Sonoma, California 13, October 2019 – The drivers of Porsche Trophy West USA returned with excitement at Sonoma Raceway today for the 16th and final race of the 2019 Season.
Twenty-seven 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 1 joined us at Sonoma Raceway this afternoon for the last race of the 2019 season. Loren Beggs led the pack at Pole position with Laura Ely following on Pole for the Gold class, with Hutton McKenna next in line. McKenna pushed past Ely in turn 11 of the first lap to position himself behind Beggs in pursuit of a season closing win. With McKenna clear of Ely, she was left with only three cars between her and yesterday’s Gold class winner, Ray Shahi.
By lap 10 McKenna had passed Beggs, Ely maintained a substantial lead on Shahi, and Tom Tait was leading Stephen Ayers comfortably. The podium appeared to be set until an unexpected full-course caution in lap 13 tightened up the field once again.
McKenna suddenly saw Loren Beggs tight on his rear again, forcing him to switch gears from staying composed to full-on defense. This was the case until fellow Platinum class driver Chris Bellomo snuck by Beggs, and bolstered McKenna’s lead. McKenna was first across the finish line, locking in his 2019 Platinum class championship after a near perfect season of racing.
Similarly, Laura Ely of the Gold class had Ray Shahi close behind once again but was also able to maintain her lead. Ely’s victory today caps off her 2019 Gold class championship, making her a back-to-back Porsche Trophy West USA champion in two classes.
“I learned a lot about defending by following Ray yesterday,” said Ely. “I tried to do a lot of the things he was doing yesterday, and it worked. I had a great qualifier and then I focused on keeping my head down in the front. This season was a lot more competitive for me, so it feels good that I was able to win the championship.
Group 2 followed not long after with Andy Wilzoch on pole for the final Porsche Trophy West USA of 2019. Andy Wilzoch pulled far away from his Diamond class competitors during the race to finish first in the Diamond class by almost a full lap and take the 2019 Diamond championship. Martin Brauns worked his way farther and farther from competitor, Doug Baron, maintaining his lead until the end of the race to become 2019 Emerald class champion. Erin Vogel of the Bronze class competed closely with Paul Nemschoff, Seth Neiman, and Paul Camusi of the Silver class. Vogel advanced positions early in the race to lead two of the three newer Porsche GT4’s, but she couldn’t quite catch Nemschoff up front. Vogel is the 2019 Bronze class champion in her first season with Porsche Trophy West USA.
“Paul had a little bit of speed on me all weekend,” said Vogel. “I knew that if I didn’t get him in the first lap I wouldn’t, so it was really just about keeping in front of the other two. It all came down to defense and strategy today, and it worked out for me. This has been a great series for driver development, and it’s been a place where I can learn a lot, so I know that I am prepared for next season.”
Sunday’s races marked the end of a fantastic season of Porsche racing in 2019. President of Competent Motorsport, Greg Franz had this to say.
“I am very pleased with how the 2019 season came to an end. We had some great racing this weekend at an amazing venue, and it couldn’t have capped off this season any better. Myself and the Competent Motorsport team would like to thank all of our drivers, teams, families, and everyone who has joined us at our races this season. What we have here is so special and it wouldn not be the same without all of the amazing people who are a part of our series. We have a lot planned for the 2020 season including new partnerships, expanded opportunities at amazing racetracks, and we cannot wait to see you all out there next year!”
Porsche Trophy West USA will return to action in March of 2020. Stay tuned for updates on Instagram and Facebook at @porschetrophywestusa