Alton, Va. (28 August 2016) – It was another dominant race event for Kelly-Moss Road and Race in IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge by Yokohama over the weekend as Jesse Lazare won back-to-back
races at Virginia International Raceway. With just two more doubleheader race weekends remaining on the 2016 IMSA calendar, the results extended the championship lead for both Lazare (35 points) and the Kelly-Moss Road and Race team (27 points).
Not only did Lazare lead both races of the double-header event weekend, he also paved the way in each official session including every practice and qualifying in his No. 21 Door Doctor Porsche.
The scorching heat surrounding the 3.27-mile Virginia road course was the main talk of the weekend, but everything changed when heavy rain fell at the track just prior to the start of the Porsche GT3 Cup race. Not only was the rubber that had been put down throughout the weekend completely washed away, but the track was still a bit damp as the Porsche machines took the green flag on slick tires.
Despite the tricky track conditions, Lazare was the class of the field on Saturday as he led the way from
flag-to-flag. The race only saw about 16 minutes of green flag running and Lazare made the most of it to take the victory.
“It’s always very difficult, especially on new pavement when you don’t know how the car’s going to react,” said Lazare of the unexpected track conditions caused by the rain. “If you’re just a little bit off line, you’re literally on a skating rink. That’s why the first few laps I knew it wasn’t worth pushing at my limit because I couldn’t put it into the wall.”
The race was stopped for 21 minutes under a red flag period for Lazare’s Kelly-Moss teammate Bill Peluchiwski, whose No. 74 Porsche was involved in an on track incident. Peluchiwski was awake and alert and was admitted to a local hospital for evaluation.
Sunday brought a slight drop in temperatures with less humidity and bright sunshine. Once again, it was
Lazare at the front as the field chased down the Kelly-Moss machine for the entire race. The event was slowed by just one full course caution period and when the race went back to green flag running, Lazare extended his leading margin by 15 seconds.
“We had a great year last year and we’re just continuing to build on that,” said Lazare. “Everything is just clicking, the car is amazing, the team is amazing, the coaching is amazing, the engineering is amazing and I’m just trying to do my best not to make any mistakes. It’s the same for every race and we just keep going. When I found out the gap that I had, I definitely took it down a little bit. The track is very tricky on the new asphalt and all this heat. You definitely need to be careful out there especially if you have no pressure from behind.”
Lazare ultimately took the checkered flag with a 13.7-second advantage.
“Jesse (Lazare) is just doing a fantastic job, I couldn’t be more proud of him,” said Team Principal Jeff Stone. “He’s really showing that he’s a pro driver. He is going to go places in this business. My heart was as sunk as it could be with Bill’s (Peluchiwski) crash yesterday, but thanks to the car that Porsche gives us, there is no safer car you could possibly be in. He is okay. It was a rough day for him but a good weekend for the team overall. I’m just happy he is well. Bill is in good spirits and doing well. We have two more races to go, we never lay down and never give up. We
fight to the end. We want to win every race we can win and if you win races, the championships sorts itself out. Everything we do is calculated, but we’re always calculating for a win.”
With two rounds remaining on the 2016 IMSA calendar, Kelly-Moss Road and Race remains atop the team championship standings with a 27 point advantage while Lazare remains at the top in the driver standings with a lead of 35 points.
The IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge by Yokohama will next race at Circuit of the Americas on September 14-17.
Kelly-Moss Road and Race will be back at their home track of Road America next week in Porsche Club of America competition.