The Tripleheader Provided Great Racing and Lasting Memories
The Porsche Sportscar Together Fest at Indianapolis Motor Speedway was a perfect backdrop to a three-round Porsche Carrera Cup North America Presented by the Cayman Islands weekend. The legendary racetrack hosted the iconic brand over three days, treating guests to an exciting and action-packed weekend on and off the track.
Having reached the midpoint of the 16-round inaugural season of the one-make series sanctioned by IMSA, the focus on the championship battle has intensified in all three classes – Pro, Pro-Am and Pro-Am 991 – with leader changes and narrower gaps to crown the winners in the series which utilizes Porsche 911 GT3 Cup race cars on Michelin racing slicks.
Race 1, Saturday: The impact of crossing the famous IMS yard of bricks ahead of 25 other Porsche race cars in was easily recognizable in Seb Priaulx (No. 15 Kelly-Moss Road and Race Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, type 992) as he took part in the tradition of kissing the bricks following a victory. Pressured early by Parker Thompson (No. 9 JDX Racing) and Kelly-Moss teammate Kay van Berlo, Priaulx pulled away to win the race. Thompson chased hard but finished second just ahead of Riley Dickinson (No. 53 Team Hardpoint EBM).
In Pro-Am, Efrin Castro (No. 65 Team Hardpoint EBM) earned his second class victory of the season. With points leader Alan Metni (No. 99 iFly/Kelly-Moss) missing the race while competing in another series in California, Castro earned a nearly 20-second victory over Tim Pappas (No. 54 JDX Racing).
In the Pro-Am 991 class, for drivers competing in the previous type 991 generation of the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car, points leader Matt Halcome (No. 55 Goldcrest Motorsports) continued adding to his lead with his fifth victory. Joseph Lombardo (No. 92 Kelly-Moss Road and Race placed second and Conor Flynn (No. 95 Irish Mike’s Racing) third.
Race 2, Sunday Morning: Round 10 became a pivotal points race that tightened the top three in Pro class into neck-and-neck contest, while further narrowing the gap between leaders and chasers in Pro-Am and Pro-Am 991.
Van Berlo suffered an unusual engine issue that dropped him to an 11th-place finish. However, Priaulx was hit and spun yet continued to finish sixth. Meanwhile, Thompson won his third race of the season. In Pro- Am class, Castro ran to his second win of the weekend. In Pro-Am 991, Lombardo earned his first professional victory.
Race 3, Sunday Afternoon: The final race of the weekend saw action start at the drop of the green flag Starting from the rear of the grid following an engine change, van Berlo tore through the field and gained 14 positions on the opening lap. His progress was only slowed when Castro went wide at the exit of Turn 14 (the famous oval’s Turn 1) and made hard contact with the wall, bringing out a full-course caution.
Priaulx wound up taking the win from the pole, Dickinson finishing second and van Berlo storming back to take third place. With five races remaining, Priaulx now holds a 44-point advantage over van Berlo, with Thompson 57 points back.
Curt Swearingin (No. 17 ACI Motorsports) earned his first Pro-Am race win in the finale of the weekend. With Race 1 and 2 winner Castro out on lap one as a result of an incident, Swearingin edged out class points leader Metni, with Pappas taking third. Meanwhile, Lombardo picked up his second win of the day in Pro-Am 991, with Halcome finishing second and Craig Conway (No. 97 Irish Mike’s Racing) third.
Rounds 12 and 13 of Porsche Carrera Cup North America will be part of the Michelin GT Challenge at VIRginia International Raceway, from Oct. 8-10. The season closes with another tripleheader, Nov. 10-13 at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.
Brian Blocker, Series Manager, Porsche Carrera Cup North America: “We knew that racing at Indianapolis would be special to our drivers and teams. We simply didn’t anticipate it would be this unique. To be the headline series of the Porsche Sportscar Together Fest is an honor that we did not take lightly. To do it at Indy we knew we had to be at the top of our game. The battles across the field and the impressive drives show the caliber of our teams and drivers. The concept of having a Porsche Carrera Cup in North America was proven at Sebring in March, but Indy will put an exclamation point on it.”
Seb Priaulx, Driver, No. 15 Kelly-Moss Road and Race: “This is emotional. I can’t believe I have won two races here at Indianapolis and three pole positions. It is a dream come true, but now I want to focus on the next event. But I am really happy I won here this week. It is so sweet. I can’t get over it. I’m going to keep focused on what I am doing, it isn’t over until the end and I am going to keep pushing.”
Riley Dickinson, No. 53 Team Hardpoint EBM: “Porsche Carrera Cup North America, from the fan’s perspective, knocked it out of the park. Once again in the IMSA paddock, we were one of the best races all weekend long. Here we were the main series and I think we put on a great show. I have to hand it to Porsche Motorsport North America for hitting all the right tracks. Being here at Indianapolis Motor Speedway is a surreal thing to me. I never would have thought when I got into racing that I would ever be here. There’s so much history here. It’s definitely very hard when we do the grid walk before the race not to pinch yourself when you walk across the bricks. The amount of names going across that start/finish line is pretty long.”
Joseph Lombardo, No. 92 Kelly-Moss Road and Race: “This is just unbelievable, for us to be on the podium for a second time. It is a surreal experience. This is Indianapolis and it is special. I can’t thank Kelly-Moss Road and Race enough. The car was even better in Race 3 than Race 2.”