Hurley Haywood scholarship winner and Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Champion Jake Eidson earned yet another valuable trophy in the process, the keys to a brand-new Porsche 911, his to use for the next year.
Appropriately equipped for a GT3 Cup Challenge Champion, Porsche outfitted the stunning black 911 with a 7-speed manual transmission to transfer power to the ground from the 3.0-liter, twin-turbocharged boxer engine that produces 370 horsepower and 331 pound-feet of torque.
And if Eidson is late for an appointment, those six cylinders will propel him to 60 miles per hour in 4.4 seconds, while the Champion is wrapped in a leather interior listening to the tones of the optional Bose Surround Sound system and Sport Exhaust.
Eidson first got a glimpse of the car at the championship banquet at Motul Petit Le Mans.
“They basically handed me the keys and said, ‘Go have fun!'” Eidson said.
The 22-year-old driver had already clinched the Overall and Platinum Cup Championships at the series’ previous event at Sonoma Raceway in the No. 24 Kelly-Moss Road and Race entry.
“At Sonoma, we knew that we could tie up the championship, but I had to win both races there and pole position,” Eidson said. “It was probably the closest qualifying session I’ve ever had. I qualified on pole by one-hundredth of a second. There’s six to seven drivers on any given weekend who could win the pole and the race so it’s a lot of tough competition in this series.”
However, the young driver said a major career moment happened before his 2017 season even started when he got the call that he had won the inaugural Hurley Haywood GT3 Cup Scholarship, backed by IMSA, Yokohama, Porsche and Haywood himself.
“Winning that scholarship was a bit of added pressure because a lot of people really want to see you do well,” Eidson said. “Trying to meet those expectations and standards was difficult at times, but I think if nothing else, it was more motivation.
“The amount of support I’ve received this year is overwhelming, I can’t thank everyone enough. First of all, I have to thank my team – Kelly-Moss Road and Race – I think they’re the best team at what they do.
“They’ve been a huge contributor with [owner and competition director] Jeff Stone and he’s been an enormous amount of help and support for me.
“He’s done a really good job of making us feel like we are part of the Kelly-Moss family – and it’s truly more of a family than a team.”
In fact, Eidson said one of his first rides in his new 911 Carrera was with Stone.
Although winning a new Porsche was memorable, Eidson raved about his experience with Racing For Kids, a unique national charity, which supports children when they are most vulnerable, sick and hospitalized.
Drawing on the popularity of motorsports, Racing For Kids uses its distinctive position within the racing world to bring attention and funding to child health institutions.
Around 100 of those children came out to Barber Motorsports Park for the GT3 Cup Challenge event weekend in April.
“Being able to meet some of those kids involved and put a smile on their faces has been really moving and memorable,” he said. “It was special watching them enjoy the sights and sounds of racing and all the excitement of a race weekend.”