The Porsche Carrera Cup North America Presented by the Cayman Islands has crowned its first two champions one round ahead of the final race. By virtue of his five race wins, including Race 1 here at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta, Seb Priaulx (United Kingdom) has forever etched his name as the first Pro class titleholder of North America’s premier one-make championship. Joining the young Brit as an early titlist is Georgia-native Matt Halcome (Dallas, Georgia). Seven Pro-Am 991 class wins on the season, to-date, awarded Halcome the title as he took the green flag here in Race 1 at the Braselton, Georgia-track. Round 16, the final race of the season for the series which exclusively uses the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup race car, will take the green flag on Friday, November 12 at 11:15 a.m. ET.
Race 1. Round 14 of 16
Three contenders entered Race 1 – Round 14 on the season – at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta: Seb Priaulx, Kay van Berlo (Netherlands) and Parker Thompson (Canada). Each had a mathematical opportunity to win the Al Holbert Cup awarded the overall series champion. It was Priaulx who was the first to strike a blow when he earned the five-points for a pole position on Wednesday after two practice sessions in the No. 15 Kelly-Moss Road and Race Porsche 911 GT3 Cup race car. However, the Dutchman was chasing his Kelly-Moss teammate hard in the No. 3 Porsche qualifying in second-place. Staying in championship order, Thompson was third on the grid with the No. 9 JDX Racing Porsche. Priaulx would continue to build momentum pushing ahead of his immediate competitors creating a gap entering Turn 1 of the twelve-turn, 2.54-mile race course. He would never relinquish the top spot in a race that ended under caution. The title contenders dropped from three to one in the 45-minute race as the trio finished in the exact order they started and the exact order they entered the weekend in the point standings (Priaulx, van Berlo, Thompson). Riley Dickinson (New Braunfels, Texas) in the No. 53 Team Hardpoint machine and Dylan Murry (Athens, Georgia) piloting the No. 38 BGB Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 Cup race car were fourth and fifth-place respectively.
Alan Metni (Austin, Texas) won seven of the first eight rounds of the championship and looked to be the first who would lock a title. However, the veteran Texan missed a round in the No. 99 iFly Kelly-Moss Porsche and his main competitor Efrin Castro (Dominican Republic) took advantage earning four wins coming to Georgia. A battle between the two drivers in the class for drivers 40-years-old and older utilizing the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, type 992. Castro attacked hard and passed Metni for the lead with 15-minutes remaining in the 45-minute event. The driver of the No. 65 Team Hardpoint Porsche earned his fifth race win of the season and kept his chances alive in the Pro-Am class. Metni would have to settle for third-place with the No. 16 MRS GT-Racing Porsche driven by Steve Dunn (Littleton, Colorado) earning second-place. The Wright Motorsports No. 57 of John Goetz (Weston, Connecticut) finished in fourth-place with Curt Swearingin (Chattanooga, Tennessee) piloting the No. 17 ACI Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car closed-out the top-five.
Pro-Am 991 Class.
Matt Halcome had seven race wins in the first 13 rounds coming to Atlanta. He only needed to start Round 14 to take the championship in the Pro-Am 991 class – a class devoted to the previous generation type 991.2. He did that to become the first champion of the three to be crowned a Porsche Carrera Cup North America Presented by the Cayman Islands in 2021. However, the driver of the No. 55 “Mystery Machine” Porsche prepared by Goldcrest Motorsports would only finish in fifth-place in the race.
Winning the class was first-time entrant Dimitri Dimakos (Chicago, Illinois) in the No. 96 Goldcrest Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car. Dimakos was immediately fast as he entered the first practice turning eyes in the close-knit paddock. Regularly running lap times similar to the Pro-Am class, the Chicagoan won the class pole position for Race 1 but was disqualified for being underweight. Proving the speed was not a fluke, the youngster charged through the field and won Race 1 in convincing style. The Flying Lizard Motorsports No. 68 Porsche of Chris Bellomo (Portola Valley, California) was in second-place, Conor Flynn (Jacksonville, Florida) in the No. 95 Irish Mike’s Racing Porsche finished in third-place.
Race 2. Round 15 of 16.
Even with the championship his, Priaulx was not about hand a victory over to his teammate van Berlo. As they have done so often this season, the Kelly-Moss teammates sat on the front row coming down the hill at Turn 12 to take the green flag. The British driver pushed hard with the Dutchman close behind and the Canadian in third-place. They would hold these positions for much of the race until lap traffic on the front straight allowed van Berlo to setup and pass Priaulx for the lead with 17-minutes remaining. They would finish that way with van Berlo earning his seventh victory of the season, Priaulx in second-place and Thompson in third. Leon Koehler (Germany), debuting in the Porsche Carrera Cup North America Presented by the Cayman Islands behind the wheel of the No. 14 MRS GT-Racing Porsche, finished in fourth-place. Maxwell Root (San Diego, California) drove the No. 7 Wright Motorsports Porsche into a top-five finish just behind Koehler.
With Alan Metni sitting on the pole, the Texan held the top spot in the class for over half the race. However, with 20-minutes remaining, Efrin Castro passed into the lead and held it until the checkered flag. The win keeps Caastro’s championship hopes alive with one race remaining. Steve Dunn returned to the podium in second-place while Bill Smith (Dallas, Texas) drove the Topp Racing Porsche to the podium in third-place.
Pro-Am 991 Class.
The talk of the paddock remained newcomer Dimitri Dimakos. The Goldcrest driver started on the Pro-Am 991 class pole position and then immediately pulled away. His performance was so strong that he was 11th in the overall standings, ahead of every Pro-Am class competitor on his way to a 100 percent win rate in the series. Kurt Hunt was second in the No. 24 ACI Motorsports Porsche. Champion Matt Halcome returned to the podium in third-place.
Round 16, the final race of the 2021 Porsche Carrera Cup North America Presented by the Cayman Islands season, will be run as part of Friday’s Petit Le Mans lineup. The green flag will fly for the final time on the field at 11:15 a.m. ET. The livestream and live timing and scoring can be found at PorscheCarreraCup.us.
Full race coverage of today’s 45-minute event can be found on the Porsche Motorsport North America YouTube channel (youtube.com/PorscheMotorsportNorthAmerica). Additional post race coverage and special programing will also be found here.
Comments after the races.
Race 1 Winner, 2021 Pro Class Champion.
Seb Priaulx, Driver, No. 15 Kelly-Moss Road and Race Porsche 911 GT3 Cup.
“It was a nice start-to-finish race really there for me. It was clean. A couple full course yellows but overall, it was amazing. I just can’t believe how it happened. Amazing. It [the championship] hasn’t hit me yet. I don’t know what to say. It is amazing. I can’t thank Kelly-Moss and Multimatic enough. Porsche makes an remarkable car for me to drive. I loved it.”
Pro. Race 2 Winner.
Kay van Berlo, Driver, No. 3 Kelly-Moss Road and Race Porsche 911 GT3 Cup.
“Coming here this weekend was quite a challenge after everything that happened at VIR. Getting a car and coming here to Road Atlanta we didn’t do any testing. We showed up here for Free Practice One and we knew it would be pretty difficult to close that gap in such a short amount of time. The start of the second race I was able to hang-on around the outside of Parker which worked out pretty well and was able to keep second-position. My goal was to build a gap to third-place and stay with Priaulx and see where we go from there. I was expecting traffic all the way through the race and traffic here can make a huge difference. Once we hit traffic, I chose the right side, and he chose the wrong side, and I was able to pull just ahead of him and brake a little bit later and move into P1. With Priaulx behind me it was quite a lot of pressure. Out of the [Turn} 10B he was able to pull his nose right next to me. I wasn’t sure how close he was to me because in the dark it is pretty hard to see where the headlights are. It was hard to get a feel for how close he was. I decided to take a wider approach in the last corner and I crossed the finish line with my wheels in the sand. After everything that has happened the last few races, it was fun to have some fights out on track. It was an incredible effort by Kelly-Moss and by Porsche. It is a great win for Racing For Childrens and for me as well.”
Pro-Am. Race 1 and Race 2 Winner.
Efrin Castro, Driver, No. 65 Team Hardpoint Porsche 911 GT3 Cup.
“It was an awesome day. I love this track. My Porsche 911 GT3 Cup was on rails. I couldn’t ask for anything more than today. Today was an amazing day. Two wins, I felt great, no pressure and super focused. It was just amazing. I want to thank Team Hardpoint and all the guys for a great car. We’ve got one more race tomorrow and it’s not over until the fat lady sings!”
Pro-Am 991. Race 1 and Race 2 Winner.
Dimitri Dimakos, Driver, No. 96 Goldcrest Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 Cup.
“This is our first Carrera Cup event, so we came in not really knowing what to expect. We just wanted to do the best we could do. Practice went well. Qualifying went well. Unfortunately, we got disqualified from qualifying for being underweight, so we had to start at the back. That threw a wrench into all the plans that we had but we made the most of it. Race 2 was a little bit easier because we started up front. I just tried to maintain that. The Cup car I have the most experience in is the 991. I have grown with it. The car communicates with me really well. This is my second time at Road Atlanta for a race. The track has a really nice flow to it, I really enjoy it. This is fun for me. We are doing this for fun.”
About the Cayman Islands
The Cayman Islands, located an hour south of Miami in the vibrant tranquility of western Caribbean, is a premier destination for travelers, thrill-seeking divers, adventurous epicures, honeymooners and families alike. The trio of islands affords each guest with the ultimate setting to enjoy life’s finest comforts, as the Caribbean’s leading luxury lifestyle destination. Five-star resorts, high-end villas, condos and breathtaking beachfront properties unique to each island offer a myriad of accommodation options for discerning travelers to enjoy. Additionally, the Cayman Islands is frequently heralded as the “Culinary Capital of the Caribbean” and offers endless gastronomic experiences to delight even the most seasoned of palates.
The Cayman Islands, world-renowned for impeccable “Caymankind” hospitality also employs best-in-class health and sanitation protocols to keep visitors and locals safe. To learn more about the Cayman Islands, please go to www.visitcaymanislands.com; www.divecayman.ky or call your local travel agent. For the most up-to-date travel guidance and protocols, please visit: https://www.exploregov.ky/coronavirus.
Porsche Carrera Cup North America by the Cayman Islands is the premier one-make race series in the United States and Canada utilizing a combination of the latest Porsche 911 GT3 Cup race car, type 992, and MICHELIN® Pilot® Sport Cup N3 racing slick to challenge the best road and street race courses on the continent. As with all national Carrera Cups worldwide, the inaugural season of the championship is scheduled to host 16-rounds. Each 45-minute race counts toward a season-long driver and team championship in each of three classes: Pro, Pro-Am and Pro-Am 991.
For more information on Porsche Carrera Cup North America by The Cayman Islands can be found at www.PorscheCarreraCup.us.