TPC Racing capped its long anticipated opening weekend in the 2020 IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge by Yokohama season with four more class top-five finishes on Sunday at Road America and a weekend of growth.
The team’s results were led by Michael Levitas, who drove his No. 36 DSC Sport/Erin Levitas Foundation/TPC Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup to a runner-up finish in the Platinum Masters category and fifth-place overall in the 45-minute race. Levitas moved from third in class to second on lap 10, and then picked up an additional overall position following a restart with three laps remaining in the race.
Levitas was followed by Vernon McClure’s No. 10 Main Street Homes Porsche 911 GT3, who just missed the Platinum Masters podium with a fourth-place finish in the class. McClure started 11th and climbed to 8th overall at the checkered flag. The race was a satisfying piece of redemption for McClure, whose Saturday race ended after just one lap when an error led to contact with a competitor and ended the race.
Dan Hardee recovered from an early spin in the No. 69 Student Wireless/Drive Revolve/Method Seven/Apple Rush/Hardee Family Foundation Porsche 911 GT3, caught the field, and then spun again mid-race before settling in for a seventh-place finish in Masters Platinum.
Tom Kerr, testing a surgically repaired right knee in a race car for the first time in four months, drove his No. 74 The Vein and Vascular Institute of Tampa Bay Porsche 911 GT3 to a solid eighth-place class finish at Road America.
Efrin Castro, who collected a Gold Cup win on Saturday and started on the class pole for Sunday’s race, battled through an early mistake to earn fourth-place points. Castro spun on the pace lap and made contact with the wall and was forced to pit lane on lap two to change the right front tire. The TPC crew was able to change the tire quickly enough to keep Castro on the tail end of the lead lap and searching for a caution flag to give him a second chance at the field. The overall leader caught Castro and put him a lap down just one lap before the full course caution came out with 15 minutes to go in the race, effectively ending his chance to march back to a podium finish.
TPC Racing will carry the momentum from three podium finishes this weekend at Road America to Rounds Three and Four of the IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama season at VIRginia International Raceway, August 21-23.
Harris Levitas, Director of Race Operations: "TPC Racing did a fantastic job this weekend. We took on a lot this year, expanded our program and the guys really took on the job and did it well. The engineering guys did a fantastic job, the crew guys did a wonderful job. We were able to deliver fast and terrific cars for all of the drivers. The drivers were able to take those cars and do extremely well. Efrin qualified on pole for both races and won the first race, and I’m just beyond proud of him. He’s never been able to deliver like that before, and to be able to see him do that is just fantastic. In race two, to see Vernon drive the way that he drove and reel down that top three pack in the Masters field the way that he did was just phenomenal. And to see the 76 car finish in the top-five in Masters in its first weekend with TPC, that was a big deal. It was late nights to prepare these cars, and early mornings getting to the track, and this team just does a great job day-in and day-out."
Michael Levitas, Driver, No. 36 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (Platinum Cup Masters): "That shootout at the end was absolutely awesome. I felt like I found myself and drove the car hard enough to light up the front tires and I had great grip under the back of it. I felt like that under the caution, like I had the car. I just went for it. I took the fifth-place car and I really had something for the fourth-place car during the three laps. I was really disappointed that the race ended. It was great driving hard. I’ve got to thank TPC Racing. They did an amazing job on the set up. My coaches were amazing. The entire team effort, I can’t say enough about all of the drivers. Being in racing is all about attitude, and the vibes here are unbelievably positive. I can’t say enough about that."
Vernon McClure, Driver, No. 10 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (Platinum Cup Masters): "It was rough yesterday. I was disappointed that I made a mistake and it cost two of us a race. I beat myself up for a little while, but it was good to get back in the car and be calms and get it going again. By midpoint of the race, I was feeling pretty good. It was good to be back."
Dan Hardee, Driver, No. 69 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (Platinum Cup Masters): "Today was a little tougher. From a spin early on, I had to battle back and caught all the way back up to the pack. I tried to work my way through, but it’s hard to try to come back from a spin at the beginning of a race. It was an awesome weekend, I got the Hard Charger on Saturday, and really I’m the luckiest guy to have the best sponsors in IMSA and thanks to TPC for a great car and a great event."
Tom Kerr, Driver, No. 74 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (Platinum Cup Masters): "I injured my knee and missed the test before this. I haven’t driven in four or five months, so I’m off the pace right now. But I hope to get it back at the next test session and be back on pace at the next race."
Efrin Castro, Driver, No. 65 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (Gold Cup): "It was a disappointing day today. The guys worked all night to make the car perfect for me. The car was amazing and I was just way too pumped and I hit the wall. They say it happens to everyone, at least once, so I hope that will never happen to me again. Overall, we had the pace and got our first win yesterday. So I’m just going to hit the reset button and move on, and my main focus is VIR."