ROAD AMERICA, ELKHART LAKE, WI
This weekend at the famed Wisconsin road course, Road America, thirty-seven Porsche racers from across the continent gathered for two races with implications in both the Canadian and USA divisions of the IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge. The event marked the second of two continental events on the 2019 GT3 Cup calendar, after groups from both countries gathered at the Montreal F1 Grand Prix in June. Driving the #3 entry of Porsche Centre Victoria and SCB Racing, Parker Thompson arrived at Road America ranked 2nd overall in the Canadian championship. In races marred by multiple collisions and lengthy durations under caution, the Alberta native earned two top ten finishes, gaining positions during race action after a difficult qualifying result.
With nearly twice the number of entrants usually seen at Canadian series events, dense traffic on course had an impact throughout the weekend. Qualifying saw many drivers, including Thompson, struggle to find space on the fourteen-turn road course. In an abbreviated session, cut short by an incident on track, Thompson managed only the 12th best qualifying time.
Chaos continued during races on Saturday and Sunday. Drivers involved in close battles throughout the field generated multiple collisions and a string of yellow-flagged laps. Records show that more than three-quarters of race laps during the weekend were driven under caution with the guidance of the Porsche Panamera safety car. For the most part Thompson managed to avoid the chaos. In Race 1, an impact between drivers Dussault and Gomez nearly collected Thompson. He would avoid a collision by jumping the curb and driving his car across the grass to avoid the pair as they spun. It was a close call that would allow multiple drivers to drive past the black and gold #3 car. In only three green flag laps to follow, Thompson would gain three positions. Climbing from 12th, he would finish 9th overall, and sixth among Canadian competitors.
Race 2 showed a slightly better result – Thompson would finish seventh overall. With only one non-Canadian competitor ahead of him however, he was not able to improve on his championship points earnings from Race 1. The result allowed rival Jeff Kingsley to pass Thompson and take second spot in the overall Canadian series championship standings. The two will enter the series finale next month at Circuit Mont Tremblant, separated by only two points.
“Anytime there are this many race cars on the track things are bound to get interesting. We knew going into the weekend that setting a good time in qualifying was absolutely critical. Porsche Centre Victoria and SCB Racing gave me a fantastic race car. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to put a complete lap together to earn the starting grid that we were looking for. With a limited amount of green flag racing this weekend, I’m happy with how we were able to take advantage of the limited opportunities we saw to move up.”
IMSA GT3 CUP CHALLENGE ROUNDS 9 & 10 – GP OF ROAD AMERICA
August 09 – 11, 2019 – CTCC Rounds 7 & 8 – GP3R, Trois Rivieres, QC
August 14 – 16, 2019 – IP2000 Series Test – Gateway Motorsports Park, IL
August 23 – 25, 2019 – CTCC Rounds 9 & 10 – CTMP, Bowmanville, ON
August 24 – 25, 2019 – IP2000 Round 12 – Gateway Motorsports Park, IL