Round 1 and 2 at Sebring International Raceway in Sebring, Florida
The following is a summary of competition stories, news, and results from Rounds 1 and 2 of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring held March 15-18, 2017 at Sebring International Raceway in Sebring, Florida.
2017 SERIES CHAMPION TO RECEIVE A COMPLIMENTARY LEASE ON A NEW PORCHE 911 CARRERA
Many motorsport champions walk away from their race cars at the end of a season, never to experience their beloved steed again. That will not be the case for the 2017 Platinum Cup championship winner in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama, a stepping stone to professional competition in the International Motor Sport Association’s (IMSA) WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
Porsche Motorsport North America (PMNA) has announced it will award the 2017 Champion the keys to a new, specially ordered and designed Porsche 911 Carrera for a nine-month on-road journey.
“The iconic sports car has proven itself by producing champions on racetracks around the world for over 50 years,” said Jens Walther, PMNA President and CEO. “Since the Porsche 911 road car and race car have been inseparable, we look forward to rewarding the 2017 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA Champion with the complete 911 experience, and the opportunity to grow the relationship with our brand.”
RACE 1 SUMMARY
Round 1 of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama at Sebring International Raceway for the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh From Florida set the stage for the 2017 racing season, with plenty of close, fast and controlled racing, punctuated by exciting passes and mixed class action.
Former Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama series champion Scott Hargrove, in the No. 9 of Pfaff Motorsports, took the Platinum class victory from pole sitter and Hurley Haywood Scholarship winner Jake Eidson, in the No. 24 of Kelly-Moss Road and Race, with an unexpected outside pass in Turn 1 just before the first full course caution period of the race.
Hargrove held on to his position in his 2017 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup for the remainder of the race, leaving Eidson and newcomer Trenton Estep, in the No. 3 of JDX Racing, to wage a close battle in his wake. Hargrove took the checkered flag with a 0.541 second lead ahead of Eidson and Estep, who ultimately finished second and third in class, respectively.
In the Platinum Masters category, returning veteran and class champion Jeff Mosing, in the No. 01 entry of TOPP Racing, appears to be continuing where he left off in 2016 – firmly in the class lead. Mosing held off his TOPP Racing teammate David Baker to take the win. Canadian competitor Shaun McKaigue, in his No. 34 Pfaff Motorsports entry, wrapped up the podium neatly in third place.
Not to be outdone by the veterans, 16-year-old newcomer Roman de Angelis, in the No. 78 entry of Mark Motors, showed considerable talent, moving his older Gold class 911 GT3 Cup entry up through the field of Platinum cars to take the win in category and seventh place overall. An impressive feat given the depth of talent and horsepower among the 2017 series entries.
His teammate and fellow Canadian series competitor and veteran Marco Cirone followed closely on his heels and held off USA competitor Kurt Fazekas, in the Kelly-Moss Road and Race No. 52 car, to take second place in a sprint to the finish due to a second and final full course caution period late in the race, leaving only minutes on the clock. Fazekas took the third-place step on the Gold Podium to complete the class podiums for Round 1.
The Yokohama Hard Charger Award went to Platinum contender Phil Bloom, of Wright Motorsports, for gaining nine positions to finish in eighth overall from his starting position of 15th on the grid.
Race 1 Driver Quotes:
Scott Hargrove – No. 9, Pfaff Motorsports – Platinum Cup Winner
“Right from the second I jumped into this new 2017 991.2 Cup car I felt like I was right at home. A bit more power – the car moves around a little bit more on you, so you have to manhandle it a little bit more. The Pfaff Motorsports guys did a really good job on setting it up and it was really, really good over the long run. Jake (Eidson) was right there, started on pole and I had a good car at the beginning and was able to put the pressure on him. I stuck my nose in and was able to get the spot in Turn 1, which I’m sure looked pretty cool from the outside. I can’t wait to see the replay. For the rest of the race it was smooth sailing and then the yellows made it a little interesting, especially there at the end. Two-lap dash to the end. I’m just loving driving these cars and can’t wait to come back and do it again.”
Jeff Mosing – No. 01,TOPP Racing – Platinum Masters Winner
“The first race is always good to get behind me without virtually any damage to the car. I just wanted to get out there and get that first round done. It was a lot of fun. Unfortunately, somebody dumped some radiator fluid over there in 16, but I wasn’t able to recognize it in time. Spun off and had to work my way back up to 10th place overall. I’m really excited for the TOPP Racing team and I am really enjoying this brand new Porsche 2017 Cup car. It’s a total blast to drive. Thanks to Porsche, IMSA, Yokohama Tire, and to everyone else.”
Roman De Angelis – No. 78, Mark Motors Racing – Gold Cup Winner
“It was pretty busy out there – exciting. I’m happy we kept it clean throughout the whole race. The car was super good. It got to where I had a good enough gap in Gold so I could start fighting with the Platinum cars to see if I could get a good overall position. We worked our way up to seventh, so I am happy with that.”
RACE 2 SUMMARY
Race 2 of Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama competition on Friday afternoon saw warmer track conditions than the previous day – dry and sunny with a track temperature averaging in the middle to upper 60s.
Although the weather conditions remained consistent, the on-track action played out with a lot of different variables and only one full course caution period.
Hurley Haywood Scholarship winner Jake Eidson swept the Round 2 Platinum Cup win from his starting Pole Position in the No. 24 Kelly-Moss Road and Race entry.
Canadian competitor and Round 1 winner Scott Hargrove, in his Pfaff Motorsports 911 GT3 Cup entry, contested for the lead, but ultimately dropped off track and collected some event signage that blocked the radiator of the car, causing him to overheat and drop back through the field.
This moved JDX Racing’s Trenton Estep up into the second place position and newcomer Corey Fergus, in his No. 00 entry with Moorespeed, took the third place step on the podium. This marked his first podium in series competition and could potentially be a foreshadowing of what is to come.
Jeff Mosing once again proved his unique affinity for the 2017 GT3 Cup car and “drove himself happy” – his company motto – all the way to the top step of the podium in Platinum Masters. TOPP Racing teammate David Baker finished just behind Mosing in second position in his No. 56 entry.
Joining Estep as a newcomer to the series, JDX Racing teammate and off-road racer Mark Kvamme staged a comeback from his spin into the tire barriers in Round 1 to finish on the third step in the Platinum Masters category for Round 2.
Roman de Angelis proved that while he may be young, he drives with the consistency of a veteran, and once again put his No. 78 entry of Mark Motors into a top 10 finish overall and a Victory in Gold Cup competition.
Fred Kaimer, of NGT Motorsport, who was also involved in Kvamme’s spin in the previous round, kept his second race clean and smooth and took second place in class, pushing Kelly-Moss Road and Race’s Kurt Fazekas to the third step on the podium.
The Yokohama Hard Charger Award for Round 2 went to Gold contender Alan Metni, of Kelly-Moss Road and Race, for gaining two positions to finish in 26th overall, from his starting position of 28th on the grid.
Race 2 Driver Quotes
Jake Eidson – No. 24, Kelly-Moss Road and Race – Platinum Cup Winner
“It was anything but smooth sailing. It was pretty mellow midpoint and we had a pretty good gap and I was just trying to control the race. But when the yellow came out, I had my work cut out for me. But the Kelly-Moss team did a great job to set up the car. I also want to thank Hurley Haywood for getting me here. If it wasn’t for him and everyone with this scholarship, I wouldn’t even be here. Big thanks to them and hopefully there will be more to come.”
Jeff Mosing – No. 01, TOPP Racing – Platinum Masters Winner
“I’m not sure if with all the WeatherTech rubber going down that it made the track conditions all that different, but it was a little slippery out there. The Yokohamas did their job, I just worked them a little harder than I should have. Trying to keep pace with those guys, it’s tough being an old man, but I tried and gave it my all. Todd Opperman and those guys did a great job with the car. I stayed out of trouble this time around. A little contact with (McKay) Snow at one point but nothing major. They did a really good job with the car for me to come into seventh, I’m really happy for that.”
Roman De Angelis – No. 78, Mark Motors Racing – Gold Cup Winner
“I am mainly just learning the difference between the Platinum car and the Gold car and how to manage tires a lot better. Yesterday I think I just babied the tires a little too much. I could have pushed a lot more in the beginning and still had tires and the end. I definitely figured out a lot more today about how the car changes throughout the race. That was probably the biggest thing. I could hang with the competition but it was really different. I had to pick when I was going to push and when I was going to pass. It’s different in different places. We were a little better in some of the corners, but on the straightaways, we definitely pulled a ton.”
TV TUNE IN INFORMATION:
Delayed television coverage of Sebring’s Rounds 1 and 2 will be provided on May 13, 2017 on major network affiliates in numerous U.S. markets by Sinclair Broadcast Group. The broadcast will also be available on YouTube 24 hours after it airs on television.
BARBER MOTORSPORTS PARK
April 21 – 23, 2017
Barber Motorsports Park, Birmingham, AL
OF NOTE: Former GT3 Cup Challenge Champions Take Podium Finish in Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge:
Montreal drivers Jesse Lazare and Chris Green, former GT3 Cup Challenge USA and Canada Champions (respectively) finished second in in the highly competitive GS class in the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge series race at Sebring International Raceway this weekend. The duo led the race early but dropped back to remain consistently within the top six in contention before ultimately taking second place.