- Carlin Sanderson
Root Breaks Through with a Victory Sweep at Virginia International Raceway
ALTON, VA (August 25, 2019) – All three Wright Motorsports drivers sprayed champagne during Rounds 11 and 12 of the IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge USA at VIRginia International Raceway. The weekend of mixed weather conditions was highlighted by a victory sweep for Max Root, an overall podium for Fred Poordad and a season-best second place finish for Charlie Luck.
It was a storybook weekend for Max Root. After qualifying second for a rainy Race 1, the Wright Motorsports driver spent the greater part of the 45-minute race chasing down his main championship protagonist, Roman De Angelis. With just three minutes remaining, Root made the pass for the lead and quickly built at gap of 35 seconds, where he earned his first victory in series competition.
Root’s momentum carried right over to Race 2. At the drop of the green flag, a brilliant move by the 20-year-old saw him grab the lead from De Angelis into Turn 1 and from there, he never looked back. Root maintained a steady 4-second gap over the rest of the field, from flag to flag earning a weekend sweep for the No. 7 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car at VIRginina International Raceway.
"It was an amazing weekend," Root said. "We came out with strong platform both days. I found that it was just a matter of tire management and consistency. We had mixed conditions on Saturday and a perfect track on Sunday. I was smiling ear-to-ear the whole time. It was a great time. I couldn't have done it without the Wright Motorsports guys and all my sponsors."
A blistering run by Fred Poordad made it two Wright Motorsports entries on the overall podium in Race 1. After starting from an untraditional fifteenth place, a fire was lit underneath Poordad, who advanced twelve positions to take the class victory and third overall. This also earned him the race's Yokohama Hard Charger Award as the Platinum Cup driver who improved the most positions from start to finish.
Race 2 started out on a high as Poordad battled it out to get right back into the class lead. With under eight minutes to go a full-course was called only to go right back to green. Unfortunately, that’s when unavoidable contact with the second place car sent Poordad off course, hindering his chances at a result.
"I was pretty disappointed with my qualifying results," Poordad said. "I thought, 'Wow, from where we're starting there's not a lot I can do but keep it clean. We plugged away one car at a time. Wright Motorsports gave me an incredible car. It felt very planted. It didn't even feel like it was wet out there. I'm happy with how Race 2 went, happy for Wright Motorsports with a couple of podiums and happy for my teammates."
After a challenging start with Race 1, Race 2 saw Luck bounce right back to the top at his home event. The Virginia native found himself in slew of battles as he made his way up four positions from his eighth place starting slot. Despite the mistakes made by competitors, Luck held his ground and take the checkered flag second in class. This marks Luck’s fourth podium and best finish of the season.
"I think this was the ultimate case of being in the deep dark barrel and rising to the top," said Luck. "I had an early fast lap in the rain, went off and never really felt comfortable coming back. In Race 2 we had great driving, great fighting, and great choices. It was an awesome finish to the weekend. I had a lot of my associates on site and they loved getting up close to the car and seeing what we do. Thanks to everyone on the Wright Motorsports team for coming in and helping to turn this around. It was a great weekend."
The IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge USA will return to action September 19-22 at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.
About Wright Motorsports
Wright Motorsports is the premier Porsche race engineering facility in Ohio and a multi-series, international racing team known for superb car preparation, expert race strategy and driver development. Located in Batavia, Ohio, it is owned and directed by John Wright, a certified Porsche factory-trained technician. As a crew chief John Wright has played a key role in winning eight driver and seven team championships in World Challenge, IMSA (ALMS) and the Grand-Am Rolex Series. Wright Motorsports won the team championship in Porsche GT3 Cup USA in 2012, 2013 and 2015. After a most successful 2017 season, the team holds the Pirelli World Challenge Overall, Sprint, Team and Manufacturer’s titles. For the 2019 season, the group is campaigning two Porsche 911 GT3 Rs in SRO America – a PRO entry for Patrick Long and Scott Hargrove and a PRO/AM entry for Anthony Imperato, Dennis Olsen and Matt Campbell