Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA Road Atlanta Friday Notebook
Friday, October 6, 2017

The Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama lined up for the season finale Friday as part of the Motul Petit Le Mans, in support of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. Two Champions had already been previously crowned – Jake Eidson wrapped up the Overall and Platinum Cup Championships at the previous event at Sonoma Raceway in the No. 24 Kelly-Moss Road and Race entry and David Baker sealed his Platinum Masters Championship bid in Thursday’s round with a win in the No. 56 TOPP Racing/Apex Capital Corporation car.

Eidson started from pole, but was quickly passed by a charging Trenton Estep in the No. 3 JDX Racing/Hertz 911 GT3 Cup car. Estep never looked back, keeping Eidson at bay for the 29-lap season-ender to take his second win of the season. Eidson settled in for his second-place podium spot, his 14th podium in a season where he has collected eight wins.

Chasing the Estep-Eidson duo from a few car lengths back, McKay Snow had the mirrors of his No. 63 Wright Motorsports/Snow Racing car full of the No. 00 of Corey Fergus from the Moorespeed/US LED/Byers Imports team. Snow successfully defended his position and several pass attempts from Fergus throughout the race. Fergus made his final assault on the last lap with a bold move coming out of the final turn to nip Snow at the start-finish line. His third-place finish was Fergus’ 10th podium. He also bagged three wins this season.

Platinum Masters Champion Baker pedaled hard to another victory in class to wrap up his eight-win, 15-podium season. Baker was followed to victory lane by Mark Kvamme in the No. 43 for JDX Racing. Kvamme posted two wins and 15 podiums this year.

But all eyes were on Gold today – the Gold Cup class that is. It was the only championship still up for grabs and it was a tight three-way contest for the top spot. The Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama Gold Cup Champion Roman De Angelis dashed his hopes in Thursday’s contest with a hard crash that rendered his No. 78 Mark Motors Racing car unable to start Friday’s event.

That left the challenge between NGT Motorsport teammates Fred Kaimer in the No. 23 Race Deck entry and the No. 25 of Victor Gomez IV for Mapfre/Porsche Center of Puerto Rico. Kaimer started the day just four points ahead of Gomez – a mere two positions in class on the race track.

Starting second in class with Kaimer starting sixth, Gomez had two choices. He could choose to worry about where Kaimer would end up behind him or focus on passing David Ducote’s No. 6 from the Kelly-Moss Road and Race/Vulcan team.

Picking the latter option, Gomez quickly discovered that the wily Ducote was no easy choice. Returning for just his second weekend this season, the series veteran defended his top spot in class, lap after lap against Gomez. Meanwhile, Kaimer made his way up through the field and set sights on the rear bumper of Gomez. A mid-race duel ensued between the contenders, who swapped the championship on a pair of occasions during the race.

Ducote kept the fight going with Gomez and didn’t give up ground, taking his second win of the weekend and his third in four races this season. Gomez settled for second and will take his second-place championship trophy home, along with a plane load of supplies, to his battered home country of Puerto Rico.

Kaimer backed off from the leaders and chased down a third-place finish to capture his first Gold Cup Championship. It was Kaimer’s first full season in the series, where he posted 11 podiums on his way to the title.

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. Live streaming from both races will air on IMSA.tv.

Delayed television coverage will be provided on major network affiliates in numerous U.S. markets by Sinclair Broadcast Group Oct. 28, 2017, and the broadcast will be available on YouTube 24 hours after it airs on television.