Today at Road America, Trenton Estep (San Antonio, Texas) used the weather, his experience and a mid-race mishap by the competition to push the No. 6 MDK Porsche 911 GT3 Cup race car to his third win of the season in Porsche Carrera Cup North America Presented by the Cayman Islands. Behind him, Marco Cirone (Canada) in the Pro-Am class and Mark Kvamme (Columbus, Ohio) in the Am category secured their second wins of the weekend in 500 hp Porsche race cars prepared by MDK Motorsports and Mark Motors Racing respectively. It was the first MDK sweep of class wins in the series.
An early morning rain was coming to an end as the 29 car field took to the legendary Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin race track for the second 40-minute race of the weekend for the premier one-make championship. To help minimize standing water at different corners around the 4.048-mile facility, the clock started before the green flag was dropped over pole sitter Thompson. As conditions improved, the battles throughout the field became more intense and had a direct impact on the championship fights in each of the three classes with only two stops remaining on the schedule.
With the wet weather Michelin Pilot tires sending rooster tails over the field, Parker Thompson (Canada) defended the top spot entering turn one in yesterday’s winning No. 9 JDX Motorsports Porsche. However, a pressing Dimitri Dimakos (Chicago, Illinois) in the No. 11 Porsche entered by 311 RS Motorsports kept the front row feeling the pressure. The Chicagoan overtook Estep and points leader Kay van Berlo (Netherlands studying in Miami, Florida) to close in on the rear-bumper of the leader. Estep would recapture the spot from Dimakos a few minutes later and set his eyes on Thompson and the lead. He would close the two-second gap and then take the lead from the JDX entry with 27-minutes to go. Thompson would pressure but Estep pulled away to take an eventual 3.6-second victory.
Only two cautions slowed the race. The first came at 26-minutes remaining when Alan Metni spun the No. 99 Kelly-Moss Porsche into the gravel. Once Metni’s silver Porsche was pulled out, the race went green with 21-minutes remaining. The drying track and wet weather, grooved tires tightened the field, but Estep was able to hold-off all challengers.
The second caution came with 15-minutes remaining in the race and has huge potential championship consequences. Fifth-place points holder Leh Keen (Atlanta, Georgia) drove deep into turn five. Unable to slow the red No. 12 311 RS Motorsports Porsche enough, Keen tapped the back of the No. 53 Kelly-Moss Porsche of Riley Dickinson (New Braunfels, Texas) who spun and pinballed into his teammate van Berlo as the Dutchman began his turn-in into the corner. The two spun in unison with Dickinson able to continue immediately to a 10th-place finish. Van Berlo required a tow and, with left-rear suspension damage was forced to park the car for a 30th-place finish. Keen was given a drive-through penalty for incident responsibility and would finish 27th.
The green flew again with ten-minutes remaining and Travis Wiley (Austin, Texas) used the No. 77 Topp Racing Porsche to make immediate work of Michael McCarthy (Clearwater, Florida) to score his best result of the year with a third-place. McCarthy would then go wide into turn five, falling to sixth-place at the checkered. Topp Racing’s TJ Fischer (Vacaville, California) finished in fourth-place with the No. 58 giving Topp two in the top-five. Sean Varwig (Barrington, Illinois) drove the No. 2 to the best finish for Kelly-Moss in fifth-place.
Trenton Estep, No. 6 MDK Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 Cup.
“I have never driven the [type] 992 [Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car] or this tire in the wet and I couldn’t believe how much grip there was on the out lap. I knew I could definitely roll some speed here. The Michelin was definitely kicking here today. The MDK Motorsports crew gave me an unbelievable car. It was really well balanced in the high speed stuff, and I think that is where we were quick. We were able to come home with the win and I am stoked. I got off to a really bad start, so I just hit my marks and was able to get through T.J. [Fischer] and Dimitri [Dimakos] relatively quickly. As soon as I cleared them, I thought ‘yeah, we have a chance here.’ I was able to run down Parker [Thompson] and pass him in turn three. From there it was to save the tires because it was starting to dry and hit my marks.”
“You try not to think about the points too much because it is just added pressure you don’t need during a race weekend. You try to focus on yourself, do your best and what you can control and try not to worry about the points.”
It was Marco Cirone for the Pro-Am sweep at Road America. Despite never having driven the type 992 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car in the rain, the Canadian showed himself just as skilled behind the wheel of the No. 84 Mark Motors Racing-prepared Porsche in rain or shine. The victory, the third in the series for Cirone, moved him into third-place in the point standings. Curt Swearingin (Chattanooga, Tennessee) drove a precision event to finish second in the No. 17 ACI Motorsports Porsche while Matt Halcome (Dallas, Georgia) drove the No. 55 Goldcrest Porsche to a second-straight podium.
Marco Cirone, No. 84 Mark Motors Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup.
“It was a very exciting race. This was my very first time driving that car in the rain. So, we didn’t know ABS setting, we didn’t know tire pressures and I am thankful I have the incredible team that I do because they set it up and I was able to keep it on the track. If it wasn’t for Mark Motors, I wouldn’t have been able to win this race so I thank them from the bottom of my heart. I am so happy. A double win at Road America? I came here and thought it was going to be a disaster… what a change. I am on cloud nine right now.”
Mark Kvamme maintained his winning-ways taking a second-straight victory at Road America, his seventh of the year, in the No. 43 MDK machine. The win moved him back into the lead of the Am class points championship, three points ahead of John Goetz (Weston, Connecticut) who drove to a second-place finish in the No. 55 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car. Third-place went to Kelly-Moss driver Vernon McClure (Chesterfield, Virginia) in the No. 10. McClure was just ahead of Jeff Majkrzak (Orono, Minnesota) who made his return to Carrera Cup this weekend after an injury at Long Beach in the No. 29 Goldcrest Motorsports Porsche.
Mark Kvamme, No. 43 MDK Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 Cup.
“I really learned one thing today: qualifying really matters. I was very fortunate to qualify several spots ahead of John Goetz and with this kind of weather no one is making big moves. As long as I drove a clean race, I won the race in qualifying. It was a clean race. I have to tell you; these Michelin rain tires are amazing.”
To the point
Estep’s win, Thompson’s victory in race one yesterday and second-place finish today compounded by the lowest finish of van Berlo all season dynamically tightened the Pro class championship. The three are now separated by only 32-points. Van Berlo continues in the top spot with 248 markers, Thompson added 20 points to close to within 16 points of the lead with 232 points. Estep now holds 216. In Pro-Am, challenging days by both Metni and Castro brought Cirone to within 32 points of second-place Castro and 112 back from championship leader. The Am category had a change with Kvamme moving back into the top spot by three points (222-219) over Goetz. Despite missing the weekend, Bill Smith holds onto third, 78 points ahead of Willingham.
Round 13 and 14 of the Porsche Carrera Cup North America Presented by the Cayman Islands will headline the second-annual Porsche Sports Car Together Fest at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, September 2 – 4.
Parker Thompson (Canada) won his third Porsche Carrera Cup North America Presented by the Cayman Islands victory of the season today at Road America. The driver of the No. 9 JDX Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup lead the full 40-minute race for the one-make championship under constant pressure by Toronto winner Trenton Estep (San Antonio, Texas). Marco Cirone (Canada) won his second Pro-Am race of the season in the No. 84 Mark Motors Racing Porsche while Mark Kvamme (Columbus, Ohio) returned to his winning ways taking the class victory from the Am pole position in the No. 43 MDK Motorsports Porsche. The 4.048-mile track in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin will host the second race of the weekend, round 12 of the 16, on Sunday, August 7 at 8:20 a.m. CT. The teams are planning for wet weather in race two with rain forecasted to begin in the early hours of the night and last throughout the day.
Parker Thompson (Canada) knew he had an opportunity to make a statement in the point standings entering today’s 40-minute race. With his primary championship nemesis, Kay van Berlo (Netherlands now studying in Miami, Florida) forced to start at the back of the field in 31st position as a result of a technical violation in qualifying, Thompson knew he could close on the Dutchman. A good start was critical so he could remain ahead of Estep who entered the race third in the Pro class standings behind van Berlo and Thompson. Thompson and Estep charged deep into turn one at the end of the long uphill front straightaway of Road America where the No. 9 nosed just ahead of Estep and never relinquished the lead from there. The win by Thompson was the sixth of his career. Michael McCarthy (Clearwater, Florida) in the No. 7 was the highest finisher for the Wisconsin-based Kelly-Moss team with a third-place result.
Despite the back of the field start by van Berlo and his teammate Riley Dickinson (New Braunfels, Texas), the pair of Kelly-Moss-prepared Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars were not accepting defeat to fight another day. Instead, the pair of green and white machines began to cut through the field. Five-minutes into the race, the championship points leader was already up 15 spots. It took just over 30-minutes for van Berlo to break into the top-ten. If not for the race’s only yellow flag stealing 15-minutes of racing from his pursuit, van Berlo – who would finish in fourth-spot – would have likely gotten on the podium. As it was, the result kept his point tally above what should have been expected. The caution hurt Dickinson as well. The fourth-place points runner brought home seventh-place.
The front row of the grid for race two will be a replay of today with Thompson leading the field to the green flag tomorrow. The Canadian earned the pole position by setting the fastest race lap (two-minutes, 10.032 seconds) in race one. Estep will start in second place, McCarthy in third. Van Berlo will take the green from fourth-place, outside of row two.
Parker Thompson, No. 9 JDX Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup.
“The No. 9 team came into this weekend knowing this is one of our strongest tracks. We know we have the pace here to win races. I am just so happy to come through for the JDX Racing crew. They deserve this win. It is out third of the year. We would like to have more but, at the same time, three in this series is a lot. This is probably the most competitive series in America. To get a win here at Wisconsin is amazing but we have one more race tomorrow. We stay fully focused going into tomorrow. We are starting on pole and now we just have to keep it. That is my mindset going into tomorrow.”
Marco Cirone won his second Pro-Am class race of the season (the first coming in race one at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca) behind the wheel of the No. 84 Mark Motors Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car. Ongoing pressure by class points leader and pole winner Alan Metni (Austin, Texas) in the No. 99 Kelly-Moss machine, Cirone held-off Metni to deny the No. 99 its fifth victory of the year. Matt Halcome (Dallas, Georgia) piloted the No. 55 Goldcrest Porsche to a podium result. It was the 2021 Pro-Am 991 class champion’s best result thus far in 2021. Metni will start from the class pole position in tomorrow’s round.
Marco Cirone, No. 84 Mark Motors Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup.
“It was action filled. Alan Metni can really drive that car. I got lucky at the beginning and got by a couple of cars but he was behind me, hounding me, the entire time. My team gave me a fantastic car. I have to thank Mark Motors and Parker Thompson. He has been helping me some as a coach. Great to be back in Carrera Cup.”
Mark Kvamme quickly found speed after missing the Canadian rounds due to family obligations. He piloted the No. 43 from pole position to his sixth win of the year. The win put him back to within two points of John Goetz (Weston, Connecticut) in the No. 57 Wright Motorsports Porsche. Both of the Am class drivers passed Bill Smith (Dallas, Texas) who missed the weekend due to an injury sustained at home. Bob Mueller (Solana Beach, California) returned to the podium in the No. 28 Goldcrest Motorsports-prepared machine in third-place.
Mark Kvamme, No. 43 MDK Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 Cup.
“It was an early race, so it was still pretty dirty. It has rained here in awhile so when you exit The Kink a huge cloud of dust comes up. I am back in the pack, so I am literally going through a smoke screen every time going through there. I had to miss Toronto, so I am fighting for every single point I can get now.”
Parker Thompson (Canada) will start on the pole position for race one of the Porsche Carrera Cup North America Presented by the Cayman Islands at Road America. The driver of the No. 9 JDX Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup race car lapped the 4.048-mile race course in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin in two-minutes, 8.455-seconds to score his first Pro class pole position of the season. He will be joined at the front of the 32 car field by Trenton Estep (San Antonio, Texas) in the No. 6 MDK Motorsports Porsche. The green flag will start the 40-minute event for the all-Porsche 911 GT3 Cup race series on Saturday morning at 8:50 a.m. local time (CT)/9:50 a.m. ET.
Madison, Wisconsin-based Kelly-Moss swept the front row in the Pro-Am class was one-two by drivers driving cars prepared by the program. Alan Metni (Austin, Texas) – who leads the points in the category – lapped the circuit in 2:10.088-minutes to behind the wheel of the No. 99. His championship nemesis and Kelly-Moss teammate Efrin Castro (Dominican Republic) was in close pursuit in the No. 65 with a time 2:10.554.
Having not attended the most recent rounds at Toronto, Mark Kvamme (Columbus, Ohio) fell from the top of the Am class point standings to third-place. However, he quickly reasserted his presence in the championship for the 500 hp, rear-engine racers with a lap of 2:11.472 in the No. 43 MDK Motorsports Porsche. John Goetz (Westcon, Connecticut) set a time of 2:11.884 in the No. 57 Wright Motorsports Porsche.
The fastest lap by each driver in qualifying sets the grid for the first race of the weekend. The second fastest lap by each driver acts as the qualifying time for the second race to be run on Sunday. Should a driver better their second best time during the race, the faster of the two will act as the qualifying time.
The top two qualifiers have had their qualifying times disallowed as has third-quickest car in the Am class. A modification was made to the Nos. 3 (Kay van Berlo), 10 (Vernon McClure) and 53 (Riley Dickinson) mandating their exclusion from the session. The cars will be sent to the back of the field for the start of race one. Their qualifying time for race two will be based on their best race one lap.
As the Porsche Carrera Cup North America Presented by the Cayman Islands approaches the final three weekends of its sophomore season, the battles have tightened across all championships. From August 4 – 7, the premier one-make championship will contest rounds 11 and 12 of 16 at Road America. Thirty-four Porsche 911 GT3 Cup race cars come to “America’s National Park of Speed” attempting the set themselves apart in the twin 40-minute races. With only six rounds remaining, both races on the 4.048-mile, 14-turn track are critical to championship aspirations in the Pro, Pro-Am and Am classes. Proving that the season is far from over, the most recent pair of races, held on the city street circuit in Toronto, Canada, saw a new winner, Trenton Estep (San Antonio, Texas), a surge in Pro-Am by Efrin Castro (Dominican Republic) and a massive, three position shake-up in the Am class.
Road America is the home track for Kelly Moss. The Madison, Wisconsin-based team brings eight cars, spread across all three classes, to Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin with a 31 point lead in Team Championship. Making that impact even greater, the operation owned by husband-wife duo Andy Kilcoyne and Victoria Thomas has the top spot as well as fourth-place in the Pro class (Kay van Berlo and Riley Dickinson respectively), holds a one-two grasp on the Pro-Am class with Alan Metni and Castro and has two Am class contenders (Vernon McClure and Tom Balames).
The park-like setting of Road America belies its daunting speed and high-commitment corners. It is not a place for the weakhearted. Dedication and a deep breath are often the final factor in deciding a win or a loss. Car control and good fortune often mean the difference between a night of celebration or a night of rebuilding the 500 hp Porsche for the next round. It is that thin line that makes the tree-lined track a favorite of drivers and fans alike.
34 Entries. Pro. 14, Pro-Am. 12 Am. 8
A grid of 14 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup race cars are entered for Road America in the Pro class, the top category of the Porsche Carrera Cup North America. While four consecutive wins to open the season – plus two more at Watkins Glen International – made Kay van Berlo (the Netherlands currently studying in Florida) the undeniable favorite, recent success by the competition have drawn the field back up to the rear bumper of No. 3 Kelly Moss Porsche. Van Berlo holds a 52-point margin on Parker Thompson (Canada) who has two wins thus far in the No. 9 JDX Racing entry. The two-top placeholders flipped wins here in 2021 with van Berlo victorious in Race 1, Thompson in Race 2. With a potential for a single entrant to earn 56 points each weekend (25 per win, two per pole position and one per fastest race lap), even van Berlo is not safe atop the standings.
With two victories in the No. 6 MDK Motorsports Porsche in Toronto, Estep moved himself into third-place in the Pro class as the Texan comes to Wisconsin. The success moved him around Dickinson (New Braunfels, Texas) who has hounded his Kelly Moss teammate with the No. 53 all season. The young driver is yet to score his first win in the series but has been a constant at the sharp end of the field. After sitting out Toronto, Leh Keen (Atlanta, Georgia) returns to defend his top-five spot in the Pro class. The veteran driver of the No. 12 311 RS Motorsports Porsche is 155 markers back from van Berlo and is in search of his first win in the series.
To the Point. Pro Class.
Van Berlo… 234
With 12 Pro-Am class cars entered for the weekend’s races, class leader Alan Metni (Austin, Texas) hopes to use the local knowledge of his Kelly Moss team to set the No. 99 apart. However, his major competition – as it was in 2021 when the two charged into the final round with the championship to be decided between them – is teammate Castro. The driver from the Dominican Republic has jumped several spots in the standings after difficult open races in the first three stops. However, the trend has been broken with Castro’s No. 65 Kelly Moss Porsche scoring four wins – the last three consecutively – in five starts. The two are separated by only 16 points now. Metni won both rounds here in 2021. Justin Oakes (Houston, Texas) is in third-place despite missing both Toronto races. WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca Race 1 winner Marco Cirone (Canada) sits in fourth driving the No. 84 Mark Motors Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car, type 992. Fifth-place, down one spot after missing Toronto, is Curt Swearingin (Chattanooga, Tennessee) in the No. 17 ACI Motorsports Porsche.
To the point. Pro-Am Class.
The greatest swap for position at the last round was in the Am class. Mark Kvamme (Columbus, Ohio) had led the class from the first pole position at Sebring. But Kvamme – who has won five of ten races held thus far in the No. 43 MDK Motorsports machine – sat out Toronto. That opened the door for Bill Smith (Dallas, Texas) to jump from third place to the lead after winning both races on the Canadian streets in the No. 42 Topp Racing Porsche. John Goetz (Weston, Connecticut) held onto second place in the No. 57 Wright Motorsports Porsche as Kvamme slipped 16 points back to the Smith. Goetz is nine behind the Texan.
To the point. Am Class.
Smith … 188
Hanley … 94
Timing (all times ET)
Porsche Carrera Cup North America Presented by the Cayman Islands.
Thursday, August 4 – Practice 1 – 2:20 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Friday, August 5 – Practice 2 – 9:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.
Friday, August 5 – Qualifying – 2:35 p.m. – 3:05 p.m.
Saturday, August 6 – Round 11 – 9:50 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
Sunday, August 7 – Round 12 – 9:20 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
Where to Watch
Live timing and scoring of each Porsche Carrera Cup North America Presented by the Cayman Islands session can be found at www.PorscheCarreraCup.us. IMSA Radio will again provide play-by-play commentary. The races will be broadcast live on the official series web site – www.porschecarreracup.na – and on the Peacock Streaming App.
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 Presented by The Cayman Islands.
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.
More on Porsche Carrera Cup North America by The Cayman Islands can be found at www.PorscheCarreraCup.us.