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Luck on St. Patrick’s Weekend

Posted on: April 5, 2024

In Categories: Race results Team News

Sebring International Raceway
Sebring, Florida
March 14 and 15, 2024
Porsche Carrera Cup North America

Sometimes luck can be surprising.

As a racing team, we often feel lucky when we get good conditions for our setup, come out of a scary bunch-up unscathed, or cross the finish line without any unpredictable hiccups. At its best, luck can mean the difference between a podium finish and a disappointing weekend.

But on weekends like the opener of the 2024 Porsche Carrera Cup at Sebring, when luck is nowhere to be found on the track, hindsight helps us find it elsewhere. While bumps and mishaps all but derailed an otherwise solid racing effort, Racing to End Alzheimer’s felt the love from more supporters and fans than ever before. With 82 names on the livery to start the season and more rolling in throughout the weekend, it’s hard not to feel like luck moved from the track and set up shop in the purple and white team tent.

Mark Kvamme applies his grandfather's name to the No. 43 Porsche as a young fan watches.
MDK team owner and our driver Mark Kvamme applies his grandfather’s name to the No. 43 Porsche as a young fan watches.

A game of millimeters

Racing to End Alzheimer’s had plenty of reason to feel confident after Thursday’s round of qualifying. Reigning Masters class champion Mark Kvamme took the wheel of a lightning-fast Porsche 911 GT3 Cup Car (type 992) and laid down a blistering lap that put him within 0.064 seconds of pole position. For a matter of hours, it felt like this season would pick up where the last one left off. But disappointment was lurking.

After qualifying, officials took a closer look at the No. 43 Porsche and found a devastating discrepancy in its ride height. Despite having been cleared prior to the race, the car settled just enough so that it was sitting 0.7 millimeters, literally half the width of a dime, too low. Though it did not necessarily provide Kvamme with an advantage, the rules are clear. All of the No. 43’s qualifying times were disallowed, and it was moved to the back of the pack.

Starting in the 40th position, there was only one direction for Kvamme to go. Demonstrating his championship caliber prowess, Mark doggedly set about moving up through the field.

After a well-executed restart, the No. 43 found itself in 25th position overall and fifth in the Masters class. Though a far cry from where we hoped to be, it was nonetheless an impressive effort by Kvamme to get back in the mix following a very tough break. As the checkered flag waved, the No. 43 held position. After the race, it would be bumped back one more spot to sixth in class for an avoidable contact penalty.

Things that can’t be controlled

Setting out on Friday, the strategy was pure pedal to the metal speed. A silver lining of starting last is that the whole field is laid out in front of you. For a driver like Mark, that means that some inhibitions can be left in the dust and the primary focus can be on passing. Most of the time, a driver can proceed like they don’t have anything to lose.

For Kvamme, this translated into a blistering run in the opening lap of the race that moved the No. 43 up 11 places. This momentum followed Mark through a long caution period, out of which he picked up four more spots on the restart to place him third in class. In a flash, the No. 43 had worked its way from dead last to running in a podium position.

As the laps ticked away, Mark kept himself within striking distance of the lead group. With three circuits remaining, it was hard not to anticipate last-minute magic. It felt as though Mark had earned some good luck. But the fates had other plans.

In turn 17, the No. 43 was bumped from the inside, forcing it to spin out. As it headed off-track, a competitor ran over the back of the Porsche, decisively ending the race for Kvamme and dropping Racing to End Alzheimer’s to a 10th place finish in class. Bad luck.

Our long-time champion Nick Galante applies the first group of names for 2024 to the No. 43 at Sebring.

Another season

In racing, luck can’t always be relied upon. If all teams were fortunate every day, there would be very little excitement in competition. At Sebring, Racing to End Alzheimer’s found little in the way of luck on the track.

But that doesn’t mean that we aren’t lucky. On the opening weekend of the 2024 season, we were once again reminded of the incredible backbone of support that our organization has. As we look ahead to another year of racing, we know we are bolstered by the best fans and champions in the business.

And for that, we are oh so lucky.

More soon.