Alex Sedgwick sets a new fast race lap record at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.
PT Autosport with JDX Racing came away from the Porsche Deluxe Carrera Cup North America doubleheader at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca last weekend with a pair of top 10 finishes and a new track record – but disappointed to lose a podium finish in a race one incident.
Driver Alex Sedgwick fought hard through the pair of 40-minute contests, the marquee races at Rennsport Reunion 7, the international Porsche mega event. The 24-year-old Warwickshire native, driving the No. 98 PT Autosport Porsche 911 GT3 Cup Car, quickly came to grips with Laguna Seca’s newly repaved 2.238-mile, 11-turn road course – but saw his efforts come to naught in a race one incident while battling for second position (his competitor received a penalty for incident responsibility). Damage to his splitter and lingering steering issues in race two made for a difficult race, but Sedgwick continued the fight, bringing home his second top 10 of the weekend.
Sedgwick set the fourth quickest time in practice one Friday afternoon, but the weather changed dramatically on Saturday morning, with rain and temperatures in the mid-50s. Despite the damp conditions, he set the sixth-quickest time at the end of practice two – with only one second separating the top 13 drivers.
Intermittent light rain and a red flag at the midway point stalled Sedgwick’s progress early in qualifying, but a late flyer lap put him in fourth position for race one. “It was difficult to find space for a good lap but fourth is a decent starting spot – though I’m a bit frustrated, as I think there was more in the car,” said Sedgwick. “It’s also one of the first times this year that I’ve felt there was a bit more in me as well, as I made a few mistakes. Not a perfect session, but a good starting point.”
Sunday morning’s race one saw ambient temps in the high 50s and a track that was dry on the racing line and damp off-line. Sedgwick slid to the inside in turn one and took third position on the opening lap – but slipped off the turn five curb and lost three positions. An incident between pole sitter (and JDX teammate) Will Martin and Riley Dickinson brought out a full course caution and put Sedgwick into fourth position.
On the restart, Sedgwick made a daring move to the inside of Jason Hart on the front straight, holding the position through turn one and grabbing third. Late in the race, he closed up to Mike McCarthy in second position and with nine minutes remaining, began to look for an opening to make a move. McCarthy lost momentum coming out of turn two and Sedgwick pounced, sliding to the inside in turn three to make the pass – but the pair tangled, with both going into the gravel and putting Sedgwick back in the field. At the checkered flag, he had recovered to take ninth position – and the consolation of setting a new race lap record with a lap at 1:23.879.
“The damp conditions meant there was only line which made things even more complicated,” said Sedgwick. “I made a mistake through turn four and slid out, which meant I was braking in the wet in turn five – with no traction, that left the door open. It’s frustrating, given what happened to the leaders – obviously we had the pace to win that race. It’s difficult to pass here anyway, but with the lack of grip in the braking zones, the traditional passing lanes weren’t available. McCarthy made a mistake coming out of turn two and I went for it in turn three, fully alongside, but he didn’t see me and turned in, which broke my steering.”
Later in the afternoon, Sedgwick started race two alongside Martin under bright sunshine and warm temps. At the drop of the green, Dickinson, starting in third, slid ahead of Sedgwick, who was shuffled back to fourth. Staying on the gas, Sedgwick retook third, holding Tom Sargent behind him. But light contact with Sean Varwig in the perfectly wrong position popped off Sedgwick’s splitter, severely reducing his aero grip and slowing him down just enough to allow the cars behind to get close. “I had no front aero and every time I would brake, it would pull the wheel to the left and the ABS would go crazy,” said Sedgwick.
If the splitter issue wasn’t enough, Sedgwick also began experiencing steering problems. By mid-race, he had fallen back to sixth position. “The JDX team ran through everything in the steering system after race one, but apparently a nylon bushing on a joint removed itself early in the race, probably compromised in race one but it looked fine when checked. Just one of those things, though I’m sure we’ll add that to the checklist!”
Refusing to relent, Sedgwick fought to the finish, taking the checkered flag in 10th position, clearly frustrated at what might have been.
“To see the pace the JDX cars had, it’s two races of ‘what might have been.’ Had we not had the slide out in race one, we really could have been there. But it’s all learning points and data for next year, if we’re able to do it again.”
Next up for PT Autosport and the Porsche Deluxe Carrera Cup North America will be the season finale doubleheader in support of the Formula One US Grand Prix at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas. Race one takes the green flag Saturday at 3:10 p.m. EDT, with race two Sunday at 11:50 a.m. EDT. The races will be broadcast live in the U.S., on IMSA.tv, the NBC Peacock streaming app and PorscheCarreraCup.us.
PT Autosport would like to thank JDX Racing partners Byers/Porsche Columbus, and Renier Construction.