2012 Palm Beach GP concludes Jupiter, Fla. To say the Second Annual Palm Beach Grand Prix at Palm Beach International Raceway was a diverse event would be an understatement. With over one hundred national and international participants, we had the distinct pleasure of hosting vintage and modern race cars alike spanning a time period of over fifty years. Competing in six different series throughout the weekend, the event was a whirlwind of non-stop racing action.
However, a commonality amongst the drivers’ was their shared passion for the thrill of the race. Camaraderie existed between the competitors that fueled the roar of the engines to make for an exhilarating weekend as drivers took to the track.
The Grand Prix was a Historic Sportscar Racing (HSR) sanctioned event for its 2012 season opener featuring all HSR Dash Series races, the Louis Chevrolet Endurance Series, and the Klub Sport Porsche Challenge. These races brought history and talent to Palm Beach International Raceway’s two-mile eleven-turn road course.
The event kicked off on Friday with Classic Motorsports Magazine’s Small Bore Enduro Race. Palm Beach local, Warren Alpin, took first place racing his ’62 Triumph TR4 2200. The Triumph also came in third place at the Historic/Vintage series winners’ circle, however, it was Alpin’s daughter, Melissa, who stood on the podium. Melissa and her father have been racing for seven years and first learned at Palm Beach International Raceway.
Another feature race was the debut of the Pirelli Cayman Interseries Endurance Cup, which is North America’s only auto racing series featuring the Porsche Cayman S. that was established in 2009 by Napleton Porsche of Westmont, Illinois. Driver, Mark Sandridge, took first place in the series with his No. 49 Cayman S. At the winners’ circle, Sandridge acknowledged the win saying, “We’ve been gentlemen racers for a long time and driving in the Palm Beach grand Prix has been a phenomenal experience… These Caymans are dynamite to drive.”
The Porsche series, Mission Foods GT3 Cup by Car Amigo, competed for the first time at Palm Beach International Raceway. The Cup is a championship for 911 996/997 Cup cars that gives owners a chance to compete in their own cars. Jim Norman from Flat 6 Motorworks took the GT3 Cup’s overall season opener ahead of Richard Zahn and Peter Collins.
A representative from Mission Foods, Toni Calderon, was impressed with the event, “This has been a great race- Palm Beach International Raceway is a great venue to have our season opener and we’d love to come back. Our plan is to keep growing our core base of drivers to give Porsche GT3 owners a place to race.”
The Swedish Camaro Cup made its way across the pond to hold one of its first United States races at the Palm Beach Grand Prix. The Nordic U.S. Camaro Cup is a Camaro only racing series made up of sixteen fifth-generation Camaros that thundered around the track in three feature races throughout the weekend. Dennis Lind, a Formula Ford World Champion, said that the track at PBIR made for a close race because its wide turns allowed for lots of good passing opportunities. Jan Magnussen, from Denmark, took first place in the series.
This year Palm Beach International Raceway and the Palm Beach Driving Club (PBDC) featured the perpetual HSR LeMans Trophy donated by five-time LeMans Champion, Derek Bell, to raise almost six thousand dollars for the Boys & Girls Club of Palm Beach County. Spectators purchased PBDC charity rides around the track and drivers registered to compete for the LeMans Trophy.
Driver, Carlo Falcone, from Antigua came in first place to become the first recipient of the perpetual LeMans Trophy by accumulating the most points in helping to raise money for the charity.
Special thanks to Palm Beach Grand Prix official sponsors: the Palm Beach Driving Club, Louis Chevrolet Swiss Watches, Classic Motorsports Magazine.