CLICK HERE for the video recap with Patrick Laughlin, Bryce Ward, and Russell Ward
Monterey, Calif. (5 June 2016) – Kelly-Moss Road and Race returned to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca over the weekend for Races 7 & 8 of the Pirelli GT3 Cup Trophy USA Championship and it was another successful outing for the Madison, Wisconsin-based team. The team entered three cars in the Diamond category which features the Porsche GT3 cars with full-season pilot Patrick Laughlin in the No. 23 joined by the father and son duo of Bryce (No. 57) and Russell Ward (No. 33).
The Mazda Raceway event capped off what has been a huge effort by the Kelly-Moss Road and Race team to rebuild Laughlin’s Porsche machine after it was badly damaged in the previous Mazda Raceway round three weeks ago. The team worked around the clock with help from fellow Pirelli GT3 Cup competitors TruSpeed AutoSport and Competition Motorsports to have the car back in prime race from in time for this weekend’s event.
Patrick Laughlin rewarded those efforts in a big way when he delivered his best performance of the season by capturing two sixth place finishes during the double-race weekend.
“When we left Mazda Raceway three weeks ago, I seriously doubted whether we would make it back in time for this race,” said Laughlin. “Everyone involved, from TruSpeed to Competition to Kelly-Moss – what they did to get me back together to race today was unbelievable. I can’t thank them all enough. What a wonderful weekend it was, to finish both races and to do well was great. I wish I could have qualified better but my times at the end of the race were faster than the guys in the lead. If we could do 90-minute endurance races, that would be better!
“It’s been such a project – TruSpeed hauled our car to Madison and Competition gave us the parts,” said Assistant Competition Director Alex Stone. “Our body and race shop guys worked night and day to get the car together. Bob Faieta (of Competition Motorsports) helped us coordinate getting the car wrapped and it looks phenomenal. When Pat (Laughlin) saw the car for the first time, his jaw just dropped. It was so exciting to see it all work out. And Pat had his best race of the season, he’s improving every session and showing a lot of speed. And he’s having a good time!”
The Wards returned for just their second-ever car race after driving for Kelly-Moss Road and Race at the Pirelli GT3 Cup Trophy USA season-opener at Circuit of the Americas. Veteran Porsche racer Damien Faulkner was on hand to provide coaching for the driving duo around the 2.238-mile Northern California road course.
Both Bryce and Russell showed great progress through the weekend, posting lap times among the top-three in practice. Bryce Ward went on to finish seventh in both Race 7 and 8.
“Damien Faulkner really has been an inspiration this weekend,” said Bryce Ward. “He worked hard all weekend to help us improve our times, and the times show it. It’s been very fun, especially with Patrick. He’s a great guy, so full of energy and knowledge. The first race was good, but I spun early in the race. I had a good practice session Sundaymorning and came into race two running well. I dropped a tire and spun out again, which killed my chances to climb up. But overall it was a good experience, we’ve really enjoyed the weekend at Mazda Raceway.”
Unfortunately for Russell Ward, his forward progression was halted when the diff failed on his No. 33 machine which ended his weekend early.
“The track time I got was very beneficial, as was the coaching from Damien Faulkner,” said Russell Ward. “He’s very knowledgeable and we’ve learned a lot this weekend from him and we have Kelly-Moss to thank for that. But Mazda Raceway is more of a momentum track than I’m used to – if you mess up one turn, you lose time on every turn after that until you get to a slower corner which resets the sector. It’s very challenging, and very low-grip with all the sand on the track. When it gets hot in the afternoon it gets very greasy. The team did a great job working with that.”
Stone was pleased with the team’s performance, especially considering that the weekend was the Wards’ very first time at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
“This is the Wards second race weekend ever; they’d never driven a race car before last March and now they’re fighting for top three positions in practice and are really pushing hard,” added Stone. “They had great coaching this weekend as well, with Damien Faulkner. It’s been such a fun thing to see, watching them progress. I can’t wait to see what they become in the motorsports world.”
Celebrations were to be had all across the country for Kelly-Moss Road and Race. Rene Robichaud won the Watkins Glen enduro event in PCA competition, and Team Principal Jeff Stone’s son was married over the weekend.
Kelly-Moss Road and Race will be back in action next weekend in Montreal for the IMSA GT3 Challenge USA presented by Yokohama event at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.