Jake Eidson has secured a full-season drive in the 2017 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama, in part through the expanded IMSA Hurley Haywood GT3 Cup Scholarship from the IMSA and supported by Porsche and Yokohama.
Eidson, 21, from Littleton, Colorado, will begin the 2017 season March 15-17 at Sebring during the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring event week. He will drive in the Platinum Cup class for defending Platinum Cup Team Champions Kelly-Moss Road and Race.
“The support from IMSA, Porsche and Yokohama made the difference of whether or not I could race this season,” Eidson said. “Their support means everything. I’m extremely excited and thankful for everything they have provided.
“It’s a big expectation to live up to, working with Kelly-Moss. They have a very successful history, and all they do is win. That’s our goal, too. They do everything they can to be competitive, and that’s all you can expect from a team.”
Aspiring racers between the ages of 16 and 25, with no previous full-time Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama experience, are eligible to earn the scholarship.
Successful candidates must have a strong desire to compete in the series, outstanding previous race results and proven on-track potential in junior racing categories, and the ability to build a compelling business plan for securing the remaining funding needed to compete in a full season of the IMSA-sanctioned Single-Make Series.
Eidson will receive from IMSA, with support from Porsche and Yokohama, these rewards with a combined value of approximately $70,000:
*Full-season Premium Entry into the 2017 IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama
*$20,000 in parts credit from Porsche Motorsport North America
*One set of Yokohama tires for each 2017 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama event
*Tool credit from Sonic Tools
*Complete OMP driver suit and gloves
*Promotional consideration by RACER Magazine
The scholarship is named after legendary sports car driver Hurley Haywood, one of the most accomplished sports car endurance racers in history.
“It was great just to talk with Hurley Haywood,” Eidson said of receiving notification from Haywood of winning the Scholarship.
“I know about his very, very rich history in sports car racing and with Porsche. It was overwhelming in a good way and an experience I’ll never forget.”
Eidson is moving to sports cars full time in 2017 after an outstanding career in junior open-wheel formulas. He finished second in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship powered by Mazda in 2015 after placing third in the series in 2014.
He earned six victories and 22 overall podium finishes in his two seasons in the competitive championship.
After a successful karting career, American-Australian Eidson started in open-wheel formula car racing in 2011 in the New South Wales Formula Ford 1600 championship.
He also raced in the United States in Skip Barber competition, winning the Winter Series championship in 2011, 2012 and 2013, and the Summer Series championship in 2012.
Those strong results helped Eidson earn a Team USA Scholarship to compete in the Formula Ford Festival and Walter Hayes Trophy events in 2013 in England. He finished fifth out of 50 entries in the Festival and seventh out of 110 entries in the Hayes Trophy.
Eidson made his first and only sports car start in August 2016 at Road America in the IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama, finishing an impressive second behind series champion Lazare in both rounds while driving for Kelly-Moss Road and Race.
“Jake showed tremendous talent in his only Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama race weekend last season, racing among the quickest, most skilled veterans of the series,” said Randy Hembrey, IMSA senior series manager, Development and Single-Make Series.
“We’re happy he has decided to advance his career in the IMSA paddock with assistance from the IMSA Hurley Haywood GT3 Cup Scholarship.”
Said Jens Walther, president and CEO of Porsche Motorsport North America: “IMSA has cast a broad net over the sports’ feeder systems and found a true gem in Jake Eidson.
“His experience and success in open-wheel racing will serve him well in our intensely competitive one-make series and in the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car. We wish him well as the first recipient to receive this honor.”
Eidson is the first recipient of the IMSA Hurley Haywood GT3 Cup Scholarship, which was expanded from a program IMSA, Porsche and Yokohama started in 2014.
Previous IMSA Scholarship recipients were Victor Gomez IV (2016), Elliott Skeer (2015) and Michael Lewis (2014), all of whom remain active in North American sports car racing.