Thompson on the Podium Twice in Carrera Cup Opener at Sebring
Forty-three Porsche 992 race cars lined up at Sebring Circuit this week to launch a new season of Carrera Cup North America presented by Cayman Islands. Parker Thompson earned second and third-place pro-class finishes, driving the white, red, and yellow JDX Racing #9 car of Shell Tap-Up / Surgere / Byers Porsche / Renier Construction / Jersey Mike’s in two races around the Florida circuit. The result marks a solid start to 2022 as 24-year-old Thompson and the Colorado-based JDX Racing look to build on their 3rd-place finish in last year’s championship.
Through all sessions at Sebring Circuit, Thompson was a top performer. Wet conditions in Wednesday mornings practice sessions presented challenges to all entrants as they looked to refine car setups for qualifying. While Thompson managed excellent times through practice, he was not among the leading drivers when qualifying began on a dry Sebring track. With the session winding down, the team called Thompson into the pits for an aggressive setup change in a last-ditch effort to find more speed. The measures worked. While navigating traffic in the session’s final minutes, Thompson clinched third-place starting positions for races on Thursday.
Thompson and JDX continued to take a bold stance when racing launched on Thursday morning. In contrast to the majority of the field, the team started the #9 on brand new rubber for Race 1, looking for an advantage early in the race that would allow Thompson to pass rivals with Kelly Moss Racing to take the lead. The strategy nearly paid off. Thompson cleared American driver Riley Dickinson on the opening lap to take second-position and then battled with race leader Kay Van Berlo for multiple corners before expending his tire advantage. After twenty laps, he would cross the finish line in second place.
With his tire allotment for the weekend used up, Thompson started Race 2 on a used set of tires, knowing that most of his competitors were on fresh rubber. Despite that disadvantage, a strong start allowed him to gain a spot on the opening lap, moving from third into second. A forceful maneuver from Dickinson saw him give that position back just a lap later. Although Thompson appeared to be under pressure in the third position early on, he earned a comfortable gap for himself as the race progressed. When the checkered flag fell, he stood on the final podium position.
Second and third-place finishes put Thompson third in the overall standings and in a good position as the series heads to Long Beach Street Circuit on April 8th. With tight quarters racing expected there and at all fourteen remaining rounds, Thompson is focused only on one race at a time, aiming to use the team’s experience from 2021 to reach a higher goal in the new season.
“This is just the beginning! Last year when the season launched at Sebring Circuit, we may have felt a little out of sorts. This season’s performance is a sure sign of our progress as a team. Two podiums here is a solid result. Still, from our team leader Jeremy Dale to our incredible partners at Surgere, Shell Tap-Up, Byers Porsche, Renier Construction, and Jersey Mike’s, our end goal is something greater than podiums. After a full season here in Carrera Cup, we’re figuring out what that will take. We made some great notes here at Sebring. Now our focus shifts to Long Beach, where we believe we can do even better.”
Images credit Bob Chapman / Autosport Image