PORSCHE 911s, AMERICAN DRIVERS RACE AROUND THE WORLD THIS PAST WEEKEND --Faieta/Snow Battle in Chicago; Miller Shines at Spa; Sofronas, Rivera Keep Pace in World Challenge Points-- ATLANTA, -- July 28 - Although the "big name" Porsche customer...
PORSCHE 911s, AMERICAN DRIVERS RACE
AROUND THE WORLD THIS PAST WEEKEND
--Faieta/Snow Battle in Chicago; Miller Shines at Spa; Sofronas, Rivera Keep Pace in World Challenge Points--
ATLANTA, -- July 28 - Although the "big name" Porsche customer teams in the American Le Mans Series and the Rolex Grand-Am series were off last weekend, many of the team's drivers and other American racers were having successes in Porsche 911 race cars around the world.
Patron GT3 Challenge by Yokohama - Autobahn Country Club - Joliet, IL
Bob Faieta, Tujunga, Calif. made a move late in the race in round five on Saturday to take his third Patron GT3 Challenge by Yokohama win of the season in his Porsche 911 GT3 Cup racer in the Harrah's Grand Prix at Autobahn Country Club.
Faieta didn't have the opportunity to try the same move again the next day on Martin Snow, Pleasant Grove, Utah, as a full course caution came out with nine minutes remaining in round six, giving Martin his third win as well. Faieta leads Snow by only two points in the standings after six races.
"I saw the yellow and thought 'oh no,' a few laps to go and now we are going to have a restart," Snow said. "It would have been tough with cold tires, but I got my win back Sunday that eluded me Saturday."
Melanie Snow, Pleasant Grove, Utah, and Brian Wong, Newport Beach, Calif., pushed their Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars to the limit racing wheel to wheel in the Gold Cup class. Snow won her fourth race of the season in round five, but it was Wong who set a new race lap record on his way to victory in round six. Melanie still has a comfortable 40-point lead over Wong in the Gold Cup standings.
"We had an intense battle in the beginning," Wong said. "Once we hit fluid on the track I pulled
a little gap. After that I just put my head down and brought it home to an easy victory."
Series newcomer Dan Landis, Chicago, Ill., started first in the Gold Cup after turning the fastest race lap in round five. Landis led the first four laps before leaking fluid forced him to pull off track.
In round five Mitch Pagerey, Deerfield Beach, Fla., worked his way up to fifth place after starting 12th to earn the Yokohama Hard Charger award. Pagerey finished third in round six, setting a new race lap record.
Joe Policastro, Sr., Latrobe, Pa., earned his first Gold Cup podium of the year, finishing third in round six. Policastro started last and worked his way to 15th overall.
A recap of rounds five and six will air on SpeedTV August 8 at 2:00 a.m. EST. Road America is the next stop on the 2009 Patron GT3 Challenge by Yokohama calendar. Rounds seven and eight take place August 15 and 16.
The Patron GT3 Challenge by Yokohama features semi-professional drivers racing head to head in Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars - one of the world's most successful race cars - with sealed motors and transmissions. The latest purpose-built race cars have sealed 420 h.p. engines and six-speed sequential transmissions, providing for close racing where the driver's talents are exemplified. Porsche Motorsport North America provides technical support for the series with personnel, parts and expertise both away from and at the track.
Yokohama Tire Corporation is the North American manufacturing and marketing arm of Tokyo, Japan-based The Yokohama Rubber Co., Ltd., a global producer and distributor of premium tires since 1917. Servicing a network of more than 4,500 points of sale in the U.S., Yokohama Tire Corporation offers a complete line of tires, including high-performance, light truck, passenger car, commercial truck and bus, as well as off-the-road mining and construction applications. For more information on Yokohama's extensive product line, visit www.yokohamatire.com.
Yokohama is a strong supporter of the tire care and safety guidelines established by the Rubber Manufacturers Association and the National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration. Details can be found at the "Taking Care of Your Tires" section at www.yokohamatire.com.
In 2009 there are 14 rounds at seven famous tracks in North America including Sebring International Raceway, Sebring, Fla., Road America, Elkhart Lake, Wis. and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, Monterey, Calif.
Total 24 Hours of Spa - Belgium
Although Porsche factory drivers Emmanuel Collard, Joerg Bergmeister, Patrick Pilet, and American Patrick Long has disappointing finishes with their Porsche customer teams in Belgium this weekend, there was a bright spot for a Porsche dealer from New Jersey and his son.
Bryce Miller, son of 1980s IMSA racer Paul Miller - a Porsche dealer in Parsippany, New Jersey, celebrated his birthday in racer style on Sunday, earning a second-in-class, fifth- overall finish in the Total 24 Hours of Spa. The Summit, N.J., driver was the top U.S. finisher in a strong international field, despite his rookie status on the 7.004-km (4.35-mile) Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium.
Miller shared driving duty in the No. 97 Marquis Jet/IPC/Total Porsche 911 GT3 RS with Porsche Junior Team drivers Marco Holzer of Bobingen, Germany, and Martin Ragginger of Salzburg, Austria, and their teammate Luigi Lucchini of Brescia, Italy. The car was prepared by Brixia Racing.
The young squad started eighth on the GT2 grid, but quickly moved up to third in the first hour of the race. They lost two laps due to the timing of caution periods, but their consistent pace and smooth pitstops kept them in podium contention throughout the race. They took second in class during the 18th hour and held the position through a final round of driver stints for the podium finish.
"Everyone on the team delivered a pretty good birthday present! It's really exciting to be here and to experience the energy and the enthusiasm of the fans. The depth of talent on the teams and the track are unlike anywhere else," Miller said.
"The caution flags came out one lap after our pit stop on two occasions and we went down a lap. The car had the pace to compete for the win, but we just got really unlucky. But most of the challengers behind us had mechanical difficulty or errors, so by the end of the race, we didn't have a lot of pressure. We were able to manage our own pace and bring it home."
Heavy rain limited track time during practice sessions, so Miller had to learn the challenging circuit during the race. But with a strong car and crew, he got up to speed quickly.
"It was a little bit tricky because the course is really complicated and all our practice time was overrun by rain. I got four or five dry laps and that was my only first-hand experience at trying to find braking points and turn points," he noted. During the race, I had to be really methodical in my improvements because the track gets really dark at night and there's a lot of fog. It was crazy, but it was fun!"
-credit: porsche motorsport