Parker Thompson (Canada) used a second-place finish in Race 1 of the Porsche Carrera Cup North America Presented by the Cayman Islands at Road America to position his No. 3 JDX Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup race car for a convincing victory in today’s Race 2. The first year series truly came into its own at the mid-point of the 16-race season as field-deep battles raged for the full 45-minute race at the Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin track. The results in Rounds 7 and 8 here at “America’s National Park of Speed” tightened the championship rankings in both Pro and Pro-Am 991 while a victory by Alan Metni (Austin, Texas) helped consolidate his position atop the Pro-Am class driver standings.
The grid for today’s second race at the 4.048-mile natural terrain road course – Round 8 of the 16-race championship – was set based on the fastest race lap of yesterday’s Round 7 placing Race 1 winner Kay van Berlo (Netherlands) side-by-side with Thompson. The long charge into turn 1 of the 14-turn track brought the top-two rows into the first right-hand corner side-by-side and nose-to-tail. Thompson used the circumstances to gain the edge into the first turn taking a lead he would never relinquish. Behind the Canadian, Riley Dickinson (New Braunfels, Texas) raced his way from third-place on the grid into second-place around Seb Priaulx (United Kingdom) in the No. 15 Kelly-Moss Road and Race Porsche. A brief yellow did little to minimize the competitive energies in the pack. Thompson would be challenged after two yellow flags by a charging Dickinson. The Texan’s attempt came up short, but he held second-position until contact later with van Berlo dropped him deeper into the running (he would be credited with seventh-place). van Berlo would receive a penalty for the incident causing the points leader to be awarded 15th-place, his worst finish of the year.
Round 8 continued to narrow the points chase entering the season’s second-half. As Thompson pulled away slightly in the orange and white 911 GT3 Cup race car backed by Beyer Porsche, Priaulx moved into second-place while veteran Leh Keen (Atlanta, Georgia) earned third-place in the unofficial results driving the No. 12 Porsche for 311RS Motorsport.
Alan Metni (Austin, Texas) continued to put a stranglehold on the Pro-Am class, for drivers 40-years old and older racing the newest Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car, type 992. Metni has missed the top-step of the podium only once winning seven of the eight rounds. He was challenged today by Efrin Castro (Dominican Republic) near the 30-minute mark. Castro, driving the No. 65 Team Hardpoint EBM Porsche, is the only other driver to win a Pro-Am class race this season. Castro carried the pass too deeply into turn one spinning the No. 65 moving John Goetz (Weston, Connecticut) in the No. 57 of Wright Motorsports into second-place. Curt Swearingin (Chattanooga, Tennessee), piloting the No. 17 ACI Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 Cup race car, took the third-spot on the podium for the second day in a row.
Pro-Am 991 Class.
While the fights raged at the front of the field for the overall win, the Pro-Am 991 class for drivers competing in the previous type 991 generation of the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup race car were in a four-deep battle of their own. Grady Willingham (Birmingham, Alabama) led the train entering the final turn when Saturday’s winner Matt Halcome (Dallas, Georgia) attempted a pass entering the uphill to the checkered flag. The Georgian went wide off the track and missed his chance at back-to-back wins. Willingham took the first win of the season for the No. 21 Goldcrest Motorsports machine. Connor Flynn (Jacksonville, Florida) earned a second-place in his series debut driving the No. 95 Irish Mike’s Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car just ahead of Tom Balames (Bloomfield Hills, Michigan). It was Balames’s second third-place of the weekend in the No. 59 Kelly-Moss Road and Race Porsche.
Parker Thompson, Driver, No. 9 JDX Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup.
“It feels incredible to get the JDX boys back on top. We really fought back from Watkins Glen. They gave me a car that was obviously good enough to win because we pulled off into the sunset, we even had a little bit of damage from the banging at the start. To have that strong of a car, I can’t thank the crew and our partners enough.”
Seb Priaulx, Driver, No. 15 Kelly-Moss Road and Race Porsche 911 GT3 Cup.
“I had a little bit of a cheeky weekend really. Overall, I am happy to be on the podium at the end. It is really hard to follow around here. I made a little mistake back at Watkins Glen which lost me the championship lead, so I start in P2 at the start. We got it back a little bit here today, so I am happy.”
Leh Keen, Driver, No. 12 311RS Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 Cup.
“It seems it is getting wilder and wilder. Everyone is running tighter. The starts are getting more aggressive. It is just really awesome to be out there. It is really starting to heat up. There are a lot of good drivers. For us at 311RS Motorsport, we got another podium. We have to keep thinking about how this is the team’s first year at this level, so it is pretty cool to be up at the front. We are happy to be on the podium again, it is always fun to spray champagne.”
Grady Willingham, Driver, No. 21 Goldcrest Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, Type 991.
“That was a battle. Every lap took everything I had. It was just a great race. It is what this series is all about. I am proud to be a part of the Carrera Cup North America. I was having trouble with Turn Five yesterday and I knew that was the area I needed to improve. So, I kept going over-and-over ‘this is what I have to do’ and that is what I did every lap. It made all the difference today.”
Full race coverage of both 45-minute Road America event can be found on the Porsche Motorsport North America YouTube channel (youtube.com/PorscheMotorsportNorthAmerica). Additional post race coverage and special programing will also be found here.