with a Seventh-Place Finish Sunday in St. Petersburg
Baldwin Rebounds From Early Issue to Charge through Field in Hot Wheels®, InvoicePrep, Voodoo Ride Porsche Cayman S
Jack Baldwin and the No. 68 Hot Wheels®/GTSport/Porsche Napleton Racing Cayman S team capped a successful debut in the Pirelli World Challenge series Sunday with a come-from-behind seventh-place finish in the second and final race of the weekend at the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
“Today’s race, the whole weekend really, was a great learning curve for us,” Baldwin said. “We learned a lot, we accomplished our goal of a top-five finish, and I am happy with the end result, but we do have some work to do.”
Baldwin finished fifth in Saturday’s first race of the weekend doubleheader and started from the same position for the Sunday morning finale. Making his first standing starts in a race since European Formula Ford competition back in the early 1970s, Baldwin was a touch slow off the line Saturday but made up for it Sunday before trouble set in when he went to go through the gears.
“I got a bad start yesterday but I got a great start today,” Baldwin said. “Then I don’t know what happened. We had a gearbox issue, that’s part of the learning and we got something going on there, but we had a great start and then gave it right back.”
Baldwin dropped through the running order and ended up about 20 cars behind the GTS leaders and mixed in with a few of the slower Touring-class entries. He quickly shook off the setback, however, and went to work on charging through the field.
“I had to come from the back to get to a seventh-place finish,” Baldwin said. “From one point of view, and I certainly like to finish better than seventh, but I hadn’t done something like that in a long time, and it was fun. Whipping through that field, I love that, and I told the boys on the radio I can get there. A few more laps and I would have had a few more positions.”
This weekend’s season-opening Pirelli World Challenge doubleheader marked the return to major road racing competition for Baldwin and Hot Wheels®. They first joined forces to capture the 1992 SCCA-Pro Trans-Am Championship and now return a full 20 years later in search of more title-winning success in a full-season campaign in the Pirelli World Challenge GTS class. Invoice Prep and Voodoo Ride are the other lead partners in the effort.
The team is running a Pirelli Cayman Interseries-based Porsche Cayman S that has been modified to GTS specifications. The car was built and will be maintained by Porsche Napleton Racing (PNR), the racing division of leading Chicago area Porsche dealer Napleton Porsche of Westmont, and will be entered by GTSport Racing.
“All in all for the weekend, I feel really, really good,” Baldwin said. “For the hard work that we put into it, I think the effort this weekend was great. I have to thank the crew, we have the best crew in the World Challenge, really, the best crew anywhere, with Napleton Porsche and all the guys. The guys here worked around the clock all weekend, and the crew back home at Napleton - including Ben who I missed in Friday’s mentions – they have worked just as hard too. I am honored to drive this great Cayman S they have prepared.”
Next up for Team Hot Wheels™ and GT Sport/PNR is the Grand Prix of Long Beach just two weeks from now in Southern California. The No. 68 Hot Wheels®/GTSport/Porsche Napleton Racing Cayman S team is leaving St. Petersburg damage free, but more than one issue did emerge despite the largely positive weekend.
“We have got a lot of work to do and a short time to do it,” Baldwin said. “We are going to come together, and work together to move in a positive direction, and try to solve these problems and put us in a little better position. That’s what we are doing. It is all about the solution.”
The No. 68 Team Hot Wheels/GTSport/Porsche Napleton Racing Cayman S is also supported by Napleton Porsche Motorsports, BBS, StopTech, Jamestown Fish Restaurant, RaceLink, TPC, AIM, RS683 and Schnorr Art.
ABOUT PORSCHE NAPLETON RACING (PNR): Porsche Napleton Racing (PNR) is the performance and competition division of the Chicago-area auto dealership Napleton Porsche of Westmont. An established and full-service racing division and prep shop, PNR specializes in amateur and beginner-level competition on up to entry-level and top-tier professional racing series. The performance-focused PNR operation is just one division within Napleton Porsche of Westmont, which is the Ed Napleton Automotive Group’s flagship Porsche dealership. A family business that was established in 1931 by their grandfather Edward W. Napleton with a single dealership on Chicago’s south side, Ed Napleton and his brothers today own 60 franchises in four states. The Ed Napleton Automotive Group operates 29 of these franchises in 14 locations.