Eighteen-year-old Canadian Roman De Angelis – who currently is dominating both the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama and the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama series’ – found himself in a familiar position at the end of each GT3 Cup Challenge USA practice session on Friday at VIR.
De Angelis led both sessions in the No. 79 Racing for Children’s Porsche, sponsored by Medical Properties Trust to benefit Children’s of Alabama, turning in the best lap of the day at 1.47.527 seconds (109.479 mph) in the morning session. His afternoon session-leading time was 1:48.862 (108.136 mph) setting De Angelis up for success going into Saturday’s race.
Saturday, drivers were met with challenging conditions during the first race of the weekend at the 3.27-mile, 17-turn circuit. With a steady rain, the race was declared “wet” by IMSA officials and every car in the field was running on Yokohama rain tires. As the rain stopped and the track dried over the 45-minute race, issues arose with tires overheating.
“We we’re just trying to fight off the heat, I guess, right now,” De Angelis said. “It’s been a pretty good day. We always knew the Wright (Motorsports) cars were quick here. We saw it today with Max (Root) this morning, but hopefully we can keep it together tomorrow.”
Root managed to chase down De Angelis – who started the race from the pole position and held the lead from the drop of the green flag – with just over three minutes remaining. De Angelis, who finished second, holding on to a 65-point lead in the Platinum Class season championship standings..
De Angelis wasn’t the only Kelly-Moss driver to land on Saturday’s podium with Alan Metni finishing third in Platinum Masters who now leads the class standings by 21 points.
Sunday the drivers were met with other challenges and a last-lap off-track excursion by De Angelis ended with a fourth place finish. It is the first time De Angelis has missed the podium all season, which is impressive in and of itself. Even with the 4th place finish, De Angelis is still holding on to a 58-point lead with four races remaining on the schedule.
Alan Metni had his share of challenges Sunday, however still retains his championship points lead in Platinum Masters going into the next rounds at Laguna Seca.
Kelly-Moss driver David Brule has had a very consistent season and VIR was no exception. Brule put in a very impressive Race 1 bringing home his best finish to date and finished just behind Metni on Sunday. Brule was also less than 4 seconds off the fastest lap of the weekend showing he was unfazed by the challenging track conditions.
After a challenging weekend of racing, Kelly-Moss left VIR with good points for both championships and walked away with lessons that will make them stronger going forward.
Jeff Stone, President of Kelly-Moss Road and Race said, “I just want to say how proud I am of the entire KMR family at VIR this weekend. The entire crew is functioning like a well oiled machine and all three drivers are doing an amazing job on track. We are a family, believe that. We win together, lose together and most importantly we learn and grow together. As Sam Elliot said, some days you get the bear and some days the bear gets you. Today the bear got us. Now all focus is on the positive and moving forward to Supercup at Monza in less than 2 weeks, then on to Laguna Seca to kill that bear!”
Stone also wants to give a special shout out to all our friends in Birmingham’s Children’s Hospital of Alabama. “All our kids and caregivers at the hospital give us the strength and drive we need to keep running at the top in this ultra competitive series – IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge USA! Go Racing For Children’s! Go Children’s Hospital of Alabama! Go Medical Properties Trust! We are all in for the kids!”
If you would like to donate to the Children’s Hospital of Alabama, you can do so HERE
If you’re looking to catch the action from VIR, NBCSN will televise the GT3 Cup Challenge USA from VIR on Friday, Sept. 6 at 12 noon ET. Next up for the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama is a doubleheader at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca as part of the IndyCar event weekend on Sept. 21-22!