Newport Beach, CA, November 11, 2011 – Las Vegas Motor Speedway was the site for the season finale for the 2011 season of Pirelli Drivers Cup USA as part of the inaugural North American Festival of Speed event held on November 4th– 6th.
The stage was set for Race #11 & Race #12 as the venue integrated both the speedway oval and the road course (e.g. roval). In addition, this was the first night race which added additional challenges and excitement for the drivers during the event weekend. The challenge with a roval track with tight infield requires a suspension set up that is somewhere between the optimum set up for either course condition. The teams had a setup for the cold night race for Saturday with a race beginning at 9:40 PM and a warmer day race on Sunday afternoon. With coaching and race insight from professional sports car driver Kelly Collins; the drivers worked on tire management and track position for both types of races during the weekend.
Friday’s Test & Tune Day activities were shorten after the first practice session when a desert rain storm blanketed the track and sent everyone back to the garages to stay dry. The sessions were going to be used by the drivers to familiarize themselves with the track and course configuration. The rain only showed up on Friday afternoon and was not an issue during the rest of the weekend event.
With the rain out of the picture, Saturday night started with the drivers using the practice session under the lights to begin to focus both of track position and training their vision for the other drivers on the track. Before long the qualifying session was upon the drivers and the drivers stepped up their game on the track with Jim Walsh #96 (Jim Walsh Racing) in his Group C 2011 997 GT3 Cup at 1:14.8 leading the way, David Calvert –Jones #12 (Competition Motorsports) Group B 2008 997 GT3 Cup at 1:16.8 charging to the front, and Doug Baron #77 (911 Design) Group A 2004 996 GT3 Cup at 1:17.9 helping to set the field for Race #11.
As the green flag dropped, the drivers darted for track position as the drivers transitioned from the speedway oval to the infield course. With this field you could not make a mistake or your track position was altered and you played catch up. As the drivers battled the field throughout the race, when the checkered flag was waved, the podium was set. Brian Wong #23 (Competition Motorsports) won Group C with a very clean drive with Dave Cormier #24 (Vici Racing) racing his newly acquired 2011 997 GT3 Cup to a second place on the podium and Robert Rodriguez #69 (P7 Racing). Brian Wong #23 also had the fastest lap during the race at 1:15.3. Group B had three different teams running for the podium and it was back and forth between all these drivers to finally have David Calvert-Jones #12 (Competition Motorsports) in first, John Krieg #88 (Truspeed Motorcars) and Dave Leyvas #65 (Race Technik) to round off the top three. Group A had the perennial Doug Baron #77 (911 Design) on top challenging many of the 997 GT3 Cup cars during the race with Ricky Johnson #31 (Race Technik) runner up.
After the late night race on Saturday night Sunday’s morning practice session came early for the teams. During the qualifying session for Race #12 the pole again was set with Jim Walsh #96 with Dave Cormier #24 on the front row with Jim; David Calvert-Jones #12 was the fastest for Group B and Doug Baron #77 captured the fastest qualifying for Group A.
Race #12 on Sunday again was cleanly run by all the drivers with plenty of excitement for the fans on hand watching. The same back and forth between the top drivers in each Group that we have seen all season was evident in this last race of the year as Brian Wong #23 was able to overtake Jim Walsh #96 for the victory very late in the race for a repeat of Race #11 the night before and overall winner. Group B had Roger Rodas #52 (Competition Motorsports) having a great end of season victory with team mate David Calvert- Jones second and John Krieg #88 rounding out the podium. Doug Baron #77 and Ricky Johnson #31 finished the same as the evening before in Group A with Doug being the victor.
On Friday night, Pirelli Tire USA hosted a reception at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway Media Center to recognize the Pirelli Drivers Cup USA 2011 season champions. With the drivers and team members along with family and friends present, Pirelli Tire executives Rafael Navarro (VP – Communications and Media Relations) and Gianluca Grioni (Motorsport Manager) acknowledged the championship drivers with the series trophies. Being recognized as the 2011 Champions were: Group A – Doug Baron #77 as a repeat winner from 2010 as Champion; Group B – Dave Cormier #24; who sold his Group B car after Infineon Raceway and ran his Group C 2011 GT3 Cup at Las Vegas; Group C was won by Bryce Miller #34 who race great all season to gain the top spot in the 2010-2011 997 GT3 Cup group.
In 2012, the Pirelli Drivers Cup USA sixth season will include seven (7) events at some of the most challenging venues in North America. The full schedule will be announced at the end of November.
The Pirelli Drives Cup USA staff wants to thank our drivers, their teams, and our series partners whose ongoing support and participation help make this series possible. Our partners for the 2011 season included Pirelli Tire, Porsche Motorsport North America, BBS America, Stand 21, Truspeed Motorcars, Mother’s Racing, RSS, MoTeC, Pagid RS, Chase Cam, and Thermal Motorsports Track and Club.
For more information about Competent Motorsport LLC and the Pirelli Drivers Cup USA series, go towww.competentms.com.
This article was written by manifest