Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA Road America Saturday Notebook
Saturday, August 5, 2017

As the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama teams prepped for the first of two rounds of sprint races that will accrue points for the Road America race weekend Saturday, they were relieved to make the switch to Yokohama slicks due to a complete reversal of weather conditions.

In support of IMSA’s WeatherTech SportsCar Challenge race weekend in Elkhart Lake, the series faced abysmal conditions Friday for the rescheduled Round 7 race from Watkins Glen International. But as the competitors flipped the switch from Watkins Glen to Road America points, the weather conditions improved drastically, creating a perfect backdrop for a 45-minute sprint around the 4.048-mile, 14-Turn road course.

As the longest circuit on the schedule, this event can be the hardest to master, even for the most experienced driver.

With a practiced flick of the green flag by Dr. Michael Steiner, Member of the Executive Board for Research and Development at Porsche AG, polesitter Corey Fergus in the No. 00 US LED/Byers Imports entry for Moorespeed proved that he had just that… More speed.

Columbus, Ohio, native Fergus led the 45-minute sprint from flag-to-flag, his second victory of the season in Platinum Cup competition, and better yet, in front of fans, friends and supporters who made the trip to watch him race at an event that’s close to home.

He was challenged by the ever-vigilant Jake Eidson in his No. 24 911 GT3 Cup entry for Kelly-Moss Road and Race, the hometown team. Eidson started the race in third position, but quickly gained ground on the first lap out with a quick move around the No. 63 of McKay Snow for Snow Racing/Wright Motorsports. Settling into second place, Eidson maintained a steady pace and wound his way through the bucolic countryside just behind Fergus, patiently awaiting any opportunity.

A late full-course caution period gave him his chance. The No. 99 of Alan Metni in the iFly/Kelly-Moss Road and Race entry went off track at the end of Lap 14 in Turn 12, causing a short caution flag period for retrieval. As the field went back to green just two short laps later, Eidson made a dramatic move on the restart to take the lead from Fergus through Turn 1, but he went wide and gave the position back shortly thereafter.

With only a few minutes remaining in the race, Eidson locked in behind Fergus and another full-course caution period for multiple car contact was issued on Lap 18 and ended the race under yellow, preserving Eidson’s second place effort.

The third-place position in Platinum competition was firmly in the hands of Snow for nearly the entire race, but the No. 49 of Sebastian Landy in his Forto Strong Coffee/Alex Job Racing entry was patiently crowding him as the race progressed, until an opportunity presented itself on Lap 12, when he overtook Snow to settle into third position, which he held throughout the remainder of the race to finish on the class podium. This was his first podium of the season.

Anthony Imperato, in the No. 91 Henry Repeating Arms entry for Wright Motorsports started in eighth place, but made a concerted drive up through traffic to finish in the top five overall, which earned him the Yokohama Hard Charger Award in Platinum competition, for improving the most positions in class during the race.

In Platinum Masters, a championship for drivers 45 years or older, it was a triumphant return for Jeff Mosing in the No. 01 for TOPP Racing/Mosing Motorcars who fulfilled his company slogan and “drove himself happy” all the way to the Masters victory, giving him redemption from his lack of points accrued at Watkins Glen. It’s his first time back on the Podium since Circuit of The Americas and goes a long way to catching him back up in the points.

His arch, but friendly rivals Mark Kvamme in the No. 43 entry of JDX Racing and Mosing’s TOPP Racing teammate David Baker in the No. 56 Apex Capital Corp. had a great battle just behind Mosing. Baker started in 11th overall, and gained ground to ultimately finish in second in class and in 10th overall.

Kvamme had an uphill battle throughout the race, pushing up to as high as 14th from his original starting position of 15th, but he faltered on Lap 3, dropping two positions. He recovered quickly and gained speed, pushing back up to 14th to hold it through both late yellow flag periods to finish in third on the podium.

The Gold Cup competition had a shake-up Saturday, as the usual suspect, AKA Roman De Angelis in his No. 78 Bestline Auto/Mark Motors Racing entry led the start from the class pole position, but it was soon discovered that he had a brake light failure, which caused IMSA Officials to issue a Mechanical Black Flag, forcing him to pit on Lap 8 for repairs. The crew was expedient in getting him back on track in under eight minutes, but his loss of position pushed him out of podium contention.

Kurt Fazekas, of Kelly-Moss Road and Race pushed his No. 52 famous purple and green machine to the head of the Gold Cup pack and advanced one position from his starting point, ultimately taking the victory in the class for cars from 2014 – 2016.

He was followed in lockstep by Gold Cup veteran Michael Levitas in the No. 36 entry for TPC Racing/DSC Sport. It was Levitas’ first podium finish of the season.

Victor Gomez IV in the No. 25 Mapfre/Porsche Center of Puerto Rico entry for NGT Motorsport was in a battle throughout the race with Platinum entry Kvamme, with the two swapping positions throughout the race. Gomez was able to navigate traffic between the two caution periods and ultimately gained three spots to finish third in class and 13th overall.

Dr. Steiner presented all of the trophies to the series competitors, as it was the first race he has attended in North America.

“First of all, it’s really a spectacular racetrack,” said Steiner. “It comes close to the most famous, European racetracks, so I enjoyed it very much. The race was really fun, it was fair and the right guy won. It was wonderful and I had an awesome experience.”

For more information about Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama, visit www.imsa.com, and follow hashtags #GT3USA and @IMSA on Twitter or IMSA on Facebook. 

Schedule (all times ET):

Race 2 (45 minutes): 10:40 - 11:25 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 6

Race Coverage:

Live timing: All on-track sessions at scoring.imsa.com and on the official IMSA app for iOS, Android and Windows

Live streaming: All on-track sessions will be broadcast on imsa.tv

TV: Delayed television coverage will be provided on major network affiliates in numerous U.S. markets by Sinclair Broadcast Group Aug. 19, and the broadcast will be available on YouTube 24 hours after it airs on television.

Twitter: Live text commentary from all sessions at @IMSAlive