Pumpelly Endures Trying World Challenge Weekend in Utah

TOOELE, Utah (Aug. 14, 2017) – Spencer Pumpelly returned to Pirelli World Challenge action with Magnus Racing at the Utah Motorsports Campus. He joined co-driver Pierre Kaffer for Rounds Seven and Eight of the Sprint-X Championship.
 
In the last round of the PWC Sprint-X Championship, Pumpelly and Dane Cameron earned the first series victory for Magnus Racing. But that was at 1.5-mile Lime Rock Park, and this weekend’s 3.048-mile Utah Motorsports Campus was all about straight-line speed. In that department, the No. 4 Audi RS8 LMS faced stiff competition from the rest of the field.

 

In Saturday morning’s qualifying session, Pumpelly’s best was only good enough for 11th on the grid for that afternoon’s 60-minute race. He knew he’d need to make an aggressive charge when the green flag dropped to gain positions.
 
“We struggled all weekend to get some straight-line speed out of our car,” Pumpelly said. “I was trying to pass a slower car, but it’s hard to get clear when on every straightaway they catch you again. I ended up forcing an issue that I probably rather wouldn’t have, but given the situation I had no choice.”
 
On lap five, Pumpelly made contact with the No. 99 Porsche. He immediately pitted, but it was soon clear that the suspension damage was too great to continue.

 
“I went side-by-side with another good driver through one of the faster corners,” Pumpelly recalled. “He squeezed me up onto the curb, I got a little loose, we made contact and ended both of our days. I felt bad for those guys and it’s certainly not what we wanted either. It also kept us from getting a clean lap for a starting spot on Sunday’s grid.”
 
Indeed, without a legitimate fast race lap on Saturday, the No. 4 Audi was relegated to 20th for the start of Sunday’s race. Thankfully, teammate Kaffer was on a tear in his opening stint.
 
“Pierre had a great drive,” Pumpelly said. “He went from 20th to 13th in a matter of two laps and was running everyone down ahead of him. He made the call to pit early when pit lane opened, because he saw slower traffic ahead and he thought that would be a good time to come down pit road, so we did it.”

 

Though the team’s stop was flawless, they did loose ground during the pit stop process, thanks in part to a pack of slow cars on Pumpelly’s out lap.
 
With a drama-free closing stint, Pumpelly brought the car home in ninth.
 
“Given where we started I think that’s probably not a bad finish,” Pumpelly concluded. “Big thanks to all the guys at Magnus who do everything they can to give us the best car possible despite the handicaps we’ve been given externally. It was another great weekend with cool guys that really support me and make racing fun. We lost some ground in the Sprint-X Championship, but anything can happen and we can get back up there at COTA.”

 

The Pirelli World Challenge Sprint-X races from Utah Motorsports Park will air on CBS Sports Network, Sunday, August 20, at 2:30pm ET.
 
Magnus Racing and Pumpelly resume their Sprint-X title chase September 1 – 3, at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.
 
 

 photos by Regis Lefebure