Sebastian Priaulx has become the first ever Porsche Carrera Cup North America Champion and the first winner of the Al Holbert Cup. The 20 year-old fourth-generation racer from the Channel Islands took the title in the first of three 45-minute races at Road Atlanta but then kept the performance up and finished a close second in race two and achieved another impressive, close fought win in the final contest of the inaugural season of the Porsche Carrera Cup in North America.
Priaulx dealt the first blow to the competition in Wednesday’s 30-minute qualifying session by taking pole position for all three races in the #15 Kelly-Moss Porsche by setting the top three fastest lap times of all competitors. When Race 1 got underway, Priaulx made a great start and pulled away at the front before he was slowed by a full course yellow. As soon as the track was clear, Seb was untouchable. He nailed the restart and sped off in the lead, pulling out a safety gap of four seconds before bagging the win. This result gave him an unassailable lead in the standings and he was declared the Champion with two races still to go.
Even with the Championship in the bag there was no way Priaulx was going to take it easy in the final two races. He started from pole again for Race 2 and came under immediate pressure from his Kelly-Moss team mate, Kay van Berlo. He shook him off the first time but with just 17 minutes of the race remaining the team mates were slugging it out again and van Berlo made his move in traffic and took the lead. Seb made and aggressive last ditch move down the hill towards the finish on the last lap but had to be content with second place at the flag, but there was one more race to go.
Although the final contest of the season really had no significance in Priaulx’s championship run, he drove as if it did and dominated a hotly contested win, again fighting with his teammate van Berlo. Three restarts from full course cautions put the pressure on the young Guernseyman but he handled the attacks with the maturity of an experienced racer and went on to take the chequered flag by a safe margin.
“What can I say?” said Priaulx. “I am so grateful for the opportunity to race in the Porsche Carrera Cup and I was determined to repay Multimatic’s faith in me by winning the title. It has been a hard year but I have enjoyed every moment of it and to finish as Champion is an incredible feeling. I also want to thank Kelly-Moss for guiding me through the season. I have loved every second behind the wheel of the #15 Porsche.”
Seb is a fourth generation racer. His three-time Word Touring Car Champion Father, Andy, needs little introduction but what is less commonly known is that his Grandfather, Graham, was a hillclimb star and a powerboat racer and his Great-Grandfather, Ernold, built his own cars to compete in sand racing in the Priaulx family home of Guernsey.
When Multimatic placed Priaulx in the Porsche Carrera Cup North America for 2021, the goal was to give him the chance to showcase his talent. Driving the #15 Porsche 992-based 911 GT3 Cup car, run by Multimatic Motorsports’ partner Kelly-Moss Racing, he grasped the opportunity and he shone.
Porsche’s ultra-competitive, one-make series is the perfect proving ground for young racing talent. With no distractions such as pit-stops, race strategy and driver changes, the Porsche Carrera Cup is a truly level playing field. Every race is a 45-minute sprint so it is vital to qualify well and to race hard with zero mistakes.
Priaulx made an auspicious start to the season by topping the timesheets at the first test with the new car, then set the tone by taking pole position for the two season-opening races at Sebring. His first win came in Round 1 at Sebring and he went on to take 12 pole positions, six victories and six further podiums during the 16-race season.
Multimatic Motorsports Boss Larry Holt said: “What can I say that Seb’s driving hasn’t communicated all on its own. Spectacular has to be the description. The Carrera Cup series is full of talented, aggressive young drivers, all out to prove that they are the best. The only significant performance differentiator is the driver and the #15 Multimatic DSSV-liveried Porsche was the car that impressed all season long. 12 pole positions makes the statement, Seb was the fastest driver in the new 992 Cup Car, no question. And as the season went on he became more and more comfortable in the car-to-car combat approach to racing, and has come of age in the second half of the season. No doubt he is ready for bigger and better things. I would like to thank Jeff Stone and his outstanding team at Kelly-Moss Road and Race, they gave us a fast and reliable car all season, there was never an excuse not to race at the front, which is why Seb was always up there.”