Porsche Carrera Cup North America Presented by the Cayman Islands championship leader Seb Priaulx (United Kingdom) added to his points gap in a dramatic Round 13 of the premier one-make series at VIRginia International Raceway (VIR). The driver of the No. 15 Kelly-Moss Road and Race Porsche 911 GT3 Cup race car entered the 45-minute race on Sunday, October 10, with a 34 point lead over teammate Kay van Berlo (Netherlands) who had driven the No. 3 Kelly-Moss Road and Race Porsche to victory in Saturday’s Round 12. However, a first lap incident ended the Dutchman’s day against the Turn Two barrier of the 3.27-mile, 17-turn track in Alton, Virginia. His 13th-place finish coupled with Priaulx’s victory nearly doubled the Brit’s led to 61 markers leaving the penultimate weekend of the inaugural season of the all-Porsche 911 GT3 Cup race car series.
As the 28-car field came to the green flag at 12:15 p.m. ET for Race 2, the front row of Priaulx – van Berlo promised a head-to-head battle for the top-two in the Drivers’ points. Just behind, in fifth-position on the starting grid, sat Parker Thompson (Canada) who is the third driver with an opportunity to win the Pro title. The anticipated battle would come to a screeching halt against the Turn Two barrier when van Berlo cut across a surging Thompson in the No. 9 JDX Racing Porsche. The right front of the green and white Kelly-Moss Porsche was too damaged to return to competition relegating an uninjured van Berlo to 13th-place and only three-points. While Thompson would settle into third-place, it was Riley Dickinson (New Braunfels, Texas) who charged the leader hard with the No. 53 Team Hardpoint Porsche 911 GT3 Cup. The young Texan pressured Priaulx throughout the race shadowing the navy blue and white Porsche 911 GT3 Cup as closely as a half-second until the checkered flag. However, it was Priaulx scoring his fourth win of the season with Dickinson close-behind in second-place.
Entering the final weekend, three drivers are still mathematically capable of winning the Pro Drivers’ Championship: Priaulx (286 points), van Berlo (225) and Thompson (210). 90 points are available for a pole position (5 points per pole for a total of 15 points) and race sweep (25 points each race win) at the three rounds scheduled for Petit Le Mans at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta, November 10 – 12.
Efrin Castro (Dominican Republic) earned his fourth-win of the season in dramatic style in the No. 65 Team Hardpoint Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car. The hometown team scored the win on the final lap as points leader Alan Metni (Austin, Texas) spun the No. 99 iFly Kelly-Moss Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car in Turn 1. Castro, who had been pressuring hard, narrowly passed the spinning eight-time winner on the outside to secure the victory. The win also kept the title battle for the class dedicated to drivers 40-years old and older who campaign the most current generation Porsche 911 GT3 Cup race car, the type 992. Tim Pappas (Boston, Massachusetts) chased Castro and Metni across the line in the JDX Racing-prepared No. 54 adorned in Pappas’s familiar Black Swan Racing livery.
Metni’s 282 points gives him a 39-point lead over Castro with three races remaining.
Pro-Am 991 Class.
Matt Halcome (Dallas, Georgia) added a seventh Pro-Am 991 class victory to his season tally in the No. 55 Goldcrest Motorsports “Mystery Machine” Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, type 991.2. Halcome holds the strongest control of any championship leader with 278 points to Grady Willingham’s (Birmingham, Alabama) 205 points. Willingham finished in third-place with the No. 21 Goldcrest Motorsports-prepared Porsche. For the second race in a row, Irish Mike’s Racing driver Conor Flynn (Jacksonville, Florida) earned a podium result to prevent a sweep by Goldcrest. Flynn’s second-place matched his season-best finish. Earlier this season he drove the No. 95 Porsche to second-place at both Road America and Indianapolis.
The season-finale tripleheader for Rounds 14, 15 and 16 will come at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta, November 10 – 12. The inaugural champion in each class – Pro, Pro-Am and Pro-Am 991 – of The Porsche Carrera Cup North America Presented by the Cayman Islands will be crowned at a celebration banquet on Friday, November 12.
Full race coverage of the weekend’s 45-minute events can be found on the Porsche Motorsport North America YouTube channel (youtube.com/PorscheMotorsportNorthAmerica). Additional post race coverage and special programing will also be found here. Visit PorscheCarreraCup.us for more.
Seb Priaulx, Driver, No. 15 Kelly-Moss Road and Race Porsche 911 GT3 Cup. Pro-Class Winner.
“I had some good pressure from Riley. We are really happy with the race. We led start-to-finish. I want to make sure my teammate [van Berlo] is OK. The incident he had today was unlucky. We got the job done today. I can’t thank Kelly-Moss and Multimatic enough for the car they gave us. Now we just keep on going. I am going to keep my head down and keep on pushing.”
Riley Dickinson, Driver, No. 53 Team Hardpoint Porsche 911 GT3 Cup.
“It’s so close right now between really us four at the front. It’s a matter of who is going to make the first mistake, and it goes all the way back to qualifying. Overall, it was an unbelievable weekend, we got really great results for the team and for me personally as well. It’s another thing that we can build off of. Going into Road Atlanta we’ve really got some confidence, we just need to go in there and put it all together and get a nice qualifying. We can put ourselves in a position to finish the season off strong. The Porsche Austin 992 was on rails this weekend. There’s not much you can do when everyone is running the exact same lap times. It’s a testament to how competitive the series is right now. The Porsche Carrera Cup North America is by far the most competitive in my opinion. It was a great weekend for us, and a great weekend for Team Hardpoint.”
Parker Thompson, Driver, No. 9 JDX Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup.
“We knew this was going to be a tough one coming in. I have never tested at VIR; I have never been here. We didn’t get test time like the other teams did. I got one day testing in the JDX Porsche, and it was raining. We didn’t get many laps in. Coming into the week, we would have been happy to take away a podium and that is what we accomplished. I am thankful Kay is OK. I don’t think he knew I was there. The JDX guys worked hard and deserved a good result and that is what we got.”
Efrin Castro, Driver, No. 65 Team Hardpoint Porsche 911 GT3 Cup. – Pro-Am Class Winner.
“This race is probably the most satisfying race that I’ve won because I won it by strictly giving it all I had. I fought from the beginning to the end. I was actually fighting other guys who were not in my class, but we’re here to race and I just kept pushing and gave it my all. I want to give a big shout out to Team Hardpoint and the guys on the team, I’m surrounded by great guys that are pushing me and giving me the positive energy that I needed to fight this war today.”
Matt Halcome, Driver, No. 55 Goldcrest Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 Cup.
“That was crazy, Conor [Flynn] was on me. He was driving the wheels off of it, I was driving the wheels off of it. I could just tell certain parts of the track he was better than me and certain parts of the track I was better than him. I just tried to take advantage and get a bigger gap at the places I was better, but he would close it in the area he was better. That was the hardest race I have had. He was glued to me. He raced me clean. Road Atlanta is my favourite track. It is going to be fun. I am looking forward to it.”