ROSS SMITH TIES PLATINUM CUP WIN RECORD; HANSSON WINS FIRST RACE IN GOLD CUP BRASELTON, GEORGIA (September 30, 2010) Ross Smith tied Bob Faieta's 2008 record for number of Platinum Cup wins with his ninth victory of the season, while David ...
ROSS SMITH TIES PLATINUM CUP WIN RECORD; HANSSON WINS FIRST RACE IN GOLD CUP
BRASELTON, GEORGIA (September 30, 2010) Ross Smith tied Bob Faieta's 2008 record for number of Platinum Cup wins with his ninth victory of the season, while David Hansson won his first Gold Cup race in Round 13 of the Patron GT3 Challenge by Yokohama at Road Atlanta all while dealing with a drying racetrack that prompted stewards to bring the field in for an en masse tire change.
The remnants of Tropical Storm Nicole drenched the track earlier in the day, but the surface dried much quicker than anyone had anticipated during the race. Officials decided that for safety reasons, the field would be red flagged and brought into the pits to change from wet tires to slicks. The change was completed quickly, putting the field back out to complete the 22-lap event.
Despite vows to take it easy while driving a car that had already been sold, Smith took his #5 Maxwell Paper Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car to the front of the field after polesitter Michael Schein (#21 Alex Job Racing) slid off in turn seven. When the race restarted after the tire change, Smith was able to get out to a solid lead, leaving the dicing for the rest of the field. After an incident with Chris Cumming in morning qualifying that damaged the rear end of his car, Smith was happy just to be in the race.
"After the problems we had in qualifying, we barely got the car out," said Smith. "We might have had three minutes to spare. All the guys did a great job to put this thing together, the rear end was gone. But we're really good in the wet and my Dad put a phenomenal setting on it for the dry, just in case the track dried out quickly. We were able to just keep pushing and get a gap on the field."
Brian Wong, driving for AASCO Motorsports and recently returned from a stint in the European Porsche Supercup, tried to get to Smith but wasn't able to close the gap.
"It was really fun, congrats to Ross, he's locked up this championship and he showed why today," said Wong. "The first part of the race was crazy in the rain, and changing tires was chaos, but thanks to the AASCO boys, they gave me the best car. I had a good run with Chris Cumming and I knew I had to get by him as soon as I could to have a chance at Ross, but he jumped out to an early lead."
Cumming (#16 World Speed Motorsports/Innovative Fitness) finished third.
Hansson, a regular in the Porsche Cayman Interseries, got a last minute invitation to join AASCO Motorsports this weekend when Amadeo Quiros II could not make the event. Hansson, planning to run a in the series next year, made the most of the opportunity.
"I was working with Patrick Long, setting up a car for next year, and he called me two days ago and told me he knew of a team that had a car and did I want to race and I said `yes!'" said Hansson. "I jumped on a plane that night and got down here. AASCO set up a great car I had to redeem myself from the first practice, when I stuck it in the wall and damaged the radiator! It was just amazing out there, the car was great, once I got the slicks on everything was just clicking."
Henrique Cisneros (#26 NGT Motorsport) finished second in Gold Cup, keeping Kendall Smith (#4 Maxwell Paper Racing) far enough behind him in fourth spot to secure the Gold Cup season championship. But Cisneros wasn't ready to declare the championship over quite yet.
"Qualifying was interesting in the rain, since it was my first time in the wet conditions, but I was able to get a third place starting spot," said Cisneros. `During the race, I just needed to be safe and consistent, because a lot can happen in the wet, so my goal was just to finish. Halfway through, when they decided to change tires, I knew I had to be on my game and be fast and try to get up front. I knew Kendall was a couple of spots behind me and I knew I had to keep him behind me at all cost. But we'll wait to see how tomorrow plays out."
The Patron GT3 Challenge by Yokohama features semi-professional drivers racing head to head in one of the world's most successful race cars, the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car. As a developmental series designed to prepare drivers and teams for professional careers in sports car racing, the multi-class structure of the series teaches drivers essential skills for an eventual career in the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patron.
The series is broken into two classes, with the Platinum Cup Class featuring the more powerful 2010 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup Car. The Gold Cup Class includes 2005½ - 2009 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars.
The Speed TV production of Rounds 13 and 14 is scheduled to air on Sunday, October 24 at Midnight. Follow along on the race weekend at www.gt3timing.com and visit www.imsachallenge.com for the latest track schedule, television information and updates.