Colin Thompson won the GT Cup class in the 2015 Pirelli World Challenge season with Kelly Moss Motorsports and recently spoke to The Checkered Flag about an incredible season which saw the 21 year old participate in three different series.
“It feels absolutely incredible to be the inaugural GT Cup champion,” he explained following his championship victory in the new GT Cup class. “Myself, backed by my now second year team of Kelly Moss Motorsports, jumped both feet in without knowing really what to expect and to come out of it as champion with 13 wins and 16 pole positions is such an honour!
“To kick the 2015 season off in the Porsche of Bucks County #11 with two wins in the first two rounds for the championship at Circuit of The Americas really set the pace for the year. However, we knew we had to stay focused and keep hunting for solid points finishes all the way through the final race – which is exactly what we did.”
Thompson won an impressive 13 of 18 GT Cup rounds throughout the Pirelli World Challenge season this year, taking victories at a variety of locations from street circuits such as St. Petersburg and Long Beach to classic tracks like Road America and Laguna Seca. However, he is certain of his best memory.
“My favourite part of the season for sure had to be at Miller Motorsports Park when I had some absolutely incredible battles back and forth with championship competitor Alec Udell. We went side by side for laps around some of the most high-speed corners in the country without ever touching each other. Now that’s racing!”
Before joining the new GT Cup class in 2015, he raced in the IMSA-sanctioned Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA. This series uses similar Porsche 991 GT3 Cup cars as the PWC class, but there are differences.
“The biggest differences between PWC and IMSA for GT3 Cup would be what exactly you can do with the car. IMSA had quite more of a “spec” spin on the series where you really couldn’t make many technical changes to the car at all.
“In comparison, in Pirelli World Challenge you could change quite a lot and engineering really played a much larger factor. It is difficult to pick a favourite between the two because they both bring their own challenges that as a driver you need to find unique ways of overcoming!
“Having a smaller field in PWC [of only around eight cars] for sure makes a difference, however the competition level was not much different. If you look at both classes there are still about 3 drivers who tend to pick up the podium in most cases regardless of the class size.”
After wrapping up his PWC campaign, Colin headed back to Laguna Seca for the last IMSA GT3 Cup event of the season.
“I returned to IMSA for the final round this year as a one off event to prove mostly for myself that after a year of being away that I could still compete and win among that field. I was a bit nervous going in as it seemed to have grown even stronger, but to walk away with a win in the final round really meant a lot to myself as well as Kelly Moss Motorsports.”
It isn’t just Porsches that he has been racing in 2015, however. A part-time schedule with Flying Lizard Motorsports was also in store for the Pennsylvania-native, which included a drive in their Audi R8 LMS at 12 Hours of Sebring and Petit Le Mans.
“The 12 Hours of Sebring was a phenomenal experience for me! It was my first time entering in an endurance race and to do it with such a top-notch team made it that much better. Unfortunately, we had some bad luck and had to retire the car early, however I still walked away with a great relationship with Audi and FLM, which ended up developing into being back in the car last week for Petit Le Mans.
“Petit Le Mans is such an iconic and historic race and it has been something I have wanted to enter in my entire life as a driver! The entire race poured down with rain and ended up actually cutting short 2 hours in result of it. However, we had a great running in the all-American lineup of Guy Cosmo, Robert Thorne, and myself: after 8 hours we were still on the lead lap and brought it home for a top 5 finish!
“To be a part of an All-American team was a very cool thing to be a part of. It adds a little extra attention to us as this is such an international sport, and to represent my home country with a completely American team put the pressure on.
“My plans for next year have gone back and forth between multiple series and I really won’t have anything narrowed down for another month or so. Anything is on the table and I look forward to it coming together. I have now won 2 championships back-to-back and I would love to go for that hat trick!