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StopTech-Sponsored Cayman Interseries at Rennsport Reunion IV
 
by Frank A. Filipponio | Oct 18, 2011
 


The StopTech-sponsored Cayman Interseries made its inauguralRennsport Reunion appearance last weekend with its largest field ever and a full schedule of on-trackaction and off-track promotions at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

Friday’s practice wasdominated by championship-winning pro driver and Porsche stalwart DavidDonohue, driving the No. 6 Cayman S themed after the mighty Sunoco/PenskePorsche 917-30 driven by his father Mark Donohue. The day’s official fastestlap, however, went to Cayman Interseries regular Mark Sandridge. Driving hiswhite and red-and-yellow striped No. 49 Cayman S, which is modeled after his1994 IMSA Champion Team Salad Porsche 911 RSR. Sandridge clocked a 1:39.915 inthe second and final session of the day Friday afternoon.

 “The field is veryclose, so if I happened to nick off a good lap it can’t be much quicker thanone of the other guys, who are real close to me anyways,” Sandridge said. “It’sjust fun being here, I am glad the car feels good, and we are getting a littlebetter effort here than the last race in Atlanta. I got it dialed in, myteammate Joe Varde helped me get it dialed in, and it just feels good.”

Second quickest Friday was debuting driver Jack Kachadurianwho was piloting a red and white No. 14 Cayman S that pays tribute to a RichardLloyd Racing Canon Porsche 956.

“Rennsport Edition”Cayman S
The car that made the biggest impact during the weekend though,was a star even before it hit the track. At a VIP unveiling on Friday morning, seriesfounders Porsche Napleton of Westmont debuted a special “Rennsport Edition”Cayman S that was built specifically to commemorate the event.

The car was formally unveiled in the Cayman Interseriespaddock area by Detlev von Platen, President and CEO of Porsche Cars NorthAmerica, Gill Campbell, CEO and General Manager of Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca,Ed Napleton, President of the Napleton Auto Group, Ron Barnaba, NapletonPorsche of Westmont General Manager, Porsche racing legend Hurley Haywood and DavidDonohue, a Rolex 24 at Daytona winning Porsche driver.

The one-off “Rennsport Edition” design pays tribute toPorsche’s famous race cars and drivers and the equally iconic circuits on whichthey raced and won. The entire top of the Rennsport Edition Cayman S features“ghost” images of legendary race tracks from around the world, the stripe onthe hood has a list of Porsche factory drivers and other notables from over theyears while the roof stripe has a list of all of the factory race cars everproduced. The commemorative No. 4 Cayman was driven throughout Rennsportweekend by Jack Baldwin, the man who makes the cars in the series competitive.

Throughout the weekend, legendary Porsche drivers inattendance (like Hurley Haywood and Justin Bell at right) were autographing the “Rennsport Edition” Cayman S, adding even morehistory to the rolling showcase of Porsche’s competition legacy. The positive impact of the colorful car willbe felt even after Rennsport Reunion IV ends as Napleton Porsche will sell thecar to highest bidder in the coming weeks, with a significant portion of theproceeds being donated to the Children’s Tumor Foundation (CTF).

The drivers were racing in support of the CTF during theweekend and even hosted several young neurofibromatosis (NF) patients and theirfamilies at the track on Saturday, in cooperation with Porsche Cars North America(PCNA) and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

Rennsport Reunion IV Concours
In other off-track happenings, the Cayman Interseries wasalso invited to compete as its own class in the Rennsport Reunion IV Concourscompetition.

A total of six Caymans were awarded medals of excellence,with the No. 4 “Rennsport Edition” Cayman S earning a perfect-score for classbest-of-show honors. The winning Cayman features a commemorative liverydesigned and created by Dave Schnorr that pays tribute to Porsche’s greatracing legacy.

Other competitors earning Cayman Interseries Concours medalswere Wayne Nykyforchyn (No. 11 Marlboro/Joest Racing Porsche 956), LoriCassling (No. 23 “Pink Pig” Porsche 917/20), John Martino (No. 7 Newman/JoestRacing Porsche 962), David Gronke (No. 8 Blaupunkt/Joest Racing Porsche 962)and Jack Kachadurian (No. 14 Canon/Richard Lloyd Racing Porsche 956).

The Concours was just another spectacular part of theRennsport Reunion experience that left all in the Cayman Interseries paddockimpressed.

“I really didn’t know what to expect because I had neverbeen to a Rennsport before,” said reigning Cayman Interseries Champion LeeDavis. “Just looking at all of these amazing cars around here, I don’t know ifthere’s been a dollar figure put on the amount of great cars here, but it isgreat to see so many Caymans here. It’s fantastic, a lot of good cars and gooddrivers here.”

Cayman InterseriesSprint Race
In Sunday morning’s sprint race, Lee Davis drove straightfrom the pole to victory, but the flag-to-flag win was far from easy.

Davis led into Turn 1 at the race start in his black and redNo. 33 Cayman S that carries the colors of the Advan Porsche 956s and 962s andLuna-C Clothing, but immediately felt what was going to be race-long pressurefrom debuting driver Jack Kachadurian. Driving a No. 14 Cayman S in the themeof a Richard Lloyd Racing Canon Porsche 956, Kachadurian jumped from third tosecond at the race start and kept the heat on Davis for the majority of therace.

“It feels awesome, it really does feel awesome,” Davis said.“It was one of the longest sprint races for a little bitty short race that Ihave ever been in.  Jack was right in mymirrors for most of the time, and he got into me a little bit going down intothe Corkscrew, I just corrected and kept going, and fortunately it was a lighthit. I gapped him a little bit but then the track was coated with oil later inthe race.  I am glad everybody made itthrough that with no major damage.”

Davis crossed the finish line just ahead of Kachadurianwhile Mark Sandridge, driving his white and red-and-yellow striped No. 49Cayman S that is modeled after his 1994 IMSA Champion Team Salad Porsche 911RSR, prevailed in a great battle with Henry Davis to take the final podiumspot.  No relation to Lee Davis, HenryDavis finished fourth in his No. 21 Cayman S that carries the memorablemarkings of the silver Martini Porsche 917s. Bob Schneider completed the top five in his No. 40 Cayman S that paystribute to the Martini “Baby” Porsche 935.

In Sportsman class action, Will Conniff led early on andagain when it counted to score the victory in a yellow No. 55 Cayman S that isthemed after a David Piper Racing/Sandeman Porsche 917K. Connif waged a great mid-racebattle with Mike Cassling, who drives a blue and yellow Cayman S in the colorsof a Hydro Aluminum/Brun Porsche 962, and scored the win when Cassling spun offcourse in the oil that coated the track in the final laps of the race.

“It’s great to be back, I miss it badly,” said Conniff, aseries regular the past two seasons. “Personal reasons are why I am not outhere more because I love the guys and I love the format.  Really, it’s just getting back in the car.When you are out of that car you just really lose a lot of your feel andmomentum.  I felt good about coming backafter being away for almost a year and it was a blast.”

Conniff didn’t even know he was passing for the victory whenhe saw Cassling’s stranded car off course in the downhill run out of theCorkscrew.

“I had no clue,” Conniff said. “I was just focused on what Ineeded to do, stay on the track and try not to do anything stupid.”

David Gronke finished second after a strong run in his whiteand blue No. 8 Blaupunkt/Joest Racing Porsche 962-themed Cayman S. RandyCassling, at the wheel of his black, yellow and red No. 18 Cayman S that paystribute to the Le Mans winning factory Shell/Dunlop Porsche 962, finished thirdto salvage a podium finish for the Cassling family after his brother spun outof the lead.

Cayman InterseriesEnduro Race
In Sunday afternoon’s main event, Mark Sandridge tookcontrol when race leader Lee Davis fell victim to lapped traffic to score astrong victory in the final race of the doubleheader.

Sandridge was running second to Davis at the halfway pointof the 45-minute race when opportunity knocked.

“It’s pretty rewarding,” Sandridge said. “Yesterday I waspretty down after qualifying when I ran fourth, so I went home, we studied thefilms, and I think we just worked as hard as anybody did, although you have togive Lee credit, he had the field covered. He would have won the thing hands up, and I would have been happy withsecond quite frankly. You just had to be patient and that’s probably why I wasa little slower, I was probably a little more patient than most people.”

Davis led from the drop of the green flag and wasmaintaining a comfortable lead over Sandridge when a lapped backmarker forcedhim off the track and into the wall. Davis was uninjured but his No. 33 Cayman S suffered significantleft-side damage.

“You never have it won until the checkered flag falls andyou come across it first,” Davis said. “It’s really disappointing, and I justhave to chalk it up to one of those racing things, I guess, and be proud ofwhat I did up to that point. I had a pretty good lead up until then, won thesprint race this morning, and now I am looking forward to Daytona.”

Henry Davis – no relation to Lee Davis – finished second tocap a strong weekend in his CARS-prepared No. 21 Cayman S that wears theclassic paint scheme of the silver Martini Porsche 917s.  Davis was delighted with both the podiumfinish and the Rennsport event itself.

“The guys at Napleton did a fabulous job,” Davis said. “Whata great series they created, and I want to thank Ron Barnaba and everybody.Great event, great weather and a great track. The organization they have outhere at Laguna Seca is fantastic.  Nobodyelse has it together like these guys do, everything just runs perfectly.”

Jim Bacus, making his first race start of the year in hispurple and green Cayman S modeled after the famous Martini “Hippy” Porsche 917LH,drove a smart race to finish in third place.

In the Sportsman class, Will Conniff went two-for-two Sundaywhen he won the 45-minute finale after also taking the morning sprint in ayellow No. 55 Cayman S themed after a David Piper Racing/Sandeman Porsche 917K.

“Top weekend,” Conniff said. “I got in this for the socialaspect, but racing with Napleton, I run with a great group of guys.  This was a rental this weekend but it wassmoking, as good as it gets. I have to thank the crew, everyone here, and itwas a perfect weekend for me.”

Conniff shared the afternoon podium with second-placefinisher Tony Sitko, who drives his red No. 70 Cayman S that is a replica ofthe Le Mans class-winning Dick Barbour Racing Porsche 935.  Randy Cassling also doubled up on podiumshowings and finished third for the second time Sunday in his black, yellow andred No. 18 Cayman S that pays tribute to the Le Mans winning factoryShell/Dunlop Porsche 962.

Conniff, who improved his lap times by nearly 10 secondsfrom Friday practice, was awarded the JRZ Suspension Engineering “Fine TuningAward” as the competitor showing the most progress by improving car setup,on-track performance and lap times.

Lee Davis was awarded the inaugural Porsche Cars NorthAmerica (PCNA) “Porsche Spirit” award as the competitor that best exemplified,on and off the track, the outstanding attributes of Porsche competitionexcellence and sportsmanship throughout Rennsport Reunion weekend.

Among the record number of Cayman Interseries competitorsracing at Rennsport Reunion this weekend was Ed Napleton, President of theNapleton Auto Group, the parent organization of Cayman Interseries organizersand owners Napleton Porsche of Westmont in Chicago. “I haven’t seen any of theother events, but all I can tell you is that I was very impressed with this,”Napleton said. “Everything here was outstanding.  I think all of the people are high caliber, anice group and they kind of mesh well together. When you put an event on likethis and have a high level of the participants enjoy themselves, it is atribute to what Ron (Barnaba) and his staff have done to make it click. It isdone with our approval as a company, but the actual events take so muchwork.  It’s Ron’s passion and I am gladto see that we were able to satisfy all of these people and make a really nicehappening out here.  It is like Woodstockfor adults.”

Next up for the Cayman Interseries is the season-endingDaytona Continental Historic Races at Daytona International Speedway, November9 – 13.

About PorscheRennsport Reunion IV: Porsche Rennsport Reunion IV is the world’sgreatest gathering of Porsche race cars and the drivers that drove them tovictory, held at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca from October 14 to 16, 2011. Hostedby Porsche Cars North America, it will assemble the wide variety of Porsche’smost historic racing models from the nimble 550 Spyder of the mid-1950s throughthe mighty 917 and 956/962 of the 1970s and 1980s to the highly successful RSSpyder of the last decade.

About Porsche CarsNorth America: Porsche Cars North America, Inc. (PCNA), based in Atlanta,Ga. is the exclusive U.S. importer of Porsche sports cars, the Cayenne SUV andPanamera Gran Turismo. Established in 1984, it is a wholly-owned subsidiary ofPorsche AG, which is headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany, and employsapproximately 220 people who provide parts, service, marketing and training for196 dealers. They, in turn, work to provide Porsche customers a best-in-classexperience that is in keeping with the brand’s 63-year history and leadershipin the advancement of vehicle performance, safety and efficiency. At the coreof this success is Porsche’s proud racing heritage that boasts some 30,000motorsport wins to date.

About The CaymanInterseries: Established in 2009 by Napleton Porsche of Westmont, Illinois,the Cayman Interseries is North America’s only auto racing championshipfeaturing the exclusive use of the 320-horsepower Porsche Cayman S.  Sanctioned by Historic Sportscar Racing(HSR), the Cayman Interseries conducted its first official season in 2010 andcrowned a pair of champion drivers in both the sprint and endurance racingformats. Races are run on legendary circuits such as Daytona, Sebring,Mid-Ohio, Watkins Glen, Road Atlanta, Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and otherpremier venues, primarily on HSR and SVRA event weekends. Every competingPorsche Cayman S is exclusively supplied and prepared by Napleton Porsche andeach car competes with an assigned and specific heritage livery themed after afamous Porsche race car from the past. Learn more about the Cayman Interseries at www.CaymanInterseries.org.Phone calls direct to Napleton Porsche may be made at (630) 725-0911 and emailinquiries can be sent to racing@napletonmotorsports.com.

 

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