Hardpoint Motorsports pulled off two 2nd place finishes in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta over the weekend and one 5th place finish in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge.
Rob Ferriol and Randal Bryant both competed in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama doubleheader, which started with their first 45-minute race on Thursday afternoon. Ferriol started his No. 5 Moorespeed/GridRival Porsche GT3 from third and fell to fourth, but rapidly worked his way back to second – his 7th consecutive 2nd place finish of the season. Bryant had one of his best outings of the season after qualifying his No. 15 St. Thomas Cycleboats Porsche GT3 in 5th. Bryant pushed himself to the limits and made some significant advances throughout the race but ultimately had to retire after a spin caused a mechanical failure.
Race 2 of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama marked the final race of the 2019 season. Ferriol had an exciting race competing amongst the top of the Gold Cup class and even getting in the mix of the Platinum Masters class who have 50 extra horsepower and ABS brakes. Ferriol stayed consistent and clean and crossed the finish line in 2nd place. Ferriol finished on the podium ten times in his 12 races with Moorespeed. His full-season record of 13 podium finishes in the year’s 16 races was allowed Ferriol to finish 2nd in the 2019 Gold Cup point standings. Bryant was unable to compete in Race 2 due to a situational health issue. The 2020 IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama season begins at the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, March 13 – 15.
Ferriols’ weekend didn’t end after his second trip to the podium. Ferriol shifted his focus over to the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge and joined teammate Spencer Pumpelly to co-drive the No. 18 Moorespeed/GridRival Audi R8 LMS GT4. It was Ferriol who took the start from the sixth-row grid position in a competitive Grand Sport field. Three yellow flag restarts occurred in his opening stint, but Ferriol made his way up to fourth in the opening half of the two-hour race.
Strategy began to play into the field, and Moorespeed pitted Ferriol with 45 minutes remaining to put Pumpelly in the action. Three laps into his stint, the fourth yellow flag of the race came out and unfortunately shifted Pumpelly to 18th. Competing at his home track, Pumpelly pushed through the field up to 5th place when time expired, and the checkered flag flew. A post-race penalty to a competitor moved the No. 18 Moorespeed/GridRival up one position in the final results, giving the Moorespeed Audi a 4th place finish.
Rob Ferriol – Driver of the No. 5 Porsche GT3
“It was a really compressed couple of days. I think we had a grand total of eight minutes between Michelin Pilot Challenge qualifying and Race 1 of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge. Testing last week really put us in a good position both with the car and me, doing a lot of reps for a long period of time, just to physically prepare.
Race 2 was crazy at the start. It is tough when you’re at the head of the Gold field, and you are mixed with Platinum Masters cars going from a rolling start. You don’t have the power to gap them into Turn 1. I had a good race with three Platinum cars throughout the 45-minutes, which is fun when they have 50 extra horsepower and ABS brakes. It was a clean run, and we had a good finish. I would have liked to have won, but I can be happy and not satisfied at the same time.
The strategy didn’t quite play out the way we wanted it to in the Michelin Pilot Challenge race. The yellow kind of killed that for us. At the pass around, we were at the back of the GS field. To come all the way back and finish 4th is a hell of a drive. The team and drivers didn’t quit. Rob put in an iron man run, he did more laps than anyone this weekend, and did a great job for us.”
Randal Bryant – Driver of the No. 15 Porsche GT3
“Road Atlanta had its highs and lows! The team did a great job of setting up the car and motivating me to push the car and myself to the limit. As result, I was able to set my personal best lap time of 1:25.25 during Qualifying to give me a starting position of 5th in class and 16th overall for Race 1. During Race 1, I had to fend off Efrin Castro and chase down Bart Collins for the majority of the first half of the race. I was finally able to distance myself from Castro and started reeling in Collins. On lap 18, I was able to pass Collins in Turn 10. Unfortunately, on Lap 19, during my attempt to close in on Kurt Fazekas for 4th in class, I spun the car in Turn 3 and fell to last place in class and 22nd overall. A couple of laps later, the team spotted smoke coming from the left rear of the car, and unfortunately, I had to retire from the race.
Race 2 was an extreme disappointment as I was unable to compete due to my health being affected by dehydration. The year has been a great experience and is one I will never forget. I have learned so much and met some of the greatest competitors and teams along the way. I can’t thank Rob Ferriol with Hardpoint enough for assisting me in making my dream come true to race in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama. Also, I would like to thank Mike Skeen and Spencer Pumpelly for their coaching, and TPC Racing and all the crew for taking me under their wing and giving me a competitive car all season.”
Source. Hardpoint Motorsports