AUSTIN, Texas (March 3, 2016) – Moorespeed and team driver Will Hardeman will launch their second-consecutive year of competition together on their home track at Circuit of The Americas (COTA) in the No. 18 WPD/Moorespeed Porsche GT3 Cup in this weekend’s season-opening Pirelli World Challenge race at COTA, March 3 – 6.
Hardeman, Moorespeed President David Moore and the WPD/Continental Auto Group/Moorespeed are all based in Austin and will make their Pirelli Word Challenge debut in front of a strong contingent of family, friends and fans. The 3.4-mile COTA circuit is the perfect place for Hardeman to launch his second full season of professional sports car road racing.
“Circuit of The Americas is truly my home track,” Hardeman said. “I have turned about as many laps there as anyone I know, pro or amateur, at this point because I have just been around COTA since its inception. I go to the high-performance driving days there, I go to the pro test days, I race there two to three times a year now, so between all of that I know that place like the back of my hand. I know all the major stuff and now I am really just working on the little bitty minutiae that entails a bump here, or a turn-in here, we are talking about inches not feet these days when crafting our strategy at COTA.”
Moorespeed’s headquarters operation is located just minutes from COTA.
“Having COTA in our hometown has been a huge blessing,” Moore said. “It’s pretty cool to be only five miles from the track. Needless to say, we know the track very well and obviously have friends and family close by. When we are on the road we really only have to focus on our own little world, Will, the crew, the car and how to setup for a particular track on a particular day. That in itself is a lot of work. When we are at home, of course we have the luxury to sleep in our own beds but, in addition to our normal routine, we have the added task of entertaining not only the local fans, family and friends of the team but all of our friends in the racing family that are visiting to compete with us at the races.”
Hardeman and Moorespeed enter their second season together in 2016 after racing last year in IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup USA by Yokohama. They will race in that championship again this year, which begins later this month at Sebring International Raceway, but not before starting their overall season this weekend in World Challenge’s GT Cup class, a division similar to IMSA GT3 Cup.
“It is going to be totally familiar driving in the GT Cup class with other Porsche GT3 Cup cars,” Hardeman said. “In IMSA I ran in a field of 20-plus all last year and you are all just kind of moving at roughly the same speed. The fast guys might have a one second difference on the slow guys, and that’s about it. In World Challenge, the fast, homologated GT3 cars, like the McLaren, and the Cadillac, those guys are moving around the track probably five seconds a lap quicker than we are. I was testing at COTA two weeks ago with all of those guys and was very, very comfortable with them. The speed difference, the closing speeds are not that great from car to car and class to class, so you are all just kind of mixing it up with other cars and it makes for very, very entertaining racing.”
The recent COTA test was one of the best ever for Hardeman and Moorespeed and proved that last year’s hard work in their initial season together paid off.
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“With my limited career that I have had so far, we have been making big gains in short amounts of time, so there is a vast and marked difference between 2015 and 2016,” Hardeman said. “The biggest difference is in my comfort level around high-performance race cars and with the car. I am more relaxed, I am more comfortable being at the limit, putting the car at the limit and spending time there. Last year I was more of a ball of nerves going into each race. I was just having to learn so many things, learn new tracks and barely could stay on top of just handling the car at speed and at the limit. It was really kind of a stressful process but it was worth it.”
Familiarity with the home track will certainly be beneficial this weekend but Moore knows you never quit learning a track as vast and ever-changing as the 20-turn COTA road course.
“Circuit of The Americas really is a great facility but the track can lull you into complacency in a few places,” Moore said. “To go fast you really have to get up on the wheel in the technical areas. We have some areas that Will has very little trouble, places that others find difficult, but then there are other areas that don’t seem on paper to be very hard on which he still has work to do. It mainly boils down to hitting your marks and being consistent over the long run on this very technical track, but the track also changes during the day, sometimes up to two seconds, so it’s also being able to adapt to the changing track, not expecting too much from it at times or risk burning your tires off in the process.
“I don’t think we have any more of an advantage than any other good race team would have that has done their homework,” Moore said. “Hopefully, we did our homework better than most to get ready. Finally, we are going racing again so the next few days will tell the story.”
A weekend doubleheader event, GT Cup races with the GT and GTA classes in a pair of races Saturday andSunday. Saturday’s sprint is scheduled to start at 2:30 p.m. CST with Sunday’s race, which will be the weekend’s finale, scheduled to start at 2:15 p.m. CST. The races will be preceded by today’s test day, official practice sessions on Friday and Saturday morning qualifying.
– Hardeman expects different types of race traffic to be a unique and somewhat new aspect of this weekend’s World Challenge race. “A difference between GT Cup and IMSA, and GT Cup and World Challenge, is that I am just going to have to deal with a lot more traffic,” Hardeman said. “There is going to be some slower stuff and some faster stuff, but we will all be moving at roughly the same pace, so it just makes it more interesting, more fun, and it should be a better fan experience as well because there is more passing going on with the different classes intermingling in the field.”
– Hardeman and everyone at Moorespeed are extremely grateful for the incredible support they receive in Austin. “We have great fans,” Moore said. “Really, we do but they are more than fans, they are our friends so they know us all pretty well. They get it and really understand we are pretty focused about the work at hand on the track until each day is done. They are very respectful of Will, the entire team’s time and what we are trying to accomplish. We just don’t have anyone that expects that much from us other than they want us to win and love it when we do. Last year we won three races at COTA and had a really good time. There were three other races though that we did not win and the fans did not treat any of us any differently. They still came by, hung out and had a beer or some Z Tequila with us at the end of a long day or weekend and had a great time.”
– A past World Challenge competitor, Moore was more than happy to give the series some hometown help in promoting this weekend’s race. “We’ve been working behind the scenes for over a month with the folks at Pirelli World Challenge trying to do what we can to help them promote the event and to extend a big Texas welcome,” Moore said. “The entire organization has been a pleasure to work with and we hope to continue building upon that as they have bent over backwards welcoming us back to World Challenge after being away for so many years.”
About Moorespeed: Based in Austin, Texas, Moorespeed is a full-service automotive company specializing in sales, service, repairs and restoration of luxury sports cars and competition on the track in numerous North American road racing series. Founded in 1991 in Austin by brothers David and Chris Moore, Moorespeed offers comprehensive, turn-key service in which people are just as important as parts and relationships are just as vital as results. Moorespeed’s road racing programs are designed for all skill levels, and driver development, both on and off the track, is a Moorespeed specialty. Dave Moore and General Manager Price Cobb, winner of the 1990 24 Hours of Le Mans, welcome and work with every racing customer as a member of the Moorespeed family while Winslow Mankin brings the same dedication and passion in his role as Street Department Service Manager. Moorespeed is all about the passion for high-performance automobiles and the people who drive them. A commitment to personal service and performance permeates every corner of the company. Learn more at www.moorespeed.com, contact us at (512) 474-7223, look for us on Twitter @MoorespeedTX and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MoorespeedRaceEngineering.