Porsche IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge by Yokohama - Races 12 & 13, VIR 2012

Uploaded by drive on 19.09.2012


MALE SPEAKER: Built and raced in 1957, Virginia
International Raceway is a natural terrain road course
designed with a bulldozer, not a computer.
Known for its signature foot-down, high-speed esses
and turn 11 oak tree, VIR is the destination for races 12
and 13 in 2012 for the Porsche IMSA GT3 Cup
Challenge by Yokohama.
Dormant and in decline for years, refurbished and rebuilt
back to its original configuration over a decade
ago, elevated to country club status and beauty, for 2012
VIR was the new track for Porsche Cup racers and the
American Le Mans they support.
But VIR is not new to the racing world or the ALMS.
This track was site to the first GT race for the series,
the 1971 VIR 300.
The record shows that Porsche was the winner of
that first GT race.
So a full field of Porsche Cup racers back at VIR seemed
natural too.
As were two championships on the edge of being earned--
Angel Benitez Jr. in Gold, Sean Johnston in Platinum with
the newer and faster Type 997 GT3 Porsche.
The racing quest for all starts with
learning this track.
SEAN JOHNSTON: Some of the unique challenges about VIR is
that there's some extremely high speed complexes and
corners that have different lines, and you can make
different compromises.
And you make a small mistake in some of the corners, it'll
be a 3/10, half a second mistake at the end of the lap.
HENRIQUE CISNEROS: I think it definitely separates the men
from the boys, going up the esses and how fast you can get
through there.
But it's a narrow track, very hard to pass.
You have to get really good runs on people to
actually get by them.
ANGEL BENITEZ JR.: It's like I told everyone.
You know the track after the first practice session because
the track's not a big deal.
It's being confident with the car in the track.
Like, if you're really close to your
car, you can be anywhere.
MALE SPEAKER: Qualifying for the first race of the weekend
revealed no new secrets.
Benitez Jr. secured Gold pole position, the BBS award that
goes with it, and most importantly, the lead spot
from which he could secure his 2012 Championship.
At the front of the field overall would once again be
Sean Johnston, nailing pole with a 6/10 second gap to
Madison Snow and gapping his other championship rival,
Fernando Pena, by three spots on the grid.
Johnston did all this with only one hot lap to preserve
his tires for the race.
Bryce Miller, who started the season with winning speed and
championship intentions, soon found himself with mechanical
difficulties at VIR, the Effort Racing crew pulling the
engine three times in under 24 hours to find the source of
lost V-max.
BRYCE MILLER: Something we noticed in telemetry, but it
also does feel a little sluggish on the
back straight away.
We're losing anywhere from three to seven miles an hour.
MALE SPEAKER: The green flag start defined the race that
was to follow.
Sean held the lead and control of his destiny.
Madison secured a P2 position.
Behind them Pena, Miles Maroney, Sloan Urry, Michael
Mills, and Kasey Kuhlman set off to chase.
MALE SPEAKER: By mid-race, Sean had moved out to a lead
well over 10 seconds.
And on this narrow, fast track, barring a
self-inflicted error, the 45 minute race
was now his to win.
But those same track features made the racing behind
Johnston intriguing to watch.
At VIR successful passes are planned.
Dive bombing corners, penalized with lost speed onto
the long Virginia straights, or worse, off track meanders
into the rolling green fields.

Unfortunately for Bryce Miller,
resolution was never found.
Safety for himself and his fellow competitors made his
decision to park the car in race one.
Eduardo Cisneros moved through the field up to ninth after
starting 17th, and in the second part of the race put on
a great battle with Carlos Gomez.
Eduardo's efforts earned him the Yokohama
Hard Charger award.

In Gold, Angel Benitez Jr. Secured his P1 in class
position early and planned to run out the race to get his

With 13 laps to go, positions three and four went all
aggressive chess match.
Mike Mills, using a tire preservation strategy in
qualifying, like Sean Johnston, was hoping to gain
an extra advantage at race end.
Urry was just showcasing his tough racer approach.
As the laps wound down, Kasey Kuhlman joined the battle.
Give and take racing usually means something or someone has
got to give.
And that's what happened at the oak tree on the last lap.

Pena, by this time, had gone off track once and then DNFed
with a fuel issue.
MALE SPEAKER: Confirm it's a fuel pressure alarm.
Confirm it's a fuel pressure alarm.
MALE SPEAKER: At the flag, unwavered by anything behind
him, Sean Johnston finished 26 seconds up in the field and 47
points ahead of his championship rivals.
Benitez Jr. crossed the line the 2012 Porsche IMSA GT3 Cup
Challenge by Yokohama Gold Class Champion,
his 2012 quest fulfilled.
For Sean, race two was now the moment he had been striving.
A P4 finish or better and the Platinum
Championship would be his.
Or he just had to finish ahead of Madison Snow and Fernando
Pena, wherever they all were in the race order.
One champion crowned, the possibility of a second with
pole sitter Sean Johnston in race two.

Madison Snow said, not so fast.
Right from the start, behind the front row, a bit frenetic
to the racing pressure.
Sean Johnston, the racer, knows what he can do with a
Porsche Cup race car.
And knew what he had to do to claim the Platinum
10 minutes into the race, it happened.

For Benitez Jr., cruising around as champion is not his
idea of what a Gold Champion does.
So he dug into the race and battled his peers, determined
to win this race as a champion.
With the Series Class title holders looking defined by
Sean and Angel, the final ranking in the season points
order does not.
So the racing was Porsche Cup frantic.
VIR giving the racers just enough space to race on track,
beside it, and a bit in the air.
The race two VIR checker got the 2012 Platinum Championship
title for Sean Johnston, driving his Wright Motorsport
Driscoll's sponsored Porsche with much credit to how Sean
manages his Yokohama tires.
This, the fourth race win in a row for Sean Johnston, secured
the title with a racing statement only a champion
knows how to make.
Angel Benitez Jr. took race two Gold P1 to stamp his
champion's mark on the weekend and the 2012 season as well.
And now, both get to reflect on their success and plan for
the next steps in their ascent of the racing ladder.
The final race is at the ALMS Petit Le Mans weekend
October 19 and 20.
The close racing and contretemps from VIR are sure
to make the last two races to the final
standing worth the watch.
Stay tuned.