21-year-old Jake Eidson has secured a full-season drive in the 2017 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama with the expanded IMSA Hurley Haywood GT3 Cup Scholarship.
The season-opening round at Sebring International Raceway will see Eidson join defending Platinum Cup Team Champions Kelly-Moss Road and Race in the Platinum Cup class.
“The support from IMSA, Porsche and Yokohama made the difference of whether or not I could race this season,” Eidson said. “Their support means everything. I’m extremely excited and thankful for everything they have provided.
“It’s a big expectation to live up to, working with Kelly-Moss. They have a very successful history, and all they do is win. That’s our goal, too. They do everything they can to be competitive, and that’s all you can expect from a team.”
The scholarship is named after legendary sports car driver Hurley Haywood who currently serves as the chief driving instructor at the Porsche Sport Driving School at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama.
“It was great just to talk with Hurley Haywood,” Eidson said of receiving notification from Haywood of winning the Scholarship. “I know about his very, very rich history in sports car racing and with Porsche. It was overwhelming in a good way and an experience I’ll never forget.”
Eidson moves to sportscars after coming through the ranks of the junior open-wheel formulas after a successful karting career.
The American-Australian has also had a taste of racing in the UK when he gained a Team USA Scholarship and took part in the Formula Ford Festival and the Walter Hayes Trophy (where he finished fifth out of fifty entrants and seventh out of one hundred and ten entries in theHayes Trophy.
Eidson has limited experience behind the wheel of the Porsche but did take part in the MSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama race at Road America.
“Jake showed tremendous talent in his only Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama race weekend last season, racing among the quickest, most skilled veterans of the series,” said Randy Hembrey, IMSA senior series manager, Development and Single-Make Series.
“We’re happy he has decided to advance his career in the IMSA paddock with assistance from the IMSA Hurley Haywood GT3 Cup Scholarship. The Scholarship has reached a new level this season with the inclusion of and support from the legendary Hurley Haywood, who has played such an integral role in the development of countless Porsche drivers. We’re also grateful for the addition of more commercial partners, adding even more value to the Scholarship program.”
“I am very excited to work with Jake in a multi-year program to help him become a Porsche professional driver.” said said Jeff Stone, Kelly-Moss Road and Race president. “We have been blessed to work with some very special young drivers over the years, most recently with Colin Thompson for the Platinum Cup championship in 2014 and with Jesse Lazare for the 2016 championship. I believe with a lot of hard work from Jake and the whole team, we have a great shot at the championship again in 2017.”