TPC Racing Brings Four-Car Effort to IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA Opener at St. Petersburg
ST. PETERSBURG, Florida (March 13, 2020) – TPC Racing opens the IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama season this weekend, March 13-15, on the streets of St. Petersburg with a four-car effort to begin a run at both the 2020 Gold Cup and the Platinum Cup Masters championships.
The IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama gets underway on following an amended schedule with a 30-minute practice on Friday morning at 9:30 a.m. EDT and a second 45-minute practice session at 2:05 p.m. EDT. A 15-minute qualifying session takes place at 4:35 p.m. EDT. The first race of the doubleheader is 40 minutes in length at 10:45 a.m. EDT on Saturday, with a 45-minute race to cap the weekend at 11:10 a.m. on Sunday.
Representing TPC Racing in the opening weekend are three drivers running in Platinum Cup Masters, and one driver aiming for a championship in Gold Cup. The Platinum Cup Masters is for 2017-2019 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars and drivers over the age of 45, while the Gold Cup is for the previous generation of Porsche 911 GT3 Cup machines.
Vernon McClure, Danny Hardee and Tom Kerr will carry the TPC Racing banner in Platinum Masters Cup, with Efrin Castro running in Gold Cup. McClure, Hardee and Kerr return to TPC Racing following successful 2019 seasons, while Castro joins the team after finishing fourth in Gold Cup a year ago.
McClure will pilot the No. 10 Main Street Homes Porsche 911 GT3 Cup during the 2020 season. Entering his sophomore season, McClure finished ninth overall in the season standings and third among Masters drivers in 2019.
Castro’s fourth-place finish in Gold Cup season standings came with four podium finishes in a competitive field. He will pilot the No. 65 Fine Fair Supermarkets Porsche 911 GT3 Cup during the 2020 season.
Kerr’s No. 74 The Vein and Vascular Institute of Tampa Bay/GOTVEINS.Com Porsche 911 GT3 Cup will run the streets of his hometown race. The Bay-area doctor represented the series at the track’s media day as the first barriers of the temporary circuit were placed.
Hardee finished eighth among Platinum Masters drivers a season ago, despite running a select-event schedule. His No. 69 Student Wireless/Apple Rush/Drive Revolve/Method Seven/Cars and Coffee West Palm Beach Porsche 911 GT3 Cup comes with a new livery and a new number for the 2020 season.
Each of this weekend’s races can be seen live on IMSA.tv, and will air on NBC Sports Network on Thursday, March 20, at 1 p.m. EDT.
Harris Levitas, Director of Race Operations, TPC Racing: It feels great to get the 2020 season started and get our IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA guys back out on track for IMSA competition. The TPC Racing team has been hard at work over the winter and we have had most of the drivers out for a bit of winter testing within the last month which should help them get up to speed and feel comfortable in the cars right off the bat. St. Pete is definitely unique to the schedule that we have had in the past. TPC Racing is no stranger to street courses. We have had a lot of success on other street circuits with wins, poles and race lap records. However, this will be the first time that the drivers on the team take on a true street circuit. We typically take our drivers to each circuit on the schedule to test before an event but this is a temporary street course. There is no testing. Some of our drivers have been working on simulators to try and learn the track though which hopefully will help them. We have a fantastic staff of coaches working with our drivers for this event though. Mike Skeen and Gustavo Yacaman have a lot of experience and success at the St. Pete street circuit and will be able to give the drivers great guidance and help keep the right mindset. The goal is to race clean and gather solid points to go into Barber for round two.
Danny Hardee, Driver, No. 69 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (Platinum Cup Masters): I’m really looking forward to the street course, considering my podium finish last year in Montreal’s street course. For preparation, I spent time in Miami with Gustavo Yacaman coaching me on the AIS Simulator. I’m looking forward to racing in Florida and having my girlfriend, family and friends attending. I feel the playing field will be level this weekend, considering most of the other drivers have not driven this course either.
Vernon McClure, Driver, No. 10 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (Platinum Cup Masters): I’m really looking forward to getting this season underway this weekend at St. Pete. Of course, this is a new track for me, but it’s new to the schedule which makes it a level playing field. In a field this competitive, I know I’ll have to push hard, but the trick on a street circuit is not to push beyond those limits. The guys at TPC Racing will help to me to judge that, and we’re hoping to come out of St. Pete with a good points weekend for the No. 10 Main Street Homes Porsche 911. Getting back into the GT3 Cup car with a new engineer and new driver coach is exciting, and to be able to run as part of a weekend with IndyCar is a thrill.
Tom Kerr, Driver, No. 74 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (Platinum Cup Masters): For me this is as big as it gets. I have seven vascular surgical offices in this area, so it’s a real local impact for my practice. I have more than 100 friends and family that have committed to coming to see the event, so there’s lots more entertaining and distractions. I don’t want to let the home crowd down, for sure! It’s a tight street course that none of us have ever been on before, as well as the first race of the season. Testosterone and egos are going to be high and it should be a very exciting event to kick off the 2020 season!
Efrin Castro, Driver, No. 65 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup (Gold Cup): I’m as ready as I could be. I’ve had this race in the back of my mind for quite a few weeks now and I’m just anxious to go and be there and represent my new team at TPC. I’m looking forward to the St. Pete event. I don’t have that much experience on street circuits but it’s a challenge because it takes more courage to go faster on any street circuit. That’s my high point, I think, as a racer. I just have to give thanks to the man above and to my family and friends for the support they give me. I feel very blessed to be able to do this.
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