MONTEREY, Calif. (Sept. 21, 2015) – Time is running out on the 2015 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama season and Kelly Moss Motorsports’ chance to repeat as Platinum Cup Team and Driver Champions.
It’s crunch time for the team and young star Jesse Lazare, but where there is a will, there is a way for this team.
The team is heading directly from Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, to Porsche Rennsport Reunion V Sept. 25-27 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, California, for the final two rounds of the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA)-sanctioned single-make series.
Rounds 15 and 16 will be the final two chances for Lazare and Kelly Moss to reach their goal of winning the championship. Lazare is 25 points,out of first place, 241-216, after a sixth- and second-place finish in Rounds 13 and 14, respectively, at COTA.
Lazare started on pole for both rounds at the 20-turn, 3.41-mile circuit. Five minutes into Round 13, Lazare was running second and spun after contact from behind. He dropped to 25th position. He tirelessly drove through the field in the remaining 40 minutes to finish sixth.
In Round 14, the only night race of the season, Lazare dropped to second on the first lap. He tried to conserve the tires and the car in the heat of Texas but was unable to close the gap through the 45-minute race and took the checkered flag in second place behind Angel Benitez Jr.
“I tried to hold back a little bit, but (Angel Benitez Jr.) just got too big of a lead,” Lazare said. “It doesn’t matter if I save my tires or not – he got me. And right before the yellow, I bent my shock through the esses, so the last few laps were hard to keep in front of Elliott (Skeer). But I’m going to push even harder at Laguna and get it there.”
The Platinum Cup Team Championship also will come down to the wire. Kelly Moss is in second place, just 10 points out of the lead, with 40 points available through the final two rounds.
Just 16 points separate Kelly Moss teammates Jay Patel and Bill Peluchiwski as they duel for second place in the Platinum Masters standings. Patel and Peluchiwski once again battled through both rounds at COTA, finishing second and third, respectively, in Round 13.
“Jay and I went at it,” Peluchiwski said. “In fact, I had the lead. But then I had to avoid an accident with Oscar (Arroyo). He spun, and he (Patel) passed me, and I was never able to get it back. It was hot, but it was a good race, clean race. I enjoyed myself. Thanks to Kelly Moss.”
Patel picked up a third-place finish in Round 14, and Peluchiwski finished seventh. Both will compete in the Platinum and Platinum Masters classes at the season finale.
“As soon as it cooled off, the tires cooled off, as well,” Patel said. “We didn’t have a whole lot of grip in the car. The car had a lot of push going toward the end, and then with the last yellow to green, I didn’t have enough grip to warm up my tires. So I was battling a push the last couple of laps. Other than that, the car was great. Kelly Moss did a great job, and I would like to thank my wife.”
Kurt Fazekas finished the weekend with two top-10 finishes. He finished seventh in Platinum Masters in Round 13 and sixth in Round 14. Since joining Kelly Moss at the halfway point of the season at Road America, Fazekas continues to improve at each race and will look to continue the trend at Rennsport.
Porsche Carrera Cup Japan competitor Paul Ip, from Hong Kong, joined Kelly Moss for the first time this season and earned the Yokohama Hard Charger Award in Round 13. Ip finished 17th after starting 24th. He finished 13th in Round 14.
In Gold Cup and Gold Masters competition, David Ducote earned two more podium finishes to bring his season total to 12 between the two classes. Ducote battled multiple cars in both races. He finished second in both Gold and Gold Masters in Round 14 and seventh in Gold Cup and sixth in Gold Masters in Round 13.
Wayne Ducote finished the weekend with two top-five finishes in both Gold Cup and Gold Masters classes. He earned a fifth-place finish in Round 13 and was fourth in Round 14.
Both David and Wayne Ducote will close the season with Kelly Moss at Rennsport along with Platinum Cup and Platinum Masters competitor Dan Weyland. Series veteran Weyland has run a partial season with Kelly Moss, and the team is looking forward to having him back for the finale.
A familiar face will round out the lineup at Rennsport, where Porsche will assemble the widest variety of its most historic racing models. Reigning Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama champion and Pirelli World Challenge GT Cup Champion Colin Thompson will race the final two rounds for the team in the No. 5 Porsche 911.
Kelly Moss also will have its rebuilt KMR-RSR 001, a Porsche 993, on site. Kelly Moss built the car originally to compete against factory 993 RSR’s. The Porsche Motorsport engine and gearbox from the 993 RSR were used, but everything else was bespoke. The premise and goal was to beat the factory cars with the same drivetrain. The Kelly Moss RSR’s were five seconds per lap quicker than the factory 993 RSR’s before they were banned. Kelly Moss rebuilt the project for a new owner in 2013, and it made its return to racing last year.
There will be two 30-minute practices on Friday, Sept. 25. Qualifying is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. (PT) Saturday, Sept. 26 followed by Round 15 starting at 2:25 p.m. Round 16 starts at 11:30 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 27.