If you put a former ALMS driver behind the wheel of a classic RSR on slicks, you should expect some cornering speed. Catesby Jones, a former ALMS driver with plenty of Porsche experience, accesses all the cornering speed you’d expect from a classic RSR to try and battle something with three times the grunt. There are myriad David Vs. Goliath battles out there, and this one deserves a place at the top of the heap.
Jones’ pursuit of Brad Hoyt’s and his C3 Corvette may have been the standout duel from this year’s HSR Fall Historics at Road Atlanta. These two have all the strengths and setbacks you might imagine, and that vast chasm of difference is further widened by the Corvette’s full weight and rain tires. It’s a slightly slippery surface they’re treading on, and Jones’s RSR has no treads underneath it. Slicks versus rain tires, F6 versus V8, roll cage versus full carpet, shuriken versus Howitzer.
Horses for Long Courses
Road Atlanta rewards big horsepower, and on its three lengthy straights, the Corvette’s advantage is undeniable. The gap it stretches every straight—even some of the shorter ones—should be unassailable, but another category of braking performance on the part of the Porsche keeps the two in close contention. Short squirts surprisingly don’t favor the Porsche. As Jones takes a peek at a potential pass into Turn 7 (2:42), he wisely thinks better of it—the Corvette would muscle by along the following straight, anyways.
Waiting for a Mistake
It’s a bit frustrating trailing in the big-block wake when there’s such a vast difference in the bends. Unfortunately for Jones, the few areas where the Porsche can hound the Chevrolet are relatively narrow and don’t offer too many passing opportunities. Without a mistake from the leader, it might’ve been impossible to overtake the Corvette, frankly.
However, a bit of overly defensive driving sabotages Hoyt and his Corvette. That desperate late-braking attempt (4:21), done while asking for the front tires to turn leads to a big snap and Jones slips past. He only gets to savor success for a second—a few more miles per hour make little difference when the disparity in power is that great and the straights are that long. C’est la vie.