Each of the three Moorespeed drivers at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca finished on the podium in their respective IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama classes on Saturday, including a third-place overall result for Riley Dickinson. Rob Ferriol was second in Gold Cup, while team newcomer Chris Bellomo finished as the runner-up in the Platinum Masters class.
Each driver will run a second 45-minute race on the 2.238-mile track on Sunday, with the green flag at 4:20 p.m. PDT (7:20 p.m. EDT).
"This was a great team day for everyone at Moorespeed, and really goes out to my dad back in Texas who isn’t feeling well," Moorespeed President David Moore said. "We made some big changes overnight to our setup and our guys handled it like champs. I’m proud of how everyone from the crew to Riley, Rob and Chris represented us today and we’re coming back tomorrow looking for even more."
Dickinson started the No. 53 Moorespeed Porsche 911 GT3 Cup third overall and sat just behind the battle for the lead for the duration of the 45-minute race. With 10 minutes to go, Dickinson had closed to the rear of the second place car and began applying pressure, running side by side through the turn three right hander. Stuck out wide, the 17-year-old chose patience and backed out, looking for the next opportunity to pass. That wouldn’t come until the final corner of the race, setting up a drag race to the finish line. Dickinson ultimately crossed the line 0.097 of a second behind.
It was the second-consecutive podium and fifth of the season for Dickinson.
"We had a really great car and a good run today," Dickinson said. "Those guys got out ahead early, but I just let them burn their tires off a bit which allowed me to reel them back in. Roman DeAngelis and I had a great back and forth battle toward the end. I’m looking forward to doing it again tomorrow and trying to move further up the podium."
Ferriol finished four seconds behind the Gold Cup leader in the No. 5 Moorespeed/GridRival Porsche 911 GT3 Cup. Starting third in class, Ferriol moved to second on lap nine but was just shy of challenging for the lead during the race’s eventual 30 laps.
The podium finish is the 10th of the season for Ferriol, who remains second in the Gold Cup Championship point standings.
"It was a great race," Ferriol said. "I’m definitely pleased with the finish. Up until today, we struggled a little bit with finding the right set up on the car. Yesterday we were off pace and put our heads together for qualifying, took a swing at the setup and picked up a ton of time. The strength for us was the long stint. We ran a steady pace and that really showed at the end."
Bellomo, joining the team for the first time this weekend, earned a Platinum Masters Cup podium in his first series start. He started his No. 63 Moorespeed Porsche 911 GT3 ninth overall and third in the Masters class, then drove a mistake-free race to improve to second with under two minutes remaining and two laps to go when a rival spun.
"I had a Gold class car in front of me for a few laps and was able to get past him and work my way back up to Fred Poordad," Bellomo said. "We had a good battle. I’d close in on him, he’d get away a little bit. I made a pass on him in Turn 11 and didn’t get the run I would have liked, so he passed me back in Turn Two. I was trying to find the way around him and was unable to do so. I caught up on the last lap but never found a spot to pass. The car was great. Everyone at Moorespeed has been so supportive and welcoming. They’ve let me into their family and you can really see why they’re so successful. It’s been a great time already."
Dickinson, Ferriol, Bellomo and the Moorespeed team return to action at WeatherTech Raceway on Sunday afternoon, taking the green flag at 4:20 p.m. PDT (7:20 p.m. EDT). Dickinson will start the race second on the outside of row one, with Bellomo eighth overall and Ferriol 12th, but third among Gold Cup competitors. The race can be seen live at IMSA.tv.