By Finishing Third Overall in the Season Finale, the Canadian Overtakes Kay van Berlo for the Crown
BRASELTON, Ga. – Porsche Junior driver Laurin Heinrich concluded his Porsche Carrera Cup North America Presented by the Cayman Islands debut with a victory in the final race of the season, but it was Parker Thompson who took home the Pro class championship at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.
Heinrich (No. 12 311RS Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car) charged from pole position to the top step of the podium in the one-make championship’s final race Friday. It was the young German’s first weekend of Porsche Carrera Cup North America competition.
The win in the second race of the weekend on the 2.54- mile, 12-turn road course by the 2022 Porsche Carrera Cup Germany champion was also the first win for 311RS Motorsports, one of the founding teams of the all-Porsche 911 GT3 Cup series in 2021. Since Heinrich was racing in an invitational class, the Pro class win went to Riley Dickinson (No. 53 Kelly Moss Porsche), his second career victory in the series.
By finishing third overall and second in class in the No. 9 JDX Racing Porsche, Parker Thompson clinched the 2022 Pro class championship. Thompson, who won Thursday’s race at Michelin Raceway (his fifth win this season), was awarded the Al Holbert Cup during the series’ championship celebration Friday. Thompson won the class title by 16 points over Kay van Berlo, who led the class with six wins this year but failed to earn any championship points in three of the final five races. Thompson’s recovery to win the Pro championship was remarkable, considering he was 38 points behind van Berlo with six races remaining. But the Canadian won once in each of the final three doubleheader rounds to pull off the comeback.
Van Berlo was named winner of the Porsche Junior Championship. For drivers 26 or younger racing in the Pro class, van Berlo earned the opportunity to compete in the Porsche Junior Global Shootout against champions from around the world, a trip to the Porsche Night of Champions in Stuttgart, Germany, and $40,000 in financial support for a test day to gain experience in a non-ABS Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car that will be run at the shootout.
In the Pro-Am class. Efrin Castro (No. 65 Kelly Moss Porsche) swept the two victories at Michelin Raceway to give him a four-race win streak to close the season. But it left him just short of winning the class championship, as teammate Alan Metni (No. 99 Kelly Moss) held on for the title by a single point. Metni finished second and third in the final two races, giving him just enough to prevent Castro from repeating as Pro-Am champ.
In the Am class, Mark Kvamme (No. 43 MDK Motorsports) drove to his 10th win of the season in Friday’s finale to wrap up the class title. He finished 19 points ahead of John Goetz (No. 57 Wright Motorsports), who won Thursday’s Am race.
Laurin Heinrich, No. 12 311RS Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 Cup: “It has always been a dream of mine to come here and race in North America. Now to get to come here at the end of my first season as a Porsche Junior is just an amazing experience. I knew I had all the tools with my team, 311RS Motorsports, to win the race. We were really unlucky (when he crashed while leading in Thursday’s race), but the team did an amazing job to make the Deluxe Corporation Porsche really fast again. Today, I knew it was really straightforward, I just needed to push as hard as I can again. That is what I did and in the end it was enough. It was a dream of mine to win a race in the U.S. Thank you to the team.”