AUSTIN, Texas (March 6, 2016) – Will Hardeman scored the first podium finishes of his professional racing career this weekend in the Pirelli World Challenge at Circuit of The Americas (COTA) where he drove the No. 18 WPD/Moorespeed Porsche GT3 Cup to third-place finishes in both the Saturday and Sunday races.
After qualifying third on Saturday morning, Hardeman ran as high as second in that afternoon’s race before taking the checkered flag in third place. He and Moorespeed backed that finish up with another third-place podium showing inSunday’s weekend finale.
“I think the results of the weekend are a function of all of the work we’ve put in over the past year-and-a-half,” Hardeman said. “I’ve put all of that in the bank and, finally, I can show up and stand on the experience that I already have. I’m not making the mistakes I used to make, I’m consistently running out there and that’s what we’ve identified as the difference between me and the top pros in the field. Every time I’m in the car now we’re starting to work on things where I’m running the times of those guys, just getting more consistent, and that’s the difference.”
Beginning just his second year of professional sports car road racing competition, Hardeman’s season-opening career performance came on a more than familiar track. Hardeman, Moorespeed President David Moore and the WPD/Continental Auto Group/Moorespeed team are all based in Austin and COTA is their home track.
“I’m very proud of everybody on the team,” Moore said. “We’ve been with Will from the start, we put him in the car a year and a half ago and he’d never been in anything, so we’ve been on this journey with him. We’ve had some ups and downs, we missed some podiums last year, which hurt, but we knew this day was going to come. I’m really proud of our organization, and I’m especially proud of Will. He has clearly turned into quite a good racer. He’s still got work to do but he gets better every time.”
A huge turnout of family, friends and fans supported Hardeman and Moorespeed throughout the weekend. A special ticket promotion organized in cooperation with Pirelli World Challenge brought a solid contingent of supporters from the Continental Auto Group to COTA that cheered on but did not distract Hardeman.
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“When I’m in the car I’m in my own little bubble, my own little world,” Hardeman said. “My world is just me and the next corner, what I can control in my car and maybe the guy 30 feet behind me. That’s kind of all I’m thinking about no matter where I am, but the fans outside of that have been awesome because it’s just so much fun to share in this experience with a lot of people that I see on a daily basis. I do have to manage my time between them and preparing for the race, but Dave and I are pretty good about locking ourselves away when we need to focus.”
Hardeman’s career milestone came in his Pirelli World Challenge debut and gave Moore and his Moorespeed team a solid return to a series in which they have seen past success.
“What’s really cool, and not very many people know this, but my first World Challenge race was in 1997 or 1998, the Minneapolis Grand Prix, and we were on the podium, we won that race,” Moore said. “My last World Challenge race was in 2001 at the Texas Grand Prix and we were on the podium again, so to come back to Pirelli World Challenge and to be on the podium not once but twice is pretty special.”
Hardeman and Moorespeed are in their second full season together in 2016 after racing last year in IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup USA by Yokohama. They return to IMSA GT3 Cup this season and are now focused on the season-opening doubleheader at Sebring International Raceway that is less than two weeks away, March 17 – 18.
– With so many Continental Auto Group (CAG) employees at the race, Hardeman’s weekend’s success is sure to be a popular and positive topic of discussion in the office on Monday. “It’s great for the corporate culture for my company and my employees to come out and hang out outside of work and rally around something that is company related,” Hardeman said. “It’s been a huge cultural benefit for all of us and that’s one of the best parts of it.”
– Moore gave Hardeman high marks on maintaining his focus this weekend. “I’d say that he did the best job ever at separating himself and taking time to be away,” Moore said. “Before the race he went through a pre-race routine and just got away and basically got into a Zen moment alone in the transporter lounge. He had some time away from everybody but when it was time to go sign autographs and kiss babies he was on it. Last year at COTA Lone Star Le Mans he was a bundle of nerves, trying to please everybody and not taking the time to get relaxed and it definitely hurt him. Ever since then we’ve been working hard as any race driver that starts having success has to do, balance entertaining off the track with his job on the track without losing focus. He did a great job and it was cool to come back to our paddock after the race to be greeted by a huge gathering of fans, CAG employees, friends and family who gave him a huge ovation.”
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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