Among the ten Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama drivers testing at Sebring the last two days were a handful of newcomers to the series in 2018, including Scott Welham, who was testing the No. 61 Kelly-Moss Road and Race Porsche 911 GT3 Cup machine in the Platinum Cup class.
The test provided an initial taste of professional racing for Welham, who is making the jump from the amateur ranks this season.
“I’m actually a Viper guy,” Welham said. “I’ve been racing since about 2003 in a Viper. So, Vipers are front-engine, high-torque, and you go to this and it is more of a mid-engine, lower torque.
“I’m having an adjustment on actually having to roll through the corners, versus going on/off, binary, with the Viper. The transition is trying to learn the different car and the techniques and everything else.”
He credits Kelly-Moss with helping make it as smooth a transition as possible.
It’s been an eye-opening experience for the Louisville, Kentucky resident, whose previous experiences have largely been at the amateur level or working with much smaller operations than Kelly-Moss, which won last year’s GT3 Cup Challenge USA title with Jake Eidson.
“Here, you’ve got somebody that actually does coaching, data acquisition, track management – these are all separate people – plant manager, owner, a car-setup guy, you’ve got someone that bills you – which isn’t always a good thing, but you know, you just have that huge, huge support group that enables you to focus on driving,” Welham said.
“The other one at the amateur level is you always get these guys that do the turning the wrench and the driving.
“I got out of that eventually, but that was the progression you seem to go into. I think you’ve got to make the call on what you want to do. If you want to be a good driver, you need something like this to support you.”
Welham also is looking forward to the high-profile events that populate the GT3 Cup Challenge USA schedule, beginning with next month’s doubleheader as part of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts race-week festivities.
“It’s a great attraction,” Welham said. “I mean, it’s just fantastic. You see it on TV, you watch it all the time and it’s like, ‘OK, do I have the ability to go that next level? Can I do it?’
“This year’s going to be a total test of me. I don’t have expectations of winning anything at this point, but if I have a three-year plan, and ultimately, hopefully, at the end of the third year I can actually be pretty good, that’s what I would like to do.”