Poordad leads Gold Championship as Competition Motorsports grows to five entries
Monterey, California — There is no place like home and for Competition Motorsports, this weekend’s double-header IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama event at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca (MRLS) is as close to a home race for the Tujunga, California-based team as there is on the 2014 schedule.
Led by experienced Porsche campaigner Bob Faieta, Competition Motorsports opened the 2014 season with a strong Sebring race weekend and will look to continue that this weekend as IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama once again joins the IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship event at MRLS.
The weekend will see Competition Motorsports bring an expanded effort to the event as Michael McAlister (Beverly Hills, CA) has joined the squad to compete in the Gold Class as well as for Masters honors. McAlister joins the Competition Motorsports Sebring round roster of drivers which includes Michael Lewis (Laguna Beach, CA) and David Calvert-Jones (Los Angeles, CA) in the Platinum Class, as well as Fred Poordad (San Antonio, TX) and Blair Chang (Santa Monica, CA) in the Gold Class.
Poordad, who finished second in the opening round and fourth in the second race, enters the MRLS weekend with a four-point advantage in the Gold Class Championship. The visit to the track marks a bit of a full circle for the accomplished liver specialist, having seen his first-ever professional race at the track over a decade ago.
“I watched my first pro race there in 1998, as a fan, watching Porsche win,” said Poordad. “I then saw my first IMSA GT3 cup race there in 2010, when I watched a car flip four times and watched the driver walk away….in spite of that rather dramatic event, I decided to join the series. I have raced there in various events a few times and find it to be a challenging track to extract time out of. It is such a wonderful area of the country, and I always enjoy the track and the off track experience.”
The Sebring race weekend saw Chang make continual improvement as he returned to racing competition after several years away. That upward progression is likely to continue this weekend as he puts his previous experience at the track (IMSA, Pirelli Cup West, and PCA) to good use in his home state as he is optimistic of a good run.
“I have a lot of experience at the track, but I haven’t done as well there during the big events,” said Chang. “But I am hoping to turn the tables and do well this weekend!”
The newest addition to the worldwide Porsche Motorsport GT3 category is the all new GT3 machines that do battle in the Platinum cup.
Lewis, a young American racer who is making the conversion from European Formula car competition into the world of sprint GT racing, opened the year with two smart and heady drives to emerge seventh in the championship order with the No. 98 Competition Motorsports/Curb-Agajanian entry. Lewis marked himself as a driver to watch as he fought back from a setback to charge through the field as he collected two top-ten finishes in his series debut.
“It was an exciting start to the year and the big thing in Sebring was to focus on bringing the car home and learning as much as I could,” said Lewis. “I’m excited to be racing in California this weekend and I want to keep making steps like at Sebring and keep learning this car and improving every time out.”
Lewis’ fellow Platinum runner Calvert-Jones suffered a different weekend at Sebring, contending with both bad luck and frustration in each of the first two rounds. The Laguna Seca weekend provides a fresh chance for some championship points.
“My last run at Laguna was back in 2012 in GT3 Challenge, and I have to admit it was not a great weekend for me!” said the Australian. “But this track is one of my absolute favorites next to Bathurst so hopefully we can turn our luck around a bit.”
The weekend will open with a promoter test day on Thursday ahead of Friday’s first official practice sessions. Updates and timing to be available at http://www.imsa.com/series/gt3-challenge-usa.
Competition Motorsports, Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca Driver Line Up:
Michael Lewis (Laguna Beach, CA)
David Calvert-Jones (Los Angeles, CA) (M)
Fred Poordad (San Antonio, TX) (M)
Blair Chang (Santa Monica, CA)
Michael McAlister, Beverly Hills, CA (M)
2014 Porsche GT3 Challenge presented by Yokohama Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca Schedule:
Friday, May 2
10:35 AM Practice #1
2:40 PM Practice #2
Saturday May 3
9:00 AM Qualifications
Sunday May 4
9:00 AM Race One
5:15 PM Race Two