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IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge

Zach Robichon Go Five-for-Five in IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Saturday in Sonoma
Moorespeed and Zach Robichon Go Five-for-Five in IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Saturday in Sonoma 600 528 MOORESPEED

Moorespeed and Zach Robichon Go Five-for-Five in IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Saturday in Sonoma

Robichon and Moorespeed Win Fifth-Straight IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama Race in No. 19 CAG/Moorespeed Porsche GT3 Cup

SONOMA, California (September 15, 2018) – Zach Robichon and Moorespeed are now five-for-five in IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama race wins after Saturday’s victory from the pole in the No. 19 CAG/Moorespeed Porsche GT3 Cup in the first 45-minute sprint of this weekend’s doubleheader at Sonoma Raceway.

Making his Sonoma debut, Robichon won the pole for this weekend’s pair of races in Saturday morning’s qualifying session and then stayed just clear of the competition in a well-managed and flag-to-flag race win that afternoon in the CAG/Moorespeed No. 19.

“Every time we go out and try to execute at a race, our goal is to peak at the right time,” said Moorespeed President David Moore. “We knew that tire deg (degradation) was going to be huge, so the main focus was to try to get an early gap, just enough so Zach could run the race line and not over stress the tire. It took a lot of discipline, you can go quicker in the first two sectors of the track, but they are hard on the tires, so we just took a measured and chip-away approach.”

Moorespeed and Robichon have teamed up for the final four IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup USA doubleheader race weekends of the year, a pairing that remains perfect with five of eight races now in the books through Saturday.

“We knew coming in Sonoma was probably going to be our hardest weekend,” Robichon said. “Right from the green flag, I was thinking about the tires. I knew at the beginning I could push harder, but right from the word go the backend was sliding a little bit. I knew if I pushed I was going to hurt the tires, but I was pretty comfortable with where I was at.”

Last month, Robichon won both races from the pole in his debut in the No. 19 CAG/Moorespeed Porsche GT3 Cup at Road America and joined the Moorespeed team in backing it up with another weekend sweep two weeks later at VIRginia International Raceway (VIR).

Road America, VIR and this weekend at Sonoma are all first-time tracks for Robichon, a French-Canadian driver from Ottawa who recently clinched the 2018 IMSA Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama Platinum Cup Championship.

“The two guys behind us today drove well and had lap times right there with us, so getting a gap on the first lap and then just managing that was huge,” Moore said. “Zach did a great job of managing the car and the tire deg.”

Robichon is filling in at Moorespeed for regular team driver Will Hardeman, who drove the No. 19 CAG/Moorespeed Porsche GT3 Cup to victory at Sebring last March and is joining the team this weekend at Sonoma.

Sunday’s second and final 45-minute sprint for Sonoma is scheduled to start at 12:30 p.m. PDT and will be streamed live on IMSA.tv.

Rounds 13 and 14 on the 2018 schedule, the Sonoma races are the next-to-last weekend of the IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA season before next month’s season finale at Road Atlanta at the Motul Petit Le Mans.

Noteworthy

– Moorespeed’s longtime Crew Chief Robin Hayes is enjoying the recent run of success he and his teammates have worked so hard to achieve. “I have been working hard and waiting for this for a while,” Hayes said. “Zach makes me look good. Porsche and other people have come to us and said, ‘we knew you had a good car, but we didn’t know how good it was,’ and Zach has allowed us to show it. He has let us show exactly what our potential is, what we can do.”

Zach Robichon and Moorespeed Win Sunday Victory at VIR
Zach Robichon and Moorespeed Persevere to Stay Perfect in IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup USA With Hard-Earned Sunday Victory at VIR 600 400 MOORESPEED

Zach Robichon and Moorespeed Persevere to Stay Perfect in IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup USA With Hard-Earned Sunday Victory at VIR

Robichon and Moorespeed Score Second-Straight GT3 Cup Challenge USA Weekend Sweep in No. 19 CAG/Moorespeed Porsche GT3 Cup
 
DANVILLE, Virginia (August 19, 2018) – Zach Robichon and Moorespeed stayed perfect on the season with their fourth IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama race win together in as many races Sunday at VIRginia International Raceway (VIR), but the path to today’s checkered flag was far from easy.
 
In their previous three victories – a doubleheader sweep at Road America two weeks ago and Saturday at VIR – Robichon and Moorespeed were never challenged in flag-to-flag romps to the checkered flag from the pole.
 
Robichon started from the pole again for Sunday’s second and final 45-minute race of the weekend but it soon became apparent he and the Moorespeed team were going to have to dig a little deeper to earn their fourth victory.
 
Robichon led the race’s opening lap only to drop to second place a lap later when he was passed for the lead for the first time since he started driving the CAG/Moorespeed No. 19.
 
“I made it hard on myself,” Robichon said. “The first two laps I didn’t push hard enough. I got passed, he made a great move, but then I could see his tire pressures were probably higher than ours because a few laps later you could see his rear was flat while ours was still rolling over. I knew he wasn’t going to last the whole race.”
 
Robichon kept the pressure on and retook the lead with a charging pass down VIR’s front straight into Turn 1 with just under 20 minutes remaining.
 
Back up front, Robichon appeared ready to check out on the competition but another challenge soon emerged.
 

 
“We have always known that Zach has a special talent,” said Moorespeed President David Moore. “We kind of went wrong with the car at the start of the race. We thought the track was going to be different. We went one way and the track went the other. We weren’t terribly concerned about the early pass as we knew the car would come in for us in the last half of the race, but then we had the traffic. It always plays a part here and unfortunately, we got caught up in it.”
 
Weaving his way through lapped traffic, Robichon encountered a slower competitor in a damaged car in the main racing line. Robichon quickly darted to the right side of the track to avoid contact, but the slight trip off course ripped the No. 19’s front splitter off.
 
“I was more aggressive today with the traffic because the lead gap I had wasn’t nearly what it was yesterday,” Robichon said. “I thought the lapped car saw me because he went a little bit of a weird way out of the first turn of the esses. I went right, but he obviously didn’t see me, and I had to drop to the grass and hit the curb on the exit. The front splitter came off and it makes for a lot of work. Through the esses and the high-speed corners it’s a handful, and even on the front straight that slight bend becomes a corner.”
 
Robichon powered on in the jittery Porsche for the race’s final 10 minutes and skillfully managed to hold off a fast-closing competitor for the hard-earned victory.
 
“It made it interesting,” Moore said. “For the last nine or 10 laps of the race, you could see Zach adjust at every corner the attitude of the car to get it to do what it wouldn’t do. He changed the driving to fit the situation on the car and was just in a class by himself. One day Zach is going to be a really good endurance racer because things happen and you have to be able to manage the equipment. He did a hell of a job today.”
 

 
Moorespeed and Robichon have teamed up for the final four IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup USA doubleheader race weekends of the year and remain undefeated in the No. 19 CAG/Moorespeed Porsche GT3 Cup with half of the scheduled race weekends now in the record books.
 
Next up for Robichon and Moorespeed in the IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama is the doubleheader race weekend at Sonoma Raceway, September 14 – 16.
 
Noteworthy
 
– Moore wasn’t surprised Robichon drove masterfully and held on for the Sunday VIR win even without the front splitter on the CAG/Moorespeed No. 19. “The first time I ever met Zach was three years ago at Road Atlanta where he lost the front splitter, I think on the first or second lap, and he still finished third on the podium at a blistering pace,” Moore said. “I went up to him after that race and told him I was impressed. That was how we met.”
 
– While Robichon heads home to Canada to close out the IMSA Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama season next weekend at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (CTMP), Moorespeed is going straight to work on its 2019 Porsche GT3 Cup driver development program. “We are testing a young man for next season next Wednesday back in Texas,” Moore said. “It’s a one-day test at MSR Houston and then we will get the car back in the shop in Austin and start preparing for Sonoma.”

IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup USA Road America
Robichon Wins from Pole Saturday in IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup USA Road America Debut in No. 19 CAG/Moorespeed Porsche GT3 Cup 600 400 MOORESPEED

Robichon Wins from Pole Saturday in IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup USA Road America Debut in No. 19 CAG/Moorespeed Porsche GT3 Cup

Flag-to-Flag Win from The Pole Moorespeed’s Third-Straight Porsche GT3 Cup Sweep at Road America

ELKHART LAKE, Wisconsin (August 4, 2018) – Zach Robichon made the most of his debut at both Road America and with Moorespeed on Saturday, winning the opening IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama 45-minute sprint of the weekend in a flag-to-flag romp from the pole in the No. 19 CAG/Moorespeed Porsche GT3 Cup.
The victory marked a successful return to IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge competition for the Continental Auto Group (CAG) and Moorespeed, which is running the year’s final four race weekends with Robichon after missing late June’s doubleheader at Watkins Glen.
The new partnership pairs up one of the fastest Porsche GT3 Cup drivers in North America with a Moorespeed team that was amid a breakout and winning season with fourth-year team driver Will Hardeman earlier in 2018.
Hardeman stepped out of the CAG/Moorespeed No. 19 for personal reasons earlier this summer but Robichon was recently brought in to fill the seat and responded with today’s dominating debut victory.
“It’s very rewarding,” said Moorespeed President David Moore. “Everything came together from day one when we flew Zach down to our Austin race shop to meet with me, work together and get on our simulator. We bonded right away, just got on the same page, and the whole team has always been that way. It was hard to not be at Watkins Glen with Will Hardeman, but we did the deal for Zach to fill his shoes and run out the season. It has been a nice shot in the arm bringing Zach in, but it was a team effort to get the win today.”
After winning the pole in Friday’s qualifying session, Robichon took control of Saturday’s race from the drop of the green flag. He led every race lap, steadily pulled away from the competition throughout the 45-minute sprint and then successfully defended his lead in a near-perfect restart after a full-course caution with just five minutes remaining.
“It was a tough race out there,” Robichon said. “It definitely wasn’t as easy as it might have looked. It was hot out there, this is a new track for me, and it is a high-degradation track for the tires. At the end of the race the tires were starting to hurt a little bit. We were pushing the whole lap trying to build that gap. At the same time, I had it in the back of my mind to keep some tires underneath me in case there was a restart, and that came to fruition.”
Robichon’s lead of more than 10 seconds was erased with the late caution, but he masterfully managed the field behind him in the uphill run to the start/finish line on the restart. He kept the No. 19 just in front of the competition in the race’s closing minutes and then had the victory sealed when a two-car on-track incident minutes later ended the race under caution.
Robichon’s flag-to-flag victory is Moorespeed’s third-straight pole-to-checkered sweep at Road America. Last year on the 4-mile road course, then Moorespeed driver Corey Fergus swept both weekend’s races from the pole.
A native of Ottawa, Canada, Robichon is leading the 2018 IMSA Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama championship with a season-high seven race wins in eight rounds this year. He has a cautiously comfortable lead in the GT3 Cup Canada point standings and, with just two race weekends remaining, was able to add the final four GT3 Cup USA races to his schedule.
“The guys from Moorespeed put together a fantastic car,” Robichon said. “It was the class of the field, all I had to do was push the buttons and turn right and left. They put the car together, and the credit goes to them because I wouldn’t be here without them.”
Robichon was perfect in both the main race start and the late restart just minutes from the finish.
“You can rehearse starts a thousand times and it is never going to go the way you plan,” Robichon said. “With experience, you can sort of guess and try to follow a plan, and if there was a plan that could be executed, both of those starts were perfect. I can’t say I predicted they were going to go like that, but I had an idea of where I was going to be strong. I really focused on getting good acceleration to keep them behind me.”
Sunday’s final IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup USA 45-minute race at Road America is scheduled to go green at 9:40 a.m. CDT and can be viewed live at www.IMSA.tv.
“One more tomorrow,” Robichon said. “We’ll make a few changes and go out and do it again.”
Noteworthy
– Hardeman cut short his 2018 driving schedule to 100% focus on unexpected personal issues within his family, but he is still very much a part of the CAG/Moorespeed team. “Will contacted me three or four times yesterday and each day I have given him a 30-minute debrief over the phone,” Moore said. “He is still a big part of the team and came over when Zach came to town and worked with us on the simulator. Even yesterday, while Zach was qualifying, Will did a qualifying sim back home. He’s a competitor, we miss him, and continue to wish the family the best, but I think today was a good way to say ‘thank you’ and take a win for Will and the family.”
– Following the Road America weekend, Moorespeed and Robichon will next compete in IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup USA Rounds 11 and 12 at VIRginia International Raceway (VIR), August 17 – 19, Rounds 13 and 14 at Sonoma Raceway, September 14 – 16, and the season-ending pair of races at Road Atlanta, October 10 – 13.
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