The Porsche Centre Oakville/Liqui Moly/Policaro Motorsport team made their way south of the border this past weekend to take on rounds nine and ten of the GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. Fresh off a successful weekend at the Toronto Indy, the team was looking to keep the momentum going.
"We had some good results a number of weeks ago at CTMP and carried that momentum to the Indy. We were looking to keep that energy going," said team manager, Dirk Du?nschede.
This is the second time this season that both the GT3 Cup Canada by Yokohama and GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama met, the first being during the Montreal F1 weekend. More than thirty-five Porsche GT3 Cup Cars were on the grid making for a spectacular sight for race fans. While the total number of Cup cars that took part in the combined race weekend was comparable to the Montreal event, that is where the similarities ended. The style and nature of the two tracks couldn’t be more different. Most notable is the overall length with Road America measuring over 6 kilometres, with fourteen turns. Compare that to Montreal’s Circuit Gilles Villeneuve at 4.3 kilometres with the same fourteen turns. A longer track with the same number of turns sets up for a much faster track.
The qualifying session for the team was a tremendous success with Jeff Kingsley and Ethan Simioni lighting up the track with lap times of 02:11.362 for Jeff (P3) and a blistering 02:11.048 for Ethan putting the number 40 car on P2. Ethan’s convincing P2 lap time was less than a second off of the pole setter-a significant achievement for the Porsche GT3 Cup rookie.
The start of race one was an exciting spectacle as all 40 Porsche GT3 Cup cars roared to life with Ethan and Jeff in the front rows. Ethan looked to hold his P2 position but his teammate found the space to make a pass leaving Ethan in P3. Much of race one was mired in carnage as there were too many drivers trying to occupy the same piece of asphalt. The 45-minute race saw three full-course yellows leaving 14 laps of green flag racing, making it a challenge for the drivers to find a groove. Adding to the pressure, GT3 Cup USA veteran, Alan Metni, made a number of attempts to pass Ethan in the closing minutes of green flag racing, however, Ethan managed to keep the number 99 iFly car in his rear-view mirror to take P3. Jeff would cross the finish line in P2 and join his team mate on the podium for the first time this season.
For race two, Jeff started in P4 and Ethan in P6 -as starting position is determined by top lap times in race one.
The pattern for race two followed that of race one with multiple full course yellows. However, it was Ethan’s day as the young rookie took full advantage of the restarts. Shortly after the second restart, Ethan made a skilled move to pass his teammate and stuck the pass moving from P5 to P4.
Shortly after that pass, another course yellow flag flew, allowing the competitors to pack-up and proving an additional opportunity to make up some positions on the restart. Shortly after the green flag dropped again, Ethan found himself a front seat view to a battle for third and fourth unfolding in front of him. As
the Cup cars jostled for position in front of him, Ethan patiently waited for a mistake to be made. His patience paid off as the two cars oversteered, leaving a gap that the number 40 car took full advantage of to move into P3. Ethan managed to hold P3 for the remainder of the race fending off several attacks from Maxwell Root in the No.7 Wright Motorsports Porsche.
Jeff Kingsley would cross the finish line further back of the field in P9 in his class after an unfortunate spin.
Given the strength and size of the field this weekend, it is safe to say this was an excellent weekend for the Porsche Centre Oakville/Liqui Moly/Policaro Motorsport team. It was especially strong for Ethan Simioni as the Porsche GT3 Cup rookie found the podium twice in the face of stiff competition and a high-speed track.
The final two races for Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama at Circuit Mont-Tremblant will be streamed live on IMSA.tv over the course of the weekend on September 27 – 29.