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RAFA Racing by JDX’s Ian Porter Returns To Wining Ways As Team Sweeps Porsche Sprint Challenge Cayman at Watkins Glen

Porter’s Point-Leading Sunday Victory Follows Saturday’s Win by Caroline Candas, Gives RAFA Racing Team Four of Top Seven Point Positions With Two Weekends Remaining

WATKINS GLEN, New York (July 9, 2024) – RAFA Racing by JDX and driver Ian Porter compiled a list of lessons learned on his way to a bittersweet third-place finish during Saturday’s Porsche Sprint Challenge race at Watkins Glen International, then spun those into his seventh win of the season on Sunday with a near flawless performance in upstate New York.

Porter’s Saturday began on pole position, but he lost the lead with a poor start that resulted in contact, a penalty, and a damaged car during the remainder of the race. He eliminated every single issue on Sunday morning, pulling away at the start in a race that went caution free and won by 11.387 seconds in the No. 86 Grid Finder Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS Clubsport.

The win is the seventh of the season in 10 races in Porter’s first season of racing following a career in eSports as the most decorated Call of Duty player of all time, where he was known as CrimSix. Saturday’s third-place finish was the lowest of the season for Porter, making the rebound extra sweet.

Taking the sting out of Saturday’s finish was watching his teammate Caroline Candas’ first victory. The French driver followed that up with a runner-up finish to Porter in her No. 84 8Twelve Wheels Porsche Cayman on Sunday, but it didn’t come easy.

Candas started on the outside of row one, but dropped to third when Porter’s inside line had the preferred position through the first sequence of corners. She kept the pressure on for the opening 15 minutes, completing a clean pass to second place in “the boot” to gain the place.

In front, she opened the gap to third place and had eyes forward but couldn’t catch Porter. The podium finish is her ninth of the season and the fifth runner-up finish.

Paige Morales and Rafael Martinez each reached their goals of continued improvement through the weekend. Martinez left the weekend with a fifth and sixth-place finish in the Cayman Pro-Am class, while Morales finished sixth and seventh on Saturday and Sunday.

Both drivers found increased pace during Sunday morning’s cool race. Martinez drove his No. 85 RAFA Racing Club Porsche Cayman to a best lap of 1:58.657 around the tricky 11-turn, 3.45-mile circuit. Even in race conditions, that lap time was nearly a second faster than his best qualifying lap a day earlier as his comfort level grew in his first time at the track.

Morales’ improvement was even more dramatic. She posted a best lap in Sunday’s race of 1:59.055 in her No. 87 RAFA Racing Club Porsche Cayman, besting her top qualifying time of 2:00.435 by 1.38 seconds. Morales’ first eight flying laps of the race, in traffic, were quicker than her qualifying mark and proved her hard work in her rookie season of racing, at any level, is paying off.

The team leaves Watkins Glen with only races at Road America and Sonoma remaining on the 2024 calendar. The team will be back in action at Road America for a doubleheader the weekend of August 9-11 before the season finale at the end of September.

RAFA Racing by JDX Quote Board

Rafael Martinez, Driver, No. 85 Porsche Cayman: “Watkins Glen for the fifth round of Porsche Spring Challenge North America was incredible! The RAFA Racing Team by JDX had an great result, taking P1 and P3 on Saturday and P1 and P2 on Sunday. Personally, it was the best I have felt in this car. I didn’t have a great qualifying as I was still working on the feel and set up plus getting comfortable with the incredibly high-risk track. But I managed to get on pace with the leaders in middle of the pack by race two which is what I have been chasing. I didn’t do a good enough job managing through traffic so results didn’t show how well I actually drove but that’s ok. I’ll get another crack at it Road America next month!”

Ian Porter, Driver, No. 86 Porsche Cayman: “I finished third and first in the two races last weekend at Watkins Glen. Huge shoutout to RAFA Racing by JDX, my driver coach Alec Udell, and my entire crew but especially Alex Phelps on fielding a magnificent car to drive through the weekend. Watkins Glen is a beautiful place and an even more amazing track and is a test of courage at times. The car was perfect on Sunday compared to how bad it was after my contact on Saturday. I don’t know why I didn’t defend the inside at the start on Saturday, and it was the root cause of everything, but I made sure to cover it on Sunday and brake a little bit later. Then I just drove a clean race. I’m so proud of my teammate Caroline Candas for getting her first win this weekend as well! I had the fastest lap of the weekend, so that was a cool moment for me. I’m looking forward to racing here again!”

Caroline Candas, Driver, No. 84 Porsche Cayman: “This first victory means a lot! First of all, I’d like to thank the entire Rafa Racing Team by JDX for a great car. We had a discovery of the track on Thursday and a win and fastest lap in race one on Saturday! Race two was a big battle and I took second place, which scored some good points for the championship. I’m delighted to be able to say that my first victory in a car took place on the iconic Watkins Glen track, but now we want more! I can’t wait to get to Road America in one month.”

About RAFA Racing Club:

RAFA Racing, utilizing the motto “Race As Family Always,” is a motorsports club and race team founded by and made for high-performance auto drivers, supporters, and fans of all types. Started by Rafael Martinez, the Club aims to create a space for high-performance car enthusiasts to enjoy like-minded individuals, network and share ideas on and off the track, and bond as one team with a common interest. The RAFA Racing Team made its debut in 2023 with a runner-up finish in the McLaren Trophy Europe Series, and expands that footprint to include Porsche Sprint Challenge North America and SRO GT4 Europe in 2024. The Club’s off-track presence can be felt on social media and beyond, including YouTube, Instagram and Facebook and at RafaRacing.Club.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com

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