MADISON, Wis. (Nov. 2, 2015) – Kelly Moss Motorsports, based in Madison, Wisconsin, is one of the premier Porsche racing teams in North America. Drawing from more than 27 years of racing experience, the team has developed drivers with little to no experience into champions.
The best example can be seen in young driver Colin Thompson. Under the watchful eye of team boss Jeff Stone, Thompson has progressed from a relatively unknown driver to a champion in two separate series in consecutive years.
“They took me from being a punk kid with all of these ambitions and no real idea of what it takes and backed me up a notch and just taught me about patience and hard work and being involved in the data and engineering aspects and learning the sport,” Thompson said. “That process will always continue to grow, but Kelly Moss really instilled those values in me that I need to be successful regardless of where I am.”
Thompson, 21, from Doylestown, Pennsylvania, has amassed an impressive 17 wins, two driver championships and helped lead Kelly Moss to two team championships in the last two seasons. Thompson won the Platinum Cup Driver Championship and Kelly Moss the Team Championship in the 2014 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama, and Thompson and the team won the inaugural season of the Pirelli World Challenge Championship GT Cup presented by MOMO.
“The team always gives me the car to win, and it’s mine to lose at that point,” Thompson said. “I’ve never entered in so many races and knew every single time I got on track that I had the car to win the race and it was my responsibility to do that from there.
“That’s why I came back for a second season with them. They were not a World Challenge team before I decided that was my next best step, and Jeff worked ridiculously hard to put a program together. It wasn’t ideal for him and his team, but he made it happen to support me. At the end of the day, we put a program together that was world class.”
Kelly Moss continues to develop the skill of Thompson on and off the track, leading to multiple opportunities for the driver. These include a ride with Flying Lizard Motorsports in the 18th annual Petit Le Mans in early October at Road Atlanta and a Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup berth in October during the United States Grand Prix Formula One event weekend.
“My introduction to Flying Lizard was because of my connections through Kelly Moss,” Thompson said. “One of the benefits of being with a team that has done this for so long is that they have those connections and relationships. That is what builds careers in motorsports, whether it’s sponsors, manufacturers or other teams. It’s something that has already taken effect in my career. “
It’s something that didn’t exist for Thompson before Kelly Moss. In 2013, he finished eighth in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama championship with a best finish of second place. He needed to find a team that would propel his career.
“Getting on a proper race team was the next step for me,” Thompson said. “At the point I join Kelly Moss I’m on a proper team, a former Porsche factory team, and there really isn’t any excuse for not winning. It was like going from driving the economy car to driving the highest level of luxury car you can find, as far as race teams go. They are the Porsche of teams.”
All Kelly Moss drivers receive active instruction from top-of-the-line Porsche driving coaches such as Jeroen Bleekemolen, Andrew Davis, Chris Hall and Darren Law, each series champions. But Stone’s continued advice has been a vital key behind Thompson’s rapid climb.
“He’s become a mentor to me and helping me develop as a race car driver,” Thompson said. “He’s been doing this for over 25 years. He knows it better than any of us young drivers coming up. He’s a no-BS kind of guy, and he’ll tell you how it is straight up. And that’s the best thing for a young driver. If he feels like there’s a distraction at the track, he’ll tell you and give you the best environment to be successful.
“But it goes full circle, too. Now I come back and I help their drivers, and that’s a really cool process to be involved with. You need the whole package in motorsports. It can be so competitive and become diluted with talent in this sport that you need to stand out, and Kelly Moss doesn’t cut any corners to make that happen and gives you all the opportunities you need. It’s up to you what you do with that.”
Kelly Moss provides one of the most successful arrive-and-drive programs in North America, managing all details and allowing drivers to focus on their personal performance. The engineers spend countless hours pouring over data and video to pinpoint areas of improvement, acting as mentors.
On the flip side, Kelly Moss also works with drivers that want to be more “hands on,” like Thompson, letting them get more involved in the day-to-day procedures to create a collaborative process.
Kelly Moss will even allow for young drivers to come work in the shop side by side with their industry leading race mechanics and engineers. Hands on experience can be a very useful tool, whether it’s learning more about the mechanical aspects and dynamics or data and engineering. Whenever a driver becomes more involved and educated, it translates to the track. And by testing constantly at different tracks the team enters race weekends comfortable and confident.
“They have the capacity to do both, whether you’re a young gun trying to make this a career path or someone who is out there doing this for fun,” Thompson said. “There is a reason they have so many repeat customers on the gentleman driver side of their business. Those guys come out and have an absolute ball.”
As one of the top teams in North America, Kelly Moss has fielded some of the most advanced vehicles for the most prominent drivers in the world. The team knows its cars to the smallest detail, creating a significant advantage of precision and excellence.
“There is also no better team to take you from the first steps of a motorsports career and give you so many opportunities and open up the world of possibilities,” Thompson said. “They can bring out the best in you and make you reach your ultimate potential as a driver. They are just as passionate about helping you succeed and developing your skill as anyone in this business.
“You can’t ask a team to have that. They either do or they don’t, and Kelly Moss has that to a ‘T.’”