Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA Sonoma Raceway Friday Notebook
Friday, September 15, 2017

As the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama winds its 2017 season to close, the on-track battles are heating up with valuable points on the line and championship dreams coming down to the wire in class competition.

Series teams and drivers ran two practice sessions Friday in their Porsche 911 GT3 Cup entries on the winding and elevated surface of Sonoma Raceway in preparation for two 45-minute sprint races that will bring the series two races closer to its conclusion next month at Road Atlanta for the Motul Petit Le Mans weekend.

Series newcomers Jake Eidson and Trenton Estep started the season strong, and made their mark firmly at the front of the grid early in the season, but the last several races have seen Corey Fergus, as well as Sebastian Landy and McKay Snow dialing up the pressure and taking control of the pace, and the results.

As the ultracompetitive Porsche single-make series made its debut on the 2.385-mile road course Friday morning for the first 40-minute practice session, it was Eidson in the No. 24 Platinum Cup entry for Kelly-Moss Road and Race that set the bar in the cooler temperatures with a fast lap of one minute, 36.382 seconds.

Continuing his momentum from his recent second-place finish at VIRginia International Raceway [VIR], Snow in the No. 63 entry for Wright Motorsports/Snow Racing locked in behind Eidson after 11 laps on the 10-turn circuit to end the session in second in series results.

Snow’s teammate, Anthony Imperato pushed his No. 91 Platinum entry on Yokohama rubber for Wright Motorsports/Henry Repeating Arms to capture third on the speed charts, showcasing the race craft that earned him a third-place finish in the rescheduled Round 7 from Watkins Glen International.

Settling into fourth overall and in class was Landy, who is currently fourth in points. The young driver is entering this weekend with a two-race sweep under his belt from the last round at VIR in the No. 49 entry for Alex Job Racing and Forto Strong Coffee. Landy has been steadily building pace over the course of the season, and picking up valuable points.

And rounding out the top five in Platinum was the No. 19 of Will Hardeman for Moorespeed and Continental Automotive Group. And while the fastest laps of the day’s combined practice sessions were set in the morning, it was Hardeman that led the afternoon session, taking point after 12 laps.

In Platinum Masters competition, for drivers 45 years of age or older, it was Mark Kvamme with JDX Racing in the No. 43 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car that trumped points leader David Baker in the No. 56 entry for TOPP Racing/Apex Capital Corp. Baker and Kvamme have had a spirited battle all season long, trading positions on the podium often and keeping the competitive spirit strong.

Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama Gold Cup Champion Roman De Angelis is aiming for a second series title this season in his No. 78 entry for Mark Motors Racing. The 16-year-old driver from Belle River, Ontario, has been pushing his 2014 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup entry deep into the Platinum field this year, and Friday was no different, as he closed his day with the fastest class lap of 1:39.031, which was fast enough for ninth overall.

Competitors look toward Saturday morning’s 20-minute qualifying session to determine the course of their first 45-minute race feature in the afternoon.

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 Pacific time zone):

Qualifying: 8:40-9 a.m., Saturday, Sept. 16

Race 1 (45 minutes): 1-1:45 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 16

Race 2 (45 minutes): 12:25-1:10 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 17

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: Race 2 will be streamed live on IMSA.TV

TV: Delayed television coverage will be provided on major network affiliates in numerous U.S. markets by Sinclair Broadcast Group Oct. 14, 2017, and the broadcast will be available on YouTube 24 hours after it airs on television.

Twitter: Live text commentary from all sessions at @IMSALive