Pumpelly Wins in IMSA Season Opener

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (February 3, 2018) – Spencer Pumpelly began the 2018 IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge season with a win at Daytona International Speedway, January 26, driving with Rennsport One teammate Dylan Machavern in the No. 28 Porsche Cayman GT4 MR.
Back with RS1 for a fourth season in the CTSC, Pumpelly moves from Street Touring (ST) to the team’s Grand Sport (GS) entry. Though the car remains a Porsche Cayman, it is now the GT4-spec version of the car. 
“The GS category is becoming deeper and more diverse as far as equipment goes,” Pumpelly explained. “It’s 100 percent GT4 cars now. The Audi, BMW and Mercedes are all new to the class and there are a lot more Ford Mustangs. There’s still some familiar McLarens and Porsches. It’s some of toughest racing in the country right now, as far as depth of field and variety of equipment.”

 Joining Pumpelly in the No. 28 Porsche Cayman GT4 MR is the reigning CTSC GS Champion Machavern.
At the start of the Daytona weekend, Pumpelly was tapped to pilot both of RS1’s Porsches, however, an accident for the No. 18 Porsche Cayman GT4 MR in qualifying left the car unable to compete in the race, this left Pumpelly to focus solely on the No. 28 which he qualified on pole with a lap of 1:55.136 (111.2 mph).
“I turned a lap that I thought would be enough,” Pumpelly said. “I was thinking about coming into the pits when they told me I was P2 and I needed to find two tenths. I was able to best my time and get the pole back.”

As the qualifying driver, Pumpelly was required to start the car. He held onto the lead and set the fastest lap of the race, a 1:56.276 (110.215mph) in his opening stint. Then, an early yellow gave the team the opportunity to pit and put Machavern in the car.
“He picked up where I left off and lead most of his stint,” Pumpelly recalled. “When we did the second driver change, I got back in the car and somehow we got cycled back to 12th, which is odd, because I felt like we did our strategy correctly. It turns out our fuel fill time (not just us, but all the Porsches) is significantly slower than the rest of the field. We spend an extra 12 or 13 seconds in the pits.”
Pumpelly worked his way back through the field, narrowly avoiding a crash in the Bus Stop and a spinning Audi in Turn One in the process. He was up to second when it was time to hand the car back over to Machavern to close out the race.
“I handed it over to Dylan and he was in third for most of his final stint, but we knew the two cars ahead would have to pit, even if we got another yellow,” Pumpelly said. “Sure enough, in the closing stages of the race, both of those cars came down pit road and Dylan inherited the lead and brought it home.”
Machavern crossed the line 7.101 seconds ahead of the second-place BMW.
“We know that Daytona is a good track for us, but we’re not going to keep racing at Daytona, so I don’t think we’ll have any advantage moving forward,” Pumpelly concluded. “I know a lot of the new cars will get some more run time and the teams will be able to sort out what they need. It was good to get the win while we could, because I’m certain the competition is going to get a lot tougher.”
The BMW Endurance Challenge at Daytona International Speedway will air on FS1, Saturday, February 10, at 8am ET. The next CTSC race takes place March 16 at Sebring International Raceway.
The following weekend, March 23 – 25, Pumpelly will join Alergra Motorsports for the start of the Pirelli World Challenge Sprint-X season at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas. He will share a Porsche 911 GT3 R with Porsche Factory Driver Michael Christensen.  

 photos by Ignite Media