Touring Car Champion Moves Up to Porsche GT Cup in Pirelli World Challenge
AUSTIN, Texas – During the day, Corey Fergus is your mild-mannered car salesman at Byers Imports in Columbus, Ohio. Little does his customer know that the 27-year-old third-generation racer is a driving champion in similar Porsches which he sells.
On the weekend, Fergus turns into one of the top drivers in the Pirelli World Challenge road racing series, North America’s top GT Production campaign, and the salesman/driver debuts his new No. 00 US LED/Byers Imports Porsche 911 GT3 this weekend (March 4) at the state-of-the-art Circuit of the Americas for the 2016 PWC opener.
Fergus comes off a championship season in 2015 when he battled a highly-competitive Touring Car division right down to the final race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in last September.
“It was a real fight to the checkered flag in the final race,” said Fergus, a Denison University psychology graduate. “But we learned a lot in the run for the championship and how to race for a title. We are much more prepared as a team as we debut in the Porsche GT Cup. It’s a big jump from the Touring Car Porsches to the GT Cup machine.”
And Fergus’ daytime employer was behind the move all the way.
“I can’t thank the people at Byers Imports enough for purchasing the new Porsche GT Cup car,” admits Corey. “They have been a huge supporter of my career. They understand that I’m in the showroom during the week and I’m on the track on the weekends. We still have a championship-winning TC Porsche for sale if anyone is interested.
“The jump to the GT Cup car is huge. It’s a rear-wheel-drive car with paddle-shifting, a cockpit-setup and 460 horsepower. It’s the fastest car I have driven. But we are up for the challenge in 2016.”
Corey is prepared for the COTA opener too after a couple of successful testing sessions in North Carolina and last week at COTA’s 3.427-mile, 20-turn circuit.
“It was a very good test recently at COTA,” said Fergus. “We have some very tough competition in the GT Cup division so we have a little bit of a learning curve compared to the other teams. But I’m confident we can be competitive.”
Fergus knows the difficulty of racing in a single-car division too.
“It’s really up to the driver and the team to get the car ready properly as everyone in your class has the same Porsche,” he said. “The Porsche Cup has had a lot of talent over the years with outstanding drivers and teams. Look at Colin Thompson last year with the Kelly-Moss team. He won the title and moved into a great GT effort with K-PAX and Flying Lizards. That’s the kind of move a Porsche GT Cup driver would like to make in his or her career. But first you need to learn the ropes of the Porsche Cup car.”
The Fergus Racing team, with Corey following in the footsteps of his grandfather (John), great uncle (Bob) and father’s (John Jr.) in the racing world, has stayed intact for 2016 with the same crew which took Corey to the Touring Car championship in 2015. But Corey’s racing experience will grow on track too as he competes in the faster GT field.
“We have the same team and the same sponsors with US LED and Byers Imports, but we are moving to the new class,” Fergus explained. “We are learning everything about the new Porsche. I’ll learn about driving from the front of the field (in the TC division) to the middle of the field (GT Cup). I’ll need to watch my mirrors for the faster GT cars as they will be quicker than my GT Cup car.”
Fergus is anxious for the challenge this weekend at COTA in his Porsche GT Cup debut. But he also knows that he’ll be back in the Byers Imports showroom Monday talking with customers about the street versions of his racing car.
“If I have a good weekend at COTA, I’ll have a bigger smile on my face than usual in the showroom,” said Fergus. “But I always have a smile because I am doing what I love – racing and talking cars.”
Fergus and more than 100 other racers open the 2016 Pirelli World Challenge season this weekend with practice and qualifying on Friday (March 4) and races on Saturday and Sunday (March 5-6) with 50-minute features each day.