Cayman Interseries - Ready For Rennsport
WESTMONT, May 25, 2011: The recent announcement that the Cayman Interseries was invited to participate in Porsche Rennsport Reunion IV, October 14 – 16, at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca was welcome and exciting news for series teams and drivers.
North America’s premier celebration of Porsche’s illustrious racing history, the Rennsport Reunion promises to be the biggest race event to date in the brief history of the Cayman Interseries. The weekend offers a unique and rare event that reunites the cars and drivers that together have written Porsche’s motorsports history during the last 60 years. The Cayman Interseries is an ideal addition to Rennsport Reunion in that it symbolically continues the rich history of many of these famous race cars while spotlighting the performance of the Porsche Cayman S.
One Cayman Interseries competitor treating the Rennsport Reunion as a must-attend event is Bill Dennis who drives the bright red No. 5 Cayman S that pays tribute to the legendary No. 5 Bob Akin/Coca-Cola Porsche 935s and 962s. Dennis scored his first Cayman Interseries podium finish in 2011’s season-opening event at Sebring in March with second-place showing in that weekend’s enduro co-driving with Jack Baldwin.
“Laguna Seca has been on my racing bucket list since attending the Monterey historic races for the last two years during the Pebble Beach Concours,” Dennis said. “To be involved with the Cayman Interseries is a thrill and running during the Rennsport as a Porsche racer and street car owner is an honor.”
Another confirmed competitor for Rennsport Reunion is Mark Sandridge and his Team Salad operation with teammate Joe Varde. They debuted their No. 49 Cayman S, which is themed after the IMSA championship-winning 1994 Team Salad Porsche 911 RSR, recently at Road Atlanta in The Mitty race weekend where Sandridge won the pole.
“Team Salad racing chose the right year to get back into racing,” Sandridge said. “Are we heading out to the largest Porsche event of the 2011 race season in America? You better believe it! The Cayman Interseries race car is a fabulous car to drive and going to the left coast to race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca just plain ROCKS!”
Sandridge puts the legendary Laguna Seca road course in some good company alongside some of the world’s other legendary tracks.
“Every fan in the racing world has heard about Le Mans, Daytona, Sebring and the famous Corkscrew at Laguna Seca,” Sandridge says. “Everyone dreams of experiencing the thrill of that blind left-right corner. I have been to Laguna Seca twice and both times you leave with more desire to go back and tackle the rush of the Corkscrew.”
Sandridge also knows the Cayman Interseries will be right at home at the premier celebration of Porsche competition excellence and history.
“If our series doesn’t salute the heritage of Porsche racing with our graphic designs, I don’t know how else to do it,” Sandridge said.
Ready For The Glen – While excitement is building for the Rennsport Reunion, the next order of business for the Cayman Interseries is the SVRA Historic Enduro 200 at Watkins Glen, June 9 – 12. Championship points leader Lee Davis, his coach and co-driver Ryan Eversley, and their No. 33 Cayman S that carries the black and red colors of the Advan Porsche 962s and Luna C Clothing, will lead an expected field of more than a dozen Caymans to another one of America’s legendary road courses. Others planning on racing at The Glen include Sandridge, Dennis and his teammate Bill Riddell, who drives a green and white striped No. 80 Cayman S themed after a David Piper Racing Porsche 917K, and no less than four Caymans from Connecticut’s SpeedSport Tuning shop run by Spencer Cox. Additional entries will be confirmed in the coming days.
Joe Varde’s View – Varde, Sandridge’s teammate and driving coach, is one of the most successful championship-winning road racers of the last 25 years, as both a driver and a team manager. The Mitty was his first experience with the Cayman Interseries and he liked what he saw.
“I’ll tell you, it makes you feel like it did when we used to run the Firestone Firehawk series and everything, where everybody just hung out together and it was just fun,” Varde said in reference to the successful IMSA series of the 1980s and ‘90s. “They would come to see you, and you would go to see them, and it wasn’t so serious, and I think that’s something that the Cayman Interseries has going for it.”
Varde likes the laid-back nature of the Cayman Interseries but was quick to point out that the racing itself is taken seriously.
“It’s a real nice relaxing venue, the cars are fast, they’re easy to drive and fun,” Varde said. “The guys don’t take it that serious, and I think that’s important, but when the green flag drops you know what stops. These guys fight tooth and nail for every spot. The competition is tough, but when they get out of the cars, they laugh, they congratulate each other, it’s really nice to see that.”
901 Shop Sweep – Florida’s highly-regarded 901 Shop entered the Cayman Interseries in a big way at The Mitty, sweeping all three of the weekend’s points-paying races with driver Keith Carroll in the No. 55 Cayman S that showcases the yellow livery of a Sandeman/David Piper Racing Porsche 917K. It was 901’s debut weekend in the series and now shop owner Brady Refenning and his group want even more of the action.
“We have wanted to be part of the Cayman Interseries and it was great to get Keith onboard,” Refenning said. “The cars are great and we just kind of got things aiming in the right direction, got a little lucky out of the box, and Keith just did an awesome job. We have been racing against each other for years and so we kind of got to know him as a friend and a friendly competitor. Our styles seemed to click well, the cars are just neat cars, and all of the crew is just having a great time with it. It’s great to be part of a great competitive series like this. We would love to have a whole fleet of Caymans under the tent if we can.”
Pink And Blue Debut – A pair of new drivers made some competitive and colorful debuts in the Cayman Interseries in the last month. Jeff Chelepis turned his first Interseries laps at Road America in the Ron Rashinski-owned blue and yellow No. 6 Cayman S, which is themed after the famous Penske/Sunoco Porsche 917-30 Can-Am car of Mark Donohue. Chelepis was joined on track at Elkhart Lake by Jim Thomason who was wheeling his Cayman S that carries the eye-catching pink and white colors of the No. 9 Joest Racing/Blaupunkt Porsche 962C that was driven to at third-place finish in the 1989 24 Hours of Le Mans by Hans Stuck and Bob Wollek. A veteran HSR and vintage racing competitor, Thomason made his Interseries debut at The Mitty, and it is no accident he drives a predominately-pink car.
“The first race car I bought, when I called the guy up he said it was a pink and white,” said Thomason, who races with Ron Zitza and Zotz Racing. “I said ‘Oh my God,’ but when I saw it I actually liked it, it was distinctive, but I found out early on if you are going to drive a pink car you better learn to be fast.”
Thomason got up to speed right away in his Road Atlanta debut and enjoyed the racing and the Cayman Interseries car.
“The competition is very good, I am enjoying the car and it is an easy car to drive,” Thomason said. “Tim Lewis Jr. was driving with me at Road Atlanta. He and I both started racing at about the same time, but he just happened to be 20 and I happened to be 51!”
Rashinski and Chelepis plan to share the No. 6 for the balance of the year.
“Road America went great, it was the first time I got to drive the car on track,” Chelepis said. “We had some interesting sessions, foggy track, damp track and a rainy track when we used full-speed wipers, but we had dry conditions for the enduro and the Sunday sprint race. The car was very fun to drive, lots of torque out of the corners, impressive braking power and predictable cornering.”
Despite the rough weather, Chelepis had an enjoyable debut weekend.
“The most memorable thing about the weekend at Road America was the fun factor,” Chelepis said. “These cars behave like real race cars with street car reliability, so it’s easy to have fun and concentrate on your driving when you don't have to worry about the car. I am excited to be involved in the Cayman Interseries and look forward to getting some track time with other series drivers.”
Rashinski also got in some seat time in his Cayman S at Road America.
“Even with the wide range of weather, it turned out to be a great weekend,” Rashinski said. “The plan was to have Jeffrey getting most of the laps to get comfortable with the car. I got to do the middle stint of Friday’s enduro and felt like I got the most out of my time behind the wheel. The car ran great all four days, not skipping a beat, and Jeff got to know it both driving and mechanically.”