The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is hallowed ground. Whether racing an Indy car at the Indianapolis 500 on Memorial Day, a NASCAR Cup stock car during the summer or a Porsche 911 GT3 Cup race car on Patriots Day, the Speedway, Indiana race track draws deep emotion from drivers from around the globe in a uniquely American way. The impact of crossing the yard of brick ahead of 25 other Porsche race cars in Round 9 of the Porsche Carrera Cup North America Presented by the Cayman Islands was easily recognizable in Seb Priaulx (United Kingdom) as he took part in a decade’s old tradition of kissing the yard of bricks following a victory here. The headline series of the Porsche Sportscar Together Fest – a weekend celebrating the Porsche culture of performance and motorsport – will race twice more over the course of the weekend. Round 10 will take place on Sunday morning, 8:45 a.m. ET while Round 11 will take the green flag at 3:30 p.m. Live coverage of those events can be found at www.PorscheCarreraCup.us .
Seb Priaulx immediately showed speed when the Kelly-Moss Road and Race team unloaded the No. 15 from its trailer. On the morning of Saturday, September 11, the young Brit living in the United States to hone his racecraft earned the pole position in a late-session lap to better championship rivals Parker Thompson (Canada) and Kay van Berlo (Netherlands) to set the grid for the 45-minute one-make championship race. Pressured early by Thompson’s No. 9 JDX Racing-entered Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, type 992, and teammate van Berlo, Priaulx pulled away. Once he was able to focus solely on the 2.592-mile, 14-turn road course, no one could catch the blue, white and yellow rear-engine machine based on the newest Porsche 911 GT3 road car. Thompson chased hard but would take second-place at the checkered flag just ahead of Riley Dickinson (New Braunfels, Texas). Of the trio, Dickinson remains alone in searching for the top-step of the podium in the No. 53 Team Hardpoint EBM Porsche. For van Berlo, the frustrations mounted first with losing a top-three spot to Dickinson and Leh Keen (Atlanta, Georgia) driving the No. 12 Porsche of 311RS Motorsport and then an intermittent electrical issue. The five-time winner would have to settle for 12th-place following a drive-through penalty for “incident responsibility.’
Priaulx’s day added 30-points to his season total moving him back into the points lead over his teammate van Berlo. Tightening the top-three further is the third-place result by Thompson. With the starting line-up for Race 2 set with Priaulx on pole position, Thompson on the outside of Row 1 ahead of van Berlo and Riley Dickinson in fourth-place on the starting grid, the battle will be intense in Sunday morning’s Round 10.
Efrin Castro (Dominican Republic) has a way of winning on big stages. The driver of the No. 65 Team Hardpoint EBM race car earned his first Pro-Am class victory, for drivers 40-years old and older racing the newest Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car, type 992, at the Circuit of the Americas (COTA) in Austin, Texas. He won his second Porsche Carrera Cup event today in Round 9 at The Brickyard. With points leader Alan Metni (Austin, Texas) missing the first race of the weekend while he competes in California, Castro earned a nearly 20-second victory over Tim Pappas (Boston, Massachusetts) in the No. 54 JDX Racing-prepared Black Swan Racing Porsche. Pappas edged out Curt Swearingin (Chattanooga, Tennessee) in the No. 17 ACI Motorsports Porsche. Metni, who has won seven of the first nine events, returns for Rounds 10 and 11 here tomorrow.
Pro-Am 991 Class.
Class points leader Matt Halcome (Dallas, Georgia) continued to add to his lead in the Pro-Am 991 class for drivers competing in the previous type 991 generation of the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup race car. Like, Priaulx, the Georgian was overcome with the magnitude of winning at Indianapolis. His fifth-victory in the No. 55 Goldcrest Motorsports Porsche came just ahead of Joseph Lombardo (Bath, Ohio) in the No. 92 prepared by Kelly-Moss Road and Race and Conor Flynn (Jacksonville, Florida). Flynn continues to push the No. 95 Irish Mike’s Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, type 991.2 toward the front of the class with his second podium of the season.
Seb Priaulx, Driver, No. 15 Kelly-Moss Road and Race Porsche 911 GT3 Cup.
“This is still sinking in. I really can’t believe it. We had a great qualifying and we executed in the race. It was a perfect day, perfect really. I am really happy. I can’t thank Multimatic and Kelly-Moss enough for what they do. An amazing win. This gives us a good mindset going into the next two races. Tomorrow is a different day but this one makes everyone really happy.”
Efrin Castro, No. 65 Team Hardpoint EBM Porsche 911GT3 Cup.
“I was able to hold my pace and create a gap for the whole race and was very consistent with my laps and that gave me the win. I learned the track a little better today for tomorrow’s races, and that will help tomorrow. I would have liked to have Alan Metni here, but he had a different race and I’m very glad to get the win today. I’ll try to do it again tomorrow with him here.”
Matt Halcome, No. 55 Goldcrest Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, Type 991.
“Man, it is INDY! It is an awesome track. I am enjoying it. This is pretty cool. It was a great race. I came in P2 in qualifying and P1 made a little mistake during the race. I was able to get around him and hold him off at the end. Now we have a little momentum going into tomorrow.”
Full race coverage of today’s 45-minute Sportscar Together Fest event can be found on the Porsche Motorsport North America YouTube channel (youtube.com/PorscheMotorsportNorthAmerica).