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Porsche Closes GT Le Mans Reign with 1-2 Finish
at Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring
Porsche Also Wins GT Daytona Race but No. 86 Acura
Takes Season Championship
Nov. 14, 2020
By Mark Robinson
IMSA Wire Service
SEBRING, Fla. – What a way to go out!
The Porsche GT Team closed its successful GT Le Mans (GTLM) program with an unexpected 1-2 finish Saturday at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts, wrapping up the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season with three straight class victories.

 
The No. 911 Porsche 911 RSR-19 driven by Nick Tandy, Fred Makowiecki and Earl Bamber crossed the finish line 9.025 seconds ahead of its No. 912 stablemate piloted by Bamber, Laurens Vanthoor and Neel Jani. It was the first 1-2 finish for the team since the cars finished in the same order last year at VIRginia International Raceway and was the third consecutive Twelve Hours of Sebring triumph for Tandy and Makowiecki.

 
“To finish this season with three wins in a row in the last three races is pretty unbelievable,” Tandy said. “It goes to show that all the people that have been here over the last three races have put in an unbelievable effort. To win three in a row and to win this one at Sebring with a 1-2, it’s like a fairytale ending.”

 
Tandy, Makowiecki and Matt Campbell kicked off the three-race winning streak to end the season last month in the Motul Petit Le Mans. Bamber and Vanthoor put the No. 912 in victory lane two weeks ago in the Hyundai Monterey Sports Car Championship at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.

 
The storybook ending for Porsche’s GTLM program that began in 2014 didn’t look like it had much chance of happening until less than 18 minutes remained in the race. The No. 25 BMW Team RLL BMW M8 GTE appeared in control until an incident on the final race restart collected Connor De Phillippi in the No. 25 and GT Daytona (GTD) class leader Jeff Westphal in the No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GT3.
The two Porsches avoided the incident precipitated when Lawson Aschenbach’s No. 74 Riley Motorsport Mercedes-AMG GT3 ran into the back of the No. 25, which was then turned into the No. 63.

 
“We were trying to chase down the No. 25 and we probably didn’t have the pace on them on a long run,” Tandy admitted, “but we were obviously trying to keep pressure on them. … I watched when he (De Phillippi) went off into the grass, went up the inside and said, ‘Ooh, we’re in the lead!’ It was good for us. We were happy with it.”

 
Bamber said he couldn’t think of a better way to earn his first Twelve Hours of Sebring win and sent out the Porsche GTLM project on the highest of notes.

 
“It’s awesome to finally get that first win at Sebring; been trying quite a few times,” he said. “I think it’s a super fitting way to finish the program. The last race is always what you’re remembered by and a 1-2 is the perfect way to go out for this program.”

 
Corvette Racing had a rare off day, its cars finishing fifth and sixth in class after both dealt with rear suspension issues necessitating lengthy repairs in the paddock. It couldn’t spoil the fact that No. 3 Corvette C8.R drivers Antonio Garcia and Jordan Taylor had already clinched the GTLM driver and team championships. And by starting the race, Chevrolet sewed up the manufacturer crown as well.

 
The No. 24 BMW team and drivers clinched the IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup that awards points at different segments of each series endurance race. The No. 24 totaled 50 Michelin Endurance Cup points to 43 for the No. 911. BMW also won the Michelin Endurance Cup manufacturer’s title.

 
No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche Wins GTD Race, No. 86 Meyer Shank Acura Nets Championship

 
It took the entire 2020 season to get a victory, and it may have been a bit of a gift, but the No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3R drivers and crew eagerly accepted their GT Daytona (GTD) spoils of victory in the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts.

 
Meanwhile, the No. 86 Meyer Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian Acura NSX GT3 drivers played the patient game and brought home the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GTD team and driver championships for the second straight year.

 
The No. 16 was the beneficiary on the final restart when the cars that were running 1-2 in GTD – the No. 63 Ferrari and No. 74 Riley Mercedes-AMG – were involved in the three-car incident in Turn 3. It opened the path for Patrick Long to zoom into the lead in the No. 16 and drive on to his fourth Twelve Hours of Sebring victory and the first WeatherTech Championship win of any kind for co-drivers Ryan Hardwick and Jan Heylen.

 
“I never thought my first win would come here,” Hardwick said. “I just feel really fortunate to be in this position and with this team. We knew we had to win this race to have any shot at the championship and that’s all we talked about these last few weeks. This one is special for me.”

 
The No. 16 drivers battled a malfunctioning left rear shock most of the race that hindered its handling. But when it counted most on the final restart, Long maneuvered past the crash ahead and held off Roman De Angelis in the No. 23 Heart of Racing Team Aston Martin Vantage GT3 by 3.27 seconds.

 
“It was a spectacle in itself as we came out of Turn 1,” Long said. “It seemed like Lawson and the Merc had a tremendous pace, and it seemed like he was going to go through come hell or high water. Unfortunately, he took a car with him and it opened the door for us.

 
“It feels like the monkey off the back to finally get a victory at the biggest race of the year, at least in my opinion.”

 
Despite the win, the No. 16 and Long and Hardwick finished two points shy of catching the No. 86. Needing only a fifth-place finish to clinch the GTD championship repeat, the No. 86 took third with drivers Mario Farnbacher, Matt McMurry and Shinya Michimi.

 
Farnbacher was also the 2019 GTD driving champion with Trent Hindman in the No. 86, while McMurry took home the 2019 title in Le Mans Prototype 2 (LMP2) competition. In addition to repeating as the team champion, the No. 86 helped Acura secure the manufacturer crown this year as well.

 
“It means a lot,” Farnbacher said. “This year was just amazing sharing the car with these two amazing gentlemen and also with Jules Gounon at the Rolex 24 (in January). It was a crazy ride this year with COVID and all the compression of the race schedule. Ultimately, to end the Meyer Shank program with the NSX means a lot to finish it and thank them with the constructor title, the team title and the driver championship as well. I’m really privileged and thankful for that.”

 
McMurry agreed. “It means a ton,” he said. “It was a really challenging year, a really tough field. A new car to learn how to drive but I had the best team and co-driver to do it with. I’m really proud of the team and the co-drivers and myself to do what we did. I don’t think a lot of people have gone from a prototype to a GTD championship and back-to-back. And it’s been my first two full seasons of IMSA, too. All in all it’s pretty great.”

 
The No. 48 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini Huracán GT3 and its trio of drivers – Bryan Sellers, Madison Snow and Corey Lewis – clinched the Michelin Endurance Cup GTD title and Lamborghini claimed its first Michelin Endurance Cup manufacturer title.

 

Fitting Finale for 2020 in DPi Class
Nov. 14, 2020
By Jeff Olson
IMSA Wire Service
Sebring, Fla. -- Little more than an hour into the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts, Helio Castroneves looked at his wounded race car and tried to remain positive.
 
“Anything is possible,” he said.
 
Boy, was he right in the end. A stubborn effort by the No. 7 Acura Team Penske Acura ARX-05 DPi co-driven by Castroneves, Ricky Taylor and Alexander Rossi outlasted mechanical issues to finish eighth in the Daytona Prototype international (DPi) class, seven laps behind the race winner but one point ahead of its closest competitor in the final IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship standings in the driver, team and manufacturer categories. 
  
The runner-up in the championships -- the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Cadillac DPi V.R co-driven by Renger van der Zande, Ryan Briscoe and Scott Dixon -- also was beset by problems and finished seventh in the race.
 
The race started with a penalty against van der Zande, who was summoned to serve a drive-through penalty after he was determined to have changed his lane before reaching the flagstand at the start of the race.
 
Van der Zande moved the No. 10 Cadillac left behind Taylor’s pole winning No. 7 Acura as the field approached the start. Changing lanes before reaching the start-finish line is a violation.
 
Penske’s No. 7 car then encountered mechanical issues and the championship seemed out of reach. Forty minutes into the race, the left intercooler malfunctioned on the car. A 25-minute repair left the car far behind the field and in desperate need of a miracle.
 
“We’re going to fight until the end,” Castroneves said while the work was underway. “Anything is possible. We’re going to keep fighting. We’re going to come back and keep going. It wasn’t meant to be, but it ain’t over. I don’t want to lose hope right now. I know it sounds difficult. It is.” 
 
In perhaps the most critical moment in the championship battle, a collision between Oliver Jarvis in the No. 77 Mazda Motorsports Mazda DPi and Dixon in the No. 10 Cadillac, forced Dixon to limp to the pits with a flat right rear and led to an extensive repair.
 
“I think there was no way he was going to make the corner,” Dixon said. “I kind of saw him coming and tried to give him enough without wrecking myself. I got off track a little bit in the hairpin and got dirty tires.”
 
As was the case throughout the race, unusual circumstances helped and hurt drivers. With 2 hours, 27 minutes left, Pipo Derani in the No. 31 Action Express Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R and Juan Pablo Montoya in the No. 6 Acura Team Penske Acura ARX-05 DPi collided in Turn 5, taking Montoya out of the lead and moving Olivier Pla and the No. 77 Mazda closer to the front.
 
Pla quickly caught and passed Derani, who then was penalized for the contact with Montoya. And then, just after serving the penalty, the No. 31 also slowed on course with a problem on the right front.
 
The damage was extensive for the No. 31, but the No. 6 rallied back to finish second -- ahead of the four Cadillacs in the race. That allowed Acura to add the manufacturer title to the team and driver championships.
 
After claiming a season championship for the first time in his 23-year professional career in the United States, Castroneves reflected, “In racing, anything is possible,” he said. “We started the season with no points on the board and all of a sudden we’re battling for the championship. Unfortunately, in this situation, it was completely outside of our hands. We literally were waiting for things to happen, and they did.”
 
“It was destiny,” Castroneves continued. “I always say if it’s meant to be it will be, and I’m so glad it was our turn. You never give up. … We never gave up.”
 
With 27 minutes left, Jarvis’ left rear tire went flat on the No. 77 Mazda and sent him off course, bringing out a full-course caution. That gave the lead to their sister car, the No. 55 Mazda with Harry Tincknell behind the wheel. Tincknell retained the lead and went on to celebrate the win with co-drivers Jonathan Bomarito and Ryan Hunter-Reay.
 
“I said to myself, ‘This is what you dream of,’” Tincknell said. “Twenty minutes to go, leading one of the biggest races in the world. You just have to go for it, give it everything you have. No regrets. I just pushed like crazy.”
 
The No. 77 shared by Pla, Jarvis and Tristan Nunez finished third in the race.
 
While all that was happening during the course of 12 hours and 348 laps around Sebring’s famed 17-turn, 3.74-mile circuit, the No. 52 PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports ORECA LMP2 07 co-driven by Patrick Kelly, Simon Trummer and Scott Huffaker claimed the race win in the Le Mans Prototype 2 (LMP2) class after already claiming the team and driver championships Nov. 1 at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.
 
The most important element to the team’s success? Its drivers get along.
 
“We all have fun together,” Kelly said. “We all enjoy each other’s company. We all have relatively similar driving styles. We all kind of agree on the setup, which I think is always really nice. The really wonderful thing is we win or lose as friends and as a team. We don’t look at each other like, ‘I wish you had done this,’ or ‘I wish you had done that.’”

 

Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts –
Eight-Hour Report
Nov. 14, 2020
By Mark Robinson
IMSA Wire Service
SEBRING, Fla. – The 68th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts – the 2020 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season finale – has moved into the dramatic closing stage at Sebring International Raceway. At the eight-hour mark, Tristan Vautier was the overall and Daytona Prototype international (DPi) leader in the No. 5 Mustang Sampling/JDC-Miller Motorsports Cadillac DPi-V.R shared with fellow Frenchmen Sebastien Bourdais and Loic Duval
NBCSN has live television coverage through the historic race’s conclusion at approximately 10:10 p.m. ET. IMSA Radio coverage continues through the checkered flag on IMSA.com and SiriusXM Radio (Sirius channel 217, XM 202 and Internet 972).

 
Other class leaders at the eight-hour mark were: Simon Trummer (No. 52 PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports ORECA LMP2 07) in Le Mans Prototype 2 (LMP2), Antonio Garcia (No. 3 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C8.R) in GT Le Mans (GTLM) and Bryan Sellers (No. 48 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini Huracán GT3) in GT Daytona (GTD).

 
For the second time in the race, a major DPi player suffered a setback. This time it was the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R when six-time IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon was driving with a tick more than seven hours remaining. Oliver Jarvis, in the No. 77 Mazda Motorsports Mazda DPi, made contact with Dixon in Turn 10. The No. 10 sustained rear-end damage and a flat right-rear tire, forcing Dixon to limp it around the track to pit lane and then to the paddock for repairs.

 
“I think there was no way he was going to make the corner,” Dixon said of Jarvis. “I kind of saw him coming and tried to give him enough without wrecking myself. I got off track a little bit in the hairpin and got dirty tires. … I haven’t seen the replay yet, but I don’t think it was our fault.”

 
The No. 10 and its full-season drivers, Ryan Briscoe and Renger van der Zande, trail the No. 7 Acura Team Penske Acura and drivers Ricky Taylor and Helio Castroneves by two points in the driver and team standings. The No. 7 had its own problem in the opening hour of the race, spending nearly a half-hour behind the wall to fix a left-side intercooler.

 
At the eight-hour mark, the No. 10 was five laps off the pace and the No. 7 seven laps back.

 
Earlier in the race, Michelin completed its one millionth mile among all IMSA WeatherTech Championship, IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge and IMSA Prototype Challenge practice, qualifying and race sessions since becoming the Official Tire of IMSA in 2019.

 
Prototype Notebook

 
·      The No. 10 Cadillac’s effort to recover from the contact with the No. 77 Mazda was hindered when it was assessed a drive-through penalty for passing another car under a full-course caution with six hours remaining.
 
·      The No. 31 Whelen Engineering Racing Cadillac and driver Pipo Derani retain flickering hopes of upending the Nos. 7 and 10 for the DPi championships. With four hours remaining, the No. 31 ran in fourth place, but it must win and have the other contenders finish near the bottom of the class.
 
“This is crazy,” Derani said. “It’s up and down all the time. We were in the lead and we lost it on the pit stop, and now we’re P4. We’re just trying to do our jobs. … We’re not thinking about the championship at all. We’re trying to get back in the lead. That’s the most important thing right now. If we can do that and win the race, then I think we can contend for the championship.”
 
·      The No. 51 Inter Europol Competition ORECA was running a solid second in LMP2 until Jakub Smiechowski slid backward into the Turn 17 tire barrier with eight hours, 13 minutes remaining. It returned after lengthy repairs but was 19 laps behind the class leader with four hours left to race.

 
GT Notebook

 
·      Chevrolet claimed the GTLM manufacturer championship when the two Corvette Racing Corvette C8.R entries started the race. It gives Chevrolet 13 manufacturer titles in IMSA GT competition since 2001. The No. 3 Corvette and drivers Antonio Garcia and Jordan Taylor had previously clinched the GTLM team and driver crowns.
 
“The first season for the Corvette C8.R has shattered all of our expectations,” said Mark Reuss, General Motors president. “The success of the Corvette Racing team wouldn’t be possible without the close link between the crew and the Corvette engineering team. It has been great to watch these two teams work closely together to learn from each other. I can’t wait to see what next season brings.”
 
·      While running second in GTLM with six hours to go, No. 3 Corvette endurance driver Nicky Catsburg collided with Patrick Kelly in the No. 52 PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports ORECA as they entered Turn 17. Both cars were able to continue into the pits, where repairs were quickly made and they both continued in the race.
 
·      The No. 86 Meyer Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian NSX GT3 survived a scare in its bid to hold onto the GTD driver, team and manufacturer crowns. No. 86 driver Mario Farnbacher was tapped from behind by Nick Yelloly in the No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3, sending Farnbacher into a 360-degree spin. Farnbacher lost several positions but continued. The No. 86 needs to finish fifth or better to clinch the GTD driver and team championships.
 
·      Through eight hours, five of the six GTLM cars were still on the class lead lap, while 10 of the 13 were the same in GTD.
 
·      As darkness fell around 6 p.m. ET at Sebring, the BMW Team RLL duo heated up. Jesse Krohn moved the No. 24 BMW into the GTLM class lead before turning the car over to Augusto Farfus, and Connor De Phillippi took no prisoners in powering the No. 25 BMW into second place following a spirited and physical battle with the No. 911 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR-19 driven by Nick Tandy.
 
IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup Points Update

 
The eight-hour mark represented the second scoring opportunity at Sebring for the IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup, which offers points at different segments in each of the WeatherTech Championship endurance races.

 
All of the Prototype titles were wrapped up by the four-hour mark in the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring and all GT titles were clinched at eight hours. The No. 24 BMW Team RLL M8 GTE team and drivers John Edwards and Jesse Krohn secured the GTLM team and driver titles by running second at the eight-hour mark. In addition, BMW wrapped up the manufacturer crown with an insurmountable, four-point lead over Porsche.

 
The GTD team and driver titles also were clinched at two-thirds distance by the No. 48 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini Huracán GT3 squad and its trio of co-drivers, Madison Snow, Bryan Sellers and Corey Lewis which claimed the class lead just as the clock switched into Hour 9.
 

Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts – Four-Hour Report

Nov. 14, 2020
By Mark Robinson
IMSA Wire Service
SEBRING, Fla. – The 68th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts – the 2020 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season finale – is under way at Sebring International Raceway. At the four-hour mark, Ryan Briscoe was the overall and Daytona Prototype international (DPi) leader in the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi V.R.

 
Live television coverage is currently available on NBCSN, switching to NBC at 3 p.m. ET and back to NBCSN at 6 p.m. until the race conclusion. IMSA Radio coverage continues through the end on IMSA.com and SiriusXM Radio (Sirius channel 217, XM 202 and Internet 972).

 
Other class leaders at the four-hour mark were: Scott Huffaker (No. 52 PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports ORECA LMP2 07) in Le Mans Prototype 2 (LMP2), Fred Makowiecki (No. 911 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR-19) in GT Le Mans (GTLM) and Alessandro Balzan (No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GT3) in GT Daytona (GTD).

 
The race complexion changed quickly early on. Just 42 minutes in, Ricky Taylor pulled the pole-sitting and championship-leading No. 7 Acura Team Penske Acura ARX-05 DPi into the pits and then behind the wall for lengthy repairs to the left-side intercooler. Co-driver Helio Castroneves even helped shuffle parts to mechanics in an effort to speed up the process. Taylor rejoined about a half-hour later, 11 laps behind the leader.

 
“We’re going to fight until the end,” Castroneves said while the work was underway. “Anything is possible. We’re going to keep fighting. We’re going to come back and keep going. … It wasn’t meant to be, but it ain’t over. I don’t want to lose hope right now. I know it sounds difficult. It is.”

 
Taylor and Castroneves lead No. 10 drivers Renger van der Zande and Briscoe by two points for the DPi championship going into the race.

 
Prototype Notebook

·      A penalty at the start of the race cost van der Zande and the No. 10 important track position, when he was issued a drive-through penalty for changing his race line before reaching the flag stand as the green flag waved. The punishment dropped the No. 10 from second to eighth place in the race, some 30 seconds behind Taylor in the leading No. 7.
 
“Yeah, it is a bit too early to (move to) the left,” van der Zande said while watching a replay provided by NBCSN. “That should be a penalty. But hey, it’s a 12-hour race. At the four-hour mark we want to be at the front, because then we can basically get the championship for the (IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup.)”

 
Indeed, a fortuitous full-course caution just after the No. 10 made a green-flag pit stop put Briscoe and the No. 10 into the overall lead with nine hours, 30 minutes remaining.
 
·      The No. 52 PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports ORECA LMP2 07, which had clinched the LMP2 driver and team championships before the race, controlled the early action in its class. The team was focused on securing the IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup championship for Simon Trummer.
 
·      The No. 51 Inter Europol Competition ORECA was running a solid second in LMP2 until Jakub Smiechowski slid backward into the Turn 17 tire barrier with eight hours, 13 minutes remaining.
 
GT Notebook

 
·      Each of the three GTLM manufacturers took turns leading the class during the opening hours. First it was BMW with Connor De Phillippi, then Corvette with Antonio Garcia and finally Porsche with Earl Bamber.
 
·      The No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3R started on pole in GTD and was clearly superior in the early stages, with driver Jan Heylen building a lead of nearly 20 seconds. That changed quickly about 80 minutes in when the No. 16 fell off the pace with Ryan Hardwick at the wheel, sliding to 11th in class. Steijn Schothorst took the lead in the No. 11 GRT Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini Huracán GT3, followed by the Nos. 12 and 14 AIM Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3s.
 
·      The No. 11 Huracán encountered its own issues when the car stopped along pit lane two and a half hours into the race. After moving behind the wall for repairs, the car returned but was eight laps down in class.
 
·      Both AIM Vasser Sullivan Lexuses were caught in the aftermath after the No. 4 Corvette Racing C8.R dropped fluid on the track with just more than nine hours to go. Oliver Gavin, in his final full-time race for Corvette, nearly lost control of the No. 4 as he entered the 17th and final turn on the 3.74-mile circuit but was able to pull into the pits. Not as lucky were Townsend Bell in the No. 12 Lexus and Kyle Kirkwood in the No. 14.
 
Both slid into the Turn 17 tire barrier after running through the fluid spilled from the No. 4. Bell was able to pull his car into the paddock for repairs. The No. 14 was placed on a flatbed truck and towed in with the team ultimately retiring from the race. No. 14 driver Aaron Telitz entered the race eight points out of the GTD lead. The No. 14 car was 10 points behind the No. 86 Meyer Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian Acura in the team standings.
 
“I got in there and, boom, the rear snapped,” Bell said. “I thought, ‘Man, did I just throw this thing away?’ That’s just so unexpected. … Once I got into the wall, I looked up and the (No.) 14’s into the wall. Just a total disaster for us. Gut-wrenching right now.”
 
IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup Points Update

 
The four-hour mark represented the first scoring opportunity at Sebring for the IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup, which offers points at different segments in each of the WeatherTech Championship endurance races.
 
In the DPi class, the driver, team and manufacturer titles all were clinched. The No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R and drivers van der Zande and Briscoe claimed the DPi team and driver titles, while Cadillac wrapped up the manufacturer title.

 
“It’s really important to Wayne Taylor Racing,” Briscoe said. “They’ve come up short the last couple of years. It’s really important to try to clinch that. Now we can focus on the team and drivers’ championship.”
In LMP2, Simon Trummer and the No. 52 PR1 Mathiasen Motorsport ORECA team secured the Michelin Endurance Cup by leading at the four-hour mark.

 
The GT classes are still open, except the GTD manufacturer Michelin Endurance Cup was sewn up by Lamborghini. The rest of the GT endurance titles could be secured at the eight-hour mark.

 
In GTLM, the No. 24 BMW Team RLL M8 GTE and drivers John Edwards and Jesse Krohn have the lead with 41 points, leading the No. 911 Porsche GT Team 911 RSR-19 and co-drivers Nick Tandy and Frederic Makowiecki by five points. BMW also has a three-point advantage over Porsche, 45-42.

 
In GTD, the No. 48 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini Huracán GT3 squad of Bryan Sellers, Madison Snow and Corey Lewis currently have a six-point lead over the No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GTE and WeatherTech drivers Cooper MacNeil and Jeff Westphal. The No. 63 team will need to score the maximum five points in both of the final two segments in order to win the title.
rivers Seeking Fond Farewells Lead WeatherTech Championship Practices at Sebring
Van der Zande Fastest in DPi, Vanthoor Quick in GTLM
Nov. 12, 2020
By Jeff Olson
IMSA Wire Service
SEBRING, Fla. – Farewell was the theme of practice sessions Thursday as preparations got underway for the 68th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts at Sebring International Raceway.
 
Renger van der Zande, who won’t be returning to Wayne Taylor Racing in 2021, recorded the fastest lap of the second practice session – 1 minute, 47.478 seconds (125.271 mph) around the 17-turn, 3.74-mile circuit – in the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R, the fastest of the first two practice sessions and best in the Daytona Prototype international (DPi) class.
 
The team battled back from mechanical issues earlier in the day to turn the fastest lap.
 
“We had a gearbox issue, but somehow we got it fixed just before this session,” van der Zande said. “I got in at the end just for a tire run, and I was fastest. I would say (that’s) not too bad for a driver without a job.”
 
Van der Zande will share the No. 10 car with Ryan Briscoe and Scott Dixon when the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season finale gets underway shortly after 10 a.m. ET Saturday. The team is two points behind the No. 7 Acura Team Penske Acura ARX-05 DPi driven by Helio Castroneves, Ricky Taylor and Alexander Rossi.
 
Taylor posted the fastest lap of Thursday’s 90-minute night practice session at 1:48.358. The session ran under green-flag conditions throughout.
 
While van der Zande was making his statement, so were two Porsche drivers in the GT Le Mans (GTLM) class. Laurens Vanthoor had the fastest lap in class in the No. 912 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR-19 at 1:57.975 (114.125 mph), followed by Nick Tandy in the team’s sister car.
 
Porsche announced earlier this season that it would be discontinuing its factory GTLM program after the season. The team’s other entry – the No. 911 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR-19 – had the second-fastest lap of the second session with Tandy behind the wheel (1:58.172, 113.935 mph).
 
Vanthoor will co-drive the No. 912 with Earl Bamber and Neel Jani. Tandy – who also led night practice – will share the No. 911 with Bamber and Fred Makowiecki.
 
The team held a farewell dinner Wednesday night, and Vanthoor echoed the sentiment of sadness surrounding the final race.
 
“It’s a program I really love to do,” Vanthoor said. “It’s coming to the end, to the last race. There’s quite a lot of goodbyes. … It’s kind of cool to have been a part of it. Beside that, we’re racing. We’re trying to go out with a bang.”
 
Mikkel Jensen had the fastest lap of Thursday in the Le Mans Prototype 2 (LMP2) class at 1:50.127 – set in night practice – aboard the No. 8 Tower Motorsport by Starworks ORECA LMP2 07. He’ll share the car with John Farano and David Heinemeier Hansson.
 
In the GT Daytona (GTD) class, Steijn Schothorst was fastest at 2:02.352 (110.042 mph) in the No. 11 GRT Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini Huracán GT3 that won the Twelve Hours of Sebring last year. The car he’ll share this weekend with Franck Perera and Richard Heistand has only competed in the Rolex 24 At Daytona and the TireRack.com Grand Prix at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta this season. With its best finish of eighth this season, Schothorst said the team is seeking some redemption to close the season.
 
“This year, we haven’t been having the luck on our side, I would say,” Schothorst said. “We’ve been fast pretty much all weekend we competed but didn’t get any good results. Since this is our last chance, we are very motivated to get it this time.”
    
Qualifications are scheduled to begin 10:15 a.m. Friday, and can be viewed live on IMSA.TV. NBCSN’s live coverage of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts begins at 10 a.m. ET Saturday. It moves to NBC at 3 p.m. before returning to NBCSN at 6 p.m. until the race’s conclusion.
 

 
Auberlen to Miss Sebring Weekend after Possible COVID-19 Exposure

 
The all-time winningest driver in IMSA history will miss the 68th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts. Turner Motorsport announced Thursday that Bill Auberlen, whose 62 victories are the most in premier series annals, will not compete this weekend after a possible exposure to COVID-19.

 
Auberlen is quarantined at his home awaiting test results. He was scheduled to compete in both the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and Michelin Pilot Challenge races this weekend at Sebring International Raceway.

 
“Missing any race, much less the Twelve Hours of Sebring, is very disappointing,” Auberlen said in a statement released by the team. “This year is the 35th anniversary of my father’s win in 1985 as well as my first Twelve Hour win in 1995 – 25 years ago. You can’t imagine how hard it is for me to miss this race, but this COVID situation is such that we all need to remain as safe as we can. I will certainly be tuning in to cheer on the Turner Motorsport team and will be back behind the wheel of a BMW as soon as I can.”

 
BMW Motorsport driver Nick Yelloly will substitute for Auberlen in the No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3 in the WeatherTech Championship race on Saturday. Cameron Lawrence, a 2015 Rolex 24 At Daytona champion in the GT Daytona class with Riley Motorsports who also drove for Turner in the 2018 Rolex 24, replaces Auberlen in the No. 95 BMW M4 GT4 for Friday’s Pilot Challenge race.

 
Dickinson Scores Fourth Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama Win of Season in Penultimate Round at Sebring
Metni Wraps Up Platinum Masters Title with Class Win; Edge Breaks Through in Gold Cup Thriller
Nov. 13, 2020
IMSA Wire Service
SEBRING, Fla. – Riley Dickinson took advantage of a great jump when the green flag dropped on this morning’s penultimate round of the 2020 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama season and went on to lead every lap en route to victory Friday morning at Sebring International Raceway.

 
Driving the No. 53 Moorespeed Porsche 911 GT3 Cup machine, Dickinson pulled comfortably into the lead from his second-place starting position going into Turn 1 ahead of polesitter and Platinum Cup points leader Jeff Kingsley. From there, the 18-year-old Texan set sail, cruising to a 14.469-second victory over Kingsley.

 
“I think all-around, it was a team win once again,” said Dickinson, who earned his fourth victory of the season. “Moorespeed delivered a great car for me to go execute with. It was definitely a team win for sure. I can’t thank my guys enough. Overall, we’re certainly going to be pushing for the second race so we’re going to quickly digest this one and get back to the trailer, go over the data and go for the second one.”

 
With the victory, Dickinson staved off elimination in the Platinum Cup championship standings heading into this afternoon’s season finale. However, Kingsley’s second-place run in the No. 16 Kelly-Moss Road and Race Porsche left him with a 28-point lead, and the Canadian will wrap up the title for current-generation 911 GT3 Cup machines by starting this afternoon’s race.

 
Speaking of championships, Alan Metni clinched his third consecutive Platinum Masters championship for drivers 45 years of age and over with his 10th class victory of the season aboard the No. 99 Kelly-Moss/AM Motorsports Porsche. Metni also finished third overall in the Platinum Cup class after fighting past Sean McAlister in the No. 11 JDX Racing Porsche midway through the race.

 
Metni’s victory coupled with an eighth-place Platinum Masters class result for Charlie Luck in the No. 45 Wright Motorsports entry gave Metni an insurmountable, 39-point advantage.

 
“It’s been great to be able to do what we love during these times that are so challenging for so many people,” Metni said. “I want to thank everybody at IMSA and at Porsche for working hard to figure out how to make this possible and how to make it safe. I want to thank my family for giving me the time and the space to do this, and I want to thank my crew and the whole team at Kelly-Moss for supporting me throughout the entire year.”

 
Michael Mennella came home second in Platinum Masters in the No. 4 MCR Racing Porsche, with Frank Raso completing the Masters podium with a third-place showing aboard the No. 57 Topp Racing entry.

 
Another Platinum Masters racer, Vernon McClure in the No. 10 TPC Racing Porsche, took home the Yokohama Hard Charger Award as the Platinum Cup driver who improved the most overall positions from start to finish in Race 1. McClure finished fourth in the Platinum Masters class and ninth overall after rolling off the grid from the 15th position.

 
Whereas the battles for Platinum and Platinum Masters were decided early in the 45-minute race, that wasn’t the case in Gold Cup for 911 GT3 Cup machines built between 2014 and 2016. That battle for victory between Richard Edge in the No. 18 ACI Motorsports entry and Efrin Castro in the No. 65 machine waged for much of the second half of the race.

 
Just after receiving the white flag, Edge claimed the lead from Castro when the No. 65 machine slid wide in Turn 1. Castro battled back to momentarily pull ahead coming out of the Turn 7 hairpin, but Edge finally claimed the position – albeit not without some door banging – in Turn 10 and went on to secure the victory. It was Edge’s first win in the series.

 
“It was great,” Edge said. “I mean, ACI set me up with a great car. I had a blast out there. I knew I had decent pace with Efrin Castro, so I just decided to hang in there, hit my marks and then wait for my opportunity. He started to make a couple of small mistakes and then when I saw an opportunity late in the race, I just took it into Turn 1 and then it all worked out. I’m super happy, it was a lot of fun, but it was a team effort.”

 
Castro wound up second, with Curt Swearingin – Edge’s teammate – taking third after employing a conservative approach with his Gold Cup championship lead in Race 1. Swearingin pulled his No. 44 ACI Motorsports Porsche into the pits at the end of the first lap and came out of Race 1 with a 16-point lead. He too will wrap up the Gold Cup title simply by taking the green flag this afternoon.

 
This afternoon’s season finale takes the green flag at 2:35 p.m. ET and will be streamed live on IMSA.com.
amborghini Super Trofeo North America Championship
Tightens with Race 1 Results at Sebring
Aghakhani, Eidson Win Opener to Close within Six Points
of Pro Class Leader Snow
November 13, 2020
By Mark Robinson
IMSA Wire Service
SEBRING, Fla. – Befitting of the season-long close competition, two Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America class championships will be decided in the final race of the year following the first of the two races today at Sebring International Raceway.

 
Steven Aghakhani and Jacob Eidson won from the pole position in Friday morning’s 50-minute sprint and now lurk just six points behind Pro class leader Madison Snow heading into the season-ending race at 3:40 p.m. ET. Aghakhani and Eidson will start on pole again in the No. 6 US RaceTronics, Lamborghini Beverly Hills Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo EVO.

 
In the ProAm class, Leo Lamelas kept the door slightly ajar to overtake Corey Lewis and McKay Snow for the title.

 
In Race 1 this morning, Madison Snow (No. 16 Change Racing, Lamborghini Charlotte Huracán) started beside Aghakhani on the first row and attempted a pass for the lead at the drop of the green flag. Snow’s car wiggled as they entered the first turn and he fell to fourth place before regaining momentum.

 
“The start of the race was quite something else,” Aghakhani said. “Madison tried to go outside, couldn’t hold it and lost control of the car. We just knew what we had to do, kept it clean and did what we had to do.”

 
Aghakhani handed the car off to Eidson on the mandatory mid-race pit stop with a six-second advantage. Eidson cruised home 3.637 seconds ahead of Brandon Gdovic in the No. 46 Precision Performance Motorsports, Lamborghini Palm Beach Huracán. Stuart Middleton muscled the No. 1 Prestige Performance with Wayne Taylor Racing, Lamborghini Paramus Huracán past Snow with four minutes remaining and held on for third place in a spirited battle over the closing laps.

 
“That window for the championship is still there and we’re giving it everything we have,” Eidson said. “Steven had an awesome start. It got a little dicey there in Turn 1, but he did an awesome job. He made it real easy for me. I just had to hop in the car and do my thing. … One done and one more to go.”

 
Madison Snow will clinch the Pro championship with a podium finish this afternoon. Eidson and Aghakhani must win and have Snow finish fourth or worse in class to land atop the standings.

 
In ProAm, Ashton Harrison and Andrea Amici collected their first win in the No. 25 Prestige Performance with Wayne Taylor Racing, Lamborghini Paramus Huracán. With less than three minutes remaining, Amici made the decisive pass for the lead on McKay Snow in the No. 63 Change Racing, Lamborghini Charlotte Huracán.

 
“It was a really fun race,” Amici said. “Ashton did an amazing start and she was with the other Pros in the first stint. Then when I took the car, there was some gap to P1. I tried to push, giving everything, and at the end with the two nice fights, we won the race. We are so happy; this is our first win together.”

 
“The end of it was definitely stressful,” Harrison said about watching from pit lane. “I’ve been struggling all year learning and driving with the Pros, so this is really good for us. I’m so thankful for Andrea and looking forward to the race this afternoon.”

 
Lamelas (No. 24 US RaceTronics, Lamborghini Westlake Huracán) passed McKay Snow for second place on the final lap, an important move since it left Lamelas a remote chance to still win the ProAm championship. Lewis and McKay Snow will still win the ProAm crown if they finish fourth or better this afternoon.

 
The winners in the Am and LB Cup classes were familiar faces. Victor Gomez IV kept his record perfect in the Am class, winning for the ninth straight time in the No. 29 Change Racing, Lamborghini Charlotte Huracán. It came on a circuit the Puerto Rican considers his home track.

 
“It was a very enjoyable race. I love coming back to Sebring,” Gomez said. “I have a lot of track time here (in other series). Now, switching to Lambo mode, I had a great start. I made a couple passes but I had to choose my battles. I stayed with a good pace all race.”

 
Like Gomez in Am, Randy Sellari has already clinched the LB Cup championship and added to his standout season by collecting his fifth win of the season in the No. 03 Change Racing, Lamborghini Charlotte Huracán.

 
“I’ve never been on this track so during the practices I was making my mistakes and trying to correct them in a short period of time,” Sellari said. “So when I got out there today, I was so relaxed and just did my thing. … I love this series. Lambo’s done a fantastic job recovering this year so I’m really glad to be able to represent them.”

 
The final race of the Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America season will stream live at 3:35 p.m. ET today on IMSA.com.
The Wright Decision: Heylen Slides into No. 16 Porsche
and Claims GTD Pole for Sebring
Garcia Pushes No. 3 Corvette to GTLM Track Record
Nov. 13, 2020
By Mark Robinson
IMSA Wire Service
SEBRING, Fla. – Jan Heylen made the decision look brilliant for him to qualify the No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3R on Friday at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts.

 
The Belgian rewarded the choice by winning the Motul Pole Award in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s GT Daytona (GTD) class but admitted afterward it wasn’t the result of any tense brainstorming sessions in the Wright Motorsports camp.

 
Regardless, Heylen will lead the 13-car GTD contingent to the green flag Saturday as he and teammates Patrick Long and Ryan Hardwick vie for the race win and season championship. Heylen put the No. 16 atop the GTD qualifying chart with a lap of 2 minutes, 0.844 seconds (111.416 mph) that was seven-tenths of a second clear of the field.

 
Hardwick is normally the qualifying driver for the No. 16, but he volunteered for Heylen – who joins the team for the endurance events – to handle the chore this week. Heylen rewarded the move by posting the pole-winning time on his lone flying lap.

 
“After Laguna (two weeks ago), Ryan was set on me qualifying the car, and we stuck to that,” Heylen said. “I wish there was more strategy behind it, but it was more about Ryan being excited about me qualifying the car, and that’s what we did.

 
“My tires were ready to go when we decided it was time to go, which was always going to be on our second time by after two warmup laps. The tires came in at the perfect time, so it all worked out.”

 
The No. 16 Porsche trails the No. 86 Meyer Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian Acura NSX GT3 by seven points going into Saturday’s 12-hour season finale on the historic and demanding 3.74-mile, 17-turn Sebring circuit. Long and Hardwick are also seven driver points behind Mario Farnbacher and Matt McMurry, who share the No. 86 this weekend with Shinya Michimi and will start eighth.

 
Heylen likes the way his car has handled this weekend, raising hopes of a come-from-behind effort for the GTD title from the single-car effort in its first full WeatherTech Championship season.

 
“It took a lot of hard work from the whole team to get here at the end of the year fighting for the championship,” Heylen said. “The car has felt good all weekend long. At least from the time I spent in the car, I believe it’s the best car we’ve gotten this season. That’s very encouraging for the race tomorrow. Obviously, pole position is the best way to get the weekend started, but all the big work is yet to do tomorrow.”

 
Garcia Earns GT Le Mans Pole with Track-Record Lap

 
The magical season for the No. 3 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C8.R continued Friday, with Antonio Garcia breaking the GT Le Mans (GTLM) qualifying lap record at Sebring that co-driver Jordan Taylor set in July. Garcia circled the course in 1:55.456 (116.615 mph) to capture the GTLM pole for the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, besting Taylor’s previous standard by 0.178 seconds.

 
It marked the fifth consecutive pole position this season for the No. 3, which has also won five races and already clinched the GTLM driver and team championships.

 
Garcia termed his first pole-winning effort at Sebring “like a perfect lap,” adding that the team used Taylor’s previous record in July as a standard for this weekend.

 
“Obviously, Jordan had a pretty similar qualifying lap here in July,” Garcia explained. “Yesterday, I could actually compare our laps (in practice) to that lap, even if it was almost three seconds faster than the best we did yesterday. It seemed impressive, but at least I had a target to know what the car was capable of.

 
“I think this is the fastest I’ve been around here at Sebring. It was a pretty cool lap and zero mistakes. I think I just nailed the peak of the grip, peak of the tires. Happy with that.”

 
Connor De Phillippi was second quick in the No. 25 BMW Team RLL BMW M8 GTE at 1:56.116 (115.952 mph), with teammate Jesse Krohn third in the No. 24 BMW (1:56.316). With the championship decided, Garcia expects plenty of competition for the race win from all the manufacturers.

 
“I’m expecting a lot of close fights tomorrow with either BMW or Porsche, but for sure we are starting at the best place there,” he said. “Let’s see what tomorrow brings; it’s going to be a long one. … And a classic one, where we finish at night and we really need to adapt to that. Let’s see what the new Sebring date brings for us. It’s going to be challenging, for sure.”

 
Following a 20-minute warmup at 8 a.m. ET Saturday, the 68th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring is set to begin at 10:10 a.m. Complete live television coverage starts at 10 a.m. on NBCSN, moves to NBC at 3 p.m. and back to NBCSN at 6 p.m. until the race conclusion.
Taylor Keeps Acura Team Penske’s Pole Train Rolling at Sebring

 
Nov. 13, 2020
By Jeff Olson
IMSA Wire Service
SEBRING, Fla. – Ricky Taylor understood the pressure he faced, and used it to his advantage.
 
Taylor, trying to chase down the fastest qualifiers, turned in the fastest lap Friday to win the Motul Pole Award for Saturday’s Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts.
 
“I get nervous before every single race or qualifying – any time you have to do something where there are stakes on the line and you have to do your best,” Taylor said. “I think if you’re not nervous or don’t feel the importance of it, you’re not going to get the most out of yourself and your equipment. I think having the pressure on is going to bring us to the best of our game." 
 
In Taylor’s case, the best was a nearly perfect lap around Sebring International Raceway’s 17-turn, 3.74-mile circuit. Taylor was clocked at 1 minute, 46.874 seconds (125.979 mph) in the No. 7 Acura Team Penske Acura ARX-05 DPi. That topped Renger van der Zande’s best lap of 1:47.125 in the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R. It is the sixth consecutive pole position for Acura Team Penske in IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship competition this season.
 
Taylor, who will share the No. 7 Acura with Helio Castroneves and Alexander Rossi, is co-leading the Daytona Prototype international (DPi) driver standings with Castroneves, while also helping the No. 7 lead the team championship.
 
They are just two points ahead of the No. 10 Cadillac and Van der Zande and his full-season co-driver, Ryan Briscoe. The No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing entry will be joined Saturday by six-time IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon.
 
“It’s such an amazing way to end a championship,” Taylor said of the duel with his dad’s team. “As a fan, you want it to come down to the last race. Basically, whoever wins the race wins the championship. I don’t think you could have scripted it any better. To be racing against the (No.) 10 car, of all teams, is really weird, but it’s fun. I wouldn’t want to be racing against anybody else.”
 
The No. 31 Whelen Engineering Racing Cadillac and driver Pipo Derani have remote hopes of pulling out the team and driver titles, sitting nine points behind the No. 7. Derani, who’ll share the No. 31 with Felipe Nasr and Gabby Chaves, qualified sixth on Friday. Derani, Nasr and Eric Curran won last year’s Twelve Hours of Sebring in the No. 31.
 
Kelly Adapts and Puts No. 52 ORECA on LMP2 Pole
 
Patrick Kelly expected the unexpected on his way to winning the pole in the Le Mans Prototype 2 (LMP2) class with a lap of 1:51.373 (120.890 mph) in the No. 52 PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports ORECA LMP2 07.
 
“It was ‘Be ready to adapt,’” Kelly said. “I went into it and was like, ‘OK, send it, but be ready to adapt. Don’t plan on it being the same car again.’ It hasn’t been the same car in any two practice sessions yet.”
 
Kelly, who shares the No. 52 with Simon Trummer and Scott Huffaker, topped the best lap by the No. 51 Inter Europol Competition ORECA LMP2 07 driven by Naveen Rao, who is fresh from winning the IMSA Prototype Challenge championship last month with Matthew Bell. Rao, Bell and Jakub Smiechowski will share the No. 51. 
   
NBC Sports’ live coverage of the full Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts begins at 10 a.m. ET Saturday on NBCSN. It moves to NBC at 3 p.m. before returning to NBCSN at 6 p.m. until the race’s conclusion.
urner Takes Third Triumph of 2020 as KohR Clinches Championship in IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge at Sebring
Hertamania Reigns in TCR with Race Win for Team's No. 21 Hyundai and Championship for No. 33 Team
Nov. 13, 2020
By Jeff Olson
IMSA Wire Service
Sebring, Fla. -- Cameron Lawrence was doing laundry when his phone rang Wednesday morning. Can you be in Sebring today to race on Friday?
 
The voice was Will Turner’s, owner of Turner Motorsport. Legendary driver, Bill Auberlen, couldn’t compete as planned due to self-quarantine from possible COVID-19 exposure, and Turner wanted to know if Lawrence could fill in for him.
 
One minor issue. Turner thought Lawrence was in Florida and could easily drive to Sebring International Raceway. Instead, Lawrence was at his new home in Austin, Texas. The answer was yes, but the travel was the problem.
 
“I think he forgot that part, that I’d moved to Austin about a year ago,” Lawrence said. “I definitely didn’t remind him. … I barely made it in time for the first practice. It was very hectic. Obviously, looking back it was worth all the rushing, all the staying up late and waking up early.”
 
Worth it, indeed. He helped Robby Foley drive the No. 95 Turner Motorsport BMW M4 GT4 to victory Friday in the Alan Jay Automotive Network 120, the season finale of the 2020 IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge at Sebring International Raceway.
 
“I love racing, and I love this team, and I love this series,” Lawrence said. “When you get a call from Will and the Turner guys, you just do what you've got to do to get down here.”
 
While Lawrence and Foley were teaming to win the race, Nate Stacy and Kyle Marcelli were teaming in the No. 60 KohR Motorsports Aston Martin Vantage GT4 to finish third in the race and claim the driver and team championships in the Grand Sport (GS) class of the Michelin Pilot Challenge.
 
Consistency was the key to the championships. The No. 60 Aston Martin never finished worse than seventh during the 10-race season.
 
“We can look back on the season and say, ‘Yeah, we left a little on the table here and a little on the table there,’ but I think everybody in the paddock will tell you the same thing,” Marcelli said. “When we had a strong car, we were able to take advantage of it. Just no major mistakes. That’s really what paid off.”
 
An intense duel between teammates Mark Wilkins and Gabby Chaves ended with Wilkins and Harry Gottsacker winning the race and Chaves and Ryan Norman claiming the championship in the Touring Car (TCR) class.
 
Chaves, driving the No. 33 Bryan Herta Autosport with Curb Agajanian Hyundai Veloster N TCR, pursued Wilkins’ No. 21 Hyundai closely during the final laps of the two-hour race, but settled for second place and the championship.
 
“The rule within the team is that Hyundais race Hyundais, but Hyundais don't hit other Hyundais,” Norman said. “We play it smart with each other and we respect each other a lot. Really, at the end of the day, we give it all we have. We race each other cleanly, and the best car and driver wins.”

 

 

 

 

 


 
Porsche Says Thank You with Car Liveries for Final GTLM Race

 
The Twelve Hours of Sebring will be the final race for the Porsche GT Team in the GT Le Mans (GTLM) class following a highly successful seven-year run. To commemorate the farewell, both the No. 911 and No. 912 Porsche 911 RSR-19s are sporting a special “Thank You” livery as Porsche North America expresses its gratitude for the manufacturer works program.

 
The all-American design features the Porsche crest echoed in a blue ribbon with white stars crossed by red and white stripes running the length of the No. 911 driven this weekend by Fred Makowiecki, Nick Tandy and Earl Bamber. The No. 912, which will have Bamber, Laurens Vanthoor and Neel Jani at the wheel, has the crest in a red ribbon with red and white stripes over the rear fenders, with a stripe of blue and white stars spanning the hood over the roof and onto the rear bodywork. Both cars are displaying “THANK YOU” messages on the rocker panels and the underside of the rear wings.

 
Saturday’s race will mark the 75th for the team in GTLM competition. Over that span, Porsche has accumulated 20 race wins, 20 pole positions and two class championships (2015 and 2019). The No. 911 is also the two-time defending GTLM champion at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.

 
"After seven very successful years, we're wrapping up our works program in North America with the upcoming race at Sebring,” said Pascal Zurlinden, Porsche director of factory motorsport. “With this special vehicle design, we want to underline our connection to this tremendous racing series and also want to say a big thank you to the loyal fans.

 
“While racing the 911 in the GTLM class, we experienced firsthand the excitement that our brand inspires in the USA. The spectators were always full of passion, they love the 911 RSR and they were unfailingly supportive. We'd also like to thank everyone involved from Porsche AG, Porsche Cars North America, our motor racing colleagues in the USA, the operations team CORE autosport and, last but definitely not least, our loyal partners. The huge successes over the last seven years would not have been possible without their trust and dedicated cooperation.”

 

 
Nasr, Derani Returning to Drive No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac in 2021

 
Felipe Nasr and Pipo Derani will return as full-time drivers of the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R in 2021, as announced by Action Express Racing earlier this week. It will mark the third straight season that the duo will team in the No. 31 Cadillac. Mike Conway, who has been part of Action Express Racing’s driver lineup for endurance races since 2017, will rejoin the No. 31 in the same capacity in 2021.

 
Nasr won the 2018 Daytona Prototype international (DPi) championship in the No. 31. He and Derani finished second in last year’s standings. The No. 31 has also finished on top the past two years in the IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup consisting of points earned in the four endurance events on the schedule.
Heading into Saturday’s race, Derani is third in the driver standings and the No. 31 is third in the team standings, both nine points out of the lead.

 
“We are very happy to announce that we will back in 2021 with the same full-time driver lineup as this year,” said Gary Nelson, Action Express team manager. “We have a great core of technical and mechanical staff who communicate well with our drivers. In racing, people move around a lot, so keeping our core has been one of the keys to our success.

 
“Felipe and Pipo round out that core. They are both fast and complement each other on and off the track.”
McQuarrie’s Motul Pole Award Keeps No. 39 CarBahn with Peregrine Racing Audi in IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge Hunt
Kingsley Tops Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA Qualifying; Aghakhani, Eidson Do Same in Lamborghini Super Trofeo
Nov. 12, 2020
By Mark Robinson
IMSA Wire Service
SEBRING, Fla. – Tyler McQuarrie made an emphatic statement on Thursday that CarBahn with Peregrine Racing won’t surrender its IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge championship without a fight.

 
In Motul Pole Award qualifying for the season finale, the Alan Jay Automotive Network 120 at Sebring International Raceway, McQuarrie covered the field by nearly a full second to earn the first starting position in Friday’s two-hour race. He and Jeff Westphal face an uphill battle in the No. 39 Audi R8 GT4 – trailing championship leaders Nate Stacy and Kyle Marcelli by 15 points in the Grand Sport (GS) class – but they refuse to concede anything.

 
“Our car is really good here at Sebring,” McQuarrie said after clocking a lap of 2 minutes, 10.744 seconds (102.979 mph). “We’ve won here two years in a row, that’s the second pole in a row here and we’ve had three poles in a row in the last three races (this season). I think we’ve just hit our stride at the end of the year, and we’re really putting everything out on the table to try and win the championship.”

 
Cameron Lawrence was second fastest in the No. 95 Turner Motorsport BMW M4 GT4 (2:11.729, 102.209 mph). Lawrence was a last-minute replacement in the No. 95 for Bill Auberlen, who remained home this week after potentially being exposed to someone with COVID-19.

 
Stacy qualified the No. 60 KohR Motorsports Aston Martin Vantage GT4 in fifth position. A finish of 10th or better nets him and Marcelli the GS championship. McQuarrie said it is full steam ahead for the No. 39 Audi as he and Westphal try to defend their crown.

 
“We have to win; it’s all or nothing,” McQuarrie said. “We have second (in the championship) locked up so if we crash trying to win this thing, so be it. We’re going to lay it all out there. Starting on pole is a great way to stay out of trouble, keep the car up front and just give it to Jeff, and hopefully he can bring it home for the win.”

 
In the Touring Car (TCR) class, Harry Gottsacker collected the Motul Pole Award with a lap of 2:16.110 (98.919 mph) in the No. 21 Bryan Herta Autosport with Curb-Agajanian Hyundai Veloster N TCR. Gottsacker’s lap was 0.115 seconds better than teammate Ryan Norman in the No. 33 BHA Hyundai, with Roy Block putting the No. 5 KMW Motorsports with TMR Engineering Alfo Romeo Giulietta TCR in third, 0.352 seconds off the pole.

 
“It’s a good start to the weekend, for sure, but it’s not over yet,” Gottsacker said. “There’s a long one tomorrow. Really thankful for Bryan Herta Autosport and everybody at Hyundai giving me such a great race car today. Me and my engineer Hunter really kind of nailed that setup and it worked out really great for us.”

 
Norman and No. 33 Hyundai co-driver Gabby Chaves have a four-point lead in the TCR standings over No. 98 BHA teammates Michael Lewis and Mason Filippi, who qualified fourth. Gavin Ernstone and Jon Morley (No. 61 Road Shagger Racing Audi RS3 LMS TCR) are 12 points from the lead, with Gottsacker and co-driver Mark Wilkins 14 points back.

 
Friday’s race is available live starting at noon ET on TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold.

 

 
Kingsley Keeps Humming along with Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA Pole

 
Jeff Kingsley isn’t letting up in his pursuit of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama championship. The 22-year-old Canadian locked up the pole position in qualifying Thursday for the first of two races to close the season.

 
Kingsley laid down a lap of 2:07.216 (105.835 mph) at Sebring International Raceway’s 3.74-mile, 17-turn road course to edge championship rival Riley Dickinson by 0.098 seconds. Kingsley, who has won 10 of the 14 races this season in the No. 16 Kelly-Moss Road and Race Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car, needs only to start both races Friday and finish eighth or better in one to clinch the crown.

 
“Qualifying was a bit of a mixed bag,” Kingsley said. “It felt super slow but we’re on pole. The car was definitely a handful out there. With this heat and lots of different rubber going down, it changed things quite a bit.”

 
Kingsley knows he must temper his typical aggressiveness in the races and focus on bringing home the championship.

 
“I’ve got to play it safe, keep my nose clean, and as much as I want to win both races this weekend, I also have to look at the big picture,” he said. “That says more about your career, if you have a championship title versus a race win at Sebring.”

 
Alan Metni, points leader in the Platinum Masters class for drivers 45 and older, was the fastest qualifier in that group – and fourth overall – with a lap of 2:08.001 (105.186 mph) in the No. 99 Kelly-Moss/AM Motorsports Porsche. Richard Edge captured his first pole of the season in Gold Cup (for Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars built between 2014 and 2016) with a lap of 2:12.424 (101.673 mph) in the No. 18 ACI Motorsports Porsche.

 
Gold Cup points leader Curt Swearingin sat out the qualifying session. He needs only to start each race Friday to wrap up the class championship. Swearingin was also given permission to change his car number from 17 to 44 to honor his father, who was born in 1944 and passed away earlier this week.

 
The GT3 Cup Challenge USA races, each 45 minutes in length, are scheduled to start at 8 a.m. and 2:35 p.m. ET Friday. Both will stream live on IMSA.com.

 

 
Aghakhani, Eidson Tighten Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America Battle with Double-Pole Effort

 
Steven Aghakhani and Jacob Eidson each did his work on Thursday, earning the pole position for both races of the Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America doubleheader on Friday at Sebring International Raceway.

 
With a championship point earned for each pole, the drivers of the No. 6 US RaceTronics, Lamborghini Beverly Hills Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo EVO moved within 13 points of Pro class leader Madison Snow in the No. 16 Change Racing, Lamborghini Charlotte Huracán.

 
In Race 1 qualifying, Aghakhani turned a best lap of 2:01.933 (110.421 mph) that was 0.354 seconds better than Snow.

 
“The whole team came out here and we were ready to do what we had to do,” Aghakhani said. “Obviously coming back from the last race at Laguna Seca (a fifth-place result in class), there was nothing we could change about it, so we just had to put it behind us and keep our heads high for Sebring. That’s exactly what we did. As you can see, the results show.”

 
Eidson followed his teammate’s effort in the Race 2 qualifying session with a top lap of 2:02.318 (110.073 mph). Again, Snow was second fastest.

 
“After Practice 1 yesterday, I was cautiously optimistic about qualifying today,” Eidson said. “We knew we had a chance at pole, but it’s just a matter of going out there and executing, and we did that today. It’s awesome to get pole position. We’re only at the start. We’ve still got tomorrow and that’s what really matters, but it’s a great start.”

 
Qualifying results of other classes saw Danny Formal (No. 99 Ansa Motorsports, Lamborghini Broward Huracán) sweep honors in both ProAm sessions and Randy Sellari (No. 03 Change Racing, Lamborghini Charlotte Huracán) do the same in LB Cup.

 
Moritz Kranz (No. 74 Prestige Performance with Wayne Taylor Racing, Lamborghini Charlotte Huracán) won the Am class pole for Race 1 in his season debut, with Victor Gomez IV (No. 29 Change Racing, Lamborghini Charlotte Huracán) topping Am qualifying for Race 2.

 
The first 50-minute race rolls off at 9:05 a.m. ET Friday, with Race 2 at 3:40 p.m. Both will stream live on IMSA.com.
Porsche Gets Second Straight GTLM Win as No. 3 Corvette Clinches Title
Farnbacher, McMurry Win in GTD to Retake Points Lead

 
Nov. 1, 2020
By Mark Robinson
IMSA Wire Service
MONTEREY, Calif. – The Porsche GT Team is not going gently into that good night, but the No. 3 Corvette won’t be denied.

 
For the second straight IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race, Porsche claimed victory in the GT Le Mans (GTLM) class. On Sunday, it was the No. 912 Porsche 911 RSR-19 with drivers Laurens Vanthoor and Earl Bamber. Yet by finishing second in the No. 3 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C8.R, Jordan Taylor and Antonio Garcia wrapped up the driver and team championships with a race remaining.

 
Ending a victory drought of 483 days, 2019 GTLM champions Vanthoor and Bamber took class honors at the Hyundai Monterey Sports Car Championship on WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca’s 2.238-mile permanent road course. The triumph followed one two weeks ago at Motul Petit Le Mans by No. 911 Porsche teammates Nick Tandy, Fred Makowiecki and Matt Campbell.

 
Bamber held off Garcia in the No. 3 Corvette by 0.981 seconds at the finish, concluding a close battle over the final 19 minutes after the only full-course caution during the 2-hour, 40-minute race. The winning drivers were quick to credit their pit crew for lightning-quick stops, including the first one that vaulted the No. 912 ahead of the pole-sitting No. 3.

 
“Today we didn’t have the quickest car but it was definitely one of those tremendous team victories,” Bamber said after winning for the first time since July 2019 at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.

 
“Almost everybody did a three-stop in our class,” added Vanthoor, who started the race but turned over the wheel to Bamber on the second stop. “To make that work, the guys doing the tire changing have to be quick because the refueling time is short. And they did every time perfectly. That was, I think, the key to the race.”

 
With the runner-up finish, however, Garcia and Taylor pushed their points lead to 35 over No. 4 Corvette teammates Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner, who initially finished third on Sunday but were moved to last in GTLM (sixth place) after a rear diffuser height infraction was discovered in post-race technical inspection. Garcia now has won five IMSA championships, three in the past four years, while Taylor collected his third title.

 
The No. 911 Porsche made a two-stop strategy work to finish in third place on Sunday – the third time this season that both Porsches have reached the podium. Bamber, Vanthoor and Makowiecki also combined a week ago to win the 24 Hours of Spa, in another Porsche. With the manufacturer set to exit WeatherTech Championship GTLM competition after this season, the sudden turnaround has provided some solace.

 
“We had such a great year last year and then no wins and you struggle (this year), it starts to be a bit depressing,” Vanthoor admitted. “To get some success back and see the joy in all the mechanics and the crew really means a lot. It’s an important victory. I think everybody will sleep a bit better at night.”

 
No. 86 Acura Changes Fortune to Claim GT Daytona Victory and WeatherTech Championship Lead

 
In the GT Daytona (GTD) race on Sunday, No. 86 Meyer Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian Acura NSX GT3 drivers Matt McMurry and Mario Farnbacher reversed a troubling trend, dominating the day to win at WeatherTech Raceway and reclaim the season-long championship lead.

 
Pacing the class for nearly the entire race, Farnbacher brought the No. 86 Acura home more than 10 seconds ahead of the No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3.

 
“We made some changes to the car (after qualifying) that made some really, really big improvements, and handling the tire degradation was the other thing,” McMurry said. “We were able to keep much more consistent lap times over the whole stint, so I think that was big for us winning today.”

 
McMurry won the Motul Pole Award in qualifying Sunday morning and built a lead of more than six seconds before turning the car over to Farnbacher for the final two hours. Bill Auberlen closed the No. 96 BMW to within the back of Farnbacher’s bumper on a couple occasions, but the German never wavered and drove away on the final restart.

 
After finishing fifth, seventh and 10th in the past three races, the victory was a welcomed change.

 
“We had three frustrating races, so coming back like this means a lot,” Farnbacher said. “We never were gone but it put a lot of pressure on us, to say the least. I said to Matt and my team guys that we need to execute this weekend; we need to perform well. And we did.”

 
Farnbacher is looking to repeat as the GTD driving champion. With the win, he and McMurry – who won the 2019 WeatherTech Championship LMP2 title – recaptured the lead by seven points over No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche drivers Patrick Long and Ryan Hardwick, who finished sixth on Sunday.

 
Aaron Telitz entered the day as the GTD points leader, but an 11th-place finish in the No. 14 AIM Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3 on Sunday dropped him into third in points, eight behind the leaders. No. 14 co-driver Jack Hawksworth is 10 points back heading to the Sebring finale.

 
However, the No. 14 squad did wrap up the 2020 IMSA WeatherTech Sprint Cup title, which consisted of the seven GTD races two-hours and 40-minutes or shorter. Telitz and Hawksworth took the Sprint Cup drivers’ title, with the No. 14 AIM Vasser Sullivan scoring the team title and Lexus earning the manufacturer title.

 
The WeatherTech Championship season concludes Nov. 14 with the 68th annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts.
Title Fight Up for Grabs as No. 7 Acura DPi Wins
at WeatherTech Raceway
Nov. 1, 2020
By Jeff Olson
IMSA Wire Service
Monterey, Calif. – When it mattered most, Ricky Taylor received a timely gift.
 
Acura Team Penske teammate Dane Cameron allowed Taylor to pass him as the leaders approached the final lap Sunday, and Taylor went on to win the Hyundai Monterey Sports Car Championship at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.
 
The move allowed the team’s No. 7 Acura ARX-05 and its two drivers -- Taylor and Helio Castroneves -- to take a narrow lead in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Daytona Prototype international (DPi) driver and team championship battles heading into the season finale Nov. 14.
 
The decision was made after a restart with just under 19 minutes left in the 2-hour, 40-minute race. As Taylor chased Cameron for the lead, the team decided to allow Taylor to take over.
 
“Penske isn’t going to take away a win from somebody unless there’s a really big goal,” Taylor said. “I don’t know how the discussion went, but I feel bad for Dane and Juan (Pablo Montoya, Cameron’s co-driver). They did race a perfect race, and then we ended up leading one lap for the win.”
 
Taylor and Castroneves now lead Renger van der Zande and Ryan Briscoe by just two points in the standings. Van der Zande and Briscoe came into Sunday’s race atop the standings with their No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi V.R, but finished sixth.
 
Considering how far back the No. 7 team was after the first three races of the 2020 WeatherTech Championship season, leading the standings heading into the season ending Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Advance Auto Parts is astonishing to both drivers.
 
“It’s a battle,” Castroneves said. “It’s a championship battle. We’re part of an amazing organization, and everybody is looking for the same goal.”
 
The No. 7 car has won four of the last five races and has finished no worse than second after early season woes. The streak started with Castroneves’ run to the checkered flag in the rain Aug. 2 at Road America.
 
“We had the pace for most of the season, but we weren’t seeing the results,” Taylor said. “When Helio and I started putting it together on track and the team was really gelling and doing such a good job in the pits and off track, we put all the pieces together and it turned into race wins.” 
 
Cameron held on for second place, 0.487 seconds behind Taylor in the car Montoya started from the pole. The No. 6 duo led a race-high 104 laps in what was a 119-lap race. The No. 7 car only led the last two.
 
The No. 31 Action Express Racing Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi V.R co-driven by Felipe Nasr and Pipo Derani finished third. They’ll go into Sebring third in the team standings, nine points behind the No. 7 entry.
 
While Acura Team Penske created final-lap drama in the DPi class, Patrick Kelly had no competition on his way to clinching the driver and team championships in the LMP2 class.
 
Kelly, who overcame extensive injuries in a street accident a decade ago and resumed his racing career, teamed with Simon Trummer to finish 28th overall in the No. 52 PR1-Mathiasen Motorsports ORECA LMP2 07.
 
The championship came with IMSA’s Jim Trueman Award, which includes an invitation to the 2021 24 Hours of Le Mans.
 
“It’s one of the biggest things of my life,” Kelly said. “Since I started racing, I’ve dreamed of going to Le Mans. I remember seeing the Penske Spyders and saying, ‘God, I’d love to drive a P2 and can you imagine going to drive a car like that at Le Mans?’ Then I’ve had a lot adversity happen in my life over the last eight years. For me to be out here and have this happen, it’s just surreal.”
 
The 2020 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season concludes Nov. 11-14 with the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Advance Auto Parts at Sebring International Raceway.
Jimenez Completes Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America Sweep
at WeatherTech Raceway

 
November 1, 2020
By Mark Robinson
IMSA Wire Service
MONTEREY, Calif. – Sergio Jimenez and Ansa Motorsports took a major step forward Sunday in the Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America championship, completing a weekend sweep of victories at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.

 
The twin wins, overall and in the Pro class, marked the first for driver and team. Jimenez, driving the No. 13 Ansa Motorsports, Lamborghini Broward Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo EVO, held off championship leader Madison Snow by 0.491 seconds in the caution-filled race.

 
“I knew that this race was going to be tough,” said Jimenez, who earned his first series win on Saturday. “Everybody worked more for today, the second race. The first stint was OK and we chose to stop on the first lap (after the mandatory pit window opened) because there could be a safety car, and we did right.

 
“I think I won today on the restart when I could overtake a lot of cars in a few moments,” Jimenez added. “It was a good call from the team when it was green.”

 
Brandon Gdovic (No. 46 Precision Performance Motorsports, Lamborghini Palm Beach Huracán) and Steven Aghakhani (No. 6 US RaceTronics, Lamborghini Beverly Hills Huracán) actually saw the checkered flag first and second in Sunday’s 50-minute race, but each was levied a 29-second post-race penalty for not completing a drive-through penalty assessed for passing cars before the green flag waved on a restart with 17 minutes remaining.

 
Knowing the cars in front of him would be penalized on the final restart with less than two minutes to go, Jimenez focused on holding ground on the pursuing Snow (No. 16 Change Racing, Lamborghini Charlotte Huracán).

 
“The team said to me before the last green that the two cars in front had a punishment,” said Jimenez, the 36-year-old from Sao Paulo, Brazil. “We’ve started to grow step by step and we see that hard work pays. If you focus, you’re going to win. With hard work, you can do anything.”

 
Leo Lamelas made it a doubly good day for Brazilian drivers, taking the ProAm class win in the No. 24 US RaceTronics, Lamborghini Westlake Huracán. Lamelas benefited as well by making his pit stop as soon as the mandatory window opened and cruised home 4.18 seconds ahead of Danny Formal (No. 99 Ansa Motorsports, Lamborghini Broward Huracán).

 
It was Lamelas’ third win this season and allowed him to unofficially close within eight points of No. 63 Change Racing, Lamborghini Charlotte Huracán drivers Corey Lewis and McKay Snow for the ProAm lead. Two races remain, both on Nov. 13 at Sebring International Raceway.

 
“I’m very happy for the win today,” Lamelas said. “It was such a difficult weekend for us; we could not find the right setup since the practice on Friday. Anyway, very happy for the guys that we could achieve (the win). We feel better going to Sebring, fighting for the championship.”

 
Victor Gomez IV kept his 2020 record perfect on Sunday, winning for the eighth straight time in the Am class. The driver of the No. 29 Change Racing, Lamborghini Charlotte Huracán continues improving his race craft each time out.

 
“We were playing with the setup all weekend and think we struggled a little bit with the pace today,” Gomez said. “We have work to do for Sebring to finish off the Am championship. I’m still getting used to the car, still getting used to the series and the competitors, so every time I get in the car, I learn something new.”

 
LB Cup celebrated a first-time winner Sunday in rookie Sydney McKee, the Brown University student majoring in engineering and economics. McKee capitalized in the No. 87 Prestige Performance with Wayne Taylor Racing, Lamborghini Paramus Huracán by waiting to make her pit stop until the window reopened on a restart with 15 minutes remaining. Another full-course caution came out while she was in the pits and she returned on track ahead of the rest of the LB Cup field.

 
“That was an amazing race. The guys had an amazing call to bring me in just at the right time and put me P1,” a smiling McKee said. “A little bit of a crazy race with all the yellows but it really worked out in our favor. This is actually my first time here so I’m loving Laguna Seca.

 
“It’s been a lot of learning this season,” she continued. “Very new car to me, a lot more downforce than I think I’ve ever driven, much faster. So lots of learning every weekend and finally we were able to put all the pieces together. A huge confidence builder to walk away from this weekend with a win.”

 
LB Cup points leader Randy Sellari finished second in the No. 03 Change Racing, Lamborghini Charlotte Huracán.
Montoya Earns Fifth Straight Acura Pole to Lead Field
at Hyundai Monterey Sports Car Championship
Nov. 1, 2020
By Jeff Olson
IMSA Wire Service
MONTEREY, Calif. – After he won the Motul Pole Award for today’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, Juan Pablo Montoya hoped for peace and quiet during the race.
 
Tensions are running high heading into the penultimate race of the 2020 season, the Hyundai Monterey Sports Car Championship, especially after an incident between the No. 31 Action Express Cadillac DPi-V.R and the No. 7 Acura Team Penske Acura ARX-05 DPi during a practice session Saturday. 
 
After winning the pole position with a lap of 1 minute 15.174 seconds (107.175 mph) in the No. 6 Acura Team Penske Acura – the fifth straight pole for the team in Daytona Prototype international (DPi) competition this season – Montoya hoped for an uneventful race this afternoon.
 
“It’s either going to be really quiet or really crazy,” Montoya said. “I think after what happened in practice between the 7 car and the 31, I would be inclined for it to be a more quiet and calm race. I think everybody kind of understands the consequences. At the end of the day, everybody wants to beat the 10 car.”
 
The No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Cadillac will start seventh in the race, which starts at 4:05 p.m. ET and can be viewed on TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold, the NBC Sports App and NBCSports.com. Ryan Briscoe and Renger van der Zande, drivers of the No. 10, share the DPi championship lead by eight points over Helio Castroneves and Ricky Taylor, co-drivers of the No. 7 Acura.
 
Castroneves will start alongside Montoya for the start of the race. Oliver Jarvis will start third in the No. 77 Mazda Motorsports Mazda DPi.  
 
The No. 52 PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports ORECA LMP2 07, the only car in the Le Mans Prototype 2 class this weekend, will clinch the season championship with drivers Patrick Kelly and Simon Trummer by taking the green flag.
 
Meanwhile, the last of Jordan Taylor’s six laps was fast enough to score his team’s fourth consecutive pole in the GT Le Mans (GTLM) class. Taylor circled the 11-turn, 2.238-mile WeatherTech Raceway circuit in a class record of 1:21.483 (98.876 mph) in the No. 3 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C8.R he shares with Antonio Garcia. Jesse Krohn set the previous record of 1:21.557 in a BMW last year.
 
With tire degradation expected to be an issue in the race on the low-grip track, Taylor said starting first was top priority for the No. 3 team, which leads its sister No. 4 Corvette by 28 points in the GTLM standings.
 
“We wanted to get track position early on like this,” Taylor said. “The year has been going incredibly well. We just want to close it off on a sharp point.”
 
Matt McMurry recorded a lap of 1:25.126 (94.645 mph) in the No. 86 Meyer Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian Acura NSX GT3 to win the pole in the GT Daytona (GTD) class. He’ll go for the win later today with teammate Mario Farnbacher; the two are fourth in the GTD driver standings, but just seven points out of first.
 
Like Taylor, McMurry mentioned tire degradation as part of his pole-winning strategy.
 
“The plan going in was to warm it up slow and then do one or two fast laps and park it,” McMurry said. “It all worked out for us, thankfully.”
 
IMSA Radio’s broadcast of the 2-hour, 40-minute race can be heard on IMSA.com, RadioLeMans.com and SiriusXM Radio (Sirius channel 217, XM 202, Internet 972). The NBCSN telecast starts at 6:30 p.m. ET.
Westphal Wins at WeatherTech Raceway with ‘Hail Mary’

 
Oct. 31, 2020
By Jeff Olson
IMSA Wire Service
MONTEREY, Calif. – Jeff Westphal called it a Hail Mary pass. Somehow, it worked.

 
Westphal passed Trent Hindman with 50 seconds left Saturday to take the Grand Sport (GS) class and overall victory of the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge race in the Hyundai Monterey Sports Car Championship at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.

 
Westphal’s No. 39 CarBahn with Peregrine Racing Audi R8 GT4 was in fourth place with 25 minutes left in the two-hour race, but he passed two contenders and set his sights on Hindman’s No. 7 Archangel Motorsports Volt Lighting Aston Martin Vantage GT4 he shared with Alan Brynjolfsson. 

 
As the two cars exited Turn 11 with the seconds ticking away and the white flag waving to signal the impending final lap, Westphal pulled alongside Hindman on the frontstretch.

 
Westphal reached Turn 1 in the lead. Hindman briefly battled back, getting the nose of his Aston Martin inside the left-rear quarter panel of Westphal’s Audi. But Westphal managed to pull away from there to win by just 0.757 seconds and share victory with co-driver Tyler McQuarrie. 

 
“It was just enough space in Turn 11 to get my nose underneath him,” Westphal said.

 
“Typically, the Aston had so much power that it would pull away at the onset of every exit, but he got sideways, so I side-drafted him down the front straight. To be honest, it was a Hail Mary. He made a mistake in the right spot, and I took advantage of it.”

 
The win allowed Westphal and McQuarrie, the reigning GS champions, to trim five points off the lead of No. 60 KohR Motorsports drivers Nate Stacy and Kyle Marcelli. The No. 60 finished third on Saturday and takes a 15-point lead into the season finale.

 
In the Touring Car (TCR) class, Gabby Chaves passed Jon Morley in the waning minutes and went on to win his class and finish 15th overall, taking over the lead in the TCR driver standings with teammate Ryan Norman.

 
Norman avoided the worst of a collision involving three of Bryan Herta Autosport with Curb-Agajanian’s Hyundai Veloster N TCR entries on the opening lap. Norman then got the team’s No. 33 car close to the front before giving way to Chaves, who passed Morley in the track’s famed Corkscrew turn and pulled away to victory by 9.333 seconds.

 
“I had a close battle for a couple of corners and was able to make the overtake,” Chaves said. “I was successfully able to defend for about a half a lap. After that, I knew we had the better pace and better tires at that point. We were able to manage the pace and drive away a little bit.”   

 
Following the No. 61 Road Shagger Racing Audi RS3 LMS TCR that Morley shared with Gavin Ernstone to the finish line in second was the No. 29 Bryan Herta Autosport Hyundai driven by Parker Chase and Spencer Brockman.

 
The first-lap melee included the No. 98 BHA Hyundai driven by Mason Filippi and the No. 21 BHA Hyundai with Harry Gottsacker at the wheel. Filippi and co-driver Michael Lewis entered the race leading the standings but finished eighth in class.

 
Chaves and Norman unofficially lead Filippi and Lewis by four points, with Ernstone and Morley 12 back and Gottsacker and Mark Wilkins 14 behind.

 
The Michelin Pilot Challenge season finale, the Alan Jay Automotive Network 120, is set for Nov. 13 during the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts weekend.
Jimenez Breaks into Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America Win Column at WeatherTech Raceway

 
October 31, 2020
By Mark Robinson
IMSA Wire Service
MONTEREY, Calif. – Sergio Jimenez was overcome with joy Saturday at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca after driving to his maiden victory in the Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America championship. The weekend of racing at the iconic California road course comprises the fourth of five doubleheader rounds on the 2020 schedule.

 
Jimenez led most of the 50-minute race in the No. 13 Ansa Motorsports, Lamborghini Broward Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo EVO to nab the win in just his fifth start. The Brazilian did so despite constant pressure through the last half of the race, holding off Pro class front-runners Madison Snow and Jacob Eidson to the checkered flag.

 
“Really, really happy for me and for the team and for Brazil,” Jimenez said. “I need to say thank you to them for believing in me and bringing me here. It’s an amazing championship – IMSA, Lamborghini, everything.

 
“We needed to manage the tires, that was the secret. We did the car for a long run; we saw it work. The hotter (temperature) was very difficult for myself, but we bring it home.”

 
Brandon Gdvoic started from pole position and led early in the No. 46 Precision Performance Motorsports, Lamborghini Palm Beach Huracán but had to pit after three laps with a fuel issue. That handed the lead to Jimenez, who put together a consistent and determined effort to win by 0.488 seconds over Eidson and Steven Aghakhani in the No. 6 US RaceTronics, Lamborghini Beverly Hills Huracán. The runner-up result helped the No. 6 drivers trim their deficit to Snow (No. 16 Change Racing, Lamborghini Charlotte Huracán) to nine points in the Pro championship standings.

 
Corey Lewis completed a bold last-lap pass to rally to victory in the ProAm class. Driving the No. 63 Change Racing, Lamborghini Charlotte Huracán with McKay Snow, Lewis was bumped from the ProAm lead with just under seven minutes remaining by Danny Formal in the No. 99 Ansa Motorsports, Lamborghini Broward Huracán.

 
Undaunted, Lewis battled back on the white-flag lap and edged Formal by 0.320 seconds at the finish line. With their fifth win of 2020, Lewis and McKay Snow built their points lead to 15 over Leo Lamelas heading into Sunday’s second race.

 
“It was a hard fight all the way through that second half,” Lewis said. “I knew the (No.) 99 had pace and he got around the second-place car, which made it a battle between he and I. He made a strong move on me and if I didn’t have to get out of the way, we probably would’ve both crashed.

 
“I knew if I could return the favor, that’s exactly what we did. We could look at it, we can talk about it, but at the end of the day we did what we had to do to get the win.”

 
Victor Gomez IV faced Am class competition for one of the few times this season yet kept his record unblemished, winning for the seventh straight time in the No. 29 Change Racing, Lamborghini Charlotte Huracán. Brian Thienes, an Am class race winner at WeatherTech Raceway in 2018, finished second in his season debut in the No. 17 US RaceTronics, Lamborghini Beverly Hills Huracán.

 
The victory was special for Gomez, whose family made the trip from Puerto Rico to see him win.
“It’s finally good to have some competition,” Gomez said. “It definitely motivates you to be always on your game. The competition was tough today. I knew I had to show off a little.

 
“It’s like a love or hate (relationship) with Laguna. I’ve been coming here a few years. … Laguna is a nasty track, very historic and I had some good pace here today.”

 
In LB Cup, John Hennessy picked up his second win of the season by holding off points leader Randy Sellari by 1.028 seconds. It wasn’t easy for Hennessy, who spun early in the No. 33 US RaceTronics, Lamborghini La Jolla Huracán but benefited in track position after being among the last to make the mandatory mid-race pit stop.

 
“This is a very tough track but very fun because it’s a short track so you can kind of get in the groove,” Hennessy said. “The uphill and the downhill – it’s my favorite track, actually. I love doing this.”
Race 2 gets underway at 1:25 p.m. ET Sunday. A live stream with IMSA Radio commentary is available at IMSA.com.
Jarvis Tops Hyundai Monterey Sports Car Championship Practice Day
with Last-Lap Flyer
Garcia, Auberlen Lead GT Classes in Practice for Penultimate Round of 2020 Season

 
Oct. 31, 2020
By Mark Robinson
IMSA Wire Service
MONTEREY, Calif. – Oliver Jarvis delivered the speed on practice day for the Hyundai Monterey Sports Car Championship. Helio Castroneves and Felipe Nasr provided the fireworks.

 
Jarvis turned the best lap Saturday in the No. 77 Mazda Motorsports Mazda DPi late in the second of two IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practices at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. Clocked at 1 minute, 15.692 seconds (106.441 mph) under sunny, warm and cloudless conditions, it gave Jarvis reason to smile but not get ahead of himself with so much work yet to do.

 
“We’ve got a tough job tonight, because you almost have to have a qualifying setup for the cooling conditions and then you have to take into account the change of temperature throughout the day,” Jarvis said. “That’s something we’ll need to sit down and focus on tonight and make sure we make the right changes at the right time.

 
“It’s very difficult because this morning it was very cool, and it was representative of qualifying, but the track was still very green. So, we didn’t get a perfect read on what conditions will be like tomorrow. Everybody is in the same boat. You are going to be making educated guesses and just have to do the best job you can.”

 
Meanwhile, two weeks after their teammates collided while battling for the lead and emotions flared at Motul Petit Le Mans, Castroneves and Nasr had a coming together early in Saturday’s second practice. Castroneves was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct over the incident exiting the right-hand Turn 3 on the 11-turn, 2.238-mile road course. His No. 7 Acura Team Penske Acura ARX-05 also sustained damage that forced it to the paddock for repairs without turning a lap at speed in the session.

 
Nasr, in the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Racing Cadillac DPi, escaped the incident apparently undamaged but ranked sixth in the afternoon after Pipo Derani put the No. 31 atop the scoring pylon in the morning practice with a lap of 1:15.851 (106.218 mph).

 
With two races remaining in the season, Castroneves and co-driver Ricky Taylor trail Daytona Prototype international (DPi) points leaders Renger van der Zande and Ryan Briscoe of the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R by eight points. Derani is four points behind the No. 7 Acura duo, with the intensity heightened following the Derani-Taylor collision two weeks ago that cost both a shot at victory and paved the way for the No. 10 to win and expand its lead.

 
Results of other classes Saturday saw the No. 3 Corvette Racing Corvette C8.R top both sessions in GT Le Mans (GTLM), while the No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3 set the pace in both GT Daytona practices.

 
Antonio Garcia was at the wheel of the No. 3 Corvette for its fast lap in the morning (1:21.898, 98.375 mph). Jordan Taylor took honors in the afternoon for the No. 3 with a lap of 1:22.279 (97.920 mph).

 
"I hope the next two sessions we are leading, too ... especially the last one (the race),” said Garcia. “I kind of had a question mark about this track. It is the first time we have run here with the C8.R, although Jordan and Tommy (Milner, No. 4 Corvette co-driver) did it on the simulator.

 
“I didn't know what to expect here, but the car is running well again. It feels a little bit like Mid-Ohio. It's very slippery but we are able to make the car work. So far, we are really happy with how things are going. It's going to be tricky with tire degradation and track heat tomorrow." 

 
IMSA’s all-time leading race winner Bill Auberlen turned a lap of 1:24.754 (95.060 mph) in the No. 96 BMW in the first GTD practice, with Robby Foley a tick off at 1:24.806 in the second session.

 
“We have the setup that’s going to make the car what we call ‘pointy’ for qualifying,” Auberlen said. “You rely on this extra grip that the rear is going to give you on the power-down side, for the wheel-spin side coming off the corners. You’re not just lighting the wheels up. And we’re going to set it way up on the nose so that on all these turns, there are so many of them that rely on the fronts to steer the car in so sharp that you have to have a very crisp front end.

 
“So, for qualifying we’re going to put it right on the ragged edge and Robby only has to hold on for three, four or five laps, and then we’ll reset it to what we set it for the race and the car’s going to be completely there. And we’ll have faith that because we were just in the same conditions that, hopefully, it’s going to be tomorrow.”

 
Only qualifying and the 2-hour, 40-minute race remain, both scheduled for Sunday. Qualifying streams live on IMSA.com at 11:25 a.m. ET. The race is available to watch at 4 p.m. on TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold, the NBC Sports App and NBCSports.com, and to listen to on IMSA Radio at IMSA.com, RadioLeMans.com and SiriusXM Radio (Sirius channel 217, XM 202, Internet 972). NBCSN television coverage begins at 6:30 p.m.

 

 

 
Sweet 16: Copeland Motorsports’ Two Tylers Eager for
Full Michelin Pilot Challenge Season in 2021

 
Nov. 20, 2020
By Jeff Olson
IMSA Wire Service
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – When a race team features two 16-year-old drivers named Tyler, addressing them becomes a crucial aspect of team communication. That explains the nicknames.
 
“Mine is T-Gon, his is T-Max,” Tyler Gonzalez said about the monikers used to distinguish him from teammate Tyler Maxson. “For short, it’s T.G. and T.M. most of the time. Together, everybody calls us T’n’T.”
 
It’s not a bad problem to have. After two races this year in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge, including last week’s Alan Jay Automotive Network 120 at Sebring International Raceway, Copeland Motorsports is planning a full season in the Pilot Challenge Touring Car (TCR) class in 2021.
 
Judging from the first effort – a runner-up finish in the series debut Oct. 16 at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta – the full-season plan holds promise. Especially for two teenagers who love the car they’re driving.
 
“You feel every minute detail in the car,” Maxson said of the team's No. 27 Hyundai Veloster N TCR. “They developed this car in such a way that it gives all the power to the driver. It really is just incredible to drive this thing. It’s really fast, as it’s proven this year. It’s definitely a very, very fast car, and it’s really great for the drivers.” 
 
The idea to field a TCR team came from veteran racer Dean Copeland, whose success as a driver and owner in the Global Mazda MX-5 Cup Series led to the opportunity to expand. He already had two youngsters in his stable, and he knew they’d work well together at a higher level.
 
“The main thing with both of these kids is they both like the same characteristics in a race car,” Copeland said. “It makes my job easy and makes for a winning duo. The seating position is the same, but they both like the car to handle the same. They have the same driving style – very fast, very up on the wheel. It’s hard to find two drivers with the same style in endurance racing. I’m lucky enough to have that going on.”
 
At their Michelin Raceway debut, Gonzalez started sixth and worked the No. 27 Hyundai into contention. During Maxson’s stint, he took the lead late in the race before settling for a runner-up finish behind the No. 98 Bryan Herta Autosport with Curb Agajanian Hyundai co-driven by Michael Lewis and Mason Filippi.
 
Afterward, the two longtime teammates – the nicknames go back to their karting days – were informally addressed as T-Max and T-Gon.
 
“That’s literally the only way we can differentiate ourselves,” Maxson said with a laugh.
 
The nicknames are likely to last for a time. After finishing 10th in TCR in their second Pilot Challenge race at Sebring, Copeland Motorsports is looking ahead to the full season in 2021 with the two Tylers in the No. 27 car. Copeland also has a sister car planned for at least a part-time TCR schedule. And, with the Mazda MX-5 Cup moving under the IMSA umbrella in 2021, he’ll have his entire fleet of cars at the same tracks much of the time.
 
“We’ll be able to have all of our teams on site at one track at one time,” said Copeland, whose shop is located in Stevensville, Maryland. “That’s exciting for us next year. … Our plan is to run two cars in TCR and have our MX-5 Cup program at the races, so we’ll have quite a few cars at the track. Hopefully, we’ll make a big splash in the IMSA paddock and have some success.” 
 
Both drivers started young, mastering go-karts at an early age and moving up to cars by the time they were 14. Before the move to Pilot Challenge late this season, Maxson won 11 races and the TCR championship in the TC America series driving a Veloster TCR N. Gonzalez, in a Veloster Turbo, won four races in the TCA category. IMSA’s minimum age for drivers is 17, but that can be reduced by one year at the discretion of IMSA officials based on previous experience in organized racing.
 
That experience in karting proved essential to their rapid ascension through the car ranks.
 
“It’s the same thing as riding a bike,” Gonzalez said. “When you learn it when you’re young, you never really forget it. Just the race craft alone; there’s no such thing as karting race craft anywhere else.”
 
What’s promising for the team is promising for the talent.
 
“By the time those kids are 18 years old, they’re going to have two or three years of experience in the IMSA paddock,” Copeland said. “If any manufacturers are looking for pro-level drivers, it’s hard to argue with an 18-year-old kid who’s been winning in IMSA for two-plus seasons already.”

 

Jim Pace Remembered by Sports Car Racing Community
Drivers Past and Present Cite His Impact on Them and the Sport

 
Nov. 17, 2020
By Holly Cain
IMSA Wire Service
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – For decades, Jim Pace has been one of racing’s most appreciated personalities and respected wheelmen. The Mississippi native was generous in offering an encouraging smile; long considered one of sports car racing’s most approachable “good guys” in the paddock and equally well-respected for his huge talent on track.
 
On Nov. 13 – on the eve of the 2020 running of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts – word came that Pace, 59, had died of COVID-19 complications. The heartbreak – felt from trackside to paddock, grandstands to pit lane – was evident at Sebring last weekend, a place where Pace earned two of his most celebrated victories and where a moment of silence was held in his memory prior to Saturday’s race.
 
Lyn St. James, a longtime racing icon, recalled time spent with Pace over the years as she was being inducted into the Sebring Hall of Fame during the race weekend.
 
“Jim was just a larger-than-life personality, very kind and smart,’’ St. James said. “Being here at Sebring and inducted into the Hall of Fame here today, I can’t equate it in my head. He was young and he was vital. I don’t understand it. It’s a huge loss, not just to the racing community.
 
“He was just a super, super guy, one of life’s people that makes things happen.’’ 
 
Pace indeed spent many days and years at the venerable track in Central Florida – racing and winning himself and also teaching the craft to scores of aspiring drivers. In a career that spanned four decades, he was as beloved by those he taught as by those he raced against – no small feat in and of itself.
 
Initially, Pace had planned to become a doctor and even completed three years of medical school in his native Mississippi. But his fondness for racing and natural ability behind the wheel of a race car compelled him to fast track another career.
 
Pace started racing professionally in the Barber Saab Pro Series, then made his way into the IMSA ranks, where he very quickly established himself as a very fast and very smart driver. That 1990 GTU class win at Sebring came only two years after he started racing professionally.
 
He added to that high-profile sports car win, earning the 1996 Rolex 24 At Daytona crown and the overall win in the Twelve Hours of Sebring co-driving with Wayne Taylor and Scott Sharp. He later followed that up with Rolex 24 class podium finishes in 2003 and 2007.
 
“It’s very, very sad news,’’ Taylor said on his Wayne Taylor Racing team’s Facebook page this weekend. “Hard to believe. 
 
“Jim and I drove together and won at Daytona and Sebring in 1996. My condolences to his family. I always said he was one of the nicest people and one of the best teammates I ever had.’’
 
Taylor’s sons Jordan, 29, and Ricky, 31, worked with Pace, who served as their mentor and driver coach as they made their own way up the racing ranks. In fact, the Taylor brothers followed in their father and Pace’s footsteps in 2017, when they became the first set of co-drivers to earn overall victories in the Rolex 24 and Twelve Hours of Sebring in the same year since Pace, Taylor and Sharp did it 21 years earlier.
 
Ricky Taylor claimed the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Daytona Prototype international (DPi) championship Saturday at Sebring and was quick to pay tribute to Pace in his post-race comments. Jordan Taylor, meanwhile, now drives for Corvette Racing in the WeatherTech Championship, claiming the GT Le Mans (GTLM) title this season.
 
“Jim was a big part of our family,’’ Jordan Taylor said. “Not only did he have a big impact on my dad by teaming up and winning the Rolex 24 together, but he also coached Ricky and I through our Skip Barber careers. Without him, we wouldn’t be where we are today.
 
“Not only was he an amazing coach and driver, but an amazing human. He touched so many lives at the racetrack. We’re all going to miss seeing him at the races.’’
 
IMSA President John Doonan knew Pace for most of his career.
 
“Racer, teacher and loyal friend, these are the simple words to describe Jim Pace and the loss our sport feels today due to his passing,’’ Doonan said upon hearing the news.
 
“When it comes to racing and driving, Jim did it all and saw it all. From a beginner to a champion. ... Jim counseled drivers on the path to the top after he himself rode that same journey. All of us at IMSA are devastated by losing such a great champion and friend.’’
 
In recent years, Pace continued to mentor young drivers and went on to be very active in historic racing, taking an ownership role in the Historic Sportscar Racing series. And he was president and chief operating officer of the Chattanooga Motorcar Festival.
 
“We are saddened and heartbroken by the untimely loss of Jim Pace to COVID-19,’’ said Byron Defoor, founder of the Chattanooga Motorcar Festival.
 
“Jim was my dear friend and racing partner with the Fifty Plus Racing Foundation that helped to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for Alzheimer’s research. Jim was the president and chief operating officer of our most recent fundraising event, the Chattanooga Motorcar Festival. Not only was he an outstanding race car driver, he was one of the nicest, most gracious gentlemen in the sport and car collector world.’’
 
Pace’s partner and president at the Historic Sportscar Racing series, David Hinton echoed what much of the racing world felt upon hearing the stunning news of Pace’s passing.
 
“The HSR family is shocked and deeply saddened by Jim Pace’s passing yesterday afternoon,’’ Hinton said over the weekend. “Jim to me was the ultimate gentleman who had time for everyone he came across in his life. He made us all better people for knowing him. 
 
“He has helped make HSR a better place to race and be involved in with his knowledge and input over the last five years. The outpouring we have received from around the world tells a lot about the respect and love people held for J.P. Everyone from Formula One drivers to ex-Skip Barber school students he taught over the years have all echoed the same message.’’
 
Pace’s personal Facebook page has been flooded by tributes – from people that have known him for decades to young, aspiring drivers he recently helped. 
 
For as accomplished as Pace was inside a race car, he will also be warmly remembered for his presence outside a race car – for his ever-present smile, for his warm nature and for his unique ability to teach and to care. 
 
“Obviously, there’s his history with my dad,’’ Ricky Taylor said. “Our very first racing schools at Sebring and all through the beginning of my career he was around and helping. The sad thing for me is, I don’t think he ever realized how much he meant to us. He was such a good person and made everyone feel good at the track. He had such an impact.
 
“It sounds simple but being a nice race car driver that accomplished so much and gave back to the other drivers meant so much. He was always there for questions and he had great humility.
 
“He helped so many other people share in his love for racing.’’
 
And what a legacy that is.
 
Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by
Advance Auto Parts Takeaways
Nov. 16, 2020
By David Phillips
IMSA Wire Service
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Good things come to those who wait. That old chestnut applies to the 2020 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship as a whole and, in particular, the 2020 Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts.
 
A season that once appeared in jeopardy of never happening came through with flying colors, to be capped off by a season finale packed with action and drama from start to finish. Congratulations to Daytona Prototype international (DPi) champions Acura Team Penske, Helio Castroneves and Ricky Taylor, Le Mans Prototype 2 (LMP2) champions PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports and Patrick Kelly, GT Le Mans (GTLM) champions Chevrolet, Corvette Racing, Antonio Garcia and Jordan Taylor, and GT Daytona (GTD) champions Acura, Meyer Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian, Mario Farnbacher and Matt McMurry.
 
Kudos, too, to Twelve Hours of Sebring DPi winners Mazda Motorsports, Harry Tincknell, Jonathan Bomarito and Ryan Hunter-Reay, LMP2 winners PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports, Kelly, Simon Trummer and Scott Huffaker, GTLM winners Porsche, Nick Tandy, Fred Makowiecki and Earl Bamber and GTD winners Porsche, Wright Motorsports, Patrick Long, Ryan Hardwick and Jan Heylen.
 
Permit me a few observations …
 
For all the controversy the Balance of Performance regulations may have engendered over the years, it’s worth noting that 2020 saw all three manufacturers competing in DPi (Acura, Cadillac and Mazda) win multiple times, with five of eight regularly competing teams mounting the top step of the podium and a sixth (No. 6 Acura Penske) yielding a near-certain win of its own to its championship-contending teammates on the penultimate lap at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.
 
Balanced performance? GTLM not only saw every regularly competing manufacturer (Porsche, BMW and Corvette) win a race, but every team regularly competing in the 2020 season earn at least one victory. That’s a tough act to follow, and while every manufacturer and team in GTD did not win a race, the fact that seven different teams steered an Acura, BMW, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Lexus or Porsche into victory lane speaks volumes about how well the “performance balancers” performed their often thankless task in 2020.
 
These are difficult times for manufacturers and race team owners. Budgets were tight even before the onset of the pandemic. Now with limited (if any) public attendance at races, resources are stretched to the breaking point. But for those manufacturers and teams ready, willing and able to go racing next year, there’s an embarrassment of riches when it comes to selecting drivers, given the amount of unemployed or underemployed talent on the market.
 
Juan Pablo Montoya. Tristan Nunez. Nick Tandy. Fred Makowiecki. Laurens Vanthoor. Mario Farnbacher. Matt McMurry. Each is apparently on the market, as are others. Add Helio Castroneves to the list, what with his limited 2021 IndyCar program for Meyer Shank. Perhaps nobody better embodies the depth of available talent out there than Jan Heylen, whose electrifying performance during the opening stint of Saturday’s race put the No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche in another zip code in the GTD class.
 
Arguably the most impressive performance by a driver last weekend was turned in by Bill Auberlen. Yes, I realize that’s a bit of a non-sequitur given that Mr. Auberlen never did a lap, never even turned a wheel at Sebring owing to the fact that he was not in attendance after notifying the Turner Motorsport team that he had been in contact with someone who may have the COVID-19 virus. Given his insatiable passion for motorsports, missing any race is excruciatingly painful for Auberlen.
 
But to miss the final race of the season – especially the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring – must have been almost unbearable. Then again, it was the right thing to do and, not surprisingly, Auberlen did the right thing.

 

No. 7 Acura Team Penske Drivers Look to Write
Storybook Ending to Season
Team Has Recovered from Early Season Woes to Lead DPi Standings

 
Nov. 14, 2020
By Mark Robinson
IMSA Wire Service
SEBRING, Fla. – Considering where they were four short months and five races ago, the fact that the No. 7 Acura Team Penske drivers are even talking about an IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship is astounding.

 
That they are leading the Daytona Prototype international (DPi) class heading into today’s 2020 season finale is just as amazing, though not totally surprising knowing the resilience and dedication put into any Team Penske project. So it is, as the 68th annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts takes the green flag just past 10 a.m. ET, that No. 7 co-drivers Helio Castroneves and Ricky Taylor hold a razor-thin two-point lead in the driver and team battles.

 
“It was a very rough season, the beginning,” Castroneves admitted, alluding to a pair of eighth-place finishes and one seventh-place result that put the No. 7 in a deep hole to start this pandemic-altered season. Following that third race, the Cadillac Grand Prix of Sebring on July 18, Castroneves and Taylor were 22 points out of the class lead and mostly an afterthought in the championship.

 
That was then; this is now. The No. 7 Acura ARX-05 has won four of the last five races and finished second the other time to steamroll into the points lead as the series returns to Sebring International Raceway for the iconic 12-hour race postponed from its typical March date to serve as the finale.

 
“This is a perfect example that in racing, anything is possible,” Castroneves said. “Right now, I can’t believe that we’re leading the championship. Everything, we put it together, we put ourselves in this position. … Yes, momentum is everything and we’re going to ride this wave going to the last race at Sebring.”

 
Castroneves and Taylor will be joined behind the wheel for the third time this season by Alexander Rossi. The 2016 Indianapolis 500 winner said his focus is the same as everyone else involved: securing the championship that would serve as the perfect final chapter for Team Penske, which has already announced its exit from WeatherTech Championship competition after this season.

 
“The fact that the Twelve Hours of Sebring is the finale is awesome; it’s one of the highlight races of the series, no doubt,” Rossi said. “The fact that it’s going to be kind of a winner-take-all situation, I think, is special for the teams, the drivers and the fans.

 
“Everyone has a single focus in mind and that’s to come out of this with a championship to kind of finish the partnership that’s been so successful with Acura and Team Penske through these three years.”

 
Taylor is chasing his second WeatherTech Championship title. Ironically, the first came three years ago driving for his father’s team, Wayne Taylor Racing, whose No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac drivers Ryan Briscoe and Renger van der Zande are the nearest combatants for the 2020 crown. And fittingly, Ricky Taylor, who qualified on the pole position Friday, will share the front row with van der Zande, who qualified second.
 
Taylor and Castroneves have scored 242 points to 240 for Briscoe and van der Zande. Pipo Derani (No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac) is still in the running for the championship with 233 points. Ricky Taylor believes the Cadillacs have an advantage on the rough 3.74-mile, 17-turn Sebring circuit, but he’s not ceding anything.

 
“At this point in the championship, this is where you want to be,” he said. “You want to be in the fight. It’s super exciting. For us it’s definitely a big-pressure situation every time we go to Sebring. The Cadillacs are very strong.

 
“We need to be prepared to win the race, not just play a safe championship battle and follow them around. I think everybody’s really excited and really motivated. … I think we’re all at the top of our game, so if there’s ever a time to go to Sebring and fight for the championship, this is the one.”

 
NBC Sports will have complete live television coverage of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts, beginning at 10 a.m. ET on NBCSN. Coverage shifts to NBC network from 3 to 6 p.m. before returning to NBCSN at 6 p.m. through the checkered flag and post-race celebrations.
Andretti Serves as Sebring Grand Marshal 50 Years after
Winning ‘The Greatest 12 Hours

 
Nov. 14, 2020
By Mark Robinson
IMSA Wire Service
SEBRING, Fla. -- Fifty years after accomplishing one of the most revered wins in sports car racing history – in what is still hailed as “The Greatest 12 Hours” – Mario Andretti returned today to serve as grand marshal of the 68th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts.

 
The legendary racer who won in every discipline where he competed – sports cars, IndyCars, Formula 1, even NASCAR – arrived in style this morning, the HondaJet carrying him landed on the adjacent Sebring Regional Airport and then taxied down the Sebring International Raceway backstretch to Turn 17. From there, he hopped into a current-day Ferrari adorned with a black No. 21 inside a white circle, replicating the number of the Ferrari 512C Coupe that Andretti willed to victory five decades ago.

 
Andretti and co-driver Arturo Merzario started on pole and dominated the 1970 race in the No. 19 Ferrari 512 Spyder until gearbox issues ended its day two hours before the finish. Scheduled to drive in a Pennsylvania sprint car race the next day, Andretti was prepared to leave the track when Ferrari team manager Mauro Forghieri asked if he would finish the race in the No. 21 Coupe that was running third but a much different car than the open-cockpit Spyder.

 
The factory-backed Porsche that had been leading suffered a mechanical issue, but that left the privateer Porsche driven by the great Peter Revson and actor/racer Steve McQueen still ahead. Andretti said he was running laps six seconds faster in the No. 21 Coupe that he wasn’t fitted to drive than he had been turning earlier in the No. 19 Spyder designed for him.

 
“I had some catching up to do,” Andretti said. “I didn’t have much time left – I had about an hour or so to make up a lap or so. I passed him (for the lead), but I had to stop to get about a liter of fuel toward the end. Then I had to re-pass him again and then we won. It was a glorious event because it was not expected.”

 
Andretti issued the start command for today’s race, then jumped behind the wheel of a Ferrari Tributo for a ceremonial pace lap before the 12-hour race began. His first trip back to Sebring since the mid-1990s opened the floodgates for the fond memories – especially from those “Greatest 12 Hours.”

 
“I’ve been very lucky here,” he said. “Obviously, we had three wins, but that one stands out because so many things were happening that we didn’t know what the outcome was going to be. It’s so great to be here today, to be invited to celebrate that event.

 
“To be part of the history here is what it’s all about. That’s what you always remember, that’s what you put on your mantel.”

 

Change Racing Takes Home All Four Championships in
Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America
Snow Brothers, Corey Lewis, Victor Gomez IV and Randy Sellari
Finish off Team Title Sweep
November 13, 2020
By Mark Robinson
IMSA Wire Service
SEBRING, Fla. – As the Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America season concluded Friday evening at Sebring International Raceway, Change Racing rode off into the sunset with all the championship hardware.

 
The team that fields Lamborghini Charlotte Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo EVOs, crowned season champs in all four classes following the second race of the day and 10th of the season.

 
Madison Snow (No. 16 Huracán) clinched the Pro class title by finishing second in Friday afternoon’s final race. Younger brother McKay Snow and Corey Lewis (No. 63 Huracán) took the ProAm championship with a third-place result in the finale. Victor Gomez IV (No. 29 Huracán) had already sewn up the Am title but completed a perfect season with his 10th win. And Randy Sellari (No. 03 Huracán) racked up his sixth race win on his way to the LB Cup championship.

 
“It’s a massive cap to everybody on the team to win all the championships,” said Lewis, who also earned a Rolex 24 At Daytona GT Daytona class victory driving a Huracán GT3 in January. “Total team effort. Man, it sounds great to be champions!”

 
Like the first race Friday morning, the 50-minute afternoon event ran caution-free. And as in the morning, the No. 6 US RaceTronics, Lamborghini Beverly Hills Huracán started from the pole and won behind drivers Steven Aghakhani and Jacob Eidson.

 
“We came in here knowing what had to be done,” Aghakhani said. “We obviously tried everything we could but unfortunately the (No.) 16 car held its pace the second race and there was only so much we could do about it.”

 
Aghakhani and Eidson took solace in the fact they won more races (4-3) than Madison Snow and earned every point possible this weekend. The final tally had Madison Snow with 121 points and Aghakhani/Eidson with 118.

 
“The car was amazing today,” said Eidson, the ProAm champion last year with Darren Ockey. “I didn’t really have any drama when I was out there driving and the car was just stuck to the ground like rails. … We did everything that we possibly could have done to put ourselves in the best position to win the championship. Even though we didn’t win that, we’re still really stoked to win both races here. It’s a perfect end to the season.”

 
Madison Snow finished on the podium in every race but one this season. That consistency led to his title.
“It’s awesome being the champion,” Madison Snow said. “It was very stressful coming down to the last minute. I could’ve clinched it in Race 1; didn’t have what it took. Then in Race 2, it came down to the very end, but I clinched the championship.”

 
Danny Formal highlighted his capabilities in the ProAm race. Starting last after his car didn’t pass post-qualifying technical inspection Thursday, Formal willed the No. 99 Ansa Motorsports Lamborghini Broward Huracán to fifth place overall and first in class at the checkered flag.

 
“I think it was the best start I’ve ever done in my life,” Formal said. “I started 16th and by the end of the first lap I was 10th – passed six cars in one lap. The car was on rails. I’m so thankful to Ansa Motorsports. … Extremely happy, super grateful. The team is doing a fantastic job for our first season.”

 
Lewis and McKay Snow finished the afternoon race third in ProAm, but it was enough to give them a five-point advantage (125-120) over Leo Lamelas (No. 24 US RaceTronics, Lamborghini Westlake Huracán) in the class standings.

 
“We just knew what we needed to do,” McKay Snow said. “We ended up with two (third-place finishes) today and that’s all we needed to wrap up the championship. All we were thinking about was bringing it home because this completes a clean sweep (of championships) for our team.”

 
Gomez continued to impress, winning by a lap in the Am class to collect his second IMSA-sanctioned championship. He was the 2018 Gold Cup winner in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama.
“It’s been amazing. I’m just so grateful,” Gomez said. “I’m thankful for the opportunity Change Racing gave me. I’m thankful for my sponsors, for my family that have been traveling in these tough times from Puerto Rico. This is my second IMSA championship so I’m super happy. I’m excited for the future.”

 
Sellari completed a victory sweep of the two races in LB Cup and choked up with emotion afterward when discussing his championship.

 
“That last duel with my teammate Matt (Dicken, No. 36 Huracán), that was a good one,” Sellari said. “I didn’t think I was ever going to get around him. Once I got into the front, I wasn’t going to let anybody past me after that. I’m elated! I’ve never won anything like this. This is for my kids.”

 

Tune-In: Mobil 1 Twelve Hours Of Sebring Presented By Advance Auto Parts

Coverage begins at 10 a.m. ET on NBCSN. At 3 p.m. ET, coverage shifts to NBC network for three full hours of action, before returning to NBCSN from 6 p.m. through the checkered flag and post-race celebrations.

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Sebring International Raceway: Resource Guide

All the info you need for this week's season finale at Sebring International Raceway.

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Doonan Proud Of IMSA's Resilience, Growth In His First Year As President

When John Doonan was tabbed to be the next president of the International Motor Sports Association in October 2019, his upcoming tenure was universally greeted with goodwill, optimism and a spirit of can-do.

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Kingsley Looking To Sew Up Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA By Yokohama Title At Sebring

Jeff Kingsley looks to climax a stellar season by bringing home the championship in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama when the series closes its 2020 season with a doubleheader on Friday at Sebring International Raceway.

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Entry List Notebook: Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America At Sebring International Raceway

An exciting and competitive Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America championship heads for its 2020 conclusion this week with a pair of 50-minute races at the historic Sebring International Raceway road course.

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Spectators Guide To Mobil 1 Twelve Hours Of Sebring Presented By Advance Auto Parts

Here’s a strange concept to wrap your head around: the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts is the finale to the 2020 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

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Get Ready For 7 Spicy Hyundais By 2022's End, Including An Elantra N

In the next two years, we’re about to meet a whole host of vehicles from Hyundai’s N performance division.

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What to Watch For: Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring
Presented by Advance Auto Parts
Championship Battles Await; Gavin, Castroneves Close Career Chapters

 
Nov. 12, 2020
By David Phillips
IMSA Wire Service
SEBRING, Fla. – What a long, strange trip it’s been.
 
When the green flag waved on the Rolex 24 At Daytona in January, who could have foreseen the checkered flag wouldn’t fall on the 2020 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship until Nov. 14 at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts?
 
But nearly 10 months and nine races of a condensed schedule since July later (including GT-only rounds at VIR and Charlotte), a topsy-turvy season that almost didn’t happen will crown a bevy of champions on Saturday night. And while the GT Le Mans (GTLM) and Le Mans Prototype 2 (LMP2) champions were decided a fortnight ago at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, the driver, team and manufacturer titles are still on the line in the Daytona Prototype international (DPi) and GT Daytona (GTD) classes.
 
Depending on which crown you’re talking about, DPi features a two- or three-way battle for the hardware. The manufacturer title is a straight fight between Cadillac and Acura, with the top finisher taking the title. Team- and driver-wise, it’s more complicated.
 
The No. 7 Acura Team Penske and drivers Helio Castroneves and Ricky Taylor enjoy a two-point advantage over the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac and Ryan Briscoe and Renger van der Zande, with the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Racing Cadillac and Pipo Derani nine points out of the lead. Should the No. 7 Acura and No. 10 Cadillac finish in the top two spots, the higher-placed team and drivers will take the titles.
 
It gets complicated should both cars finish further down the DPi order. Indeed, there are several scenarios where they could finish with equal points. However, with four wins to their credit this season, Castroneves, Taylor and the No. 7 own the tiebreakers.
 
In contrast, the calculations for the No. 31 and Derani are simple: To have a chance at the team and driver championships, they must follow the advice of the late Al Davis, founder of the NFL’s Las Vegas (previously Oakland-Los Angeles-and-Oakland-again) Raiders and “just win, baby” – then hope the Acura Penske finishes out of the top five and the Konica Minolta Cadillac fifth or lower.
 
The GTD team championship finds the No. 86 Meyer Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian Acura NSX GT3 enjoying, by comparison, a hefty seven-point lead over rival Porsche’s No. 16 Wright Motorsports entry, with Lexus’ No. 14 AIM Vasser Sullivan entry 10 markers out of the top spot. Similarly, Meyer Shank’s Mario Farnbacher and Matt McMurry are seven points up on Wright Motorsports’ Patrick Long and Ryan Hardwick in the reckoning for the driver title. However, owing to lineup shuffles earlier in the season, AIM Vasser Sullivan’s Aaron Telitz is just eight points back of Farnbacher and McMurry. The GTD manufacturer battle is also a three-way contest, one where Acura (269) holds a slim two-point lead over Lexus, with Porsche (256) a distant third. 
 
While many a driver will be moving on to greener, or at least different, pastures at season’s end, Sebring will mark particularly poignant transitions for two of the most successful race drivers of the 21st century: Oliver Gavin and Helio Castroneves. Having earlier revealed he will not have a full-time ride with Corvette Racing in 2021, Sebring marks the conclusion of 18 remarkable seasons for Gavin. In that time, the lanky Brit won no fewer than five IMSA championships and captured more than 50 race victories, including five Petit Le Mans class wins, five class wins in the 24 Hours of Le Mans and, with co-driver Tommy Milner, the first win for the new Corvette C8.R this year in the Cadillac Grand Prix of Sebring.
 
Saturday also brings the curtain down on 21 historically successful seasons for Castroneves at Team Penske, during which he became one of the most prolific IndyCar drivers in team history with 30 victories. Along with three wins and four poles at the Indianapolis 500, the ebullient Brazilian notched a couple IMSA wins including the 2008 Motul Petit Le Mans (in LMP2) and the first DPi win for Acura Team Penske at Mid-Ohio in 2018 – not to mention four victories this season.
 
For all Castroneves has achieved, however, the four-time IndyCar championship bridesmaid has never won a title for Roger Penske. Taking the narrow lead in the DPi standings to Sebring, Castroneves (with more than a little help from friend and co-driver Ricky Taylor) could change that and, in the bargain, write a storybook finish to his career at Penske before he moves on to a part-time IndyCar role next season with Meyer Shank Racing.
No. 14 AIM Vasser Sullivan Lexus Drivers Like Their
GTD Championship Chances
Driver, Team and Manufacturer Titles All within Reach at Sebring

 
Nov. 11, 2020
By Mark Robinson
IMSA Wire Service
SEBRING, Fla. – They may be running third in the three-horse race for the GT Daytona (GTD) championship, but Jack Hawksworth and Aaron Telitz like their odds for coming away with the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship class title when the checkered flag waves Saturday at the 68th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts.

 
Hawksworth, in fact, says, “I feel like in many ways we’re the favorites” in the No. 14 AIM Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3.

 
Telitz sits third in driver points, eight behind No. 86 Meyer Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian Acura drivers Mario Farnbacher and Matt McMurry, and a single point behind No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche drivers Patrick Long and Ryan Hardwick. The No. 14 is 10 points behind the No. 86 in the team standings and Lexus is a mere two points shy of Acura in manufacturer bragging rights, so all the championships are up for grabs in the iconic race that closes the 2020 season.

 
Hawksworth based his optimism for overcoming the deficits on recent history. He and Telitz won the Cadillac Grand Prix of Sebring in July, though it was the standard two-hour, 40-minute distance and not the marathon 12 hours. Kyle Kirkwood joins them as the third driver in the No. 14 this weekend.

 
“I feel pretty good about this one, to be honest,” Hawksworth said. “We obviously raced there earlier in the year in the sprint race and we won. We feel like we’ve got a good baseline there, we’ve got a good car.

 
“The points situation is what it is,” he added. “Basically, that means we just need to win this race and I think the Acura (No.) 86 needs to finish (fifth) or worse. It’s definitely possible; I feel like we’re in really, really good shape.”

 
Telitz has accumulated two more driver points than Hawksworth (248-246) because he drove two races this season in the team’s No. 12 Lexus. There was discussion within the team of splitting the drivers between the two cars to double the chances of winning the drivers’ title, but it was quickly nixed.

 
“We did decide that our best chance is to stack the (No.) 14 car as best we can and have the best drivers, best everything and just go for it,” Telitz said. “We’ve got a great lineup and our car is quick at Sebring, so we’ve just got to execute now.”

 
Telitz and Hawksworth have already won the IMSA WeatherTech Sprint Cup, consisting of points accumulated in the seven races this season of two hours, 40 minutes or less. It marked Lexus’ first championship of any kind in its fourth year of GTD competition.

 
“It is testament to the hard work of everybody at the AIM Vasser Sullivan team and Lexus that we have been able to secure the first title in IMSA for the Lexus RC F GT3 car,” said Hawksworth, who has been with the Lexus program since its inception. “A lot of time and effort has gone into making this happen over a number of years, so to see it all come together and culminate in a championship is very special.”

 
Now, however, the focus quickly shifts to the overall class championship. A Sebring victory would go a long way in making that happen plus provide Lexus another first: an endurance race win.

 
“Winning the Twelve Hours of Sebring is a huge accomplishment in itself and that’s our goal,” Telitz said. "We’re going in there guns a-blazing, going for the win. Everybody knows it. And whatever happens championship-wise, we’ll take it from there.”

 
“The race in itself is a championship,” Hawksworth added, “as are all of these big races – 24 Hours of Daytona, Sebring, Petit Le Mans. Just winning one of those big races can kind of make your season anyway. And as we spoke about, the situation we’re in points-wise, we have to win the race so it’s pretty simple, really. We want to win the Twelve Hours of Sebring, and if we do that, I think we’ll probably win the championship.”

 
WeatherTech Championship action at the Sebring season finale begins with three practices Thursday and qualifying the following day. Complete live race coverage starts at 10 a.m. ET Saturday on NBCSN, moving to NBC at 3 p.m. and switching back to NBCSN at 6 p.m. until the race’s conclusion.
One Thing’s Certain: No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac
Must Win for DPi Title Hopes
Amid Changing Sebring Weather Possibilities, Drivers Focus
on Winning Season Finale
Nov. 11, 2020
By Jeff Olson
IMSA Wire Service
SEBRING, Fla. – On Monday morning, the weather forecast for Sebring included rain later in the week. Lots of rain.
 
A few hours later, as the predicted track of Tropical Storm Eta moved dramatically to the west, what had been expected to be torrential rain was reduced to possible drizzle.
 
By Wednesday, the storm turned eastward again, upgraded to a Category 1 hurricane. It battered Tampa-St. Petersburg, forcing the closure of Tampa International Airport, while its outer bands brought rain and wind to Sebring. The latest forecast had Eta quickly leaving the area Thursday, but still dropping rain on practice sessions, with possible showers forecast for Saturday's race.
 
In other words, it could be dry. Or a little wet. Or a combination of both.
 
Welcome to Florida’s unpredictable weather, a longtime nemesis of drivers and teams preparing for Saturday’s 68th annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts.
 
Imagine trying to prepare a race car contending for a championship in uncertain weather conditions. Imagine trying to prepare it for race conditions that have yet to come into focus. That’s what’s facing Felipe Nasr, Pipo Derani, Gabby Chaves and their team as they get ready for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship finale at Sebring International Raceway – the former airfield turned racetrack in Central Florida.
 
“When it rains at Sebring, it can make it pretty difficult for everyone,” Derani said. “It’s a very flat track, and it’s not an easy place when the rain comes. Nevertheless, it’s also very fun to drive, even if it’s super, super wet. If there is rain, I hope it’s not that much, so we can run.”
 
Running is the key for Nasr, Derani and Chaves. They're third in team standings in the Daytona Prototype international (DPi) class in the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Racing Cadillac DPi, nine points behind the leading No. 7 Acura Team Penske Acura ARX-05 DPi shared by Ricky Taylor, Helio Castroneves and Alexander Rossi.
 
Renger van der Zande, Ryan Briscoe and Scott Dixon are second in the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R, two points behind the No. 7 Acura. Derani is third in the DPi driver standings, while Nasr, who missed a race earlier this season after testing positive for COVID-19, is in eighth place. 
 
Championships will be longshots for Nasr, Derani and Chaves when Saturday’s race begins at 10:10 a.m. ET. Rain or shine, though, they like their chances.
 
“Whether it’s rain or dry, I think we have a great car,” Nasr said. “Hopefully, the conditions are drivable. At the end of the day, you want to make sure all the cars can run. That way we can put on a show. I love that place, man. It doesn’t matter if it’s raining or dry.”
 
Weather isn’t all the team is trying to sort out as it tries to chase down championships. It's also dealing with a dramatic change in light from what drivers usually experience in the 12 Hours of Sebring.
 
Saturday’s race, moved from its usual spring date because of the pandemic, will provide approximately two more hours of darkness than it would have in March. That means cooler track temperatures for the final four to five hours of the race, along with reduced visibility.
 
The key, then, is making the most of the dark.  
 
“We’re going to have to maximize what we have at the end of the race,” Derani said. “But I think that’s something that every team and every driver thinks about. It’s better to suffer during the whole day to have a good car at night than the other way around.”
 
One advantage the No. 31 Cadillac and its drivers have is recent success at Sebring. The team won the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours last year, then followed it with a victory July 18 in the Cadillac Grand Prix at Sebring that was two hours, 40 minutes long.
 
“It’s no secret,” Nasr said. “I just feel like (the No. 31 engineers) have an edge there to set up the car better, especially over the bumps. … Sebring is a unique place. The tarmac changes a lot. In some parts of the track you feel the car reacting one way, and then it might change over the weekend. I enjoy it a lot. We should use this in our favor.”
 
About the only chance for championships Saturday for the No. 31 team involves a victory coupled with subpar performances by the cars ahead in points. If the No. 31 wins, the No. 7 must finish sixth or worse and the No. 10 fifth or lower.
 
“The only thing we can do is win,” Derani said. “If we don’t win, then it won’t change anything for us. … We might be a little bit more aggressive this time around. All we can do is take another Sebring win home, which would be fantastic no matter where we finish the championship.”
 
After all, it’s Sebring, where the only thing you always know is that you never know what to expect. 
 
“This time around it’s going to be different,” Derani said. “We’re not going to race in March or July. For sure, the weather is going to have an influence in performance. Nevertheless, I think we’re going to have a good car. It couldn’t be any better to go to the last race having Sebring to finish the championship.”
 
On-track action at Sebring International Raceway begins Thursday. NBCSN’s live race coverage begins at 10 a.m. ET Saturday. It moves to NBC at 3 p.m. before returning to NBCSN at 6 p.m. until the race’s conclusion.
Entry List Notebook – Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America
at Sebring International Raceway

 
November 11, 2020
By Mark Robinson
IMSA Wire Service
SEBRING, Fla. – An exciting and competitive Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America championship heads for its 2020 conclusion this week with a pair of 50-minute races at the historic Sebring International Raceway road course.

 
The competitiveness of the series is borne out by the fact that 11 of the 16 cars entered this week have posted at least one class win this season in the single-make series featuring Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo EVOs for all entrants. Two of the four class championships have yet to be decided heading to Sebring.

 
In the top-level Pro class, Madison Snow leads the pack by virtue of three wins and podium finishes in all eight races in the No. 16 Change Racing, Lamborghini Charlotte Huracán. Steven Aghakhani and Jacob Eidson, co-drivers of the No. 6 US RaceTronics, Lamborghini Beverly Hills Huracán, have won two races and trail Snow by 15 points in the standings. While he’s not in the title hunt, Sergio Jimenez (No. 13 Ansa Motorsports, Lamborghini Broward Huracán) comes to Sebring riding high after winning both races two weekends ago at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.

 
The tightest points battle is in the ProAm class, where Corey Lewis and McKay Snow, who share the No. 63 Change Racing, Lamborghini Charlotte Huracán, are eight points up on Leo Lamelas in the No. 24 US RaceTronics, Lamborghini Westlake Huracán. The No. 63 has won five times in class this season, with the No. 24 taking the other three victories. A new addition to the ProAm class this week will be William Hubbell and Eric Curran in the No. 69 Wayne Taylor Racing, Lamborghini Greenwich Huracán.

 
Victor Gomez IV (No. 29 Change Racing, Lamborghini Charlotte Huracán) has won all eight races in the Am class this season and long ago cinched the championship. He’ll have competition this week from a pair of TPC Racing entries moving up from LB Cup competition. Scott Schmidt and Trevor Andrusko, who made their season debut at WeatherTech Raceway, are in the No. 38 Lamborghini Sterling Huracán. Tom Kerr is teaming with newcomer Moritz Kranz in the No. 74 Lamborghini Sterling Huracán.

 
In LB Cup, Randy Sellari has finished first or second in all eight races to date in the No. 03 Change Racing, Lamborghini Charlotte Huracán and has secured the class title. Matt Dicken (No. 36 Change Racing, Lamborghini Charlotte Huracán) and Sydney McKee (No. 87 Prestige Performance with Wayne Taylor Racing, Lamborghini Paramus Huracán) have one win each and are both also entered this weekend.

 
The Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America schedule at Sebring has practices set for Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning, with qualifying sessions for both races late Thursday afternoon. The first race starts at 9:05 a.m. ET Friday, with the second at 3:40 p.m. that afternoon. Both races will stream live on IMSA.com with IMSA Radio commentary.

 

 

 

 

Kingsley Looking to Sew Up Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge
USA by Yokohama Title at Sebring
Metni Going for Third Straight Platinum Masters Crown,
Swearingin Hoping to Hang On in Gold Cup
Nov. 10, 2020
By Mark Robinson
IMSA Wire Service
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Jeff Kingsley looks to climax a stellar season by bringing home the championship in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama when the series closes its 2020 season with a doubleheader on Friday at Sebring International Raceway.

 
A total of 18 cars are entered for the races, where titles in the Platinum Cup (for current-generation Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars), Platinum Masters (for drivers 45 and older) and Gold Cup (for drivers running cars built between 2014 and 2016) will be determined. The leader in each class holds a comfortable points lead heading into the pair of 45-minute races on the 3.74-mile road course.

 
Kingsley has been downright sensational in the No. 16 Kelly-Moss Road and Race Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car, winning 10 of the first 14 races and not finishing worse than second all season. He has a 31-point advantage over Riley Dickinson, a three-time winner this season in the No. 53 Moorespeed Porsche. If Kingsley finishes eighth or better in either race, he clinches the Platinum driver championship.

 
In Platinum Masters, Alan Metni has been the dominant force with nine class wins and one overall victory this season in the No. 99 Kelly-Moss/AM Motorsports Porsche. Metni is 27 points ahead of Charlie Luck (No. 45 Wright Motorsports Porsche) and only needs to start both races to become the Masters champion.

 
Finally, in Gold Cup, Curt Swearingin and Efrin Castro have waged a spirited battle all season, with Swearingin 18 points to the better. If Swearingin starts both races in the No. 17 ACI Motorsports Porsche, he takes home the Gold Cup title.

 
One revision to the normal entry list for Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge this week sees Bart Collins, who competed in Gold Cup for MCR Racing in the first 12 races, move into the Platinum Masters class in the No. 5 MCR Racing Porsche.

 
The series opens activity with a practice Wednesday afternoon, followed by a second practice Thursday morning ahead of qualifying at 12:45 p.m. ET Thursday. The races are scheduled for 8 a.m. and 2:35 p.m. Friday, and each will stream live on IMSA.com accompanied by IMSA Radio commentary.

 

Spectators Guide to Mobile 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring
Presented by Advance Auto Parts
Plenty of great vantage points await those attending at Sebring

 
Nov. 10, 2020
By David Phillips
IMSA Wire Service
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Here’s a strange concept to wrap your head around: the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts is the finale to the 2020 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
 
Ever since promoter Alec Ullman staged the first 12-hour endurance race on the runways and taxiways of Hendricks Field in 1952, Sebring has been a harbinger of spring. But in a year turned upside down, this season’s version of the classic endurance race will be dressed in the russet hues of Thanksgiving rather than the emerald green of St. Patrick’s Day. 
 
But for all the upheaval, race fans will find much that is comfortingly familiar about watching the 2020 edition of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, particularly wandering ‘round the 17-turn, 3.74-mile circuit to take in the action from any number of fine vantage points.
 
For my money, there’s no better spot to watch a race at Sebring International Raceway than from drivers’ left on the approach to Turn 7 (the Hairpin). It’s a classic overtaking spot, coming at the end of the long full-throttle blast that commences upwards of half a mile away in the ultra-fast Turn 6 (Big Bend) and requires heavy braking down to 35-40 mph to negotiate the 135-degree right-hander. A fine place to watch any time of the day, this spot is downright spectacular after dark when the cars’ brake discs glow cherry red and sparks fly when the slightest misjudgment sends a car bouncing over the curbs.  
 
By all means, make sure you spend time watching from the infield around Turn 5. There’s a spectator mound that affords an entertaining perspective of the cars as they carve their way around the carousel-like corner. What’s more, several other good vantage points are just steps away, offering good views of the action not only at Turns 3 and 4 but, thanks to the fact the circuit doubles back on itself, Turns 11, 12 and 13 (Tower Turn) which launches the cars onto a sizable chunk of straightaway.
 
You’ll also want to position yourself to watch the action in Turn 17. Sunset Bend, as it’s known, is arguably the most daunting – not to mention physically demanding – turn on the course thanks to the combination of its high speed and ferocious bumps. Plant yourself on the outside of the corner exit to see the cars bound across the concrete slab pavement as they pop out under the vehicle bridge, then come ever so close to the wall entering the start/finish straightaway. 
 
Did someone say sunset? Sure, it’s a long race and nobody (well, almost nobody) will fault you for not watching every single moment of the 12 hours. But shame on you if you aren’t trackside in the gloaming of a central Florida evening, watching as the cars head into – or drive away from – the setting sun. FYI, sunset is at 5:37 p.m. ET Saturday.
 
And no race at Sebring would be complete without a trip to the Midway and Vendor Village to comb the stalls for new and used books, racing videos, scale-model race cars or to score a hat, T-shirt, jacket, decal, pin or poster honoring your favorite driver or marque of today ... or from days gone by. Speaking of bygone days: Although IMSA has suspended its spectator-friendly pre-race grid walk in the name of social distancing, fans would be remiss in not catching some of the racing action along the start/finish straightaway while bearing in mind the competitors are racing on the very concrete traversed by the likes of Juan Manuel Fangio, Stirling Moss, Phil Hill, Dan Gurney and virtually every other legend of the sport for nearly 70 years.

 

 

 

Doonan Proud of IMSA’s Resilience, Growth in his First Year as President


 
Nov. 9, 2020
By Holly Cain
IMSA Wire Service
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – When John Doonan was tabbed to be the next president of the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) in October 2019, his upcoming tenure was universally greeted with goodwill, optimism and a spirit of can-do. The former Director of Motorsports for Mazda North American Operations has long been a well-respected member of the IMSA paddock, highly regarded by the sport’s executives, drivers, teams and fans.
 
That feeling of support and Doonan’s distinguished record has been a huge attribute for the Chicago native in his maiden year guiding the sanctioning body. He’s faced unprecedented circumstances with the COVID-19 pandemic but has maintained a pervasive positive outlook that has benefitted the sport – and allowed IMSA to flourish and grow in the most turbulent of times.
 
This week, the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship concludes its season with the historic 68th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts at Sebring (Fla.) International Raceway. One of sports car racing’s crown jewels, the race was moved from its original March 21 date because of the pandemic and now its place on the schedule means it will crown champions.
 
As his first season draws to an extended close, Doonan is immensely proud of the way IMSA has operated, and he is eager and optimistic to see the progress continue for years to come.
 
What follows are Doonan’s thoughts on a variety of important topics from his first year as the sport’s well-supported leader – from figuring a path of competition in the midst of COVID-19 to the challenges and successes he’s experienced in a one-of-a-kind season.
 
There were certainly many unforeseeable obstacles to deal with right away in 2020. Shortly after the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona, everything changed with the pandemic and the reaction to it …
 
Doonan: I knew that I was entering a place that had a terrific team of personnel already on the roster. I was inheriting that and thank goodness for that. What we turned the corner into after the Rolex 24 tested everybody’s wits and everybody’s strengths.
 
But I come into this weekend’s race feeling really positive. We have a ton of momentum right now despite everything we’ve faced, and so I actually feel quite positive. 
 
We took what is traditionally a schedule with a lot of date equity that is sort of evenly spread out, kicking off with the Rolex and 45 days later you’re racing at Sebring and then you come out to the West Coast for Long Beach. We have a really good cadence in our schedule, but we’ve had to recast it, based on all the state mandates and lockdowns and things like that. We’ve pushed a lot of these events from July 4 into the middle of November when a week or so ago at Petit Le Mans, we would have been finished with the season.
 
So it’s definitely not been for the faint of heart, but we’ve really persevered and have so many positive things that have come out of this that I think that is what has kept everybody so energized.
 
How tough was the challenge considering this was your first season in this role?
 
Doonan: It’s maybe a little emotional analogy, but in an endurance race, teams face all kinds of adversity. Things rarely go absolutely perfect. And that’s really sort of the mentality I grew up with because my dad was a sports car racer – only on an amateur basis – but that’s what we’ve had to do. We’ve had to adapt and overcome.
 
We’ve had to readjust, rethink our schedule, rethink the way we go about it. Thank the Lord for our medical liaisons and the terrific relationships with AMR (American Medical Response). Those folks have helped us develop a set of medical and event protocols in conjunction with our colleagues at NASCAR that have allowed us to run all these race events in a safe manner and get all our competitors back in the U.S. 
 
Forty percent of our paddock comes from outside the United States, so thank goodness for Homeland Security and U.S. Customs and Border protection and the relationship we now have with them because they made it possible.
 
It’s been a great learning experience even though I’ve been around the sport for all these years. We’ve learned an absolute ton in the last 12 months.
 
Has watching the sport come together been a bit of a “blessing in disguise” during this pandemic?
 
Doonan: There’s no question our community is tighter – the teams, the relationship we have with the teams on the IMSA side, the auto manufacturer partners, our partners like Michelin and WeatherTech. I think we’re a tighter unit because everybody has just had to adapt from different schedule challenges with potentially separating ourselves a little more in the event space. Just doing things differently. 
 
But everybody embraced it right away when we went back to racing July 4 in Daytona. Outside of wearing their masks and doing all the proper protocols, it’s been business as usual once we’ve gotten into the paddock and executed the races. And you know, when competitors are complaining about things like the BoP (Balance of Performance), you know we have not skipped a beat (laughing). They are all racers and they haven’t lost that, for sure.
 
Talk about the competition on track.
 
Doonan: When we have the pre-race fan walk there’s a lot of fanfare before the events, but ultimately when the drivers strap on their helmets and get buckled in, when the race teams get over pit wall and prepare to execute that first pit stop, everybody has put their game face on – despite all the distractions of either getting to the track or how we set things up. 
 
In the end, I’m really proud of the entire staff and how the races have come off.
 
The GTD (GT Daytona) class, the variety of manufacturers we have there, the fact that Lamborghini kicked off the season with a win at the Rolex 24. Go back to the same track (in July) and Lexus puts a stake in the ground and starts a string of now four wins on the season, three in a row. Ferrari comes back at Petit Le Mans and has an outstanding race. BMW has put a few wins on the board.
 
But when you look at how tight the field is, whether it’s qualifying or once the race is off, everybody’s led, everybody’s been up front and even despite Lexus going on a streak of victories, (team owner) John Wright and his team on the Porsche side are right in the hunt as well right now. So there’s been a huge variety.
 
You watch the (Daytona Prototype international) racing at Petit Le Mans and for 10 hours it comes down to 10 minutes as Ricky Taylor and Pipo Derani battle it out. Clearly, Corvette has had a historical year (in GT Le Mans) by putting the C8.R in victory lane at Daytona but also putting 100 wins on the board. Porsche put a win on the board at Motul Petit Le Mans, so the variety is one of the special things of what we do in IMSA.
 
Acura, of course, also not only some great news with some new teams in DPi but (team owner) Mike Shank in the GTD (class) have been victorious, they’ve been strong. So there’s been a huge variety and the racing’s been absolutely spectacular.
 
The media numbers are up and that has to be very encouraging.
 
Doonan: The audience has responded in that regard. Our television viewership is up significantly year over year with our partners at NBC. Social media followers on all our platforms is in a momentum trend right now. People have taken in our content in a way they like, whether it’s the NBC TrackPass, whether it’s through IMSA Radio and the amazing broadcasts they put on or Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. Even TikTok has taken off for us as a platform. It’s really been a way for us to attract newer, maybe younger audiences that haven’t been introduced to the sport. 
 
And to cap it off, we’re going to be live at Sebring for 12 and a half hours with three of those being on the NBC network (and the rest on NBCSN). Just huge opportunity right now in the face of the challenges of the pandemic, to deepen engagement with our current audience, but also, I think, to potentially bring some new enthusiasts to the sport. So that’s really positive.
 
This will be unusual timing for the popular Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring this November weekend since it is normally a March event. However, there is plenty of excitement for this fall running with championships on the line.
 
Doonan: It’s hard to believe we’re going to Sebring for the finale. There are so many tight points races still undecided. And Sebring can introduce all kinds of tricky twists and turns in the storyline. NASCAR has concluded their championship weekend and IndyCar concluded theirs in St. Pete (three weeks ago), so we’ll be in the spotlight with all that NBC coverage and we ought to see some really strong numbers to close it out.
 
Talk about some highlights of the 2020 season and new developments on the horizon.
 
Doonan: I think nearly all 50 years of IMSA history has had Porsche as a partner. Their single-make championship now is going to be aligned with their Carrera Cup global formula and bring that to the U.S. as part of IMSA’s portfolio. 
 
We’ve announced Mazda’s MX-5 Cup will be coming to us, which is a terrific entry-level platform for young drivers, young teams, young engineers who aspire to be in the WeatherTech Championship or the Michelin Pilot (Challenge) championship. You’ve got a great steppingstone with them, and that sets us up quite well on the single-make side.
 
Out of the pandemic has also come an opportunity to do some eSports and eGaming more than we have before. So iRacing has taken a leadership role in our future in identifying the next generation or putting our product in front of them in a virtual world, which is really special. 
 
Going from that entry-level piece to the top category, back in September at Le Mans, we announced the final regulations for LMDh, which will be the top-level category (in the WeatherTech Championship). So, in terms of the racing content, we are really positioning ourselves well – from getting people involved in the sport and then at the very top allowing manufacturers to showcase their brands in overall victories in the Prototype category.
 
Also, as part of our portfolio in 2021, we’re adding LMP3 (Le Mans Prototype 3) to the big show. It is a great platform for both young drivers as well as drivers that aren’t professional in nature. A driver participating in a Prototype category like LMP3 as his or her hobby and partnering them up with a young rising star is going to create some really unique opportunities for us in those cars in the WeatherTech Championship, starting in Daytona.
 
From the content side, I think we have a ton of momentum. I’m really excited about where we are right now. The next two or three years is going to continue to see IMSA grow and also give our teams the opportunity to participate with platforms that are global in nature.
 
We’re really in a good position. We don’t rest on our laurels very well at IMSA; never have. And I don’t see us doing that going forward, but there are a lot of positives that we need to celebrate very quietly.
 
What would you consider the most noteworthy rise from a challenge this season?
 
Doonan: For sure, the ability for all of us to get back to racing. I think it was March 12 when travel bans began to hit and stay-at-home orders went into effect. I think all of us were concerned, what does this mean state-to-state for our promoter partners? Will they be able to hold events? Will they be able to hold events with fans? Will they have to cancel events completely? 
 
I would say being able to get back to racing, for all of us was probably the biggest priority and biggest accomplishment. 

 
 
And they have been tremendous partners. Knock on wood, we have not had a single participant turned away. There have been a few late-night phone calls to help some people. But everyone’s been able to get back and forth safely, so we’re really proud of that.
 
Most of all, I’m proud of our staff for sticking with it and our corporate partners from WeatherTech and Michelin – who are real pillar partners – to all of our automotive partners, 17 right now and a few coming. 
 
Toyota already announced it’s coming to the Michelin Pilot Challenge with the Supra next year, so we’re going to turn the corner into 2021 with more automotive manufacturers participating than we did to start the season. And, based with the pressures of the economy overall, that’s something that I would have never imagined.’’
 
Is there a certain pride you and your team can take in the overall successes this year during such unprecedented circumstances?
 
Doonan: One of the things I really appreciated was I had a relationship with so many of the folks at IMSA already from being a competitor, so there weren’t a lot of icebreakers needed in that regard. From being in endurance sports car racing, you’re used to facing a lot of challenges. We tried to break it down to No. 1, do we have events? No. 2, what are we going to need to do to rethink how we have events – from the way people enter the track, to medical screenings and temperature checks? My first call, frankly, was to our medical liaison asking, “OK, should I be worried? And if not, you tell me when I should be.” And they really helped.
 
Certainly, the collaboration with NASCAR (was beneficial). They were the first to go back of any professional sport, which we have a lot to be proud about in Daytona. But it was just methodical. We set up a Back to Racing Task Force at IMSA and ended up having nearly daily conference calls to start off. Then it weaned back to every other day and then once a week. It was just methodical.
 
IMSA, really our core business all these years has been to execute professional sports car events at the highest level. We didn’t forget how to do that, we just had to transform the way we’ve been doing it in a difficult environment. Really, just being methodical and staying calm. Because every time you’d wake up and have a plan for the day – in the early months – you thought you had everything done and by noon there was a different date or you could not have fans, or you could have only so many fans. 
 
It really challenges the business model of how we go about it, but in the end, it’s all about relationships, partnerships and communication. And I think we’ve done a particularly good job of working together with our stakeholders be it the race teams, be it our media partners, track promoters and all the other sponsors that allow us to be able to do what we do.
 
And we did it in the end. Those are the key words: We did it.
 
We still have Sebring, but when the checkered flag falls on that one, I think there will be a huge bit of relief; but don’t rest at the end of that. Only 45 days later we’ll be doing it again at Daytona.
 
I feel very fortunate and honored that Mr. (Jim) France (IMSA chairman) and Mr. (Ed) Bennett (IMSA CEO) gave me the opportunity to lead the team. We’re going to keep pushing hard and I think three or four years down the road we’re going to look back and realize we weathered perhaps the most difficult storm anyone could have imagined in their careers. And that will be a proud moment as well.
Entry List Notebook – IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge
at Sebring International Raceway

 
Nov. 9, 2020
By Mark Robinson
IMSA Wire Service
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – A total of 36 cars – the most since the January opener – are prepared to wage battle and decide championships this week at Sebring International Raceway in the final race of the 2020 IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge season.

 
The entry list for the Alan Jay Automotive Network 120 includes 24 cars in the Grand Sport (GS) and 12 in the Touring Car (TCR) classes, with titles still up for grabs in each. Only the BMW Endurance Challenge that kicked off the season at Daytona International Speedway nine months ago had more entries (51) this year.

 
Kyle Marcelli and Nate Stacy, drivers of the No. 60 KohR Motorsports Aston Martin Vantage GT4, are trying to wrest away the GS driver and team titles from reigning champions Tyler McQuarrie and Jeff Westphal in the No. 39 CarBahn with Peregrine racing Audi R8 GT4. The No. 60 holds a 15-point advantage heading into Friday’s race, but the No. 39 is riding a momentum wave from winning the most recent race, Oct. 31 at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. McQuarrie and Westphal have also bagged victories in the last two Pilot Challenge races at Sebring – in March 2019 and July 2020.

 
There’s also an intense battle for third in GS points, with Eric Foss and Jeff Mosing (No. 56 Murillo Racing Mercedes-AMG GT GT4) one point ahead of Jim Cox and Dylan Murry (No. 35 Riley Motorsports Mercedes), four points ahead of Russell Ward (No. 4 Winward Racing Mercedes-AMG GT GT4), 12 points ahead of Robby Foley (No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M4 GT4) and 14 up on Bryce Ward (No. 57 Winward Racing Mercedes).

 
All of those drivers and teams will play a pivotal role in deciding the GS manufacturer championship, which has Aston Martin three points ahead of Mercedes-AMG and five ahead of Audi going into race weekend.

 
The TCR driver and team chases are even tighter, with the top four entries covered by 14 points. Gabby Chaves and Ryan Norman (No. 33 Bryan Herta Autosport with Curb Agajanian Hyundai Veloster N TCR) moved into the lead after winning at WeatherTech Raceway on Oct. 31.

 
They are four points up on No. 98 BHA teammates Mason Filippi and Michael Lewis, with Gavin Ernstone and Jon Morley (No. 61 Road Shagger Racing Audi RS3 LMS TCR) 12 points behind the leaders and Harry Gottsacker and Mark Wilkins (No. 21 BHA Hyundai) 14 points back. Gottsacker and Wilkins won at Sebring in July. Hyundai, which has won six of the nine TCR races this season, is set to claim the class manufacturer crown by starting the race.

 
Other items of interest from the entry list:

 
  • Three cars in GS are set to make their second start of the season. The No. 24 Ian Lacy Racing Ford Mustang GT4 (drivers Drew Staveley and Frank Gannett) and No. 43 Stephen Cameron Racing BMW (Gregory Liefooghe and Sean Quinlan) competed in the season opener at Daytona. The No. 10 LAP Motorsports Mercedes (Anton Dias Perera and Dan Clarke) debuted last month at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.

 
  • In TCR, the No. 27 Copeland Motorsports Hyundai returns after making a most impressive series debut when 16-year-old drivers Tyler Maxson and Tyler Gonzalez finished second last month at Michelin Raceway. Another new team makes its debut at Sebring, the No. 91 van der Steur Racing Hyundai with drivers Danny Formal and Rory van der Steur. Formal is also competing in the Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America event this weekend at Sebring.

 
Pilot Challenge action begins Thursday at Sebring with two practice sessions and qualifying. Live coverage of the two-hour race starts at noon ET Friday via TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold.
 

 

Eight Months Later, No. 86 Acura Drivers

Have More to Fight for at Sebring
Farnbacher, McMurry Take GT Daytona Points Lead into Season Finale

 
Nov. 6, 2020
By Jeff Olson
IMSA Wire Service
In March, Mario Farnbacher flew from his home in Germany to Florida to prepare for the 68th annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts. 
 
Thirty-four weeks after the race was postponed, he’s back in Florida, ready to compete in the famous endurance race. Needless to say, it wasn’t the way he had it planned.
 
“We had a normal Sebring test in February, and then I flew back over (to the U.S.) for the usual 12 Hours of Sebring,” Farnbacher explained. “That’s when everything started to get crazy. Everything got shut down. That’s when I knew we would get delayed.”
 
The reason for the delay, of course, was because of safety concerns surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic. The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season was rearranged and restarted in July, and – nearly eight months after the originally scheduled Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring – Farnbacher will finally compete in it.
 
This time, though, he’s trying to wrap up a drivers' championship. Farnbacher and his full-time co-driver, Matt McMurry, will team with Shinya Michimi next week as Farnbacher and McMurry attempt to share the driver championship in the GT Daytona (GTD) class in the No. 86 Meyer Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian Acura NSX GT3.
 
The team also is trying to help Acura win the manufacturer’s championship in GTD (it leads Lexus by two points) and the team championship (it leads the No. 16 Wright Motorsports team by seven points).
 
Since the season resumed in July with the IMSA WeatherTech 240 At Daytona, Farnbacher rarely has taken a weekend off. Aside from his IMSA duties, he competes with Team Honda Racing in the Intercontinental GT Challenge presented by Pirelli.  
 
“I kept doing the same thing,” Farnbacher said of his duties once racing resumed. “Ultimately, I was very busy since August on. Every weekend I was somewhere else with IGTC series, so in the end, I was on the road, jumping from racetrack to racetrack.”
 
Last week, that racetrack was WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. Farnbacher and McMurry knew they needed a positive result to have a shot at championships in Sebring. They got it, winning the GTD battle and finishing 15th overall to keep themselves in position.
 
“We needed to execute right away if we wanted to have a shot at the last race,” Farnbacher said. “We pushed the whole way. On the first day, it didn’t look good, to be honest, but then overnight before qualifying we turned around the car 180 degrees. Apparently, it worked out pretty well.”
 
With 256 points, Farnbacher and McMurry are seven points ahead of Patrick Long and Ryan Hardwick, who co-drive the No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3R, in the driver standings. Telitz is one point behind Long and Hardwick. Hawksworth is two points behind Telitz and 10 behind Farnbacher and McMurry.
 
The key to Farnbacher and McMurry being on the point for the driver championship may have been McMurry’s pole-winning qualifying effort at WeatherTech Raceway.
 
“I was super surprised about it because last year at Laguna I didn’t expect too much,” Farnbacher said. “It was surprising that the car performed there with the Michelin soft compound. Matt made a really good qualifying session, which was the base for everything. From there, I just took over after his stint and drove it home.”
 
For Michimi, returning to Sebring – a track he calls one of his favorites in the U.S. – is a welcome challenge.
 
“There’s definitely pressure, but I’ve been in championship situations before, so I’m going to utilize that to help me through this,” he said. “At the same time, once you put the helmet on and start the car engine, it all goes away and you just do the job you’re assigned to do.”  
 
The assignment next week belongs to an entire team and two drivers hoping to repeat as champions. Last year, Farnbacher teamed with Trent Hindman to win the GTD title in the No. 86 car while McMurry was claiming the Le Mans Prototype 2 (LMP2) crown with PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports. Teamwork, they point out, is the crucial element.   
 
“We all have to pull on one string,” Farnbacher said. “I think we’ve been quite good at this. We all have the same driving style, I would say. I think the combination of everything – the family atmosphere and pushing each other and motivating each other – all this stuff together brings success to the team, as well.”
 
On-track action at Sebring International Raceway begins Wednesday. NBCSN’s live race coverage begins at 10 a.m. ET Saturday, Nov. 14. It moves to NBC at 3 p.m. before returning to NBCSN at 6 p.m. until the race’s conclusion. 
Garcia, Taylor Negotiate Way to GTLM Championship
in Most Unique of Seasons
Nov. 4, 2020
By Jeff Olson
IMSA Wire Service
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- It was a strange season, to say the least. But, for Antonio Garcia and Jordan Taylor, it was another winner.
 
Garcia and Taylor celebrated the GT Le Mans (GTLM) driver and team championships Sunday in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship by finishing second in class in the Hyundai Monterey Sports Car Championship at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.
 
It was the fourth championship of Garcia’s IMSA career, the third for Taylor. For both drivers, it was a most unusual path to a championship.
 
“It’s been a very difficult and unique season,” Garcia said, noting the five-month break in the 2020 schedule because of the Covid-19 virus. “After the restart (of the season), the team didn’t have any time to really do anything else; we went race to race and couldn’t develop anything else.”
 
Adding to the difficulty was trying to master a new version of the No. 3 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette – the C8.R, which was introduced at the start of the 2020 season.
 
“There were a lot of question marks, and it was a big unknown jumping in,” Taylor said. “Having seen what Corvette Racing has done in the past with C6.R, C7.R and now C8.R, they always come out strong. This is the most unique car where a lot of it was designed in the simulation process on computers, proven in the Chevrolet simulator and developed that way before it hit the track.”
 
After finishing fourth in the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona, Garcia and Taylor had to wait while the season was suspended. When it resumed in July, the No. 3 team came to life, winning five of the next nine races and scoring runner-up finishes in three others.
 
Garcia recognized the capabilities of the new car but had to wait to experience them.
 
“At the Rolex, I saw the potential of the C8.R and knew that once we fixed some issues from (the Rolex 24), the car would be very strong,” Garcia said. “Right after the lockdown, the step forward (in July races) at Daytona and Sebring was huge – on tire degradation and the way the car reacts to every single thing we do. It’s better everywhere."
 
Along with the lengthy delay after the Rolex 24 came a schedule shakeup. Long Beach, Watkins Glen International, Canadian Tire Motorsport Park and Lime Rock Park were dropped from the schedule, while Charlotte Motor Speedway was added.
 
“It’s hard to say what in the season would have been different having tracks like Watkins Glen and (Canadian Tire Motorsport Park) on the calendar, which we missed out on, plus Long Beach,” Taylor said. “Those were tracks the C8.R hadn’t been to, but looking at how we ran at Charlotte and some places we didn’t expect to go to and how strong we were, I’d like to say we would have had a similar outcome.” 
 
The lockdown and schedule shakeup weren’t the only obstacles overcome by the No. 3 team. The drivers and crew members also adjusted to personnel changes, including a new race engineer, John Lankes, and a new car chief, Dave Marin.
 
“There weren’t new members because they were already on (Corvette Racing’s No. 4) team, but there were a lot of people reassigned within the team as part of the preparation done during the lockdown,” Garcia said. “... We had to develop new relationships between engineers and us as drivers, and it was the same with the mechanics. As everyone saw, we seem to work really, really well. Race by race, we kept improving.”
 
Now, going into the Mobile 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts on Nov. 11-14, Corvette Racing has an opportunity to celebrate its 14th season championship while trying to win one of the sport’s most prestigious events.
 
“Big thanks to everyone,” said Taylor, who joined Corvette Racing this year after primarily driving Prototypes for his father’s team the past seven years. “Obviously, it was great to drive with Antonio all year. He’s someone I’ve always wanted to be with for a full season and learn from. I definitely learned a lot, and thankfully everything worked out. Definitely, the Sebring 12 Hours is still high on the list for us to try to win.”
 
Action at the Sebring season finale begins with practices on Thursday, Nov. 12, with qualifying the following day. The iconic 12-hour race begins at 10:10 a.m. ET Saturday, Nov. 14 and will stream live, flag to flag, on TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold.
Entry List Notebook – Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring
Presented by Advance Auto Parts
Sebring International Raceway – Sebring, Fla.
November 11 – 14, 2020
Nov. 4, 2020
By Mark Robinson
IMSA Wire Service
Fast Facts
Race Day/Time: Saturday, November 14 – 10:10 a.m. ET
TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold Coverage: LIVE – Flag-to-flag beginning at 10:05 a.m.
IMSA.com/TVLive Live Qualifying Stream: Friday, November 13 – 10:10 a.m.
IMSA Radio: All sessions live on IMSA.com and RadioLeMans.com; SiriusXM live race coverage begins November 14 at 10 a.m. (Sirius channel 217, XM 202, Internet 972)
Circuit Type: 3.74-mile, 17-turn road course
Race Length: 12 hours
Track Social Media: Twitter/Instagram: @SebringRaceway; Facebook: @SebringInternationalRaceway
Event Hashtags: #IMSA, #Sebring12
 
Entry List (Click Here)
 
WeatherTech Championship Track Records
Qualifying:
DPi: Dane Cameron, Acura DPi, 1:45.865 / 125.837 mph, March 2019
LMP2: Matt McMurry, ORECA LMP2, 1:49.728 / 121.407 mph, March 2019
GTLM: Jordan Taylor, Chevrolet Corvette C8.R, 1:55.634 / 116.436 mph, July 2020
GTD: Daniel Serra, Ferrari 488 GT3, 1:58.710 / 113.420 mph, March 2018
 
2019 Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts Winners
DPi: Felipe Nasr/Eric Curran/Pipo Derani, No. 31 Whelen Engineering Racing Cadillac DPi
LMP2: Kyle Masson/Cameron Cassels/Andrew Evans, No. 38 Performance Tech Motorsports ORECA LMP2
GTLM: Patrick Pilet/Nick Tandy/Frederic Makowiecki, No. 911 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR
GTD: Rolf Ineichen/Mirko Bortolotti/Rik Breukers, No. 11 Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini Huracán GT3
 
Storylines
·        Same Great Race, Different Date: For the first time in its illustrious 68-year history, the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts will not take place on its traditional early spring date. Due to schedule changes forced by the coronavirus pandemic, the Sebring race was postponed in March and reset as the finale to the 2020 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season. The race will return to its normal March spot on the 2021 schedule.
·        DPi Championships on the Line: Important titles are still up for grabs in the Daytona Prototype international (DPi) class at Sebring. No. 7 Acura Team Penske drivers Helio Castroneves and Ricky Taylor have edged into the drivers’ lead on the strength of four wins in their last five races. They are two points up on No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac drivers Ryan Briscoe and Renger van der Zande, and nine ahead of No. 31 Whelen Engineering Racing Cadillac’s Pipo Derani. Cadillac, however, has a one-point edge on Acura in the manufacturer race.
·        GTD Battle Rages on: In GT Daytona (GTD), Mario Farnbacher and Matt McMurry regained the class lead by winning Nov. 1 at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. The No. 86 Meyer Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian Acura duo is seven points up on Patrick Long and Ryan Hardwick (No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche) and eight ahead of Aaron Telitz (No. 14 AIM Vasser Sullivan Lexus). Acura is two points ahead of Lexus in the GTD manufacturer standings.
·        Endurance Cup: In addition to the season-long championships, crowns will also be earned in all four WeatherTech Championship classes for the IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup. Points are awarded at various intervals throughout the four endurance races on the schedule, including at the four-, eight- and 12-hour marks at Sebring. Current leaders in each class are: the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac in DPi, the No. 52 PRI Mathiasen Motorports ORECA in Le Mans Prototype 2 (LMP2), the No. 24 BMW Team RLL BMW in GT Le Mans (GTLM) and the No. 48 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini Huracán in GTD.
·        Talk to the Hand: Joey Hand, an integral part of the Ford Chip Ganassi Racing GTLM team that disbanded after 2019, will make his season debut at Sebring in the No. 57 Heinricher Racing with MSR Curb-Agajanian Acura GTD entry. Hand will partner with Trent Hindman and Misha Goikhberg.
·        Gabby’s Back: Gabby Chaves returns to the driver lineup of the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi to team with Pipo Derani and Felipe Nasr at Sebring. Chaves filled in for Nasr at the IMSA WeatherTech 240 At Daytona in July after Nasr tested positive for COVID-19. Chaves has driven all season in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge where he is part of the championship-leading No. 33 Bryan Herta Autosport Hyundai team in the Touring Car (TCR) class.
 
Who’s Hot?
·        No. 7 Acura Team Penske: As mentioned above, the No. 7 is on fire with four wins and a second-place finish in the last five races. Joining Ricky Taylor and Helio Castroneves behind the wheel for the endurance race, as usual for this year, is 2016 Indy 500 winner Alexander Rossi.
·        Porsche GT Team: What had been a very disappointing GTLM season has turned somewhat for Porsche, whose cars have won the last two races. The No. 911 entry won at Motul Petit Le Mans last month and the No. 912 was victorious at WeatherTech Raceway on Nov. 1. Pair that with the fact that the Porsches have won the last two Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring events and it sets up well for a winning finish to the season.
·        Acura in GTD: Acuras took two of the three GTD podium spots in the most recent race at WeatherTech Raceway. The No. 86 won, with the No. 57 finishing third for its first podium of the season.
 
Who’s Good Here?
·        Oliver Gavin: The longtime Corvette driver, who will be entering his final race as a full-time driver with the team, has six wins at Sebring, starting in 2001 and most recently as 2016. He and co-driver Tommy Milner collected their lone victory of the season to date in the July race at Sebring that was 2 hours, 40 minutes long.
·        Pipo Derani and No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac: This car is the defending Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring overall and DPi champion as well as winner of the Cadillac Grand Prix of Sebring in July, when it led all but two of the 83 laps. Derani has won the Sebring 12-hour race three of the last four years.
·        Porsche, Porsche, Porsche: The famous German brand has 96 total wins at Sebring, more than double the nearest manufacturer. With entries competing in GTLM – where it is the two-time defending champion – and GTD, Porsche seeks to add to that number on Nov. 14.
 
Previous Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts Winners in 2020 Field (29)
Oliver Gavin (6) – GTS – 2001, 2002; GT1 – 2006, 2007; GT – 2013; GTLM – 2016
Bill Auberlen (3) – GTS-2 – 1995; GTS-3 – 1997; GT3 – 1998
Pipo Derani (3) – P – 2016, 2018; DPi – 2019
Antonio Garcia (3) – GT1 – 2009; GTLM – 2015, 2017
Ian James (3) – P2 – 2004, 2005; GTD – 2015
Sebastien Bourdais (2) – GT2 – 2006; P – 2015
Ryan Briscoe (2) – P2 – 2013; GTLM – 2015
Mario Farnbacher (2) – GTD – 2015, 2017
Marcel Fassler (2) – P1 – 2013; GTLM – 2016
Joey Hand (2) – GT – 2011; ALMS GT – 2012
Patrick Long (2) – GT2 – 2005; GTLM – 2014
Fred Makowiecki (2) – GTLM – 2018, 2019
Tommy Milner (2) – GT – 2013; GTLM – 2016
Nick Tandy (2) – GTLM – 2018, 2019
Alessandro Balzan (1) – GTD – 2016
Townsend Bell (1) – GTC – 2012
Dane Cameron (1) – LMPC – 2011
Loic Duval (1) – P1 – 2011
Ryan Hunter-Reay (1) – P2 – 2011
Oliver Jarvis (1) – P1 – 2013
Andy Lally (1) – GTD – 2014
Corey Lewis (1) – GTD – 2018
Cooper MacNeil (1) – GTC – 2013
Felipe Nasr (1) – DPi – 2019
John Potter (1) – GTD – 2014
Bryan Sellers (1) – GTD – 2018
Madison Snow (1) – GTD – 2018
Jordan Taylor (1) – P – 2017
Ricky Taylor (1) – P – 2017
 
Previous Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts Pole Winners in 2020 Field (14)
Bill Auberlen (4) – GTU – 1994; GTS-3 – 1997; GT3 – 1998; GTLM – 2016
Dane Cameron (3) – LMPC – 2011; GTD – 2014; DPi – 2019
Oliver Gavin (3) – GTS – 2001, 2003; GT1 – 2009
Olivier Pla (3) – WEC P2 – 2012; P – 2015, 2016
Ryan Briscoe (2) – P2 – 2013; GTLM – 2017
Tristan Vautier (2) – GTD – 2017; P – 2018 
Sebastien Bourdais (1) – P – 2014
Connor De Phillippi (1) – GTLM – 2018
Scott Dixon (1) P1 – 2009
Marcel Fassler (1) – P1 – 2013
Trent Hindman (1) – GTD – 2019
Andy Lally (1) – GTC – 2013
Fred Makowiecki (1) – GTLM – 2015
Matt McMurry (1) – LMP2 – 2019
 
Previous Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts Winning Teams in 2020 Field (12)
Corvette Racing (11) – GTS – 2002, 2003, 2004; GT1 – 2006, 2007, 2008 2009; GT – 2013; GTLM – 2015, 2016, 2017
Acura Team Penske (4) – PROTO 15 – 1964; GT13 – 1966; TRANS-AM – 1968; P2 – 2008
Porsche GT Team (3) – GTLM – 2014, 2018, 2019
Action Express/Whelen Engineering Racing (2) – P – 2015; DPi – 2019
BMW Team RLL (2) – GT – 2011; ALMS GT – 2012
GRT Magnus (2) – GTD – 2014, 2019
Performance Tech (2) – PC – 2017; LMP2 – 2019
PR1 Mathiasen (2) – LMPC – 2013; PC – 2015
Paul Miler Racing (1) – GTD – 2018
Scuderia Corsa (1) – GTD – 2016
Tower Motorsport by Starworks (1) – WEC P2 – 2012
Konica Minolta/Wayne Taylor Racing (1) – P – 2017
 
Previous Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts Winning Manufacturers in 2020 Field (10)
Porsche – 96
Chevrolet – 40
Ferrari – 37
Mazda – 13
Audi – 12
BMW – 7
Acura – 3
Aston Martin – 3
Cadillac – 2
Lamborghini – 2
Three Takeaways: Hyundai Monterey Sports Car Championship
at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca
Nov. 2, 2020
By David Phillips
IMSA Wire Service
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Basking in Chamber of Commerce weather throughout the Hyundai Monterey Sports Car Championship at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, the penultimate round of the 2020 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship series produced a mixture of closure and uncertainty.
 
Closure? Coming home second in the GT Le Mans (GTLM) class, Jordan Taylor and Antonio Garcia clinched the GTLM drivers title for themselves and the team crown for the No. 3 Corvette Racing Corvette C8.R. Likewise in Le Mans Prototype 2 (LMP2), where Patrick Kelly (with the aid of co-driver Simon Trummer) clinched the driver and team championship in the No. 52 PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports ORECA LMP2 07. 
 
Uncertainty? An overall and Daytona Prototype international (DPi) class win by Acura Team Penske and a GT Daytona (GTD) class win by Meyer Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian cinched the already-close DPi and GTD standings tighter than a pair of proverbial drums.
 
A Team Victory
 
There is no “I” in team, especially when that team is Acura Team Penske. OK, there are a couple of “I’s” in the driver lineup, thanks to Ricky Taylor and Helio Castroneves – but you get my drift. Having led the balance of the race in pursuit of their first victory on the season, the No. 6 Acura ARX-05 of Dane Cameron and Juan Pablo Montoya slowed on the next-to-last lap of the race, enabling Taylor and Castroneves to take the win in the No. 7 Acura. Thus, Taylor and Castroneves assumed a narrow lead in the DPi standings over Ryan Briscoe and Renger van der Zande, who finished a disappointing sixth in the No. 10 Konica Minolta Racing Cadillac DPi. Meanwhile, Pipo Derani lies third in the championship, nine points adrift of the lead, after he and co-driver Felipe Nasr finished third in the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Racing Cadillac.
 
The manufacturer standings show Cadillac with a one-point lead over Acura, while the No. 7 Acura Team Penske (242) squad has twice that margin ahead of the No. 10 Konica Minolta operation in team points, with the No. 31 Whelen Engineering (233) in third. Needless to say, the DPis head to Florida for the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts on Nov. 14 with everything to play for in all three championships.
 
Feeling Good?
 
The GTLM class produced both a championship and a “feel-good” story. Although it has been a foregone conclusion that Corvette and the pairing of Antonio Garcia and Jordan Taylor were destined to win the manufacturer, team and driver titles, Sunday’s runner-up finish nailed down two of the three crowns. All either Corvette needs do to add the manufacturer title is start the race in Sebring.
 
While championships are nothing new to Corvette Racing and Garcia and Taylor, the titles are a remarkable achievement given this is the first season of competition for the Corvette C8.R, the first mid-engine design in the long and illustrious history of the Corvette and Corvette Racing.
 
Meanwhile, after what can only be rightly described as a snake-bitten season, Earl Bamber and Laurens Vanthoor took their first win of the 2020 campaign in the No. 912 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR, a fitting follow-up to Porsche’s first win of 2020 at the Motul Petit Le Mans with the No. 911 entry a fortnight ago. Could another feel-good story be in the GTLM cards at Sebring? That would be the No. 4 Corvette of Tommy Milner and Oliver Gavin visiting victory lane in what is slated to be Gavin’s final race as a full-time member of the team.
 
Anybody’s Guess 
 
To nobody’s surprise, it’s anybody’s guess which drivers, teams and manufacturers will come out on top of the GTD standings in the wake of the Hyundai Monterey Sports Car Championship at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.
 
Rebounding from a disappointing outing in the Motul Petit Le Mans, Acura and the Meyer Shank team earned an impressive 1-3 finish with Mario Farnbacher and Matt McMurry co-piloting the No. 86 Meyer Shank with Curb/Agajanian Racing Acura NSX GT3 to the win and Alvaro Parente and Misha Goikhberg securing third place in the No. 56 Acura of Heinricher with Meyer Shank Racing, sandwiching the Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3 of Bill Auberlen and Robby Foley.
 
Coming on a day when Patrick Long and Ryan Hardwick finished sixth in their Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R even as the AIM Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3 of Jack Hawksworth and Aaron Telitz came home a distant P11, the results vault Farnbacher and McMurry back into the lead in the GTD driver standings with 256 points, seven better than Long and Hardwick with Telitz one point further back. 
 

  Intercontinental GT Challenge

   

    trans am series

/www.gotransam.com


   

  SRO E-SPORT GT SERIES

www.sro-motorsports.com

 

SRO and ARG confirm key details for new-look GT World Challenge Australia Powered by AWS

  • Motorsport Australia GT Championship and Motorsport Australia Endurance Championship to form part of GT World Challenge Australia Powered by AWS for 2021 and beyond
  • Competing brands able to score points in fourth continental series
  • GT World Challenge Powered by AWS now active in America, Asia, Europe, and Australia

 

A fourth continent will be added to the global GT World Challenge Powered by AWS platform in 2021 when Australia joins the international manufacturers' championship. 

This follows the announcement that SRO Motorsports Group will work alongside Australian Racing Group (ARG) to jointly manage the Motorsport Australia GT Championship and Motorsport Australia Endurance Championship, which will form part of the GT World Challenge Australia Powered by AWS.

This aligns the series with SRO’s established continental categories in Europe, America and Asia, ensuring an expanded global audience and providing a clear pathway for international teams to compete in Australia and vice versa.

GT World Challenge Australia Powered by AWS will adopt SRO's technical and sporting regulations, while also making use of the industry-leading Balance of Performance (BOP) system that has proven highly successful in a wide variety of markets. What’s more, brands competing in Australia will be able to score points towards the global GT World Challenge Powered by AWS manufacturers’ championship. 

ARG’s General Manager of Operations, Ken Collier, has been instated as the category manager for both the Motorsport Australia GT Championship and the Motorsport Australia Endurance Championship. He will need little introduction to the existing Australian GT competitor base, having served the same role for the championship from 2012-2019 under its previous ownership. He also has a long-standing connection to SRO and was the Australian representative on the FIA GT Commission.

GT World Challenge Australia Powered by AWS will join ARG’s suite of impressive racing categories and events, all of which will feature as part of the Seven Network’s live and free television coverage. The calendar for the newly branded category will be revealed soon, with five sprint events expected to make up the 2021 schedule, while a one-off race lasting three or four hours will award the 2021 Motorsport Australia Endurance Championship.

The popular GT Trophy Series for older specification GT3 cars and GT4 Series for SRO specification GT4 cars will continue as a part of GT World Challenge Australia Powered by AWS rounds, while the MA Manufacturers title and the Tourist Trophy for GT competitors will also be reintroduced.
 

Ken Collier, Category Manager GT World Challenge Australia Powered by AWS: “The announcement of Motorsport Australia to grant SRO and ARG the joint management of GT racing in Australia is an incredible opportunity for the category to grow substantially.

“The alignment of our local category with the global experience of SRO will definitely see some changes to the way GT racing has been conducted in the past, however I cannot see any down side for the Australian GT teams.

“Having been a part of ARG for the past 18 months has proven to me that it is genuinely committed to the success of the categories and events that it manages. The level of engagement with all of the stakeholders in all of the ARG race categories is at the highest level I have experienced. Our determination to have the best events, supported by the absolute best media coverage including the Seven Network broadcasts will not let our customers down. If it wasn’t for the obvious challenges of 2020, all of our promises would have been met and the results proven. Everyone who knows me will understand how passionate I am about GT racing and my excitement for the partnership with SRO is difficult to contain!”
 

Stephane Ratel, Founder and CEO SRO Motorsports Group: "It is a great pleasure to present GT World Challenge Australia Powered by AWS and add a fourth continent to our global platform.

“After being given the opportunity by Motorsport Australia to jointly manage the championship alongside ARG, it was a natural decision to align it with our series in Europe, Asia and America. 

“By doing so I believe that we can take GT World Challenge Australia Powered by AWS to a global audience and offer a pathway for teams and drivers to compete internationally. The close ties between these customer racing series will also provide a great opportunity for manufacturers. This is an exciting time for SRO as we take a more active role in Australian GT racing, building upon our existing involvement with the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour, and expand our global footprint. My thanks once again to ARG and Motorsport Australia for their close collaboration."

 

  Sports Car Club of America 

www.scca.com

  

  sportscar vintage racing association 

www.svra.com


 

NEW BOOK BY SVRA EXEC CHRONICLES EARLY AUTO RACING
“The Legend of the First Super Speedway” is Available Now 

Southlake, TX (November 11, 2020) - SVRA announced today that Mark Dill, its vice president of public relations, has published a new book, “The Legend of the First Super Speedway, the Battle for the Soul of American Auto Racing.” It is available in both print and e-book formats. The book can be ordered today at www.store.bookbaby.com, and is available in e-book format through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Apple Books.

“Mark is a terrific writer who always delivers a great read, and his knowledge of racing history is a huge asset to SVRA," says SVRA President and CEO Tony Parella. “I have long relied on Mark for insights to racing history, which is relevant to what we do at SVRA.”

Parella wrote the book’s preface. Other prominent racing personalities Al Unser Jr. and Willy T. Ribbs contributed as well. The introduction was crafted by Unser and Ribbs penned the foreword. Unser won the Indianapolis 500 twice, and Ribbs is the first Black driver to qualify for the iconic race.

Early reviews from Readers’ Favorite give Dill’s book their 5-star rating. An excerpt appears below.

The Legend of the First Super Speedway is a tale of adventure that takes the characters across several cities and states. The setting is impeccably written, and the author paints a world that feels real and that readers want to explore. For instance, the picture of 1903 Indianapolis is vividly designed, and readers can easily imagine what auto racing was like at this time, a sport that had so many dangers associated with it. The historical setting is deftly written and packed with information that readers will want to know. The landscapes are vividly described, and the setting comes alive as a world that is exciting, and that has a life of its own. The writing is gorgeous, littered with dialogues that are well-crafted. While Mark Dill's novel is filled with adventure and entertainment, it is an inspirational story that explores two characters who refuse to give up in spite of the odds. It is spellbinding and classic."

The Legend of the First Super Speedway centers on two men's alternating points of view, racing champion Barney Oldfield and Indianapolis Motor Speedway Founder Carl Fisher. It is the saga of a red state – blue state cultural battle for the sport's soul. The racing events occurred as described and on the dates noted. Dill assumes poetic license in illustrating the personalities and habits of the primary characters, all of whom were actual people.

With rare exceptions, the characters' dialogue is born of Dill's imagination informed by years of research. The author concluded that Fisher and Oldfield had more influence and lasting impact on establishing American auto racing's enduring format than any other individuals of their era. Fisher was the driving force behind the Indianapolis Motor Speedway construction. More than anyone, Oldfield popularized the sport to rival the other primary pastimes – baseball, boxing, and horse racing.  Neither of these men would be politically correct by today's standards, but they were products of another age.

First Super Speedway thrusts readers into the early 20th century with vivid interpretations of auto racing and what it was like to walk among the people and grasp their world view. The rugged characters of the era get “corned” on whiskey, chew “chaw,” and violently bounce as they scorch the bricks of America's first speedway. Readers will ride with them on trains, bound across the jagged terrain of road races, and step over dead horses rotting in the street. The world convulsed with technological change, and the winners mastered it.

"Mark is the perfect person to tell this previously untold tale," says Ribbs. “He brings to the surface the true-life characters that created American auto racing. There's no sugar coating on this one.”

Check out www.markgdill.com for more information. Visitors can purchase the book directly from the website and browse an online merchandise shop with various apparel and other items.

 

International Motor Sports Assoc. Sports Car Club of America

Date

 

 

Jan. 23-26

Rolex 24 at Daytona

DPi, LMP2*,

 

Daytona International Speedway

GTLM, GTD

 

Daytona Beach, Florida

 

 

 

 

March 18-21

Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring

DPi, LMP2,

 

Sebring, Florida

GTLM, GTD

 

 

 

 

 

 

April 17-18

Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach

DPi, GTLM

 

Streets of Long Beach, California

 

 

 

 

May 1-3

Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course

DPi, LMP2, 

 

Lexington, Ohio

GTLM, GTD

 

 

 

May 29-30

Chevrolet Sports Car Classic

DPi, GTD**

 

Detroit, Michigan

 

 

 

 

June 25-28

Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen

DPi, LMP2,

 

Watkins Glen International

GTLM, GTD

 

Watkins Glen, New York

 

 

 

 

July 3-5

Canadian Tire Motorsport Park

DPi, GTLM,

 

Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada

GTD

 

 

 

July 17-18

Lime Rock Park

GTLM, GTD

 

Lakeville, Connecticut

 

 

 

 

July 31 – Aug. 2

Road America

DPi, LMP2,

 

Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin

GTLM, GTD

 

 

 

Aug. 21-23

Virginia International Raceway

GTLM, GTD

 

Danville, Virginia

 

 

 

 

Sept. 11-13

WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca

DPi, LMP2, 

 

Monterey, California

GTLM, GTD

 

 

 

Oct. 7-10

Motul Petit Le Mans

DPi, LMP2,

 

Braselton, Georgia

GTLM, GTD

 

Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta

 

Intercontinental GT Challenge
trans am series

Trans Am Championship by Pirelli 2020 Schedule
Feb. 29-Mar. 1   Sebring International Raceway (with SVRA)
March 28-29       Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta (with SVRA)
May 1-3               WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca (with SVRA)
May 22-25           Lime Rock Park (TA2 is Saturday May 23) (with SVRA)
May 29-31           Detroit Grand Prix (TA2 only) (with Indy Car)
June 19-21           Indianapolis Motor Speedway (with SVRA)
June 26-28           Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course (with SVRA)
July 10-12            Brainerd International Raceway
Aug. 6-8               Road America (with NASCAR)
Sept. 11-13          Watkins Glen International (with SVRA)
Sept. 25-27          Virginia International Raceway (with SVRA)
Nov. 6-8               Circuit of The Americas (with SVRA)

SOUTHEAST CONFERENCE

January 3-5: Homestead-Miami Speedway; Florida Region; Homestead Florida                               

January 10-12: Sebring International Raceway; Central Florida Region; Sebring, Florida 
Hoosier Super Tour 

March 20-22: Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta; Atlanta Region; Braselton, Georgia 
Hoosier Super Tour

April 10-12; VIRginia International Raceway; North Carolina Region; Alton, Virginia
Hoosier Super Tour (Dual Southeast/Northeast Conference Event)

June 6-7: Charlotte Motor Speedway; Central Carolinas Region; Concord, NC

June 27-28: Roebling Road; Southeast Division; Bloomingdale, Georgia      

                                                    

SOUTHERN CONFERENCE

January 25-26: MSR Cresson; Texas Region; Cresson, Texas  RESULTS

February 8-9: Circuit of the Americas; Lone Star Region; Austin, Texas
Hoosier Super Tour

April 4-5: Hallett Motor Racing Circuit; Ark Valley Race Group; Jennings, Oklahoma
Hoosier Super Tour (Dual Mid-States/Southern Conference Event)

May 2-3: Eagles Canyon Raceway; Texas Region; Decatur, Texas

May 23-24: MSR Houston; Houston Region; Angleton, Texas

Sept 5-6: MSR Houston; Houston Region; Angleton, Texas


WESTERN CONFERENCE

January 24-26: Auto Club Speedway; Cal Club Region; Fontana, California 

February 21-23: Buttonwillow Raceway Park; Cal Club Region; Buttonwillow, California
Hoosier Super Tour

March 21-22: Willow Springs Raceway; Cal Club Region; Rosamond, California

April 3-5: WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca; San Francisco Region; Salinas, California

May 16-17: Portland International Raceway; Oregon Region; Portland, Oregon
Hoosier Super Tour

May 23-24: Pacific Raceways; Northwest Region; Kent, Washington


NORTHEAST CONFERENCE

April 10-12; VIRginia International Raceway; North Carolina Region; Alton, Virginia                   
Hoosier Super Tour    (Dual Southeast/Northeast Conference Event)

April 25-26: Summit Point Motorsports Park; Washington DC Region; Summit Point WV      

May 9-10: Pittsburgh International Race Complex; Steel Cities Region; Wampum Pennsylvania

May 23-24: Pocono Raceway; Northern New Jersey Region; Long Pond, Pennsylvania

June 19-21: Watkins Glen International; Finger Lakes Region; Watkins Glen, New York
Hoosier Super Tour              

July 11-12: Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park; New England Region ;Thompson, Connecticut    

July 17-19: New Jersey Motorsports Park; South Jersey Region; Millville,New Jersey                                       
 

MID-STATES CONFERENCE

April 4-5: Hallett Motor Racing Circuit; Ark Valley Race Group; Jennings, Oklahoma
Hoosier Super Tour (Dual Mid-States/Southern Conference Event)

April 18-19: Heartland Motorsports Park; Kaw Valley Race Group; Topeka, Kansas

May 2-3: World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway; St. Louis Region; Madison, Illinois

May 23-24: Pueblo Motorsports Park; Continental Divide Region; Pueblo, Colorado

July 4-5: High Plains Raceway; Colorado Region; Deer Trail, Colorado

August 22-23: High Plains Raceway; Colorado Region; Deer Trail, Colorado

 

NORTHERN CONFERENCE

May 2-3: Blackhawk Farms Raceway; Blackhawk Valley Region; S. Beloit, Illinois

May 16-17: Gingerman Raceway; South Bend & Detroit Regions; South Haven, Michigan

June 12-14: Road America; WeatherTech Chicago Region June Sprints; Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin
Hoosier Super Tour

July 11-12: Road America; Milwaukee Region; Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin

July 17-19: Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course; Ohio Valley Region; Lexington, Ohio
Hoosier Super Tour       

August 22-23: Grattan Raceway; Western Michigan Region; Belding, Michigan

August 29-30: CANCELLED  Brainerd International Raceway; Land O'Lakes Region; Brainerd, Minnesota    

 

sportscar vintage racing assoc.  gt celebration racing series

      Indianapolis Motor Speedway Brickyard Invitational, June 17-21

·      Vintage Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio, June 25-28

·      Portland International Raceway Vintage Racing Festival, July 23-26

·      Watkins Glen International U.S. Vintage Grand Prix, September 9-13

·      Virginia International Raceway Heacock Classic Gold Cup, September 24–27

·      Lime Rock Park Festival, October 16–17

·      Savannah Speed Classic, October 24-25

·      COTA U.S. Vintage National Championship, November 5–8

·      Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta Grand Prix, November 19-22

·      WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca Trans Am Speedfest, December 3-6

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
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