Spencer Pumpelly is an American racing driver who is active in GT racing competitions since 1998. He participated in all main North American sports car championships (American Le Mans Series, Grand-Am Rolex Series, IMSA Sportscar Championship, Grand-Am Challenge or SCCA World Challenge), taking one championship title in the 2016 Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge.
Among his many wins are two GT class victories at Daytona 24 Hours, in 2006 and 2011.
Most recently, he competed with Magnus Racing in the Pirelli World Challenge and with the Rennsport One - RS1 team in the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge.
Relatively late start of a racing career
Born in Arlington, Virginia, in December 1974, Spencer grew up in a racing family. His father Tom was a sports car competitor throughout the 1980s and 1990s. Spencer inherited racing genes but he started his racing career relatively late, attending Skip Barber Racing School as an adult and entering his first races in 1998, following his graduation with an economics degree at Madison University.
His first racing experience was at the North American greatest endurance race, the Daytona 24 Hours, where he was driving a Chevrolet Camaro for Diablo Racing. Later in 1998, he participated in a couple of races with Porsche 993 Carrera RSR.
2001 - maiden Grand-Am victory at Trois Rivieres Circuit
In 1999, he returned to Daytona in a Porsche 993 Carrera RSR, continuing to race with that car in selected rounds of the US Road Racing Championship and American Le Mans Series. In 2000, he reduced his schedule to the Grand-Am Road Racing Championship only, driving a Porsche for his own team.
In 2001, Spencer was driving a new generation Porsche 996 GT3-R in the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series. In August, at Trois Rivieres Circuit in Canada, he scored his maiden GT class victory. At the end of the season, he finished fifth in the GT class standings.
Two attempts with prototype cars
In the following years, Pumpelly continued to race with Porsche in the Grand Am Rolex Series, American Le Mans Series and Grand Am Cup.
In March 2004, he joined Van der Steur Racing to drive a Lola B2K/40-Nissan LMP2 prototype at Sebring 12 Hours, but his teammates retired the car before his stint. The next opportunity to race in a prototype car came in August 2006 at Sears Point's round of the Rolex Series. He was sharing Synergy Racing's Doran-Porsche with Patrick Huisman, finishing in the 15th place.
Daytona 24h GT class victory in 2006
Pumpelly joined TPC Racing in the 2004 Grand Am season. After two seasons without notable results, he scored GT class victory at 2006 Daytona 24 Hours, sharing the #36 Porsche 996 GT3 Cup with Randy Pobst, Michael Levitas and Ian Baas.
Later in the season, Pumpelly scored one more Grand Am GT class win, driving a Pontiac GTO.R for TRG (The Racer's Group) team at Miller 9 Hours. In the same year, he finished second in the GS Class of the Grand Am Cup, sharing a Porsche with Andy Lally.
Driving for TRG from 2007 to 2012
In 2007, Pumpelly joined TRG as a full-time driver in the Grand Am Rolex Series, staying with the team for six seasons. He was driving the #67 Porsche 997 GT3 Cup in 2007, scoring one GT class victory, at Watkins Glen 6 Hours, together with Andy Lally and Richard Valentine. In 2008, he scored no wins, just four podiums.
In 2009, driving the #66 TRG Porsche 997 GT3 Cup, Pumpelly again scored no wins. In the 2010 Grand Am season, his car was the #71 Porsche and he was a race winner once, at Watkins Glen 6 Hours. His co-drivers were Andy Lally and Bob Doyle.
2011 - American Le Mans Series GTC class vice-champion
In 2011, Pumpelly had a double programme with TRG, driving their Porsche both in the Grand Am Rolex Series and American Le Mans Series. He was successful in both competitions, scoring two Grand Am wins and three ALMS victories. He finished the season second in the ALMS GTC standings, together with teammate Duncan Ende.
Le Mans 24 Hours debut with Flying Lizard Motorsports
Besides racing in North America, Pumpelly traveled to Europe to make his Le Mans 24h debut in June 2011. He was a part of the #81 Flying Lizard Motorsports crew, sharing a Porsche 997 GT3 RSR with Darren Law and Seth Neiman. Their race lasted for 211 laps before retirement.
Third place in the 2012 American Le Mans Series GTC class
In 2012, Pumpelly repeated a double programme in a TRG Porsche, competing both in the Grand Am Rolex Series and American Le Mans Series.
He was again more successful in the American Le Mans Series, scoring one victory to finish third in the GTC points. The only victory of the season came in the ALMS race at Mosport, where he was sharing the #66 Porsche with Emilio Di Guida.
2013 - ALMS vice-champion with Flying Lizard Motorsports
After two Le Mans attempts with Flying Lizard Motorsports, Pumpelly joined the team as a full-time driver in the 2013 American Le Mans Series season. Driving a Porsche 997 GT3 Cup, he scored three wins to finish the season as a runner-up in the GTC standings, together with teammate Nelson Canache. They were race winners at Lime Rock, Road America and Petit Le Mans.
Besides racing in the ALMS, Pumpelly was driving Porsches for BGB Motorsports in the GX class of the Rolex Series and GS class of the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge.
Switching to Audi R8 LMS in 2014
Pumpelly stayed with Flying Lizard Motorsports in 2014, entering the inaugural season of the IMSA United SportsCar Championship with Audi R8 LMS in the GTD class. Nelson Canache stayed his full-time teammate in the #45 Audi. Scoring just one podium, Pumpelly finished 16th in the final GTD standings.
In June 2014, Pumpelly returned to Le Mans, joining the British team JMW Motorsport to drive the #66 Ferrari 458 Italia GTC. His co-drivers were Seth Neiman and Abdulaziz Al Faisal. They were 27th overall and seventh in the GTE Am class.
Competing in three championships in 2015
In 2015, Pumpelly combined full season in the IMSA SportsCar Championship and a full season in the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge. He was successful in both competitions, scoring two IMSA GTD wins in the #73 Park Place Motorsports Porsche to finish fifth in the points and four wins in the #17 Rennsport One Porsche Cayman to finish third in the CTSCC ST class.
Pumpelly also added Pirelli World Challenge to his racing schedule, driving a Ford Mustang Boss 302S for DWW Motorsports in four races.
2016 - championship title with Porsche Cayman
In 2016, Pumpelly continued with a triple programme, participating in three different championships with three different manufacturers. He was the most successful in the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge, winning the ST class title in the #17 RS1 Porsche Cayman, together with teammate Nick Galante.
In the IMSA SportsCar Championship, he was driving the #16 Lamborghini Huracan GT3 for Change Racing, finishing ninth in the GTD class. In the Pirelli World Challenge, Pumpelly was driving an Acura TLX-GT for RealTime Racing.
Two competitions in 2017
In 2017, Pumpelly reduced his schedule to two competitions, not returning to the IMSA SportsCar Championship, except a one-off appearance at Sebring 12 Hours with Alegra Motorsports. He was again among the front-runners in the ST class of the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge. He and Nick Galante were the race winners once in the #17 Porsche Cayman, finishing third in the points. In the Pirelli World Challenge, Pumpelly was driving an Audi R8 LMS for Magnus Racing, scoring one victory to finish 16th in the GT class standings.
He had the similar schedule in 2018, racing with Alegra Motorsports in the Pirelli World Challenge and with RS1 team in the IMSA Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge.
Photos: Spencer Pumpelly,