David Calvert-Jones Pulling Triple Duty at Road Atlanta in Norton by Symantec Porsches
Aussie Qualifies P2 for First Race of GT3 Cup Challenge Doubleheader
BRASELTON, Ga. (October 18, 2012) - A popular axiom in racing is, "There is no substitute for seat time."
David Calvert-Jones is taking those words to heart this weekend at Road Atlanta, as the Aussie who goes by "CJ" will drive in both races of the IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge by Yokohama season-ending doubleheader in the No. 12 Norton by Symantec Porsche in addition to making his American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón debut aboard the No. 24 Norton by Symantec Porsche in the GTC class in Saturday's 10-hour or 1,000-mile Petit Le Mans.
CJ's weekend got off to a solid start on Thursday morning when he placed the No. 12 Porsche second on the Gold Cup class grid for this afternoon's first half of the GT3 Cup doubleheader. CJ stood atop the time charts for much of the 30-minute qualifying session before a late flyer by 2012 Gold Cup champion Angel Benitez relegated him to second.
"The IMSA officials declared it a wet session, so we went out on rain tires and the track started drying up towards the end of the session," said CJ of Thursday morning's qualifying session. "I laid down some reasonable times early on and I waited until the end and everyone started putting slicks on and going out and running with slicks to try and get better times. I just didn't think it was worth it. I had second locked up fine and went out there at the end of the session to see if I could maybe get a little better time, but the tires were just absolutely gone. It was like driving on marshmallows."
CJ has finished on the podium in seven of his 10 starts during his rookie GT3 Cup Challenge season, including a victory at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in July. He's looking to add to both of those totals this weekend, while solidifying second in the 2012 Gold Cup championship.
"Being second in the championship, I think I just have to finish to stay second, but I want us to be up front," CJ said. "I'm a competitive guy and I want to win. Every time I go out, I want to win. Starting second is OK. Pole would have been better, but the way the tires were, the situation with the rain and the dry, second is good."
This afternoon's 45-minute race is scheduled to take the green flag at 2:20 p.m. ET, and the 2012 GT3 Cup Challenge season wraps up with a final, 45-minute race at 12:00 Noon ET on Friday. Live Timing & Scoring data from both races is available at http://www.imsachallenge.com.
If all goes according to plan, the 90 minutes of GT3 Cup Challenge racing will only be a fraction of the seat time CJ will get at Road Atlanta this weekend, what with 10 hours or 1,000 miles of Petit Le Mans racing on tap for Saturday. Official ALMS practice got underway this morning, but the No. 24 Porsche team elected not to participate in the damp session as the forecast does not include rain for the remainder of the weekend. As a result, CJ got a welcome breather before the activity begins to ramp up again on Thursday afternoon.
"It's a really hectic weekend for me," CJ said. "I'm trying to make sure I'm in the right place at the right time. It's difficult having two paddocks - one on the inside of the track and one on the outside - but we're managing. I've just got to remember to take my boots across and my helmet across every time. It's a fun weekend. It's a real challenge driving the GTC car. I'm just excited. It's exciting to be out there in the big game with the big boys."
Broadcast coverage of the Petit Le Mans will be available through ESPN3.com and ABC television. ESPN3.com will provide a live stream of qualifying on Friday afternoon beginning at 1:50 p.m. ET, with a live stream of the full race on Saturday beginning at 11:30 a.m. ET. ABC will offer a tape-delayed telecast of race highlights beginning at 1:00 p.m. ET on Sunday.
Live updates on CJ's progress during every session will be available on Twitter @RacingCJ.