May 25 2014

Cut-Short but Competitive Lime Rock Debut for Jay Patel and the Dempsey Racing Porsche GT3 Team

Dempsey Racing team driver Jay Patel made a competitive but cut-short debut at Lime Rock Park on Memorial Day weekend, racing the Platinum Masters class No. 00 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup for the first time on the 1.53-mile Connecticut road course.
 
Patel, in his first season of national series racing in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama, had never even seen Lime Rock before arriving early in the week to take part in the track’s usual Tuesday open test.
 
“I came here without knowing the track,” Patel said. “I decided to get into a car in the Tuesday test to get some laps, figure out the corners and the nuances of the track. It is a very nice technical track.”
 
Patel’s first-ever Lime Rock laps on Tuesday were turned in a rental Miata MX-5 but he quickly acclimated to the major change when opening GT3 practice began on Friday.
 
“Lime Rock has its challenges, to go along with learning this series and the car, and learning the track, there’s a lot of challenges to it all,” Patel said. “As we go along, I am learning everything, putting things together, working on improving my driving and also the race craft.”
 
Patel rolled off from 15th overall in the competitive and top-tier Platinum field in the first of what was scheduled as a Saturday, May 24th, doubleheader. He picked up two positions in the race’s early stages and was never more than 30 seconds behind the overall leader in his Lime Rock debut and just third-career race weekend in IMSA GT3 Cup.
 
Patel was in position for a run at a top-five Masters-division finish only to be knocked off course by a lapped competitor in the second half of the race. He successfully rebounded to gain all but one position back, finishing 14th in the Platinum division and sixth in the Platinum Masters finishing order.
 
“A short track like this doesn’t give you time to rest,” Patel said. “You are constantly providing steering input. You are either braking, accelerating or turning, and it is also sort of a flat-out endurance race, it’s a 45-minute sprint all-out and it takes a lot of energy out of you.”
 
Patel and the Dempsey team were looking forward to building on the positive opening-race performance in Saturday’s second race but Mother Nature had other ideas. A heavy rain shower hit Lime Rock just as the IMSA GT3 Cup field was beginning its warm-up laps, flooding the track and forcing race officials to cancel the race and cut the weekend short for safety reasons.
 
Despite the schedule being cut short, Patel left Lime Rock positive and ready for more.
 
“With the skilled drivers that are in the series, and the quality of drivers here, it is tough to keep up with it. It’s a lot of work, it will take a lot of work on my part, but I am up to the challenge.”
 
Next up for Patel, Dempsey Racing and Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama is the next two rounds of the series, June 26 – 29 at Watkins Glen International in Watkins Glen, New York. 

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