Everything is bigger in Texas, including the run up to turn one. This weekend, Pirelli Trophy West USA returns to the home of the United States Grand Prix as the Circuit of the Americas near Austin, Texas hosts a double-header race weekend that promises another weekend of exciting Porsche competition.
The 20-turn, 3.427-mile track opened in 2012 and has hosted nearly every major form of motorsports in the world, including its premier event, Formula One. Drivers and teams anticipate the annual event, which has seen action as hot as the southern Texas weather.
Once again, the series will split the field of over 30 Porsche GT3 and GT4 Cup Cars, with two races each on Saturday and Sunday.
Diamond and Diamond Masters (2017-2018 991.2 GT3 Cup), Platinum (2015-16 991.1 GT3 Cup) and Gold (2010-2013 997.2 GT3 Cup) will compete in their own set of races, with Silver (Cayman Clubsport GT4 MR) and Bronze (2016 Cayman Clubsport GT4 Trophy) classes contesting a separate pair of events.
TruSpeed Autosports’ Kevin Woods has dominated the Diamond class, with victories in six of eight races. But Loren Beggs (911 Design) remains only 14 points behind on the strength of one victory and a succession of second-place finishes. In Diamond Masters class, Competition Motorsports’ Michael Zuieback holds a 73-point lead over teammate Mike McAlister, with Jim Walsh and Preston Calvert close behind in third and fourth.
The story of the Platinum class this season has been 21-year-old Sean McAlister, who has been victorious in all eight races and holds an impressive 111-point lead in the title chase. The Competition Motorsports driver knows he has his work cut out for him if he hopes to take another overall victory at the famous circuit, which is already one of his favorites.
“It’s got all the right elements,” said McAlister about the COTA layout. “It has fast esses, fast straightaways, tight hairpins, and all the elevation changes. Turn 1 is already iconic, and there’s usually a lot of action there. It’s such a tight hairpin, and drivers are inclined to brake late to try and gain positions, so you have to hold your line. COTA has a great atmosphere – you know you’re at one of the best tracks in the country, given all the facilities put in place for the F1 race. It’s cool to race somewhere yourself that you’ll watch later in the year on television. It should be great racing. The gen-twos (Porsche 991.2 generation) will be able to take better advantage of the high-speed areas than I will, so I’m not sure there’s a chance for me to get another overall win, but if any of them make a mistake I’ll hopefully be there for the win!”
In the Silver Class, The Racer’s Group teammates Chris Bellomo and Jim Rappaport have engaged in spirited battles through each race, with Bellomo coming out ahead in seven of the eight contests. Meanwhile, the Bronze class has seen some of the strongest competition in the series, with four drivers – Black Sheep Racing’s Laura Ely, Competition Motorsports’ Carl Tofflemire and Steve Goldman, and Flying Lizards’ Martin Brauns – sharing the top step of the podium and exchanging in multiple lead changes throughout the eight races. But with three victories and top-two finishes in each race, Ely holds an 86-point lead over Tofflemire.
“Competent Motorsport has always appreciated the COTA venue,” said Competent Motorsport President Greg Franz. “We were one of the first to support COTA with the race in 2012 for the return of Formula 1 to the US. We have also enjoyed running there with the Australian V8 Super Cars and Pirelli World Challenge in past seasons. Racing on this world-class track is always both fun and challenging for our drivers. We look forward to having the same experience at this upcoming event July 6th through 8th!”
Source. Sunday Group