ELKHART LAKE, Wis. - Sebastian Landy (Great Falls, Va.) earned his first two career Platinum Cup podium finishes in IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge competition at Road America, as part of this weekend's Continental Tire Road Race Showcase.
The IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge had three races this weekend. The first (Friday) was a rescheduled race from the event that was abandoned earlier this season at Watkins Glen International Raceway. That race was followed by the two regularly scheduled races one each Saturday and Sunday.
Back in July at Watkins Glen International, Landy qualified eighth to start the first of two IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup races that weekend. Unfortunately, the first race was abandoned due to a nine-car accident just two laps into the race. This brought out the red flag to remove heavily damaged cars and debris from the track. The subsequent cleanup took more than the 45-minutes allotted for the race so IMSA decided to drop the checkered flag and reschedule the race for later in the year. Friday was the makeup day for the race previously abandoned at Watkins Glen.
With a steady light rain and temperatures in the low 60s, Landy started eighth and quickly had the No.49 Forto Strong Coffee Porsche 991 in the top five just six laps into the 45-minute race. Through the middle part of the race, the third, fourth and fifth place cars (which included Landy) were running in a nose-to-tail train with all three having a realistic shot at the final podium spot. However, on the race's penultimate lap, Landy was running fifth when he gave up two spots after being passed by two cars heading into Turn Five. Landy managed to get one of the spots back and finished sixth.
"A wet race is always a little crazier than a dry race," Landy said. "I just tried to make sure I got a good start. It was single file that usually means you don't have as many opportunities to make a move at the start. I tried to be as aggressive and as controlled at doing that as possible. A couple of people around me fell off. It was kind of just me trying to put my head down the first couple of laps and chase down the guys in front. I was gaining a lot momentum and trying to bring the gap back down when the yellow came out and it started to rain a lot more. I don't know if our setup was as good for the heavy rain as it was for the light rain at the beginning. From there, it was a little trickier.
"At that point, I knew the pace that we had in the car was probably not good enough to make a move on the guys in front of me unless one of them made a mistake. So, I was just trying to keep it all together and keep it collected. I left a little bit of a lane up the inside in Turn Five and Corey [Fergus] got by me, which was a good move. Then, McKay [Snow] got by me because I was slowed up with Corey. Thankfully, I was able to get back by him when he made a mistake. Fifth would have been a good result. It's a little disappointing. But, I'm still really happy that we finished the race clean with pretty much no damage."
The second IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge race of the weekend was actually what was supposed to be the first race. That said, Landy qualified fourth for Saturday's 45-minute race and dropped a couple spots at the race start. But, quickly got them back. On lap 13, he passed the No. 63 Porsche heading into Turn One and made it stick for third place. He was 6.5 seconds behind the race leaders when the race's first full course caution came out to get the No. 99 Porsche out of the Turn One sand. The caution negated the 6.5 second gap and it was a perfect opportunity for the 21-year-old to make his run at the top step of the podium when the race went green.
With seven minutes remaining in the race, the race went green and Landy passed the No. 24 Porsche driven by Jake Eidson for second heading into Turn Two. Unfortunately, Eidson took the position back heading into Turn Three, coupled with some contact with the No. 19 Porsche. This chain of events put Landy solidly in third place.
With about three minutes to go, the No. 42 and No. 99 Porsches wrecked in the Kink. This brought out the second caution, which is how the race ended.
"The Alex Job Racing guys have been working hard all year," Landy said after his first GT3 Cup podium of the 2017 season. "We've been plugging away at it trying to get the results I know we've been capable of. We qualified really well here - the best I think we've had all year. I wanted to go forward from there. I started fourth. I wanted to stay at least fourth at the start and then maybe gain a couple of spots. Unfortunately, I think I lost a spot or two at the start. So, I had my work cut out for me trying to fight back from there.
"I did not get as good of a launch as I wanted on the restart. Corey and Jake caught me out a little bit. But, I knew Jake was probably going to have a shot going into Turn One and he did. I tried to make what I could out of that. We ran side-by-side from there. I think we both drifted through Turn Three. Then, we went side-by-side in Turn Five and he had the inside. Unfortunately, I couldn't get second. But, I'm really happy with third.
"The car was great, thanks to all the guys. They've been doing a really great job all year. To finally get a podium for them is great for them and it's great for me. I'm really happy to get Forto Strong Coffee back on the podium."
Thanks to his third place finish in Saturday's race, Landy started third for Sunday's final race of the weekend. Landy dropped one spot to fourth at the race start. Landy was behind the No. 63 Porsche driven by McKay Snow when Snow received a mechanical black flag because his brake lights were stuck in the on position.
Unfortunately, Snow did not yield to the black flag and come into the pits. This forced Landy to fight hard to pass Snow. Landy finally completed the pass for third after Snow locked up his brakes on lap 12. By then, Landy had lost touch with the race leaders, who were a few seconds in front, and brought the car home third.
"It was a good run like yesterday, not perfect," Landy said about his second podium finish of the weekend. "The same thing happened at the start. I got a good run behind Corey [Fergus]. But, because I was behind him, I had to check up a little going into Turn One. The next thing you know I'm sitting in fourth. I just tried to keep my head down and keep it clean. The car was good and tires were good. They lasted throughout the whole race. I got stuck behind Snow. They [IMSA] were giving him the mechanical black flag, but he decided to stay out. He was blocking me a little bit. So I lost touch with the leaders. Once he was out of the way, it was just about trying to push as much as I could to catch them. But, they [the leaders] didn't make a mistake. They were running good. But, I'm definitely really happy with how the weekend went."
"Sebastian had a great three race weekend," Alex Job, team owner said. "Getting on the podium twice with very strong runs at a very fast and challenging Road America circuit tells you the kind of driver he is becoming. The front guys in the field are very fast and Sebastian fits right in among them on the track."
The IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge by Yokohama series next travels to Alton, Va. Aug. 25 - 27 for the Michelin GT Challenge at Virginia International Raceway.
This season, race fans can follow Alex Job Racing on Instagram @alexjobracing.
Alex Job Racing
Alex Job Racing is one of the most successful teams in sports car racing with 70 wins (since 1995); including two Rolex 24 GT Class wins in 1999 and 2013. This record is supported by 48 pole positions and 106 podium finishes. The team has won five championships (GTC 2013, 2012, GT in 2004, 2003 and 2002) complimented by their two GT class wins at Le Mans. The team also boasts ten Sebring 12-hour wins.