Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA VIRginia International Raceway Saturday Notebook
Saturday, August 26, 2017

VIRginia International Raceway (VIR) knows how to shake things up. Sprinkle in a little Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama action, and you have a catalyst for change.

Consistency has been the name of the game this season, with the top three competitors in Platinum Cup points finishing routinely in the same positions each event. While the processional progression stuttered slightly at the last race in Road America a few weeks ago, Saturday at VIR it was entirely upended.

Sebastian Landy claims the 3.27-mile scenic road course in southwest Virginia as his home track and Saturday that claim led to his first overall and Platinum Cup victory of the 2017 season in the No. 49 entry for Alex Job Racing and Forto Strong Coffee.

It was an epic battle throughout the 45-minute sprint race, with cars running four-wide at one point, multiple changes for position, and drag races down the track's longer straights. In the end, with an amazing pass on leader McKay Snow just before the white flag flew, it was Landy who came out on top in front of his hometown crowd of friends and family.

While the final pass for the lead was spectacular, it was eventual second-place finisher McKay Snow, in the No. 63 entry for Wright Motorsports and Snow Racing, who set the standard for impressive for much of the first of two races this weekend at VIR. The young driver led from the pole, and not only held on to his position and set the fastest lap of the race, but built a significant gap to hold the lead for 22 of 24 laps.

A yellow-flag on Lap 21 to recover the No. 78 Gold Cup entry of Roman De Angelis for Mark Motors Racing caused the field to pack up, and created a “green, white, checkered” scenario, putting immense pressure on the front runners when racing resumed.

The Platinum pack of Landy, Jake Eidson in the No. 24 Kelly-Moss Road and Race entry, and the No. 3 of Trenton Estep for JDX/Hertz Racing was ready for a fight to the finish. The three competitors had been driving in a three-car freight train since Lap 11, at one point running four-wide as they entered lapped car traffic.

Landy and Estep split the No. 24 of Eidson on Lap 19, creating a brilliant pass that put the crowd on itsfeet and the pair up to second and third in class respectively, relegating Eidson to fourth before the yellow.

The confident move put them hard on Snow’s heels at the late-race caution, and as the field went back to green, it was a drag race to the finish that allowed for Landy’s victory, with Snow claiming his first series podium after a nearly flawless performance.

Estep, who has finished on the Platinum podium seven times in only nine starts, captured his eighth podium finish to collect valuable championship points.

In Platinum Masters competition, for drivers ages 45 years and older, it was smooth sailing for David Baker in the No. 56 entry for TOPP Racing. Baker started in 10th position overall and not only held his ground throughout the race, but managed to enter a battle for position with Gold leader De Angelis for some mixed class racing.

De Angelis, who was leading the Gold class, sustained a mechanical issue and was forced to retire from the race, pushing Baker up to an eighth-place overall finish and victory in class over Mark Kvamme in the No. 43 entry for JDX Racing.

Kvamme, who started in 16th position overall, ran a superior race, gaining five positions to finish 11th overall and second in Platinum Masters, earning him the Yokohama Hard Charger award for gaining the most positions in Platinum competition.

In Gold Cup competition, the No. 25 of Victor Gomez IV running for NGT Motorsport/Mapfre/Porsche Center of Puerto Rico started in 11th overall and began his steady hunt for De Angelis, but just minutes into the race, his teammate Fred Kaimer in the No. 23 car jumped into his mirrors, having gained two positions in two laps.

The two marched cleanly through the field, gaining positions and the advantage after De Angelis’s retirement to finish 10th and 11th overall, and first and second in class to round out the podium presentations for the day.

The GT3 Cup Challenge USA competitors will run one more 45-minute sprint race Sunday morning to complete the race weekend, which will stream live on IMSA.TV and IMSA Radio (IMSA.com).

Qualifying:

Snow really was “ahead” Saturday in Qualifying, following the family motto and title of their website. The 19-year-old pushed the loud pedal early and hard in the 20-minute qualifying session, getting a good gap early in the crowd of 911 GT3 Cup cars, setting his fastest time on Lap 3 of one minute, 48.136 seconds to take the pole position in Platinum Cup. Believing the time to be good enough to stick, the No. 63 of Wright Motorsports/Snow Racing pulled in to wait out the rest of the session.

Teammate Anthony Imperato in the No. 91 entry for Henry Repeating Arms made a valiant charge early on, and continued to chase Snow’s lap-times, with the No. 24 of Jake Eidson of Kelly-Moss Road and Race hard on his rear bumper. But neither driver had enough juice and as the session concluded, Snow’s lap stonewalled the competition.

As anticipated in Gold Cup competition, Roman De Angelis didn’t disappoint, running a fast lap of 1:49.280 in his No. 78 Mark Motors entry, taking the class lead and qualifying in ninth overall, just ahead of the highest qualifying Platinum Masters entry, David Baker in the No. 56 for TOPP Racing who started in 10th.

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): 11:05-11:50 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 27

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 on Sept. 16, and the broadcast will be available on YouTube 24 hours after it airs on television.

Twitter: Live text commentary from all sessions at @IMSALive

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