Pumpelly Closes Sprint-X Season with Podium in Texas

AUSTIN, Texas (Sept. 6, 2017) – Spencer Pumpelly wrapped up his Pirelli World Challenge Sprint-X season with a podium finish for Magnus Racing at Circuit of the Americas (COTA). Though the triple-header had its setbacks, Pumpelly and teammate Pierre Kaffer ended the weekend with a third-place finish.
 
The first of three races took place on Friday evening. Though the Sprint-X format typically includes just two races, a rain-out at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in May, forced Series officials to add a make-up race at COTA.
 
The grid carried over from what had been established in Canada, putting Pumpelly eighth on the grid in the No. 4 Magnus Racing Audi RS 8 LMS.

 

 


An uneventful race for both Pumpelly and Kaffer saw the teammates pick up two positions to finish sixth at the checkered flag.
 
With the makeup race out of the way, Magnus prepared for qualifying on Saturdaymorning to set the grid for the penultimate Sprint-X race of the season. Qualifying duties went to Kaffer, who put the Audi seventh on the grid.
 
“Pierre did an awesome job in qualifying,” Pumpelly said. “He was only a tenth off of third. The times were tight from third back to where we were, but his lap was faster than the car had gone all weekend.”
 
Saturday’s race got off to a rocky start, when cars coming together on the run to Turn One, forced Kaffer wide and across the pit-out blend line—an offence the officials deemed punishable with a drive-through penalty.


 


When Pumpelly took over, he exited pit lane inside the top 10, but on the following lap an Acura came out of the pits just ahead of him, starting a battle for ninth. After Pumpelly re-took the position, a full-course caution was issued. The restart would cost Pumpelly the spot and almost his race.
 
“One of the slower class cars spun in the Esses, forcing all the competitors to fan out,” Pumpelly explained. This led me to hit an apex pyramid, which launched me through the air. I was really lucky I was able to bring the car to the finish line, let alone in 10th.”


 


The Magnus Racing crew made quick work of the repairs and had Pumpelly and Kaffer ready to start seventh for Sunday’s race.
 
This time, spinning cars helped Pumpelly make up ground, rather than lose it.
 
“There was a huge schlimazel on the start,” Pumpelly recalled. “I was lucky to avoid a spinning Ferrari. I made up a couple spots in the melee and was able to hand the car over to Pierre in third.”
 
Kaffer held steady and even when slowed up by traffic, fought off a charging McLaren to finish third—his and Pumpelly’s first podium together as teammates.
 
Pumpelly’s Sprint-X season ends with a sixth-place finish in the Championship points.


 


“Racing with the Magnus guys has been awesome all season,” Pumpelly said. “We faced a decent amount of adversity, but for the most part, we had a really good car every time we unloaded. Pierre Kaffer was a great teammate. I couldn’t have been happier to be able to run with them this year.”
 
Next up for Pumpelly is a return to the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge with Rennsport One. He’ll team up with Nick Galante once again, September 22 – 23, at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
 

 photos by Regis Lefebure