Hardpoint Motorsports had a highly successful weekend in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama at VIRginia International Raceway with a win and a second-place finish from Rob Ferriol and two hard-fought races from Randal Bryant who captured a top 5 finish. Ferriol’s double duty performance had him also leading laps in his debut IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge.
The notoriously warm weather at VIRginia International Raceway was interrupted with scattered showers that factored into the driver’s performances over the weekend. Ferriol was able to qualify his No. 5 Moorespeed/GridRival Porsche GT3 in 2nd place while Bryant held the 6th spot on the grid in his No. 15 St. Thomas Cycleboats Porsche GT3.
Race 1 of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama presented challenging track conditions from the previous night’s rainfall. Ferriol’s season rival, Sebastian Carazo started from pole position and was overtaken by Ferriol on Lap 10. Ferriol was able to hold Carazo off for the remaining five laps and capture the victory in front of his home crowd. Bryant gained valuable race craft experience in the slick conditions and finished in 7th place.
With his sights set on the top spot of the podium, Ferriol started strong from second place on the grid for Race 2. Running similar lap times to pole sitter Carazo, Ferriol was never able to overcome the traffic that separated him from victory and crossed the finish line in 2nd place, capturing his 9th podium of the season. Bryant had an exciting race earning the Yokohama Hard Charger Award for being the Gold Cup driver who improved the most overall positions from start to finish after starting 22nd and finishing 19th overall and 5th in the Gold Cup category.
Ferriol’s debut in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge driving the No. 18 Moorespeed/GridRival Audi R8 LMS GT4 proved bittersweet. Ferriol was forced to start the race from the back of the grid after weather canceled the qualifying session the day before. Rain began to fall 10-minutes after the green flag, and Ferriol was the only car to not pit for rain tires, which moved him into the lead. Holding off the rest of the field the best he could on slicks, Ferriol handed driving duty over to teammate, Spencer Pumpelly in 8th place. Pumpelly fought through two full course yellow’s and climbed up to 7th before having to recover from a spin and ultimately finished in 13th.
Next up for the Hardpoint drivers in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama is WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, September 21-22, in Monterey, California. The podium finishes from VIR can be seen on NBC Sports Network on Friday, September 6th at noon EDT.
Rob Ferriol – Driver of the No. 5 Moorespeed/GridRival Porsche GT3 and No. 18 Moorespeed/GridRival Audi R8 LMS GT4
“It’s fantastic to finally get a win here at VIR. My family is here, I have a lot of friends here, so it’s awesome to bring a win home. My goal was to bring the car to the checker, turn consistent laps, keep the car clean, and see how it plays out. I got into a rhythm, kept my head down, and kept going.
You’ve got to be happy with the result. We would’ve loved to have P1 in Race 2, and we certainly had the pace. But I love coming to VIR in and of itself. My wife surprised me with a whole bunch of people this weekend. I had friends from middle school, family, my club racing buddies, so many people out rooting us on. It’s awesome to be able to get on the podium and spray some champagne on them.
As for the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge, we wish we would have finished in the top 10 because we had the car, but unfortunately there at the end with the restarts we got shuffled back. I’m extremely pleased with the Audi, the series, the race, and the Moorespeed team. I’ve never driven in the wet before on slick tires, so there were a lot of firsts. David and our team engineer John Horton did a great job of putting this program together so quickly and having that car ready to go. We got in the car for the first practice, and it was immediately up to speed. It was perfect out of the box, and that’s a tribute to the Moorespeed guys.”
Randal Bryant – Driver of the No. 15 St. Thomas Cycleboats Porsche GT3
“The VIR race weekend turned out to be a very wonderful and memorable experience. To start, we experience extremely hot and humid weather for Thursday’s Promoter Test Day and Friday’s Practice session. Then as if a switch was thrown overnight, the weather dropped 34 degrees and rain set in just in time for the early morning qualifying session on Saturday. The change in weather sent the crew scrambling to make changes to adapt to the wet, cold, wet conditions which were expected to last well into Race 1. I have to admit my confidence level, and expectations were low because of my limited experience in rain racing.
Nevertheless, I strapped in and gave it my best shot during qualifying. Unfortunately, the crash course was not enough to help me secure a good starting position or a Race 1 podium finish. However, I did gain a vast amount of knowledge and was able to reduce my best qualifying lap time by 7 seconds in Race 1. Sunday’s weather brought us a dry track and new hopes for Race 2. I had to start in the second to last row due to the less than stellar performance the day before. Little did I know this poor starting position allowed me to show off my dry track skills and win the Yokohama Hard Charger Award in Race 2. Thanks to the TPC Racing’s crew for a great set up and taking good care of me in a less than perfect race weather.”
Source. Speed Group