Detroit - June 1, 20012 – After a morning downpour which flooded the 2.08-mile race course on Belle Island in the Detroit River, the weather improved for afternoon practice and qualifying and the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup teams improved their performance in preparation for tomorrow’s Rolex GRAND-AM race in Detroit.
Fastest of the Porsche drivers in qualifying was Andrew Davis, who placed the Brumos Porsche 911 GT3 Cup in the third position, behind the Cosmo/Sharp Ferrari and the Edwards/Liddell Camaro, in the car he will share with Leh Keen. Davis/Keen are the defending Rolex GRAND-AM GT champions, but are looking for their first win of the 2012 season. Still, they are only 18 points out of first place with most of the season still to unfold.
“Because of the rainy conditions earlier in the day, we were a little behind setting up the car, so qualifying was like our first full practice. By lap four or five, the car felt great, but we had already passed our optimum tire window. I am a little concerned about the difference between us and first place – more than 1.4 seconds – but that is a circumstance beyond our control. The circuit is a blast, with action close to the wall all the time, and different kinds of pavement surfaces through the turns. It will be hard to pass on the track, so pit strategy is critical – it might be easier to overtake your competition with a superior pit stop than to pass him on the track,” said Davis.
The Magnus Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup of John Potter/Andy Lally – winners at the Rolex 24 - was the next Porsche in ninth position with Potter behind the wheel, but co-driver and Rolex GT podium record-holder Andy Lally – with 100 Grand-Am podiums – is looking forward to a good race.
“We don’t have many street circuits in this series, so this event is a great addition to the schedule. With the track not being used for four years, and rain all morning, there is not much rubber on the circuit, so we will watch how much bite we get out of the corners, but the car is good. John did a great job late in qualifying, moving up several positions in the last three laps,” said Lally.
"Qualifying was actually a very neat experience because none of us had really experienced the track in the dry until then. Overall I'm pleased with a top-10, but certainly have a few places where I know we can go quicker. The whole team has done a great job, soI guess time will tell tomorrow where everyone stacks up after two hours of racing," said Potter, who, along with Lally, is only eight points out of first place in GT.
The Horton Autosport Porsche of Patrick Lindsay/Eric Foss qualified 11th, with Lindsey behind the wheel.
“The car isn’t exhibiting any bad tendencies. It’s handling well. We just have a few things we need to sort out; gearing being the main one right now. We’re looking forward to the race tomorrow, rain or shine. I like the track. It’s very challenging in a few places. It has some tendencies like Long Beach where the crown of the road is very pronounced. It looks like it will definitely bite you in a few areas. Like any street race tomorrow will be a race of attrition. We’ll just keep our nose clean. Be smart. Be fast,” said Lindsay.
The TRG Porsche 911 GT3 Cup of Steve Bertheau/Spencer Pumpelly qualified 13th with Bertheau doing the qualifying chores. In Rolex-GRAND-AM, the qualifying driver also starts the race.
Since its introduction in 1989, the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup has shown to be both fast and reliable, maintaining its value as it races in different countries in different classes. In 2012 Rolex 24, there were 23 Cup cars that started the race, with 2006 to 2012 models, each made competitive by the upgrades allowed by the sanctioning body GRAND-AM and made available by Porsche Motorsport North America. The GT victory by Magnus Racing in the 2012 Rolex 24 was Porsche’s 51st GT win in the series, almost double that of any other manufacturer.
Besides being the defending Rolex GRAND-AM GT champion, the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup is the current defending SCCA Pirelli World Challenge title-holder and the SCCA GT2 Club Racing National Champion, as well as the spec car for the American Le Mans Series GT Challenge, the International Motor Sports Association GT3 Challenge by Yokohama, and the IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge Canada. Cup cars are also popular in Porsche Owners Club and Porsche Club of America racing series.