AUSTIN, Texas – While one race still remains in the traditional “Sprint” championship, Magnus Racing’s adventures in the Pirelli World Challenge “SprintX” category would come to a close with a podium finish on Sunday. Enjoying a mixed season that has seen everything from victory to a series of incidents, Pierre Kaffer and Spencer Pumpelly would close the season with a solid third-place finish during Sunday’s final round, while John Potter and Marco Seefried would walk away with a pair of fourth-place results.
“I’m glad we were able to take a podium to finish out the SprintX season,” stated Magnus Racing team owner and driver John Potter. “Pierre and Spencer have done a great job all season to make the most out of what they had, and I’m glad we were able to finish on a high. The manner in which they did it is all the better as well, as the team had to really push to get the car ready for Sunday’s race, proving just what a group effort this all really is. I’m glad Marco and I were able to run relatively solid as well, and I thank both Marco and Spencer for a great season.”
In the No. 4 Audi Tire Center Audi R8 LMS, Pierre Kaffer and Spencer Pumpelly came in to the weekend looking to end their season on a high following a mixed season together. Unique to the weekend, a previous cancellation at Candian Tire Motorsport Park in May would also mean the weekend would feature a triple-header of racing, with a Friday make-up race added to the Saturday and Sunday rounds.
During Friday’s race, mixed fortunes would beset the team, struggling to match the straightline pace of much of the field, which is critical in a place like the 3.4 mile circuit. Regardless, Pumpelly would still make excellent work of the field in front of him, eventually handing to Kaffer who would continue a solid run for the team, taking sixth at the checkered.
For Saturday’s Race Two, a seventh-place starting position would be maligned for Kaffer when he took the green flag, being cited with an infraction headed in to Turn One for violating a rule that dictated no one could cross the pit exit line in the run to the first corner. Eventually serving the penalty, the No. 4 would be set back from that point on, with Spencer Pumpelly eventually taking the reigns and doing his best to charge through the field. This would eventually lead to an incredible series of maneuvers from Spencer, who would fight hard with the No. 43 Acura to gain ground, ultimately settling for 10th at the finish.
Unfortunately, however, a late-race restart on Saturday would create one significant detriment to the No. 4 program. Avoiding chaos in front of him on the final lap, Pumpelly would take evasive action that would send the car pounding over an apex curb, causing the car to get slightly airborne, and more importantly bending the chassis in the process.
With the car bent in a manner that would prove impossible to fix overnight, the never-say-die attitude of the Magnus crew once again proved formidable, with the team doing a complete re-alignment and adjusting of body work to try and make up for the bent chassis, with Pumpelly and Kaffer unsure of what kind of car they’d have for Sunday.
As it turned out, however, the duo would have their best run together of the season on Sunday, with Kaffer doing an impressive job to get the car in the top-three for the closing half of the race, not putting a foot wrong and ending the SprintX season on a high.
“I’m glad we were able to finally take a podium together,” stated Kaffer. “The SprintX format is very unique, as you really don’t have a lot of drive time and have to push hard to make things happen, but I think we definitely had some positive moments. It was really impressive of the team to work on the car overnight and get it in good shape for Sunday, and I’m glad we were able to reward them with a top finish. Thank you to Spencer for being a great teammate, and I look forward to closing Sonoma on a high.”
For Spencer Pumpelly, a similar sentiment is shared.
“Ending the season on the podium is as much as we could have asked for,” stated Pumpelly. “With the damage the car took on Saturday, the fact that they were able to effectively get it back to normal working order is a testament to the quality of the program. We of course always want a chance to fight for the championship, but I’m happy to have been a part of their first series win and two additional podiums, and I thank everyone for the tremendous opportunity.”
All-in-all, the No. 4 car would take three podiums during the 2017 SprintX season, including a victory at Lime Rock.
For the No. 44 Audi Tire Center Audi R8 LMS of John Potter and Marco Seefried, a fairly quiet run would underscore a solid run for the pairing.
On Friday’s Race One, Seefried would find himself in a four-car train throughout his stint, proving the overall pace of the car, but lacking the straight-line speed necessary to pass. Handing the car to Potter, a comfortable run would see the Utah resident fairly unchallenged to the checkered, taking fourth place honors.
Unfortunately, a failed hose would sideline the car early during Saturday’s Race Two, with the car repaired and in good shape for Sunday’s Race Three. Once again, John and Marco would enjoy a patient drive, avoiding the chaos around them to settle in for another fourth-place run.
“I think everyone on the team did the best they could,” stated Seefried. “It’s always tough to compete in a series like this when there is a straight-line deficit, but we had fast cars and as always the quality of the program was at a top level. I always enjoy the time at my favorite American home, and hope to find more opportunities together in the future.”
While the SprintX season has come to a close, the traditional sprint format of the Pirelli World Challenge will continue with one more event, taking place at the famed Sonoma Raceway in less than two-weeks’ time. John Potter will resume his normal driving duties in the solo GTA category, while Pierre Kaffer will once again resume in GT. Practice begins on Friday, September 15, with a double-header of race action on Saturday, September 16 and Sunday, September 17.
Magnus Racing will continue to provide updates and coverage throughout the week via their Facebook facebook.com/RacingMagnus) and Twitter (@MagnusRacing), as well as via www.magnusracing.com.
More information about Magnus Racing can be found at www.magnusracing.com. Any organization interested in learning more about how to be involved with one of the most unique and visible teams in sports car racing can e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. All press inquiries can be directed to email@example.com.
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