This weekend the 2022 Porsche Carrera Cup North America Presented by the Cayman Islands will end it’s season with rounds 15 and 16 at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.
The premier one make series has enjoyed remarkable growth in it’s second season and we can see that in the entry list for this weekend. 35 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup are set to vie for a championship and the Entrants title, all of which are currently undecided.
There are four drivers capable of capturing the Pro class title, two in Pro-Am and three in Am. All will race the same type 992 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup race car, based on the road going Porsche 911 GT3, and those who will stand at the front of the Celebration of Champions to receive a very impressive list of trophies and awards will come down to the two final 40 minute races around the 2.54 mile, 12 turn race course which features long straights, sweeping corners, technical turns and elevation changes that cut through red Georgia clay.
In the seven months that have taken place since the sophomore season began at Sebring for the one make series, 47 drivers have taken part in at least one of the 42 class races across 14 event weekends with 12 drivers taking at least one race win in their class.
Not only is this weekend significant because it’s the last race weekend of the season, but September 30th is a big day for Porsche in North America. It’s the day that the Al Holbert Cup will be awarded to the overall champion of the series. The Al Holbert Cup recognizes Holbert’s commitment, inspiration and leadership in the formation and organization of Porsche motorsports in North America. Al was also a storied racer and one an all time leader in IMSA with 63 race wins and 27 pole positions. The silver cup that carries his name has been crafted as a timeless and traditional trophy to commemorate each Pro class champion of the Porsche Carrera Cup North America starting in 2021 with the inaugural season. This award recognizes the true racing spirit of Al Holbert, conveying his professional driver’s skill, engineer’s precision and racer’s passion. This unique award represents a link between the past, present and future of Porsche.
With 15 entries in the Pro class, 4 are eligible for the title. Early favorite Kay van Berlo in the No. 3 Kelly Moss Porsche has not disappointed. He started the season sweeping the opening rounds at Sebring as well as rounds three and four in Long Beach. Since then he added on back to back wins at Watkins Glen for a total of six wins which is most in class. To add to his already impressive year, he has three more podium finishes, seven pole positions and seven fastest race laps. Currently sitting in second place, Parker Thompson in the No. 9 JDX Racing machine claimed rounds five at six at Laguna Seca, round 12 at Road America and round 13 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, also has three pole positions to his name and one fastest race lap. First year contender Trenton Etsep in the No. 6 MDK Motorsports Porsche has three wins this season, rounds 9 and 10 at Toronto and round 12 at Road America, three pole positions and two fastest laps. The fourth and last driver in Pro with a chance to take the title is Riley Dickinson in the No. 53 Kelly Moss Porsche. Dickinson scored his first win in the series in Indianapolis and has three fastest laps and one pole position to his name.
There are 56 theoretical points available this weekend, 25 x 2 for race wins, 2 x 2 for pole position wins and 1 x 2 for fastest race lap in each session so it is quite literally anyone’s game.
Van Berlo – 270
Thompson – 259
Estep – 230
Dickinson – 223
Fischer – 112
In the Pro-Am class, we’re seeing a repeat of last year with Alan Metni and Efrin Castro contenders for the Pro-Am title. Last year Metni and Efrin drove for different teams, but this year they’re Kelly Moss teammates with Metni in the No. 99 and Castro in the No. 65. While their battling has been more consistent this year, Metni enters once again with the lead. Castro who has seven wins to Metni’s three has a 14 point gap to overcome which isn’t much and we could very easily see a position swap. Though this is a two horse race, anyone in the top five could play spoiler. Marco Cirone sits third and has three wins in the No. 84 Mark Motors Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car. Fourth place Curt Swearingin, remains winless in 2022 but has three consecutive podium finishes in the No. 17 ACI Motorsports entry. Closing out the top five is 2021 Pro-Am 991 class champion Matt Halcome who is looking for his first win in the category at his home race.
Metni – 252
Castro – 238
Cirone – 182
Swearingin – 169
Halcome – 142
Over in the Am class, midway through the season everyone thought that Mark Kvamme in the No. 43 MDK Motorsports Porsche would run away with the championship. But, when the nine time race winner missed rounds 9 and 10, it opened it up for John Goetz and Bill Smith the gain some ground. Then an at home injury forced Smith to miss Road America and that flipped the points even more. Coming into this weekend, Kvamme holds the lead with Goetz in the No. 57 Wright Motorsports Porsche in second and Smith in the No. 42 Topp Racing Porsche 911 GT3 in third.
Kvamme – 272
Goetz – 256
Smith – 214
Willingham – 129
Lombardo – 108
The other title that’s on the line is that of the Entrants Championship. Of the possible 42 class wins, Kelly Moss has won 17 with four drivers in two classes (van Berlo and Dickinson in Pro and Metni and Castro in Pro-Am). Though they have a 40 percent win rate, the program owned by Victoria Thomas and husband Andy Kilcoyne can still be overtaken in the final two rounds. JDX Racing sits in second place with four wins. In their first season of Porsche Carrera Cup North America competition, MDK Motorsports has three wins and sits in third. Though there are 19 teams that have entered at least one car in one weekend, these three are mathematically the only ones that can win with points being awarded only to the highest placing team car overall, regardless of class.
Kelly Moss – 300
JDX Racing – 265
MDK Motorsports – 262
Topp Racing – 179
311RS Motorsports – 156
It is important to note, that while the battle for championships is raging, there will be a unique opportunity for the top talent in the Pro class. They will be able to get a look at the competition they could face in the international Porsche one make series. Porsche Junior Laurin Heinrich of Germany will take the wheel of the 311RS Motorsport No. 12 Porsche for the weekend. Named a Porsche Junior in December 2021, Heinrich will run in the special Invitational class like Jeff Gordan did at Porsche Sports Car Together Fest and be eligible for podium results within the Pro class but will not be eligible for championship points. This will also mark the first Porsche Carrera Cup North America race to not include Grand-Am GT Champion Leh Keen, as he offered up his seat to Heinrich.
Times for the Porsche Carrera Cup North America Presented by the Cayman Islands are as follows:
Wednesday, September 28 – Practice 1 – 9:45 a.m. – 10:25 a.m.
Wednesday, September 28 – Practice 2 – 1:30 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Thursday, September 29 – Qualifying – 9:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.
Thursday, September 29 – Round 15 – 5:00 p.m. – 5:40 p.m.
Friday, September 30 – Round 16 – 10:55 a.m. – 11:35 a.m.
To see timing and scoring, you can check out www.PorscheCarreraCup.us. The races will be broadcast live on the official series website, www.porschecarreracup.na, Peacock and IMSA.TV.