MONTEREY, California (April 27, 2016) – Moorespeed returns to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca this weekend with it successful IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup USA by Yokohama driver development program, the No. 19 WPD/Moorespeed Porsche GT3 Cup team and second-year driver Will Hardeman.
Moorespeed, Hardeman and the No. 19 team come to Monterey with the momentum of one of the team’s best showings to date in last month’s season-opening event at Sebring International Raceway.
The Sebring doubleheader saw Moorespeed and Hardeman finish sixth in the first race and then charge from fourth to second in the opening laps of the second and final sprint.
Although a pair of spins in round two would relegate Hardeman to an eventual 12th place finish, the No. 19 team left Sebring having given notice to the competition that Moorespeed’s carefully calculated driver development program with Hardeman has reached a new level.
“We hit another milestone at Sebring, one that we have actually been working specifically on since before the Lone Star Le Mans race at COTA last year,” said Moorespeed President David Moore. “Will is now feeling the car in a more minute way that allows him to carry more speed through his braking transition and get back to full power. It gets very technical, for sure, but it’s been a progression of continually adding new tools to his toolbox.”
Part of Moorespeed’s driver development curriculum is to teach emerging drivers like Hardeman how to elevate from simply driving to racing with confidence.
“We’ve been more focused on strategy and the art of passing and racing, not driving,” Moore said. “It’s all now making sense, which allows him to be more focused. I am really looking forward to helping him further utilize the tools and skills he has gained through our intensive driver development program here at Moorespeed and begin to reap the rewards racing for wins. He’s very close, certainly exciting to watch and a pleasure to work with, it’s very rewarding and fun.”
Sebring marked just the one-year anniversary of Hardeman’s first ever professional race after debuting in IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup with Moorespeed in 2015 on the legendary Florida road course.
“Each successive race we get better as a team communicating car setup to each other, which helps us grab a few more tenths of lap time from the car,” Hardeman said. “As a driver, my new found pace has come from a driving style change that I made at Sebring with the help of Earl Bamber where I am lighter on initial brake application, which allows me to keep more aggressive corner entry speed. Laguna Seca will be a perfect track for this style as there are many flow turns that link together and will reward the guy with the best cornering ability.”
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Factory Porsche driver Bamber is the driver coach for Moorespeed and Hardeman.
“We brought Earl in to help as I was simply not getting my point across about the timing of a turn at speed,” Moore said. “From the initial brake point to what I call the point of transition of slowing the car down to going back to full power. It’s hard to explain unless you have driven at speed, but the timing of this needs to be very fluid so you don’t upset the balance of the car and the transition of the forces on the chassis and tires.”
After finishing ninth and seventh, respectively, in 2015’s season-ending IMSA GT3 Cup USA doubleheader finale last September with Moorespeed, Hardeman is looking forward to this weekend’s Monterey return.
“In the past we used to talk about the line and driving technique,” Hardeman said. “Today, we are focused on creating and capitalizing on passing opportunities throughout the 11 turns of Laguna Seca. Our biggest gains have come from establishing to ourselves and our competitors that we now have podium speed and tactics, and we aim to use those tools at Laguna Seca.”
Still just one race into his second year of professional competition, Hardeman is taking advantage of the lessons learned in his first season with Moorespeed.
“He now understands how precise he has to be and how hard he has to drive the car to be up front, but also how to do that without tensing up,” Moore said. “It’s a timing issue where I believe he is more relaxed and things have slowed down in his mind, although he’s going faster. He seems to be really enjoying the new confidence. I’ve known Will for many years and know he has been a true competitor his whole life. Our focus now is mainly on racing, the fun part, the chess match, the mental game, the thrill of competition, which is the reason why most of us do this for a living.”
Another doubleheader weekend, Laguna Seca’s schedule features a pair of 45-minute IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup USA by Yokohama sprints. Race one goes green Friday, April 29 at 3:40 p.m. PDT with the second and final sprint scheduled to start at 8 a.m. PDT on Saturday, April 30 at 8 a.m. PDT.
Practice begins Thursday, April 28, with qualifying that afternoon at 3:40 p.m. PDT.
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
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Pictures Courtesy of IMSA