GT3-Cup: Indianapolis preview

FULL FIELD OF PORSCHES FROM IMSA GT3 CUP BY MICHELIN READY FOR FIRST VISIT TO INDIANAPOLIS, US GRAND PRIX Just the mention of Indianapolis conjures up legendary names and historic memories of motorsports' past. But a new chapter will be entered...

FULL FIELD OF PORSCHES FROM IMSA GT3 CUP BY MICHELIN READY FOR FIRST VISIT TO INDIANAPOLIS, US GRAND PRIX

Just the mention of Indianapolis conjures up legendary names and historic memories of motorsports' past. But a new chapter will be entered at this year's United States Grand Prix when the IMSA GT3 Cup by Michelin competes for the first time at famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway. More than 40 Porsche GT3 Cup cars will take the green flag for two races as part of the Formula 1 weekend.

The first 30-minute race will take place at 2:35 p.m. local time Saturday and the second at 10:45 a.m. Sunday as a direct prelude to the Formula 1 race.

"Growing up, Indianapolis has always been a real mecca for racing and having the opportunity to drive there will be just incredible," said Dino Loles, driver of the No. 40 Farnbacher Loles Porsche. "It really makes the whole season for me."

He isn't alone. The aura and history of Indianapolis resonates through the series ranks.

"The drivers are going to love it," said Tom Pank, who raced in last year's Porsche Supercup race at Indianapolis and will drive the Baysaver Technologies-Farnbacher Loles No. 42 Porsche. "The facilities are second-to- none. And if you've never been to an F1 race, it's an incredible experience."

Pank sits second in the championship after three rounds, 20 points behind rookie Charles Scardina. The xx-year-old from Delray Beach, Fla., won his first race in the series at Sebring and the first of two races at Miller Motorsports Park in Utah. He finished second in the other at the wheel of the No. 33 Ansca Homes-Metro Racing Systems entry, three seconds behind Bob Faeita.

"For someone who hasn't done a lot of racing like me, it's definitely something that is pretty sweet," Scardina said of entering the Indianapolis round as the championship leader. "Legends are made there. Championships can be lost by too many mistakes. I'm going there to win but I also want to do the best I can to collect points."

Following Scardina and Pank is a logjam of drivers eager to move up at Indy. Only six points separate Pank from Loles and Dino Steiner, who are tied for fifth in the championship. The results at the US Grand Prix are critical with the following two events - Mid-Ohio and Mosport - holding two- race events as well.

"It's the ultimate US racetrack. It's a dream for all of us to race there," said Wade Carter, driver of the No. 5 CiraSport entry sponsored by Carter Motorsports, Cantrell Motorsports and Airline Shuttle. "To be able to cross those bricks is going to be worth going there no matter where you finish. Knowing that you were on the track will be an accomplishment in itself. I'd put it right up there with being at Sebring given the history. Having this opportunity to go to Indianapolis is an honor."

Carter, third in the championship is quick to point out that once the cars are on the track, Indianapolis becomes just another circuit and the event is just another race.

"You still have to pass the person in front of you," Carter said. That never changes. We really need to start getting on the podium at Indy. After that, we really want a win to get us in position for the championship."

The learning curve will be sharp as a vast majority of the field has never been to Indianapolis, much less driven the circuit.

"Utah was a good example. I had never seen it before," Scardina said. "I was shocked at how quickly we learned it and I was extremely satisfied. You only have one practice session then it's straight to qualifying. You have to keep an open mind."

-credit: imsa

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Series IMSA Others
Drivers Dino Steiner , Tom Pank