Alton, VA | It was a tale of two races for the leaders in Porsche Sprint Challenge North America by Yokohama, with VIRginia International Raceway hosting the third doubleheader of the season for the Porsche GT3 Cup and Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport classes.
While Saturday’s conditions brought the heat and overnight rain dropped the temperatures on Sunday, all four races featured action with lasting effects.
Porsche GT3 Cup: Zachary Vanier continued his dominance in the Porsche 992 GT3 Cup Pro/Am class, winning his fifth and sixth consecutive races in the No. 206 and maintaining his undefeated status in 2023. The MDK Motorsports driver scored the WeatherTech Pole Position Award to start first in both races and ran nearly uncontested throughout the weekend.
The closest competition Vanier faced was from fellow Porsche Junior driver, Aidan Kenny. In Race 1, Kenny was overtaken by Madeline Stewart for the runner-up position, but he later pressured the New Zealander into a mistake to reclaim second place. In Race 2, Kenny valiantly fought door-to-door with Vanier at the start, but eventually gave way to the Canadian’s pace.
“Thirty-five minutes plus one lap doesn’t seem like much, but it can add up very quickly,” said Vanier, who extended his lead in both the Pro/Am and Porsche Junior championships. “I’m making sure to put in all the prep required to maximize each and every weekend and give everybody who’s helping me the results they deserve. A huge credit to the MDK Motorsports team and all their efforts – our program this weekend was absolutely phenomenal. Testing on Thursday was very beneficial for us to find out where we made gains and carrying it through the weekend.”
Connor Horstmann in the No. 214 Porsche finished third in both races to complete the Pro/Am podium. In the Am class, Christian Hodneland was poised for a weekend sweep in the No. 232 Porsche. However, after claiming the Race 1 win and seemingly in control of Race 2, Hodneland found himself off course during the final minute, elevating Steve Dunn to first place after a runner-up finish the day prior. David Williams, who finished third in Race 1, moved into second, with Jody Miller completing Sunday’s podium.
In the 991 GT3 Cup class, Ashley Freiberg mimicked co-driver Vanier’s success with a weekend sweep of her own in MDK Motorsports’ No. 122 Porsche. Tim Kezman and Scott Zdanis finished second and third, respectively, in both races.
Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport:
On the first turn of the first lap, Saturday’s Cayman GT4 Clubsport race saw a move that could have ramifications for the rest of the season. Nicholas Maloy started second behind Chloe Chambers and at the start, boldly dove to the inside of the polesitter. However, late braking by Maloy sent his No. 4 Porsche hard into the side of Chambers, running both cars off track and seeing the rest of the field pass by.
While Chambers was able to return to the race – ultimately finishing seventh in class – Maloy was forced to retire his Porsche for the remainder of the weekend. Maloy’s championship efforts, both in the Cayman Pro/Am class and in Porsche Junior competition, faltered as a result and is now fifth and third, respectively, in both programs. Before Race 2, Chambers’ team worked to repair her No. 70 Porsche, which paid dividends as she soared from the drop of the green flag to rebound for the victory on Sunday.
“I knew I was quick off the start,” said Chambers, who was recently announced as part of the Porsche Deluxe Female Driver Development Program. “I knew that from (the last event at) Barber, so I was just trying to get a gap from the start. Through the middle of the race, I was just listening to what they were saying on the radio, saying what the gap is, and then managing how quick I’m going from there.”
Making a guest appearance at his home track this weekend was Florian Eyme, who found himself in the right place at the right time on Saturday to steal the victory after the leaders’ incident. He took home an additional podium on Sunday in the No. 11 Porsche by finishing third.
Walking away with a solid points weekend and double runner-up finish at VIR was Paul Bocuse. The Zotz Racing driver now leads both the Pro/Am championship by 24 points over Michael Clark as well as the Porsche Junior championship by 29 points over Riley Pegram.
In the Cayman GT4 Clubsport Am class, Alain Scalzo breezed to a Race 1 victory on Saturday and was prepared to do the same on Sunday before a solo, off-track excursion in his No. 26 Porsche led to a late retirement. Jason Golan – leader of the Am class championship – inherited the top spot and eventual win, with Tom Kerr completing the class podium in both races.
The next Porsche Sprint Challenge North America event at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course will feature just the GT3 Cup class as part of the INDYCAR Series weekend on June 30 – July 2. However, the series’ USA West division picks up for its second doubleheader of 2023 two weeks prior at Sonoma Raceway on June 16 – 18.
All Porsche Sprint Challenge North America by Yokohama races stream live on FloSports, in addition to the series’ YouTube channel. More information can also be found at www.porschesprint.com and on social media via Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.