By Chris Paiz, Lone Star Region
The Tuesday before Thanksgiving saw PCA Sim Racing drivers compete in a fun exhibition race at Road Atlanta, the Turkey Trot.
The one-hour, multi-class race was put on by the Central Zone Group (Zones 5, 10 & 13) to get drivers from all over North America together during the winter off-season. Within the first twenty minutes of registration, the field hit capacity with over sixty drivers ultimately taking to the grid. Skill levels of drivers varied in this event with all four PCA driver classes represented.
Broadcasting the race live was Imperial Motorsports, a crew of PCA Sim Racing’s long-time members, Matthew Kuekes (Carolinas), Lief Peterson (Maverick), and Chris Paiz (Lone Star). The trio commentated on the race live on Twitch for friends and family of the drivers to watch and participate in the race through chat functions.
Drivers had a choice of what car they wanted to compete in, the 911 GT3 Cup (“Cup”) or the 718 GT4 Clubsport (“GT4”). The Cup class was by far the most popular, but even so, the GT4 class had a respectable sixteen drivers competing.
After the three-lap closed qualifier, James Huth (Hudson Champlain) started on pole and led the field to the start line at the end of the pacing lap. Rafael Amorim (Peachstate) sat on the pole in the GT4 class.
During the hour-long race, drivers had to face multiple challenges which included lap traffic, other class cars, difficulties of multi-class racing, and endurance challenges that stem from an hour-long race. After the halfway point, attrition amongst the field started to become significant with many race favorites like Leon van Handel (Kansas City) and Joshua Vieira (Potomac) suffering crash damage that would end their nights prematurely.
The Cup class pole-sitter, Huth, would pit early in the race. His early fuel strategy worked when, after a safety car period, competitor pit stops cycled Huth back to the front. When the race resumed, Cameron Martineau (North Country) in second place sat multiple seconds behind Huth. Over the last fifteen minutes of the race, Martineau chased down Huth and, after a mistake by Huth, Martineau completed the pass for the lead with only a handful of laps left.
Ultimately, Martineau would win the Turkey Trot with Huth following in second and Jordan Dyar (Schonesland) rounding out the podium for Cup in third.
The GT4 class saw some close battling mid-pack throughout the entire race. However, the pole sitter Amorim lapped the field on his way to victory. Matthew Siddall (St. Louis) finished second followed by Lanre Sarumi (Chicago) in third.