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Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge

Estep Leads Day 1 of GT3 Cup Challenge Practice at Mid-Ohio

Trenton Estep set the pace in Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge practice at Mid-Ohio…

Photo: Jake Galstad/IMSA

Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama points leader Trenton Estep posted a best time of 1:24.076 during Friday’s practice sessions at Mid-Ohio in the No. 3 JDX Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup machine.

Estep turned in the best time during the second of the day’s two practice sessions. His speed was more than four seconds faster than the time Roman De Angelis turned to lead the first official practice session of the weekend on Friday morning.

“It’s been raining the past couple of days so the track has been pretty green,” Estep said. “But as soon as (the) WeatherTech (Championship cars) got on track, the track gripped up quite a bit. The guys gave me a really good car to go and put it on the top.”

After leading the morning session, De Angelis ended the day second on the time charts with a best lap of 1:24.273 (96.457 mph) in the No. 1 Kelly-Moss Road and Race Porsche. De Angelis comes into the Mid-Ohio weekend third in the Platinum Cup championship standings, just two points behind Estep and one behind second-place Will Hardeman.

The Canadian is expecting each of this weekend’s two 45-minute races to be challenging.

“I think in a 45-minute race, it’s going to be super tiring,” De Angelis said. “There’s no breaks on this track at all. Even the straightaway’s not straight, so you’re really, really busy. That’s one of the things that’s going to play a huge factor, the physical performance of yourself. I think it should be a lot of fun for the race, so we’ll see how it goes.”

Hardeman was third quickest on the day at 1:24.434 in the No. 19 Moorespeed Porsche. Mark Kvamme, who hails from nearby Columbus, Ohio, led the way in the Platinum Cup Masters class with a best lap of 1:26.078 in the No. 43 JDX Racing entry.

Victor Gomez IV, who leads the GT3 Cup Challenge USA Gold Cup standings for cars built between 2014 and 2016, also led the way in Gold Cup practice. His best time was 1:26.530 in the No. 25 Porsche from NGT Motorsport.

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