Just last week PorschePurist sponsor TruSpeed Motorsports announced their first season in the IMSA GT3 Challenge with full season entries for two separate cars driven by Sloan Urry and Tom Haacker. Both drivers started off the season in style this weekend.
Sloan Urry finished 10th and 6th in races one and two and Tom Haacker finished 19th and 17th. Given the large field of entrants, and the notoriously bumpy track conditions at Sebring, the team expected multiple caution periods in both races. Instead, the first race ran entirely under green, affecting Sloan Urry's strategy from the start.
In qualifying for Thursday’s race one, Urry lined up 6th on the grid, the order being determined by fastest practice times up to that point, and on his first timed lap, a red flag brought the session to a standstill. As he eventually was able to get back underway in the session, a flat-spotted left front tire compromised his qualifying run, and Urry ended up 13th. Due to Sloan’s mid-pack qualifying performance, the team crafted a strategy that factored in likely and multiple caution periods. With the race running caution-free, Sloan was able to pick off three drivers, finishing 10th overall and netting himself the 12th position on the grid for race two.
The team encountered slight gearbox problems on Urry’s #20 TruSpeed Porsche 911 GT3 Cup during race one, and swapped two of the ratios out in time for race two, the Porsche performing with trademark reliability in both races. Friday’s race went more closely to plan for the team with several caution periods shaking up the running order. Sloan passed four cars on track and another two that had off-track incidents, garnering a strong 6th place finish and picking up the Yokohama Tires Hard Charger award for being the driver who improved his position most from race start to finish.
Tom Haacker, driving the #80 G22 Racing / TruSpeed Porsche GT3 Cup, had a solid weekend at Sebring, improving his laptimes in each practice session and in both races. Having qualified 24th for Thursday’s race one, Tom improved his position through the race to finish 19th in class, and set his fastest time of the weekend to that point. In Friday’s chaotic race two, Haacker kept his nose clean and avoided the multiple collisions that would unfold in the field around him, and having qualified 24th for race two, picked up several drivers to finish 17th in class. With the goal of running inside the top 20 in his rookie race in the IMSA GT3 Challenge, Haacker headed home a satisfied racer.
Team Manager Tyler Tadevic said,
“We’re thrilled to leave Sebring with the finishes that the guys put in this weekend, and having achieved the goals we set as a team and for both Sloan and Tom, we’ll get ready Miller Motorsports Park with heightened expectations and a serious sense of confidence. Sloan had a great weekend and managed to race through some adversity on Thursday, then he kept his cool and earned the Hard Charger award from Yokohama Tires on Friday. Tom did what he set out to do, which was learn, improve his racecraft and book solid points, so across the board, we’re happy with how we went. It’s a short month between now and packing the trucks for Miller, and we’ve got our work cut out for us!”
[Photo Credit: Richard Prince/www.rprincephoto.com]