Running the number 189 Porsche GT3 Cup race car this past weekend was a trial by fire for the newly formed PT Autosport team. Alex Sedgwick set the fastest time in the qualifying session by a decent margin – only to have the lap time invalidated because of some minor infractions during post-qualifying technical inspections related to bringing the car from Euro to US specifications and had no real impact on performance. The necessary changes were made quickly by the team’s seasoned race technicians and with the help of Porsche Motorsport representatives, and the car was brought to fully compliant series specification before beginning the first race.
Starting the race from the back of the grid didn’t deter Sedgwick from fighting back towards the front. The team gambled and opted to start the race on slicks when almost the entire field was running the full-wet weather Yokohama tires. This decision surely would’ve put Alex and the team in a great position to fight through the field given Alex’s experience in wet-weather driving conditions. This all proved futile in the end, unfortunately, as the entire grid was forced to start the race on wets due to safety concerns from the series.
Alex completed only a handful of laps on wets and made the decision to pit and switch to slicks, as almost the entire track was dry and getting drier by the minute. Having limited pit crew capacity and pitting under a green flag unfortunately meant that the number 189 Porsche GT3 Cup fell over a lap behind the leaders. This didn’t deter him from eating up more than two-thirds of the field in the next 25 minutes of racing, as he easily had 10-15 seconds of pace on every car out there, save for the leaders who were about 6-10 seconds behind Alex’s pace on every lap. PT Autosport ultimately finished P10 in class, after an incredible drive by Sedgwick and setting the fastest lap by 5.2 seconds. While this finish wasn’t indicative of the car or driver’s outright dominating performance this weekend, the drive by Alex was exceptionally impressive given the conditions and hurdles, and received an incredible amount of TV air time and commentator attention from the legendary John Hindhaugh, who applauded the heroic drive by his countryman.
Alex Sedgwick, Team Driver: “To qualify on pole straight out of the box with a brand new team and a car that hasn’t raced anywhere since 2018 is pretty amazing, especially at Indy. We were lucky at the start of the session with traffic and were able to post a lap straight away, meaning we could sit and keep our tires fresh for the rest of the session. Unfortunately, it wasn’t meant to be as the car failed tech due to some differences in spec between our car, which has been imported from Europe, and a US spec car. None of which provided a performance advantage, but the rules are rules! This meant that Race 1 was fun anyway, battling through the pack on slicks as it dried out!”
Jason Myers, Team Principal: “It was kind of frustrating to set the pole time by a decent margin in just two laps and then have it taken away, but we were the new kids on the block and there were some things about our car that the series didn’t approve of. We took that decision in stride and knew we’d be starting from the back for the first race. As the rain came and went, we knew we had to gamble on Alex’s excellent car control and start the race on slicks while almost everyone else was opting for full wets. This gamble was again trumped by the series as they declared the race wet and forced the entire grid to put wet tires on. This was what destroyed our chances of running through the field on slicks and securing a podium finish, which we knew Alex and the car both had the potential for. It’s a bit frustrating when a series can dictate which tires to start on, as I’m used to racing in the big-boy leagues and not being forced to essentially wear training wheels for the lowest common denominators on the grid. But such is. We made the best of what was handed to us and Alex performed amazingly well, eating up the field and having about 10-15 seconds on every car out there. We were happy with a P10 in class finish given the circumstances and what we were forced to do. Onto race number 2 tomorrow!”
Sunday began with PT Autosport taking the 21st starting position on the grid, determined by his fastest Race 1 lap in comparison to the field’s qualifying times. From the drop of the green flag Alex was able to start moving up the ladder, consistently advancing at least one or two positions per lap, if not per corner. As he quickly advanced into the top-10, the competition became a little more challenging, though eventually passing almost the entire field, both 991 and 992 classes alike. After a few timely yellow flags and picking off the last few opponents, Alex found himself comfortably in the top-3 overall, behind IndyCar driver Dan Clarke (991) and Sebastian Carazo (992) when the checkered flag flew.
Alex Sedgwick, Team Driver: “Race 2 was a little more smooth sailing than Race 1, still starting back in the pack gave me a lot of work to do, but I was able to move through to the top ten pretty quick. A nicely timed caution put me right on the back of the top three, and I was able to get past the third placed car overall after a lap, to try to chase down the leaders. However, unfortunately at this point my tires were starting to give from how hard they had been worked to get through the pack earlier in the race, so I had to settle for 3rd overall and 2nd in class, which is still a pretty great result for the team’s debut!”
Jason Myers, Team Principal: “It was a great race, and great to see that Alex and the car continued to have great pace. Alex climbed through the field pretty effortlessly, though by the time he got into the top 5 his tires were starting to give way. He was able to work his way into the top-3 by some great driving and staying consistent and quick, even with degrading tires. Dan (Clarke) up ahead of him was experiencing some similar wear issues, though the 992 of Sebastian (Carazo) didn’t seem to be feeling the tire effects as badly. It was a great finish to be in the top-3 and P2 in class and even greater to hear that Dan (Clarke) was nervously checking his mirrors for Alex in the closing laps! I honestly can’t say enough about Alex’s drive and about how well the team is doing in its first real racing event since inception. We’re still investigating where we want to compete next year, though it will almost certainly be with the Porsche marque. Cheers to the Porsche support team for helping us with some parts and advice trackside in bringing the car to US spec and for the 991.2 GT3 Cup being such a solid race car. Can’t wait to see what is next for the team and for Alex!”