With three cars with two drivers each, we’re presenting a mix of familiar and new faces behind the wheel at this weekend’s Grand-Am of the Americas Rolex Series race at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, TX.
No. 73 Park Place Motorsports Porsche GT3
The #73 car will be piloted by Porsche factory driver Patrick Long and co-driver Patrick Lindsey. In the team’s first-ever public showing at the Roar Before the 24, Long laid down the fastest GT-class lap during the test days, then returned three weeks later to qualify third for the race to immediately establish the No. 73 Porsche as one of the cars to beat. During the Rolex 24 At Daytona, the team rebounded from early race issues that included a wheel nut problem and a timed penalty on pit road, as well as extensive repairs after a nighttime off-course excursion, for a hard-earned 16th-place finish. Most importantly, despite being several laps down since the early going, the No. 73 Porsche ran lap times comparable with those of the race winners throughout the twice-around-the-clock endurance marathon.
No. 72 Vess Energy Services Porsche GT3
The #72 car will be piloted during the Grand-Am of the Americas by pro driver Mike Skeen and Mike Vess, chairman and managing owner of Wichita, Kansas-based Vess Oil, a company he co-founded in 1979. During January’s Rolex 24 At Daytona, the #72 car overcame issues of its own to post a 14th-place finish at Daytona.
No. 71 Godstone Ranch Porsche GT3
The new #71 car will be co-driven in its first race by veteran sports car racer and driving coach Jason Hartand longtime competitor John McCutchen II. The paint scheme on the No. 71 Park Place Motorsports Porsche GT3, dubbed “The Heart Car,” will feature Godstone Ranch Motorsports and the non-profit organization’s support of the American Heart Association’s Hands-Only CPR program. It marks the American Heart Association’s first appearance on a racecar since the organization was founded in 1915. As part of the Hands-Only CPR campaign, Godstone’s goal is to raise awareness about the simple life-saving technique. “We want HOCPR to be as common knowledge as 911 is to nearly every man, woman and child in the United States,” said co-driver McCutchen, whose wife Karen Garrett, a world-class sculptor trained at the renowned James Surls Lawndale School at the University of Houston, founded Godstone Ranch in 2009. “Hopefully, every fan watching us race will take note of the three simple steps to saving a life: call 911, push hard and fast in the center of the chest to the beat of Stayin’ Alive.”