Sonoma, California 12, October 2019 – Porsche Trophy West USA returned to Sonoma Raceway today for race 15 of the 2019 Season.
The drivers of Porsche Trophy West USA raced through the rolling hills of wine country today and put on a show at Sonoma Raceway. The drivers’ realizations that this would be the final event of the season set the scene for some very competitive battles for first in class.
Twenty-nine Porsche GT3 and GT4 Cup cars in 8 classes competed today at Sonoma Raceway: Platinum and Platinum Masters Class (Porsche 991.2 GT3 Cup), Gold Class (Porsche 991.1 GT3 Cup), Diamond Class (Porsche 991.1 GT3 R and 997 GT3 R), Emerald Class (Porsche 991.2 GT3 Cup MR), Silver Class (Porsche GT4 Clubsport SRO and Clubsport Comp), Bronze Class (Porsche GT4 Clubsport with Trophy Kit and Clubsport MR), and GT3 Cup Class.
Group 2 followed the pace car onto Sonoma raceway this afternoon with a large, competitive field of drivers in the mix. Andy Wilzoch led Alex Marmureanu and David Traitel in the Diamond class, Martin Brauns led Doug Baron in the Emerald class, and Paul Nemschoff led Paul Camusi and Seth Neiman in the Silver class. Erin Vogel and Ranson Webster were solo in class.
Wilzoch drove a solid first lap, opening a massive gap between himself and his competitors, and leaving Brauns, Marmureanu, Traitel, and Baron spaced evenly behind. Baron pushed hard to pass Marmureanu, shaving milliseconds from their gap with every lap, but the difference in power between his Porsche GT3 Cup MR and Marmureanu’s Porsche GT3 R was too much to overcome. The drivers of the Porsche GT4’s behind were sure to make some noise of their own. Nemschoff had a healthy lead on his GT4 competitors from the start, leaving the action to Neiman, Vogel, and Camusi. Neiman squeezed his way past Camusi, and after flying through turn 10 and 11, so did Erin Vogel.
Group 1 took to the Wine Country racetrack just fifteen minutes after the conclusion of Group 2’s race. Loren Beggs led the group in pole position with Preston Calvert and class leader, Hutton McKenna behind. Laura Ely led the Gold class on pole position and Tom Tait led the Platinum Masters class. Calvert lost his footing in lap 2, giving McKenna the go ahead to put pressure on Beggs and safely securing his position in the front of the pack.
“Things went to plan,” said McKenna. “I was just waiting for an opportunity to arise. I wasn’t looking to create an opportunity. I drove my race and steered clear of any trouble.
Ely found herself only a second behind Shahi after the mad dash at the start, but somewhere in that second of space sat Chris Pallis. Ely drove masterfully to pass Pallis and position her car right behind Shahi, and from that point on Shahi was defending a lead of two-tenths of a second. Mark Davidian drove hard to keep in close competition with his group, adding even more firepower to the Gold class competition. Ely kept an admirable amount of pressure on Shahi for the remainder of the race, but he was ultimately able to take hold of his place atop the podium for the Gold class.
“Laura raced an awesome race,” said Shahi. “I had to have the defensive line and make her go the long way, which doesn’t always work out because there wasn’t much grip. She fought hard and I knew she was going to catch up to me, but I kept it together.”
Ely was just as happy with their competition.
“Ray’s car seemed like it was twenty feet wide,” said Ely. “The race was a lot of fun. We got a little close at one point, but everything was fair, and it was a lot of fun.”
A fantastic Saturday of racing ended with Erin Vogel, Andy Wilzoch, Martin Brauns, Paul Nemschoff, Hutton McKenna, Ray Shahi, and Tom Tait taking home wins in their classes. Porsche Trophy West USA will return to Sonoma Raceway tomorrow, October 13 for race 16.
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