Series Recap – PCA Pro GT3 Cup Racing
By Stephen Kemp, Nord Stern Region PCA
Area Racing Managers – Jim Huth, Hudson Champlain Region & Stephen Kemp, Nord Stern Region
The first season of PCA’s Pro GT3 Cup series kicked off Round 1 at Sebring on March 10 with some very exciting racing. This series was made up of past top 10 Pro series finishers (PCA Pro class) and drivers from teams racing Cup cars in 2022 (Pro class). 40 minutes of racing with no fast repairs and no pit stops meant one mistake or penalty and a driver would find themselves at the back of the field with little chance for recovery. Open setups in this series allowed drivers to dial in the car for their driving style and the track challenge. No incident point penalties and race start completely controlled by pole sitter were a couple more unique aspects of this series.
In the first race, Porsche Junior and 2022 Carrera Cup Deutschland champion Laurin Heinrich took the win for both races at Sebring giving 311RS a strong early lead in the team competition. P2 in both races for the Pro class went to Chris Paiz of ACI Motorsports putting them in 2nd, while Chris Walsh took 24 points for both races for Hardpoint Motorsports to put them in 3rd place.
In this first round, Rafael Amorim finished P2 overall and topped the PCA Pro field. Arthur Chan finished in 2nd with Justin SW Tang in 3rd position.
Rounds 2 to 6 took the series to the Long Beach street circuit, Laguna Seca, Watkins Glen, Road America, and the new Indy Road course, following the Carrera Cup North America schedule. In these races, we saw Rafael Amorim’s dominance at the front of the PCA Pro field, Laurin Heinrich’s ability to drive away off the front, and a season-long PCA Pro midfield battle featuring Arthur Chan, Joe Stiefel, Jordan Dyar, Derwyn Costinak, James Huth, Chris Braun, and Leif Peterson.
There were many, many exciting battles between Chris Piaz and Cameron Martineau in this series, starting with Chris’s pass at the fountain section at Long Beach with just minutes to go.
We also had many Pro drivers race when their schedules would allow it including Grant Talkie, Curt Swearingin, Pedro Torres, and Roberto Tutino of ACI Motorsports. Dimitri Dimakos raced for 311RS in 4 of the rounds. Elliot Skeer of Apoapsis Performance Solutions was able to join us as well as Sean Varwig and Mike Ogren of Kelly-Moss Road and Race. Autometrics Motorsports joined midseason with drivers Cory Friedman, Travis Brodie, and Lynn Wilson.
At Round 4 of the series, 5 new drivers for PCA Pro were added to the series due to a top 10 finish in Pro class Series 8. New driver to the series Tres Drawhorn took an impressive P3 in both Round 4 races. He continued to come on strong with overall P2 and P3 finishes for Round 5 and the Indy Road course.
Our last race of the series, Round 7, was at Road Atlanta on Sept 22nd. Wyatt Gooden was able to attend this race and took pole and double victories for Eagles Canyon Racing. Like Laurin Heinrich, Wyatt has excelled in both the sim and on the track and he showed it in this race, demonstrating an “alien” skill level and speed.
Coming into this last race, Chris Paiz of ACI Motorsports held an 8-point lead in the Pro championship over Cameron Martineau of Hardpoint Motorsports due to his success at the Indy Road course. Cameron and teammate Chris Walsh battled hard to overcome the lead and pulled off a double pass on Chris early in the race. Both Chris and Cameron took a P2 and a P3, getting the same points for this round and giving the overall Pro series victory to Chris Paiz. Cameron took 2nd overall in the series for the Pro class and Laurin Heinrich of 311RS took 3rd. The final Team Standings were Hardpoint Motorsports in 1st, ACI Motorsports in 2nd, and 311RS in 3rd.
In PCA Pro, going into the last race, Rafael Amorim had an unassailable lead despite missing two races, with Arthur Chan in 2nd, Jordan Dyar in 3rd, and Derwyn Costinak close behind in 4th for the series. Arthur Chan put on an epic drive in this one holding tight to Chris Piaz’s car as Jordan tried to bridge the gap. While the Podium announcers cheered on “King Arthur” to try the pass on Chris Paiz, Arthur held steady and focused on the second step in PCA Pro. Despite missing a number of races, Raphael Amorin finished in 1st for PCA Pro, followed by Arthur Chan in 2nd and Jordan Dyar in 3rd.
For this series, we were joined in most races by Ross Bentley of Speed Secrets Sim Racer Academy for track and race commentary. Ross and Podium eSports teamed up on some really insightful race broadcasting for this new series.
Download all results in PDF format.