter was born soon after the season ended,” Boss explains. “All of a sudden, one year off turned into two, three, four, five and so on. I’d always wanted to go back and get my Master’s Degree in Business. I did that thinking, ‘I’ll be back racing before you know it.’
“So, I got my MBA and I did a little coaching here and there. I worked with Ferrari Challenge, I did some other stuff here and there to kind of keep my hand in racing, but like I said, one year moved onto another. I did get my degree, and then we had two more daughters.”
Boss retained the desire to go racing, and with the help of one of his mentors from the Skip Barber days back in the 1990s – JDX Racing Founder and Co-Owner Jeremy Dale – he’s finally back at it this year in Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA.
“We’d had some close calls over the years, like, ‘Yeah, I think maybe this might work, or maybe that,’” Boss says. “I really thought it was going to come together last year. We had a sponsor package that was pretty good, but then it got delayed until this year. I would say this iteration with Jeremy has sort of been a two-year thing that finally came to fruition this year.”
This season has been somewhat of a reinvention for Boss. In his previous racing career, Boss raced open-wheel, formula cars.
This time around, it’s a sports car, and Boss’ only real sports car experience prior to this year was a lone Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring start back in the ‘90s. This year, he’s learning the nuances of sports car racing.
And not just any sports car, but the iconic – and unique – Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car.
“Everything I did previously was really a formula car, so I did think I would be a little behind, jumping in with a different category,” Boss says. “Most of the people that I’d talked to said, ‘You’re looking at kind of half a season to go. Why doesn’t it do this? Why can’t we do that with settings or springs or shocks?’ I think that’s pretty much how it’s played out.”
Boss is currently eighth in the Platinum Cup point standings, scoring season-best race results so far of sixth at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and Sebring International Raceway. This weekend, he will race as close to his Rhode Island home as Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA gets, at Watkins Glen International for a pair of 45-minute races, one Friday afternoon at 1:45 p.m. ET and the other at 9:20 a.m. ET Saturday morning.
Both races will be streamed live on IMSA.com with complete IMSA Radio commentary. Boss is looking forward to getting back to The Glen.
“It’s been a while,” Boss says. “I came up through the Skip Barber system and we used to run there as part of the East Coast series, so I certainly had miles there in the Formula Ford days. I think probably the last time I was there was the Barber-Dodge Pro Series, and that would have been ’95 or ’96, I know we raced there.
“I think I was third in ’95 at The Glen, and then I won in ’96. I hate to say it, but I think that may have been the last time I was at Watkins Glen.”
In addition to getting reacquainted with some racetracks from his past, Boss also is enjoying the opportunity to reconnect with several friends he made in the sport along the way. He’s rediscovering the fact that racing is a small, tight-knit community.
“I must admit, one of the joys of coming back has been to see so many friendly faces,” Boss says. “I bumped into Burke Harrison, who was my engineer for several years in Indy Lights, and he’s been working on one of the IMSA teams as an engineer. One of the lead mechanics for Wright (Motorsports), he was a Skip Barber guy, Dave. (JDX teammate) Mark (Kvamme)’s coach, Mike Zimicki, was my three-day instructor way back at Road America.
“That’s been a pleasant surprise. I remember coming up through Skip Barber and there were mechanics, crew chiefs and they had the same aspirations that we did. They wanted to move up and get to IndyCar one day or get to NASCAR one day, so I’m just as thrilled when I bump into a guy who used to be a Skip Barber mechanic and now he’s a crew chief, or now he’s an official.”
And years after he was an open-wheel racer, now, Boss is a sports car driver. And he’s having a blast.
“I’m really enjoying my time with GT3 Cup and the people around it, from officials to the media to the other drivers, the other crews,” Boss says. “Yeah, a bit of the fun is back from a series standpoint.”
The doubleheader of Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama races are part of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen weekend.