Back-to-Back Top Five Finishes for Unser at VIR

June 18, 2024

Shift Up Now Athlete Loni Unser earned back-to-back, fourth-place ProAm finishes in the Cayman GT4 class during round four of the Porsche Sprint Challenge North America by Yokohama championship at VIRginia International Raceway (VIR) on June 14-16, 2024.

Driving the No. 4 Speedway Motors Cayman GT4 RS for Kellymoss Racing, Unser is supported by Hagerty and Mobil1, and was recently announced as one of the drivers chosen for the Porsche Mobil1 Female Driver Program North America.

Weather for the race weekend was hot and sunny, and Unser took to the track Friday for two practice sessions on the 3.27-mile, 17-turn VIR road course. She ran in the top ten for both sessions, and P5 in the ProAm class for the second.

Qualifying took place on Saturday morning. On lap three, Unser set a personal-best time at VIR on her Yokohama tires, qualifying fifth in the ProAm class and seventh overall. This put her on the inside of row four for the start of the first race.

Later that afternoon, the hot sun made for a slippery track as the Cayman cars lined up for the start of the 35-minute-plus-one-lap competition. Unser made a strong start and advanced into the top five overall by the end of the first lap.

As she began her second lap, she made a pass for the P4 overall spot and was running P4 in the ProAm class when the double-yellow flags came out for an incident elsewhere on track. After the relatively long caution period, Unser had a solid restart and maintained P4 before another caution flew.

With only five laps remaining when the green flag waved, Unser held strong in her P4 spot - overall and in class - until the finish line, also claiming the fourth-fastest lap of the race.

On Sunday morning, Unser lined up P7 once again, based on the second-fastest time she had set during Saturday’s qualifying session. At the drop of the green flag, she made another steady start. However, the two cars ahead made contact in turn one, forcing her to brake mid- corner to avoid the melee. Over the next few corners, she had to fight not to lose position. By the end of the first lap, she emerged in P7 - just one second behind the P6 car - and P4 in class, as she looked for opportunities to pass on the tough VIR track.

Just ten minutes into the race, a full-course caution came out for two separate incidents at Oak Tree Corner and Roller Coaster Corner. The caution was short and the race went green with 17 minutes remaining.

Unser had another strong restart, then spent the next eight laps under the P6 car’s wing, holding to within one second and looking for the chance to pass. When the white flag flew with one lap to go, she was just 0.3 seconds behind.

Going into turn four on the last lap, she made the pass for P6 overall, then gapped her rival to the checkered flag. The P4 ProAm finish gave her back-to-back top-five finishes in class for the weekend.

“Kellymoss gave me an incredible car as always, and VIR is such a fun track,” said Unser. “I think it’s so cool that USAC and Porsche Sprint Challenge have created such a good platform for competitive racing. It’s definitely keeping me on my toes! I can’t wait to continue the battles at Watkins Glen.”

Next up, Unser heads to Watkins Glen International for round five of the Porsche Sprint Challenge North America by Yokohama championship on July 5-7, 2024.

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