See below for the results from the Sonoma weekend occurring from October 11th – 13th, 2019. Our team drivers who competed at Sonoma were Steve Miller, Hutton McKenna, Preston Calvert, Tom Haacker, Jim Walsh, Michael Zuieback, and Chris Pallis. Congratulations to Hutton McKenna and Jim Walsh for earning the 2019 Diamond GT3 and 2019 Diamond GT3 Masters championships respectively.
Race 1 Newsletter
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.
Race 2 Newsletter
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