BRracing Motorsports completed the most recent Pirelli Drivers Cup race at Sonoma Raceway, July 1- 3, 2016 (event #5 in the 8 events series), with their winning streak now extending to 5 events in a row. For this weekend, BRracing had Kevin Woods competing in his Porsche Cayman GT4 ClubSport. Kevin, who was leading the championship going into the weekend, and looking to extend his lead in the series, as the series completes event #5 of the 8 event series. BRracing’s other Pirelli Cup customers were sitting out this event, given that it was the 4th of July weekend.
Kevin had done some additional testing in the weeks between the last race at Laguna Seca, and this race at Sonoma Raceway. He was not letting any chance go by to not continue to improve his car, and gain more experience in the warmer conditions at Sonoma. The preparations paid off, as Kevin was quick from the very first practice session. With the car well setup, this allowed the team to continue to try some minor adjustments, to extend tire life, and ensure that they would have a car that would be consistent from beginning to end. The results continued to show, as Kevin was fastest in every single practice session over the large GT4 field. With the help from every element of the team, Kevin would pour over the data, to find where speed could be found.
For Saturdays qualifying session, Kevin put the car on the pole in commanding fashion. Each lap was just right, as he brought his tires and pressures up to speed, and he banked a fast lap on lap 2, and then upped the ante on lap 3. That lap was his fastest of the weekend so far, and clear of the competition by about 0.5 seconds, so he could come in after just 3 laps, and preserve his tires (the same tires used in qualifying must be run in the race).
Kevin started from the pole in race 1, and timed the start perfectly, and immediately pulled out an advantage on the field. But it didn’t take long for drama to occur on the track…which created the first full course caution. This allowed the field to bunch up, and always creates some anxiety wondering what will take place at the restart. Kevin again applied his methodical technical approach, and kept his tires and brakes warm, and when the green flag fell again, away he went. So much so that he caught the back of the faster 997.2 cars, which allowed the pursuers to close the gap on Kevin. Kevin was relentless, and surgically attacked when he needed, without creating any close calls or aggressive moves, and allowed him to create a gap to 2nd place. The race looked like it was going to play out well, and then, another yellow. This was within just a few minutes of the end of the timed race. This effectively would create a green / white / checkered situation, and the cars behind him were not going to let anything get in their way to take a shot at the lead. With effective radio communication to Kevin on the restart and the competitors, Kevin was focused on the task, and drove to the win.
Sunday was going to be another day, and you never know how things will transpire. Pyschology can get to your mind when leading a championship, especially after the winning ways from Saturday (pole, fastest race lap, winner of the race). Should he just play it safe, should he risk driving on the limit to get pole (extra points for pole and fastest race lap), should he just drive a lap just faster than the next in the championship to protect his lead? All these thoughts run through your mind….but Kevin put those aside, and again went out to drive a fast lap. However, the competitors were setting up a different stage. On the first qualifying lap, a competitor puts his car on pole, driving over 2 seconds faster than the prior day….they obviously had found something in the setup of the car….lap 2 of qualifying, Kevin sets a flyer, and jumps to the lead in qualifying. Hold on though, no more than 30 seconds later, and another competitor jumps into pole position. Right after that, another competitors ups the fastest lap again, and moves into pole. Kevin would have to pull his new personal best to get to pole. Another competitor almost nips pole as well. Kevin comes around on lap 3, and indeed grabs pole. There are still 10 minutes left in the session, and the top 5 competitors are all tightly packed. Within seconds after Kevin’s fast lap 3, they grab pole from Kevin. Now time is running short, and concern is building on the quality of the tires for another flying lap. At least that’s how the team viewed it, but Kevin just said “go faster”…and faster he did…..grabbing pole on lap 4…..by a huge 0.007 seconds. WOW.
What would the race hold w the competition so tightly packed on Sunday for race 2 of the weekend? The weather was a little cooler, which would help keep the tires under everyone for the whole race. In examining the cars on the grid before the start, we could see slight setup changes on some of the cars, as they hunted for more speed. Kevin was relaxed, and easy going before the race, “its just another race”. That cool approach played out on the track as well, as Kevin got a quick jump at the green flag, and immediately pulled out a gap on the hungry pack of competitors just behind. Just like Saturday’s race though, the race had not run but a couple of laps when there was an incident, which allowed the field to bunch up again (at the race start, the GT3 cars have their own start, followed by a gap, and then the GT4 cars have their start, or what is called a split start….however, once the race is green, and a yellow or full course caution comes out, the complete field needs to bunch up together). How would this restart play out…would it create drama, frustration, or opportunity. At first, when the green flag fell, it looked like it would be frustration. Some the slower 997.2 Cup Cars were slow to respond to the green flag, and with their higher horsepower engines, they should have gapped the Cayman field right away, but they did not. Kevin was in attack mode, to ensure that he created a gap to the crowd on his rear bumper. Kevin was right on the 997.2 Cup Cars rear bumpers, but, instead of getting frustrated, Kevin made a calculating move to pass the first of the slower 997.2 Cup Cars, as he determined that his tires were in better shape, and could go deeper under braking than the Cup Car, and put a car between him and the rest of the field. Over the next several laps, Kevin produced some of the fastest laps of the event, and set the fastest lap of the race, which allowed him to gap the Cayman field. After a few laps, the 997.2 Cup Car got back by Kevin, as the 997.2 was back on pace, and then pulled away from Kevin. The race would run for the remainder of the race under green, and Kevin cranked out lap after lap at a amazing pace. No slacking off here…he just drove a great race. The result was another win. Wow.
A perfect race weekend result. Pole on Saturday, fastest race lap on Saturday, win on Saturday, pole on Sunday, fastest race lap on Sunday, and the win again on Sunday. The field even included Keith Jenson (NolaSport), from the East Coast, who had just won the Cayman GT4 race the prior weekend at VIR. The win also produced some great points, as Kevin’s competitor in the series finished 3rd in each race, allowing a significant points gain.
Robb Todd, with his commanding lead in the Platinum class (991 Porsche Cup Car), could afford to miss this one event, but will return for the next round, as well as the other BRracing Motorsport customers (Jim W, Will K), and look for another new customer to join us for the next round at Miller Motorsports Park in Utah, August 12-14, 2016.
GREAT JOB KEVIN….Woo Hoo…amazing driving. Looking forward to more racing.