Jim Bacus and JC France Split Saturday Cayman Interseries Sprints at the Savannah Historic Races
Bacus Earns First Official Full Season Win as France Takes Victory in Cayman Interseries Debut
SAVANNAH, Ga. (June 12, 2010) – Jim Bacus, driving his colorful purple and green No. 3 Cayman that pays tribute to the “Hippy” Porsche 917LH, and debuting series driver JC France in the No. 20 baby blue and orange Wyer/Gulf Porsche 917-themed Cayman, each scored a victory in Saturday’s dual Cayman Interseries sprint races at the Savannah Historic Races.
For the second-straight day, competitors and fans endured high heat and humidity that produced temperatures in the mid 90s, a heat index approaching 105 degrees and trackside temperatures at race time of nearly 102 degrees. The on-track action, however, proved to be just as hot as the weather as Bacus held off France for his first win of the 2010 Cayman Interseries season early Saturday afternoon before France turned the tables and led Bacus across the line for the victory in the late afternoon race.
“I looked up in the mirror and all I could see in the race was the big No. 3 and I thought it was Earnhardt back there,” France said. “This is absolutely the most fun I have ever had, especially with everything being so close. I had a great race with Jim there. The series is really competitive. I thought there would be some different skill levels and some guys would just walk away, but you can see from qualifying there is a group of guys who are all within one-tenth of a second of each other and that shows up lap after lap in the race. They are always right there in your mirror.”
After winning the opening sprint, Bacus did all he could to try and sweep Saturday’s races but could never quite get by France’s Cayman that is modeled after the Porsche 917 that Steve McQueen drove in the movie Le Mans.
“I got along side of JC but I could never take it through to the next corner,” said Bacus after the second race. “I feel very good about how I am driving and how the weekend is going. I rolled off the truck and the car was solid and my mind is solid. Everything has been performing great this weekend and I really like this track. There was some real racing out there. We expected a tight pack from the start in both races, and it was right to the finish. It was good.”
Both Bacus and France started from the pole in their respective victories. Bacus started up front in the first race after topping Saturday morning’s qualifying session while France earned the pole for the late sprint after setting the fastest race lap in the early race. France led all eight laps in his victory while early in the first sprint Bacus fell behind the No. 1 Cayman S of David Heinemeier-Hansson that is themed after the famous Rothmans Porsche 956 and 962 race cars.
“I got lucky at the start of the first race when Lee Davis had some issues and that pushed Jim (Bacus) into a bad line and I just got a perfect line coming out of Turn 2 and flew right by him,” Hansson said. “It was pretty nice considering I started fourth and I held the lead for the four laps but then I just got a little greedy in Turn 9 and thought I could take it all the way out and touch the grass and then squiggly, downshift and BAM! My right-side front got off just enough to get it squiggly going into the turn and then it just wasn’t happening.”
Hansson wasn’t injured in the incident but his race was done and Bacus led the final four laps to the checkered flag. Despite his opening race disappointment, however, Hansson recovered to finish a solid third behind France and Bacus in the second race in his repaired No. 1 Cayman.
“Jim McCormick and I had a great battle, we were passing each other back and forth, and then halfway through the race, I passed him and from there it was kind of a lonely drive trying to catch up to the two front runners,” Hansson said. “Looking at their lap time numbers, however, there was no way I was going to catch them, not on those (worn) tires.”
Saturday’s only other top-three podium finisher was Davis who rebounded from an early sticking throttle that dropped him from his outside front row starting slot all the way to eighth on the opening lap of the first race. He then put on another strong charge to the front and slipped by McCormick in Turn 1 on the eighth and final lap of the race to take third behind Bacus and France in his No. 333 Cayman that carries the livery of the Advan Porsche 962s and Luna C Clothing.
“I had a good start and was a nose ahead of Jim (Bacus) going into Turn 2 but I went into the braking zone and the car just kept going straight. I barely missed the guard rail and went into the grass and pretty much everybody went by. It was a stuck throttle but then I was just kind of testing it out after a couple of more times and started feeling like it was fine. I just had to be careful about it as I raced back to the front. It was a different kind of fun, but fun!”
Davis finished fourth in Saturday’s second race while debuting Cayman driver Ron Rashinski recovered from a minor Friday practice accident to finish a strong fifth in the same race in the No. 6 Cayman that carries the colors of the famous Sunoco/Penske Porsche 917-30 Can-Am car that was driven by Mark Donohue. McCormick drove his No. 44 Cayman that carries the colors of the “Baby” Martini Porsche 935 to a fourth-place finish in the Saturday opener just ahead of Ed Lane III, who capped a great drive in his No. 15 Sandeman/David Piper Porsche 917 themed Cayman with a top-five showing.
“Things were playing out well and my objective at the start of the first race was to move up at least one to three positions, and that worked out nicely,” McCormick said. “It was then a question of holding off Ed Lane and then Lee came up and put a spectacular pass on. On the white flag lap on the front straight, he made a move and I was going to give him just enough room on the left, because I didn’t want to block him, and he took it. As we hit Turn 1 he was way down on the apron and really went where no one has gone so far. I then pedaled around to the finish.”
Lane is running in his second Cayman Interseries event after debuting at Road Atlanta last month.
“I feel great about the car and it is working just about as well as I can imagine any race car working,” Lane said. “The Cayman is easy to drive, it’s comfortable and gives you great confidence. I need a little bit more practice and a little bit more seat time in the car, but I had a good race and was behind Jim McCormick for almost all the race and nearly got by him one time, so that was exciting.”
Sunday’s Cayman Interseries schedule features a 90-minute enduro event in the morning and a final sprint “bonus race” Sunday afternoon.
- Saturday morning’s sole qualifying session of the weekend saw the coolest temperatures and fastest Cayman lap times so far at the Savannah Historic Races. As he did in Friday practice, Bacus once again topped the time sheets and won his first pole of the season with a lap time of 1:25.400 to lead a group of four drivers that eclipsed the one-minute, 26-second barrier. Davis qualified second at 1:25.808 and was closely followed by France’s 1:25.809 lap and Hansson’s time of 1:25.863. “I took it easy last night, went down and did my tradition of having a cigar by the river walk and did some people watching with Ron Barnaba,” said Bacus, who also won a Cayman race in Savannah last October from third on the grid. “I got a good night’s sleep, and it was a good session. I strung it out there, the track felt good and we had some grip.”
- Rashinski shook off his Friday practice incident to hit the top five on Saturday. “For having hit the wall, I am happy I didn’t have any more of that happen,” Rashinski said. “This is a lot of fun and the car is real easy to drive. I am getting a lot of good tips from guys like Jim Bacus and David (Heinemeier-Hansson) so it’s going real good.”
ABOUT THE CAYMAN INTERSERIES
Established in 2009 by Napleton Porsche of Westmont, Illinois, the Cayman Interseries is North America’s only auto racing championship featuring the exclusive use of the 320-horsepower Porsche Cayman S. Sanctioned by Historic Sportscar Racing (HSR), the Cayman Interseries is conducting its first official season in 2010 and will crown a pair of champion drivers in both the sprint and endurance racing formats. Races will be run on legendary circuits such as Daytona, Sebring, Road America, Watkins Glen, Road Atlanta and other premier venues. Every competing Porsche Cayman S is exclusively supplied and prepared by Napleton Porsche and each car competes with an assigned and specific heritage livery themed after a famous Porsche race car from the past. Learn more about the Cayman Interseries at Napleton Motorsports. Phone calls direct to Napleton Porsche may be made at (630) 725-0911 and email inquiries can be sent to [email protected].