For the first time in the ten years of Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge by Yokohama, the series competitors ran into the night as 36 cars battled for position at the start of Round 14 at Circuit of the Americas.
AUSTIN, Texas. After 14 rounds and 630 minutes of racing, it all comes down to this with two rounds remaining in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama.
Colin Thompson leads Michael Lewis, 218 to 217, in the Platinum Cup (2014 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup race cars) championship after Rounds 13 and 14 on Friday, Sept. 19 at the Circuit of the Americas (COTA). Angel Benitez Jr. is third with 208 and Sloan Urry fourth with 198, setting up a four-way showdown for the title in the final two rounds of the season October 2-3 at Road Atlanta.
Momentum continued to swing unpredictably in the championship after Lewis dominated Round 13 in an orderly race this morning in wet conditions and Urry won a wild Round 14 tonight in the first night race in the 10-year history of the one-make Porsche series in the United States. It also was the first night race at COTA, which also plays host to global series Formula One, MotoGP and the World Endurance Championship.
The title race is almost as tight in Gold Masters for drivers 45 and older in 2010-13 car models. Fred Poordad leads with 205 points. Austin resident Jeff Mosing is second with 200 after winning the class in Round 14 at his home track, while Michael Levitas is third with 199.
Patrick-Otto Madsen made big strides toward the Gold Cup championship with a victory tonight in Round 14. He leads Levitas by 30 points, 218-188, with only 40 points available in the two rounds at Road Atlanta. Mosing is third in points with 186.
Class newcomer David Ducote swept the Gold Cup and Gold Masters classes in Round 13 this morning.
While title races remain alive in three classes, Kasey Kuhlman wrapped up the Platinum Masters season championship with two class victories, in wet daylight and dry night, Friday on the challenging 20-turn, 3.4-mile circuit at COTA.
ROUND 14 - Friday at Sunset
Urry, from Park City, Utah, needed a victory in the No. 20 JDX Racing Porsche to bolster his championship hopes. He delivered in a wild race that started during the sunset and finished in darkness.
Series veteran Urry beat rookie Lewis by 5.394 seconds in arguably the most misleading margins of victory this season. Thompson, from Doylestown, Pennsylvania, finished third in the No. 14 Kelly-Moss/Porsche of Bucks County entry.
"I had something to prove after the race earlier today, and I wasn't giving up," Urry said. "Just gritting my teeth and getting after it, and I am glad I could get on the top step of the podium for JDX and Hertz. That's what we come here to do. I am going to go after it again for the last two rounds in Atlanta."
Jesse Lazare, from Montreal, finished fourth in the No. 31 Door Doctor/Moorespeed Porsche. Kuhlman, from Cincinnati, rounded out the top five in his No. 15 Wright Motorsports 911 GT3 Cup car.
Lewis started from pole and kept the top spot in a hectic Turn 1 of the first lap during which a three-car incident behind him spawned the only caution period in either race. It was just the start of the action.
When the race restarted with 32 minutes left, championship contender Benitez spun in Turn 20 and dropped to ninth in the No. 05 Formula Motorsport/Avid Motorsport Porsche. He eventually finished sixth.
Lewis, from Laguna Beach, California, pulled out a 2.354-second lead over Thompson on the first lap after the restart in the No. 98 Competition Motorsports/Curb-Agajanian Porsche. But Thompson then started to chip away at Lewis' lead, pulling to within .942 of a second with 19 minutes left in the race.
Then Thompson made his move on the next lap, passing Lewis for the lead. But Thompson never got a chance to pull away because Urry blasted off on his rocket ride to the front from third place.
Urry passed Lewis for second with 12 minutes remaining and passed Thompson for the lead for the first time three minutes later. Then the two drivers began an incredible joust for the top spot, swapping the lead multiple times per lap and running nose-to-tail and side-by-side in lockstep nearly every lap.
"Every lap, if not a couple times a lap, we were passing each other," Thompson said. "I can't stress enough how clean he drove, and there's probably two drivers in this championship that will race as clean as that, and it was good to see."
The stirring duel between the two drivers that drew gasps from worldwide journalists in the media center at COTA finally ended with two minutes remaining. Thompson spun after trying to dive under Urry in Turn 3. He recovered to salvage third place.
Kuhlman swept both races today at COTA by winning Round 14 by 9.773 seconds over Mark McKenzie. It was his 12th victory in 14 starts this season.
"It was a blast racing here at night," Kuhlman said. "The visuals inside the car were great - glowing rotors and red tailpipes. I really enjoyed it, and I had a lot of fun."
McKenzie capped a memorable debut in the series. He won the pole for Round 13, in which he finished fourth in the class, and capped his event with his first career podium in the No. 19 Wholesale Parts/Moorespeed Porsche.
While this was the series debut for Austin resident McKenzie, he has more circuit knowledge than most drivers in any series competing this weekend during the Lone Star Le Mans. He runs Austin-based Ranger Excavating, which did the earthwork during the construction of COTA. He also has turned many laps on the circuit during track days.
"I really enjoyed being a guest here this weekend with GT3 Cup, and it was a great way to end the weekend," McKenzie said.
Series veteran Amadeo Quiros, from San Jose, Costa Rica, earned his first career podium by finishing third in the No. 28 NGT Motorsport Porsche.
Madsen, from Boca Raton, Florida, earned his third victory of the season and first win since Round 5 on Memorial Day weekend at Lime Rock Park in the No. 99 ANSA Motorsports Porsche.
"I was due for a win, and I really wanted it bad," Madsen said. "We set out to win the Gold Championship at the beginning of the season, and we are doing it, so hopefully we can keep this momentum going for Road Atlanta."
Mosing finished second in the No. 01 Topp Racing Porsche, 2.323 seconds behind Madsen. Paul Barnhart Jr., from Houston, finished third in the No. 17 Kelly-Moss/Porsche of Bucks County entry.
It was the second podium finish of the season for Barnhart, who was competing in just his second event of the season.
John Roberts, from Dallas, earned the Yokohama Hard Charger Award. He started 35th and finished 25th overall in the No. 78 Topp Racing Porsche.
Just five points separate the top three drivers in the Gold Masters standings heading into the season finale at Road Atlanta after Mosing rebounded from an early exit this morning in Round 13 to earn his third class victory of the season.
"The sunset was wonderful, and I really feel privileged to be a part of this historic race," Mosing said. "It started with the sunset going down, and it was really a beautiful setting. (Topp Racing owner) Todd Oppermann gave me a wonderful car."
Barnhart finished second, 5.869 seconds behind Mosing, for his second consecutive runner-up finish of the weekend.
Levitas, from Baltimore, earned his second third-place finish in the class of the weekend in the No. 35 TPC Racing Porsche.
ROUND 13 - Friday morning
Lewis dominated from pole en route to his fourth victory of the season in Round 13. He never trailed in the 45-minute race on a damp track, expanding his lead almost every lap before crossing the finish line 24.446 seconds ahead of runner-up Thompson.
It was the largest margin of victory this season for any driver in the single-make Porsche series.
"I think the car was really the same in terms of grip levels, but I have never tried this Porsche in the wet before or intermediate conditions, and I was really surprised at the level of grip the Yokohama tires had and just the feel of the car in general," Lewis said. "I was impressed. Once I had that feeling in practice, I could apply those notes to the race and just check out. I honestly didn't even want to look in the mirror."
Benitez finished third, with Urry fourth and Michael Schein rounding out the top five in the No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche.
Lewis showed sublime skill in the most dominant performance of the season. His best race lap of 2 minutes, 28.322 seconds was nearly nine-tenths of a second quicker than any other driver.
"We didn't have anything for Michael," Thompson said. "He drove a hell of a race."
Urry was stalking Benitez for third early in the race when he went off track, losing ground. But Urry refocused and passed Benitez for third place halfway through the race.
But Urry again went off track, this time in Turn 17, in the tricky track conditions with six minutes left. Benitez pounced and regained third, which he held until the end of the race.
"I am happy to be third and get a podium," Benitez said. "I needed the points, and it's not the best scenario we were wishing for, but we were having troubles with the car. For the circumstances, I am happy to be where I am right now."
Kuhlman clinched the Platinum Masters championship with three rounds remaining with his 11th victory in 13 starts this year. The title came as savored redemption after Kuhlman lost the Platinum Masters title in 2013 by two points to Craig Duerson.
"To lose by just two points in Atlanta was a bit frustrating, so I feel not vindicated but like I earned this one, and I am proud to be the Masters champion," Kuhlman said.
Kuhlman finished 8.169 seconds ahead of Javier Quiros in the Platinum Masters race. Quiros, from San Jose, Costa Rica, earned his first podium finish since late June at Watkins Glen in the No. 27 NGT Motorsport entry.
David Calvert-Jones finished third, just .265 of a second behind Quiros. Calvert-Jones, from Los Angeles, earned his ninth podium finish of the season in the No. 12 Competition Motorsports/Curb-Agajanian Porsche.
Pole sitter McKenzie finished fourth in the class. McKenzie ended up just .792 of a second behind third-place Calvert-Jones in a stirring race for the second, third and fourth positions in the class.
David Baker, from Colleyville, Texas, earned the Yokohama Hard Charger Award for climbing from the 18th starting spot to 11th at the finish in his No. 56 Topp Racing Porsche.
Gold Cup-Gold Masters
David Ducote continued his recent dominance of Gold Cup and Gold Masters with his victory by 5.316 seconds over Kelly-Moss Motorsports teammate Paul Barnhart Jr. Ducote has won three of his four Gold Cup starts since joining the class last month at Road America, as he started the season in Platinum Cup.
"It was dicey at first, with a lot of cars moving around," Ducote said. "I think Kelly-Moss gave me a good setup in the wet. I was pretty consistent and just stayed with it."
Barnhart, from Houston, earned his best Gold Cup and Gold Masters finish of the season in just his third Gold Cup start in the No. 17 Kelly-Moss/Porsche of Bucks County entry.
Madsen solidified his Gold Cup championship lead despite finishing third. He lost the class lead to Ducote with 14 minutes remaining in the race after going off track in Turn 20. Barnhart also slipped past Madsen for position.
But Madsen's closest competitor in the Gold standings, Mosing, suffered a serious blow to his championship hopes when he pulled off track after just two laps due to radiator problems.
Levitas finished third in Gold Masters.
Up Next, Coverage
The final two rounds of the season will take place Oct. 2-3 at Road Atlanta during Petit Le Mans.
Live timing from all on-track sessions will be available available at IMSA.com, with live text commentary from all sessions tweeted @IMSALive.
A one-hour show featuring coverage from both races today at COTA will be televised Saturday, Oct. 18 in various U.S. markets as part of a new syndicated network television package partnership between the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) and Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: SBGI). That broadcast also will be available on YouTube after it airs on television.
The new TV package debuted Sept. 13 with a show featuring the season opener in March at Sebring International Raceway. That broadcast also is available now at the IMSAvids channel on YouTube and on IMSA.com. The next show on Sinclair's American Sports Network (ASN) is this Saturday, Sept. 20, featuring Rounds 3 and 4 of the season from Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
For more information about Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama, visit www.gt3cupchallengeusa.com, follow hashtag #GT3USA @IMSA on Twitter or IMSA on Facebook.
ROUND 14 POST-RACE QUOTES:
SLOAN URRY (No. 20 JDX Racing, winner): "Definitely insane was the word from lap one to the last lap, pretty much. We were fighting it out with four different cars at the front, and I don't even know how many lead changes there were. It was pretty wild. But I had something to prove after the race earlier today, and I wasn't giving up. Just gritting my teeth and getting after it, and I am glad I could get on the top step of the podium for JDX and Hertz. That's what we come here to do. I am going to go after it again for the last two rounds in Atlanta." (How was driving at night?): "I actually love driving at night. It's probably one of my favorite things to do just because I get so zoned in. You can only look at one thing, and that's ahead of you. So I am really glad to win the first night race here this year."
MICHAEL LEWIS (No. 98 Competition Motorsports/Curb-Agajanian, second): "It was really intense and really clean, although there was a bit of contact. It was a really fun race, and a little bit nerve-wracking at times. For my side, I was just trying to manage the situation as best I could. I wasn't the outright fastest this race like I wanted. I put my head down about five laps in to see if I could try and catch first place, but third place was coming on strong, I think it was Sloan Urry. It was dark and taking chances; I sometimes wanted to and sometimes didn't because you couldn't see that well. It was hard to see the apex even though the Porsche's have great lights. After I figured out that I couldn't pass for first, I just let Sloan pass to see if he couldn't do something with the leader and he did, and it just kind of played into my hands. I let him ruffle his feathers, and then I saw an opportunity with him pushing hard and having Colin (Thompson) spin. I just made no mistakes, got around the spun car and was in second again and just kind of rode it home and prayed I had enough speed to keep ahead of Colin once he got going again. I can't say enough about the team for keeping my head cool. It's hard to let a guy go who's faster, but I did, and in the end it was thanks to my team for the win. I was just behind the wheel getting the car around somehow."
COLIN THOMPSON (No. 14 Kelly-Moss/Porsche of Bucks County, third): "Finding the apex of some corners was a little difficult out there. The biggest thing that I didn't even think about is not being able to see the buttons inside your car. There's no dash lights on these things. Besides the main screen looking at what gear your in, that's all you got. Anytime I went to talk to the team, grab a drink or adjust brake bias, I had no idea what I was grabbing! It made it interesting. I really like night racing. It was a cool switch-up. As for the race, it was a lunatic Turn 1. I just kind of backed off and let everybody do what they've got to do. After we shuffled back to fourth or fifth, we were back in second. So it kind of regained order after that first lap. Michael (Lewis) took off quite a lot, and it took me a few laps to reel him in. But I finally reeled him in and had a good, clean pass on him and led for a couple of laps. But Sloan (Urry) didn't allow that to go on for too long, and he caught up. He got by Michael and then when he came, we started dicing for a lot of laps. Every lap, if not a couple times a lap, we were passing each other. I can't stress enough how clean he drove, and there's probably two drivers in this championship that will race as clean as that, and it was good to see."
KASEY KUHLMAN (No. 15 Wright Motorsports, first, Platinum Masters): "It was a blast racing here at night. The visuals inside the car were great - glowing rotors and red tailpipes. I really enjoyed it, and I had a lot of fun. I've raced some at night, so it wasn't my first time. I really enjoy it. It makes you focus, so there is no distraction. I feel better about just getting faster on this track. I've really struggled here in the past, so I feel good about getting a top-five finish here whether it's day or night."
MARK McKENZIE (No. 19 Wholesale Parts/Moorespeed, second, Platinum Masters): "This was my first night race. Actually I have driven this track at night but never in a race, so it was very interesting the way the complexion of the track changed. The brake markers and the visual cues changed, but since it happened gradually, it was the ideal way to get some night experience because we started under daylight, and by the end of the race it was complete darkness. I really enjoyed being a guest here this weekend with GT3 Cup, and it was a great way to end the weekend."
AMADEO QUIROS (No. 28 NGT Motorsports, third, Platinum Masters): "The race was perfect; that's the first thing. But at the beginning when I heard my brother was in an accident, my mind started to go there, and I began to think about what happened. We had about four laps (under caution), and then it was just an incredible race. For me, in all of these years I never had a podium, and I wanted that. I got it with my third place, and I'm really happy. The race was very clean, very good. I had raced at night in Costa Rica before, never here. The problem for me was when the lights came on, the reflection was bad in my glasses. But once I got that, it was really nice to race at night."
PATRICK-OTTO MADSEN (No. 99 ANSA Motorsports, first, Gold Cup): "It's awesome driving at night. It was hot out there still, but what a great weekend. What a great venue. What a great place to get a win. My last win was in Lime Rock. We really had to push hard. I had great start, and from that point I just had to maintain my gaps. Special thanks to ANSA Motorsports for such a great car to drive and such a great place for a win. I was due for a win, and I really wanted it bad. We set out to win the Gold Championship at the beginning of the season, and we are doing it, so hopefully we can keep this momentum going for Road Atlanta."
JEFF MOSING (No. 01 Topp Racing, second, Gold Cup; first, Gold Masters): "The sunset was wonderful, and I really feel privileged to be a part of this historic race. It started with the sunset going down, and it was really a beautiful setting. Todd Opperman gave me a wonderful car. Hats off to Patrick-Otto Madsen; he drove a really great race. I tried to burn him down, but he managed the tires well and was able to stay ahead of me. The sunset was a good distraction, and thank goodness we had an installation lap so we could enjoy the gorgeous sunset because the next time we came around, the sun was already down. I really like running under the lights, and we had cooler temperatures, so that did a lot to make it more comfortable in the car, too."
PAUL BARNHART JR. (No. 17 Kelly-Moss/Porsche of Bucks County, third, Gold Cup; second, Gold Masters): "It was very much fun. The first time we have ever raced at night. It was really well lit, except you couldn't see the exit curbing. So you really didn't know how much track you had to use on the exit, so you just kind of felt your way through it, but it was really a lot of fun. Kelly-Moss gave me a great car tonight. We made some changes from this morning's setup and nailed it. The car just stayed really consistent. I lost three or four Gold places at the start to guys on the inside, and it was just a complete parking lot. So I had a big race to try to catch them. Unfortunately, I had to pass my teammate David Ducote, who has won the last three Gold races, but that was kind of fun, and I just clawed my way up to the podium."
MICHAEL LEVITAS (No. 35 TPC Racing, third, Gold Masters): "That was a great race. A lot of fun. Great competitors. I had a great car under me. Just a great race. We made the fatal mistake of not removing the plastic film that's been protecting the windshield for the last two years. I had a great car. I had some time for the second-place car. And then all of a sudden the glare came in, and I couldn't see a thing. I couldn't tell where the brake zones were, and then at the end Paul (Barnhart) got me out there. I had nothing. I had no idea where I was braking. But the lighting is fantastic here. The circuit is amazing. I just think that everybody did a really great job. The front side of that race - that was mayhem. Jeff (Mosing) and I, we were on the outside there in Turn 1. We were in the grass just trying to stay out of that action. That was crazy, but it was just a great race."
JOHN ROBERTS (No. 78 Topp Racing, Yokohama Hard Charger Award):"Well, the first race in any series it's important to make sure you finish the race to get some experience in the series. And that's what I set out to do. Luckily it paid off in the end. I have never done any night racing, and it's little like candy: You've got to come back for more. I've got to do that again."
ROUND 13 POST-RACE QUOTES:
MICHAEL LEWIS (No. 98 Competition Motorsports/Curb-Agajanian, winner): "It's definitely really good when you can win a race from the pole, and it's going to set us up pretty well for the championship. But I am just going to try to do what I have always been doing and just focus on trying to win each race. Sometimes it's possible, and sometimes it's not. And when you have a great car like my team provided me this weekend, you capitalize on that. I was just trying to be clean and respect all the other drivers, too, because they were in the fight, too, both Gold and my other competitors for the championship." (What do you think of this track?): "This track flows well. But honestly I really like the fact that it's open and wide off the corners, so I think for me and every other driver you have a lot more confidence going through each corner, and you would try things that you wouldn't normally at other tracks because there is a wall right there. I think that plays into it, but also the homework and has been really paying off." (About starting on wet tires): "It was actually OK because we did that on the first practice session; that was really key, mainly as a driver. I think the car was really the same in terms of grip levels, but I have never tried this Porsche in the wet before or intermediate conditions, and I was really surprised at the level of grip the Yokohama tires had and just the feel of the car in general. I was impressed. Once I had that feeling in practice, I could apply those notes to the race and just check out. I honestly didn't even want to look in the mirror. I had a decent lead, but I didn't want to look."
COLIN THOMPSON (No. 14 Kelly-Moss/Porsche of Bucks County, second): "It was the most uneventful rain race I've ever been in. You know, everybody just raced everybody very clean for the amount of cars that I saw. So I definitely can't complain. Whether it was driver or the car, we just fell off at the end there. We didn't have anything for Michael (Lewis). He drove a hell of a race, and we'll be back up there later tonight. But no complaints. It was a great race and good solid points finish, and we're still first." (You are still leading the championship by two points, so what's your strategy for tonight's race?): "We're going to win it!"
ANGEL BENITEZ JR. (No. 05 Formula Motorsport/Avid Motorsport, third): "I am happy to be third and get a podium. I needed the points, and it's not the best scenario we were wishing for, but we were having troubles with the car. For the circumstances, I am happy to be where I am right now. The team has been working really hard. It's been a hard year, and we are trying to overdo what we can do. We are trying to do so many things in a short time with so little, and we haven't had much track time. I think we are achieving what we want to. So if it's for us (championship), it's going to come, and we are just trying as much as we can and the team is doing as much as they can. I am happy to be where I am, and, for sure, we are pushing and we will keep working hard all the way to Atlanta at the end. Thanks to IMSA and Porsche and Yokohama for making all this possible. It's a great level of racing here, and it's good to be on the podium."
KASEY KUHLMAN (No. 15 Wright Motorsports, first, Platinum Masters): "It feels really, really good. My goal is to be competitive, top-five car in the overall Platinum championship. The Masters Championship is an accomplishment that I am proud of and I appreciate it very much, but my focus has always been on the front of the field." (How does it feel to win the title this year after a near-miss last year?): "I can't say it was stolen from me last year because Craig Duerson did a great job, and it was exciting to the end last year. But to lose by just two points in Atlanta was a bit frustrating, so I feel, not vindicated, but like I earned this one, and I am proud to be the Masters champion."
JAVIER QUIROS (No. 27 NGT Motorsport, second, Platinum Masters): "It was kind of interesting. I thought if I had the opportunity, I would have put the slicks on the car, but I think I was wrong. Everybody went out with the rain tires on the car. It was my first time on the racetrack today and yesterday. So, I was there in like 14th or 15th place there in the beginning. So I thought, 'I might do something else here.' So I started pushing the car as hard as I could. I was doing pretty well and the tires were doing pretty good, so I just started catching up to everybody. Not as fast as the first ones, but fast enough to make up four or five places in the race. I hit my brother in Turn 17, I think, and made him spin. I feel very bad, but it was a wet situation. That's too bad, but I am waiting to see the 8 o'clock race."
DAVID CALVERT-JONES (No. 12 Competition Motorsports/Curb-Agajanian, third, Platinum Masters): "It felt weird today because this was only the second time I have driven in the rain. So it took some time to understand how it all works, and I got passed by a couple of guys on the first lap. The car felt good considering, and the Yokohama tires did a great job, and Bob (Faieta) and the Competition Motorsports guys put a great car together and did a great job maintaining it. Congratulations to my star gun teammate, Michael Lewis, who won by a country mile."
DAVID DUCOTE (No. 6 Kelly-Moss/Porsche of Bucks County, first, Gold Cup, Gold Masters): "It was dicey at first, with a lot of cars moving around. I think Kelly-Moss gave me a good setup in the wet. I was pretty consistent and just stayed with it. I was able to reel in the P1 runner consistently, and I just kept focusing on consistency, and it all worked out. I'm happy with the result."
PAUL BARNHART JR. (No. 17 Kelly-Moss/Porsche of Bucks County, second, Gold Cup, Gold Masters): "The race started really wet, and we were very cautious the first several laps to see where the grip was. Everybody was pretty orderly, and I was very happy to see that. And then the race just started coming to me. I kept my tires under me pretty well under me the whole race until the end. Everybody was running their front tires off, and I was able to pass two guys in front of me to get second in Gold and in Masters. I couldn't run down my teammate David Ducote, but I was after him. So all in all, it was a very clean race, and I was happy about that."
PATRICK-OTTO MADSEN (No. 99 ANSA Motorsports, third, Gold Cup): "I had a pretty tough race. I tried to get away at the beginning, but then I saw a couple of non-championship contenders come up behind and rather than race them and take myself out, I drove a conservative race and let those two guys through and brought it home for maximum points in third. They alerted me on the radio that (Jeff) Mosing had a problem and pulled in the pits, and (Michael) Levitas was behind, so just another race to consolidate my points and my championship contention."
MICHAEL LEVITAS (No. 35 TPC Racing, third, Gold Masters): "Great race today. I wanted to keep it clean at the start of the race. Fell behind a couple of spots but brought it back up into third. Didn't have enough car to really hold it; I was really fighting it. But the team, TPC Racing, just did an amazing job. It was really a great car, and at the end it was enough car to hang in there and pull off fourth place."
DAVID BAKER (No. 56 Topp Racing, Yokohama Hard Charger Award):"My day was really good. It was survival of the fittest - just like last time. The tires got really slippery, so it was just a matter of hitting your line and being very precise to save your tires. But thanks to the folks at Apex Capital and Topp Racing for making this all possible for me. It was a great day."
Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama
The IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge by Yokohama enters its 10th season in North America as the one of Porsche's largest single-make Cup Challenge series in the world. The series produces intense, exciting competition for semi-professional and aspiring professional drivers in one of the world's most successful and iconic race cars, the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup. Racing is divided into two classes - Platinum Cup, featuring the new 2014 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car, which is based in on the current seventh generation of the street car, and Gold Cup, which is comprised of the previous version (2010-2013) of the race car. The series is the perfect platform for aspiring drivers to ascend to the highest levels of GT competition, such as the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship. The series races at classic American road courses, providing thrills for drivers and fans.
The International Motor Sports Association, LLC (IMSA) is the sanctioning body of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, the road-racing series resulting from the merger of the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón and the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series. IMSA also sanctions the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge and the Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Powered by Mazda, as well as four single-make series: Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama; Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Michelin; Ferrari Challenge North America; and Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America. IMSA is the exclusive strategic partner in North America with the Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO) which operates the 24 Hours of Le Mans as a part of the FIA World Endurance Championship. The partnership enables selected TUDOR United SportsCar Championship competitors to earn automatic entries into the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans.