David Hoch wins inaugural CJ Wilson Cayman Cup

All photos: CJ Wilson Racing

CJ Wilson Racing’s relationship with Porsche isn’t just in the actual world, but also the virtual world. The inaugural CJ Wilson Cayman Cup Presented by Logitech G season is in the books, with David Hoch winning in the colors of Darren Cox’s eSports + Cars team.

A release and explanation is below:

With a measured and controlled run to third place at Road Atlanta’s series finale, David Hoch, (“LMR Harmonic”), clinched the inaugural CJ Wilson Racing Cayman Cup Presented by Logitech G. His podium finish was his eighth in ten races and it halted a run of three successive race wins for the Chicago based racer. His four total victories was the most by any competitor in the Championship run by The Online Racing Association (TORA) for the Forza Motorsport 6 platform. Hoch wins a full race set up from the Series presenting sponsor, Logitech.

Despite Hoch’s dominance of the second half of the season, the title was not secured until the penultimate round at Virginia International Raceway due to an astonishing level of consistency by Canadian Evan Thorogood, (“Raceboy77”), who had nine top five finishes and seven podiums finishes including the victory at Road Atlanta in the season finale.

Until the last event, both drivers ran their Porsche Cayman’s in their personal race liveries but for Round 10, Hoch and Thorogood raced in the colors of the eSports + Cars team founded by the former Global Head of Nissan Motorsport, Darren Cox. The members of the recently formed eSports team run by the founding father of the GT Academy, Cox, took 15 podiums and five victories.

“CJ Wilson and his team should be congratulated on pulling together a strong virtual championship that continues to improve the professionalism of online racing,” eSPORTS+CARS Team Principal, Darren Cox said.


He went on to state that “Initiatives like this go a long way to help introduce esports and virtual racing to a mainstream audience. Both our organizations are very aligned in this goal and objective. To have David and Evan perform so strongly in the championship is just another example of the performance of the entire eSPORTS+CARS team since we launched. I congratulate the guys on their performances, which were by any measure, dominant. We’ll be looking forward to coming back in 2017 to defend our championship win and work together with CJ and his team to continue to grow the sport.”

“Virtual racing is a huge and growing category and we have been completely blown away from the response and the talent displayed in the TORA Cayman Cup series,” explained Team Owner, CJ Wilson. “With the costs of actual on track development remaining outside the realm of most young drivers, to be able to log on and race with other incredibly talented eSports racers is a huge work-around for them. All the racecraft, set up skill, reflexes and mental toughness that go into winning a true Championship with Forza and TORA or IMSA are completely parallel skills. This proves you can develop as a driver online.”

The two-time MLB All-Star believes eSports racing has a significant role to play in the future of professional motorsport. “I have no doubt that this is a big step forward for the category and for racing across the world. We at CJWR hope to grow our eSports program alongside our real current racing programs and hopefully there exists a way to work with series winners such as David. We all have goals of where we want to go and for us, this has been a revelation.” Wilson is fully behind the development and expansion of the Cayman Cup. “To get our sponsors and media partners aware of the engagement shows how far we can take it. We’d love to help expand the series beyond this season, I know I’ll be practicing in the meantime!”

Champion Hoch was quick to recognize the size of his achievement. “This is the most competitive series I’ve ever done. A lot of guys who normally don’t race in championships like this got their feet and entered the series so it was interesting to see some new faces who were veterans on the Forza Motorsports platform, but new to TORA events.” He went on to outline how this type of event can only grow the eSports racing market. “Having guys like CJ on board has been brilliant. Motorsport is popular but virtual racing is a small but growing niche and having somebody like CJ and his team getting behind it has really helped make an impact.”

The depth and quality of the Cayman Cup Presented by Logitech G was further underlined by the fact that three of the race winners have qualified for the Final of Season 1 of Forza Motorsports Race Championship which has a prize fund valued at over $75,000.

Season 2 of the CJ Wilson Racing Cayman Cup will begin in the Spring of 2017. In the meantime you can get more details about the 2016 season at the site of The Online Racing Association HERE.

Ford Mustang GT3 test has Austin Cindric dreaming of Daytona: ‘I want to drive that car’

Cindric Ford GT3 test
Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

Austin Cindric wasn’t the “mystery” test driver behind the wheel of the new Ford Mustang GT3 at Sebring International Raceway, but the Team Penske driver desperately wanted to be.

Ford CEO Jim Farley, an amateur sports car driver himself, made the big reveal via a Tuesday tweet that provided the first video evidence of the GT3 Mustang on track.

“I’ve watched the video in question about a million times,” Cindric said Wednesday during a Ford Performance Zoom news conference to promote NASCAR’s first road course weekend of the season at Circuit of the Americas. “Definitely exciting times for sure. I want to drive that car. It suits my experience level and also the relationships that I have.”

Ford will enter the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship next season with its GT3 Mustang, entering a two-car factory effort (that will be managed by Multimatic) in GTD Pro and making customer cars available in the GT Daytona category.

That increases the likelihood of seeing more NASCAR drivers crossing over to IMSA. Cindric has been the only full-time Cup driver in the Rolex 24 at Daytona the past two years, but Ford Performance global director Mark Rushbrook has said the GT3 Mustang will provide more opportunities.

Ford has used its GT4 Mustang as a NASCAR driver development tool in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge with Harrison Burton and Zane Smith combining to win the season opener at Daytona International Speedway in January.

“We’re excited about the Next Gen car and the new architecture there and the similarities between that car and GT3 and even GT4 cars,” Rushbrook said at the announcement of the Ford GT3 program in January 2022 at Daytona. “We think it’s a great opportunity and to do be able to do that in a 24-hour race and get NASCAR drivers even more time is something we need to consider taking advantage of that opportunity.”

Given his sports car background, Cindric probably still would be in the Rolex 24 regardless. He has eight IMSA starts since the 2017 season opener at Daytona, racing a Lexus RCF GT3 and Mercedes-AMG GT3 in the GT category. The 2022 Daytona 500 winner made his second LMP2 start this year with Rick Ware Racing.

But Cindric’s preference naturally would be in a Ford, particularly with sports car racing enjoying convergence and crossovers in both GT and prototype racing.

“It’s an exciting time in GT racing, just as it is now for prototype racing with a lot of new regulations and manufacturers building new GT3 cars,” he said. “And also the opportunity with WEC (the World Endurance Championship) and Le Mans and how that all lines up for that category of car. It’s definitely an exciting time. I want to be as much of a part of that as possible.”

Though those odds seemingly will increase with multiple Ford entries in the Rolex 24 field next year, Cindric said NASCAR drivers still have to put in the networking to land rides as he has in recent years.

“Now how (the GT3 Mustang) relates to specifically NASCAR drivers and how often they want to be in the Rolex, could it be an influence? Absolutely, as far as the tie-in with the manufacturer,” Cindric said. “But the challenge and the drive and the logistics of getting an opportunity for a race like the Rolex 24 will be just as challenging as it always is to find your one-off ride for the race. At least from my experience, that’s what I still anticipate.”

It turned out the “mystery” test driver wasn’t from NASCAR (Farley revealed the driver to be 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Joey Hand after a fan asked whether it was Joey Logano).

But Cindric believes there could be more Cup drivers — and perhaps himself — behind the wheel of Mustang GT3s in the future.

“There’s definitely more of a pathway than I think there would be before as far as Ford drivers are concerned,” he said. “Hopefully, I’ll get the opportunity to drive that thing. It’s obviously a great looking car. That’s the first box you’ve got to check. And it’s cool (to have) a guy like Jim Farley, no doubt he’s a racer just as much as he is steering the ship for Ford. It’s cool to see he’s just as excited as the rest of us about it.”