After a successful first two rounds in the Pirelli World Challenge Championship, Kelly Moss Motorsports will shift its focus to the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama season opener March 18-20 at Sebring International Raceway in Sebring, Florida.
Kelly Moss is making a statement with a massive nine-car lineup as the team makes its IMSA season debut as the reigning Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama Team Champions.
“Our focus is to come back strong,” Kelly Moss Vice President Jeff Stone said. “We have a strong lineup and will contend for championships in both classes. It’s going to be another exciting season.”
Young Canadian driver Jesse Lazare will start his second season in the IMSA-sanctioned Single-Make Series at Sebring but his first with the powerful Kelly Moss team. Lazare finished seventh in Platinum Cup Championship point standings last season, and Stone looks for him to contend for the Drivers Championship this season.
“It’s great to have Jesse with us,” Stone said. “He’s very young but has a lot of skill. We are going to work on developing him into an even better driver. He’s very fast, but we have to work on the rest of the package, a lot like what we did with Colin (Thompson) last year. We expect him to be a championship contender from day one.”
Joining Lazare in the Platinum Cup class will be series veterans Jay Patel, William Peluchiwski, Frank Selldorff and Dan Weyland, who all will compete for the Platinum Cup Masters Championship.
Patel is a series veteran but will make his debut with Kelly Moss. At the series test last month at NOLA Motorsports Park, Patel damaged his car and injured his foot in an incident, but he is still preparing for the season opener.
“He’s doing really well,” Stone said. “He’s back at work on his foot, and the car is ready to go. We’re excited to have him joining the team. His wife, Nancy, has also been very supportive throughout this entire process, so we want to thank her for that.”
Weyland is returning to Platinum Cup after earning his first podium finish at the 2014 season finale at Road Atlanta. Peluchiwski and Selldorff are making the jump to the new Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car. It will be both drivers’ first race in the Platinum Cup class.
“Dan had a good test at NOLA,” Stone said. “He makes great progress every time he goes out, and he’s stronger than ever. Wild Bill got a taste of the 911 at the Porsche Supercup last year, and Frank is going to be in the car for the first time, so we’re excited to see how they both make that transition.”
David Ducote will be back in the Gold Cup class after strong performances in the second half of the 2014 season. He once again will race alongside his father, fellow series veteran Wayne Ducote. Joining the Ducotes in the Gold Cup class for Kelly Moss will be series veteran Paul Barnhart Jr. and series rookie James Leslie.
“It’s going to be great to have David back in the Gold class,” Stone said. “His driving style and aggressiveness fits nicely with the 997. You have to bend its will a little bit, but we have the confidence that he will be up there fighting for the championship.
“We’re anticipating a big year for Wayne. He’s getting ready to celebrate his 70thbirthday next month, and he’s coming off one of the most amazing races I’ve ever seen in PCA at NOLA. It’s always fantastic to have Paul Barnhart with us and having the new addition of Jim Leslie will be great. Jim is coming off of a GTC3 PCA Championship, and we’ve had nice experiences working with him and look forward to developing him at the next level.”
All of the Gold Cup class competitors also will compete for the Gold Cup Masters Championship.
Kelly Moss drivers will continue to benefit from the team’s staff of world-class engineers, technicians and mechanics. The drivers also will have access to some of the best driver coaches in the business.
Andrew Davis will continue to provide driver guidance, along with Jeroen Bleekemolen and Chris Hall. Reigning Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA Platinum Cup Champion Colin Thompson also will be under the tent as a driver coach, as part of his next phase of driver development with Kelly Moss.
Qualifying for Sebring starts at 8:35 a.m. (ET) Thursday, March 19, followed by Race 1 at 3:35 p.m. The second 45-minute sprint will take place at 10:30 a.m. Friday, March 20. Live timing and scoring is available at scoring.imsa.com for all sessions.
Both races will be live streamed at http://www.imsa.com/camera/imsatv.
For the latest news on Kelly Moss, visit www.kellymoss.com. For updates throughout race weekend, follow the team on Facebook and follow @kellymossmotors on Twitter.