Cates wins Sunoco Hard Charger Award both races for World Challenge Opener
Devin Cates, a 2010 race winner in the Pirelli World Challenge, kicked off the 2011 season by winning the Sunoco Hard Charger Award for rounds 1 & 2 at the St. Petersburg Grand Prix. “There are a lot of high hopes for this year,” explained Cates, “This is our first full season of racing since 2009 and we are looking forward to competing for the championship.”
Cates was 5th fastest amongst the Touring Class in the first practice session in his Cutaway Creations / Cates Engineering sponsored Volkswagen GTI. When qualifying came around, Devin was zealous and ready to prove the speed of his GSM Motorsports prepared GTI. Unfortunately, on his first flying lap the shift cable broke causing the car to be stuck in 3rd gear. Cates ended up gridded 15th out of 18 cars in class.
The first few laps of Race #1 were very hectic but Cates stayed focus and started his move up through the field. “Racing with 48 other cars within 3 classes in my first street race was quite an eye opener,
especially after not being behind the wheel of a race car for over 5 months”, remarked Cates. After settling into a good pace, the caution flag flew for the first major accident of the season. “Somehow I managed to avoid the 3 car pileup of Sandberg, Meyers and Holbrook. I saw the corner workers showing the waving yellow flag approaching the turn and I backed off the pace a little since it you could not see the exit. As soon as I got to the middle of the turn I could see the track was almost completely blocked. I was able to drop throttle and get the car rotated just in time to maneuver past the Honda Civic of Holbrook. That was one of the closest calls I can remember. I ran over a bumper that was out in the middle of the track, but the GTI was able to continue on” said Cates. After the caution that lasted for a good twenty minutes, Cates was able to pick off a few more positions and salvage a good finish, ending up 7th in Touring Car and advancing the most overall positions of all 3 classes.
“Due to our lack of testing over the off season, we really didn’t have the car dialed in enough to allow Devin to make a run for the front. We qualified 3rd first time out at VIR last fall but an oversight on some rule changes in the off season left us running a bone stock exhaust and we just didn’t have the speed on the straights like the other Volkswagens”, claimed team manager Brian Cates. After getting the VW’s handling dialed in with the new Pirelli slicks and picking up a few more horsepower by removing the stock muffler, the GTI was starting to come alive. Sunday’s race was initiated by a decent launch on the standing start from 10th place. Some skillful maneuvering allowed Devin to work his way into 5th position before one of the Volkswagen Jettas ended up on top of the tire wall and stalled the race for about ten minutes. After the restart Devin was able to make a few more passes and ended up finishing 4th and garnering the Sunoco Hard Charger award again.
Being able to procure two solid finishes after a botched qualifying session and initial teething problems gave the team reason to be happy and rejoice over the weekend. “It didn’t go as planned, it was at times rough and moderately dismal but we were able to fight through and salvage two good points paying positions and most importantly, gain more experience to help through the remainder of the season,” said Jon Lewis, owner of GSM Motorsports. “We think we will have a much more competitive car for our trip out west to Long Beach” claims Lewis. St. Petersburg, Parade of States: Devin was one of 6 World Challenge drivers that were lucky enough to participate in the St. Petersburg Parade of States, along with a cast of INDY CAR drivers. The Honda Grand Prix of Saint Petersburg festivities were kicked off Thursday night by a parade of grand gestures and welcoming salutes. The streets were surrounded by thousands of St. Petersburg natives, some sitting and others standing, but all very anxious and eager in anticipation for the parade and fan adoring race car drivers. The parade was led by the Budweiser Wagon, pulled by the infamous Clydesdale horses. Next in line was the official Pirelli World Challenge pace car, a 2011 Volkswagen Jetta piloted by WC Vision’s VP, Marketing and Communications, Dave Drimmie. Devin Cates and GT driver Mike Skeen were sitting high on the back of one of the convertible Volkswagens as they waved and greeted the fans. “It was an awesome experience interacting with the fans,” said Cates, “being able to gain perspective on how the fans appreciate the involvement with the drivers and the series is great.” At one point Devin hopped out of the car and ran to the gates of the fans, passing out some hero cards. The whole experience is something that will remain indelible for quite some time.
German Speed Merchants:
The Devin Cates Racing VW GTI was constructed and prepped by Wilmington, North Carolina’s German Speed Merchants. GSM has prepared race winning cars for over a decade and offers full fabrication, suspension development, tuning services and performance modifications for German Car enthusiasts. GSM provides track day and club racing support and routine service and maintenance for street vehicles, specializing in VW, Porsche, Audi and BMW vehicles. GSM Motorsports will be providing full trackside support for Devin Cates Racing for 2011 Pirelli World Challenge Series.
Devin Cates won his first SCCA Pro Racing event in 2009, winning round 9 at New Jersey Motorsports Park in the ultra-competitive Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup series. In 2010 he competed in several professional road racing series, starting off with GRAND-AM’s Continental Tire series Grand Sports division for 5 races with Mitchum Motorsports in a 2010 Riley Camaro. Devin also garnered a pole position and finished 3rd in his first and only outing in GRAND-AM’s Mustang Challenge with Capaldi Racing. He paired up with Capaldi again at Mid Ohio to win the inaugural Mustang Challenge race in World Challenge and finished P2 the second race, taking 3rd and 5th place overall in GTS. Devin started racing in NASA’s Camaro Mustang Challenge at the age of 16. He developed his racing skills in the hotly contested Spec Miata series, obtaining numerous poles, fastest race laps and race wins with the Washington DC region SCCA.
Cutaway Creations, located in Fairfax, VA, is a long-time sponsor of Devin Cates Racing. Cutaway creations can create a visually intriguing display of any mechanical or electro-mechanical product. Whether you need a full vehicle cutaway for an international auto show, an intricate display for a small component for a museum exhibit, or an “animated” model for technical training, Cutaway Creations can create an artistic masterpiece that can fully expose the inner workings of your product.
Cates Engineering, located in Gainesville, VA and founded in 1988, provides structural engineering and consulting services for national and local based developers, architects and contractors. The company offers a wide variety of design, construction administration and expert witness services for residential, commercial, institutional, government and mixed use type projects.
Finish Line Productions, located in Gainesville, VA, provides professional motorsports photography, in-car video and post production video editing services to the racing community.