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International Motor Sports Association

De Angelis Darts to Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama Victory in Rainy Race 2 at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park

 
May 19, 2019
Staff Report
IMSA Wire Service

 
BOWMANVILLE, Ontario, Canada – After starting second to last in the first race of the season for Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama, Roman De Angelis finished the weekend in first, winning Race 2 on Sunday at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.

 
In the No. 79 Mark Motors Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup Car, De Angelis started third and quickly jumped to second at the start of the race, ready to hunt down Race 1 winner and leader Jeff Kingsley in the No. 16 Policaro Motorsport Porsche.

 
While De Angelis was in hot pursuit of Kingsley, a caution in the first 15 minutes of the race bunched the field back together. Shortly after the restart, De Angelis made a move on the inside of Kingsley approaching the Andretti Straightaway to claim the lead with 25 minutes remaining.

 
About five minutes later, rain began to fall over the 2.459-mile circuit, enough to bring out a red flag that ultimately closed out the race. The win gave De Angelis his second career Platinum Class victory in GT3 Cup Challenge Canada.

 
“I knew we had the car to make the move, but it’s really difficult to pass here at Mosport,” said De Angelis. “It’s a really difficult track. It’s fast and flowing, not a lot of heavy braking zones, so you can’t just tuck the nose in there and brake a little bit deeper than the other guy. We really took advantage of that restart. The car was awesome as always. We showed that we had the pace yesterday and we put it to show again today.”

 
With a fourth-place finish on Saturday and the win on Sunday, De Angelis holds a narrow one-point lead in the championship over Parker Thompson in the No. 3 SCB Racing Porsche, 63-62.

 
Thompson wound up third on Sunday behind Patrick Dussault in the No. 77 Porsche for Lauzon Autosport. Thompson passed Dussault just prior to the red flag, but the pass was deemed outside track limits and Dussault was promoted back to second place.

 
Finishing fourth and winning the Platinum Masters class was Alan Metni in the No. 99 Kelly-Moss/AM Motorsports Porsche. Like De Angelis, Metni is competing in both GT3 Cup Challenge Canada as well as south of the border in Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama. The win comes in Metni’s second start of GT3 Cup Challenge Canada competition.

 
“It’s good progress, it’s a lot of fun,” said Metni. “I came up here to learn. I know that some of the best drivers are up here, some of the best tracks are up here and I thought I could learn a lot from coming up here and running with them. I appreciate them letting me do that. We learned a lot, getting a little better each time we do this and hopefully eventually we’ll end up on the main podium.”

 
While Metni leads the Platinum Masters championship by seven points, 67-60, it’s a three-way tie for second place between Etienne Borgeat and Perry Bortolotti – who rounded out the Platinum Masters podium on Sunday, respectively – and Platinum Masters Race 1 winner Marco Cirone.

 
In the Gold Class, Sam Fellows in the No. 35 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche reflected on his first weekend in the series following his two wins and Yokohama Tire Hard Charger Award on Sunday.

 
“It was a lot of fun, but I also learned a lot especially in Race 1,” said Fellows. “I was chasing some of the Platinum guys, but had a bit of a mishap in Turn 5. At the end of the day, it’s a learning experience because you’ve got to walk away from things like that and be positive. I’m not going to make that mistake again.

 
“Today was a better day for me. I feel like if it stayed green, if the rain hadn’t come out, I think I could’ve picked up a couple more of the Platinum guys just near the end with the pace that we had. I’m optimistic and I can’t thank Pfaff Motorsports enough, Porsche of London, Durham Tourism and Piloti Shoes. It was a great weekend and we’ll go to Montreal with our positivity.”

 
Rounds 3 and 4 of the 2019 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama season will take place at the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal featuring Formula 1 on June 7 – 9. In the meantime, news and updates on GT3 Cup Challenge Canada can be found on IMSA.com and Porsche.com/Canada, as well as on social media using the hashtags #GT3Canada and #IMSA.  

 

Kingsley Claims First Career Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada
by Yokohama Victory in Race 1 at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park

 
May 18, 2019
Staff Report
IMSA Wire Service

 
BOWMANVILLE, Ontario, Canada – It wasn’t until Saturday at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park that Jeff Kingsley was able to stand on the podium at a Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama event.
However, after his performance in the 2019 season opener, Kingsley may very well get comfortable there, especially on the top step. Starting from the pole position, Kingsley in the No. 16 Policaro Motorsport Porsche 911 GT3 Cup Car led flag-to-flag to claim his first career victory in GT3 Cup Challenge Canada competition.

 
The Ontario native is pulling double duty this year between GT3 Cup Challenge Canada and its USA counterpart – Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama – but had previously only scored a best finish of fourth in both series. Saturday’s breakthrough for his first pole in qualifying and first win in the 45-minute race proved Kingsley will be one to watch in both Platinum classes throughout the season.

 
His first career victory didn’t come without pressure though. For the final 10 minutes of the race, Kingsley fended off the looming No. 3 SCB Racing Porsche of Parker Thompson, who ultimately finished runner-up by 1.104 seconds. If there was anyone who could take the lead from Kingsley, it would be his GT3 Cup Challenge USA teammate Thompson, who owns a victory already this year in GT3 Cup Challenge USA.

 
“We got a good start today, got the big jump and I think we were about 2 ½ seconds clear, then with some lapped traffic, he started to close the gap,” said Kingsley. “Towards the end, he was really putting the pressure down. We’re teammates down in The States so we know each other a little bit, but he stayed clean and so did I and ultimately came away with a win.

 
“It was a lot of pressure, mentally and physically, I’m exhausted right now, so I’m looking forward to celebrating this one with the guys and the Policaro Motorsport/Porsche Centre Oakville/Liqui Moly car was unbelievable today and I hope for the same tomorrow.”

 
Kingsley will start first in Race 2 on Sunday at 11:55 a.m. ET. Timing and scoring for the race will be available on www.scoring.imsa.com.

 
Finishing third and capturing the first Platinum Masters win of the season was Marco Cirone in the No. 88 Mark Motors Racing Porsche. As Kingsley and Thompson battled, Cirone was able to close in, but not quite enough to join in. Cirone crossed the stripe 1.934 seconds behind Kingsley.

 
“I was trying my hardest, I was doing everything I possibly could to not make a mistake,” said Cirone. “But the kids in front of me, Parker Thompson and Jeff Kingsley, they were just driving practically mistake-free. I got on the radio with my crew chief and we were running very similar times, so I tried to stay as close as I could but unfortunately, they didn’t make any mistakes and I couldn’t make up any ground. They drove brilliantly and I’m just glad to make it to third place.

 
“It’s a fantastic feeling, especially for me because I missed last year. I just did a couple races in Gold, so I’m really happy. Thank you to Mark Motors and Lisa Mrak, Michael Mrak for bringing me back for the whole season. I’m really proud to bring home a third place and a win in Masters today.”

 
Cirone’s teammate, Roman De Angelis in the No. 79 Porsche, scored the Yokohama Tire Hard Charger Award for gaining the most positions in the race. Starting 14th on the grid, De Angelis moved up 10 spots to fourth, salvaging a good points day for the team.

 
“It took me a really long time to get by some guys as I didn’t want to do anything to my car to lose some points, but I finally got by,” said De Angelis, who is also competing in GT3 Cup Challenge USA with three wins in four rounds. “We had pretty incredible pace considering the car’s a bit damaged and the tires are gone. But yeah, I would’ve liked to have had a better qualifying so I could’ve challenged for the win because I think we had the car to do it, but tomorrow’s another day.”

 
In his debut at his home track, Sam Fellows – son of sports car legend Ron Fellows – won his first GT3 Cup Challenge Canada race in the Gold class in the No. 35 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche.

 
For Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama news and updates for the remainder of the weekend, check IMSA.com, Porsche.com/Canada and join the conversation on social media using the hashtags #GT3Canada and #IMSA. 

 

Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama
Notebook - Canadian Tire Motorsport Park

 
May 17, 2019
Staff Report
IMSA Wire Service

 
BOWMANVILLE, Ontario, Canada –

 
De Angelis Fastest in Day 1 of Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama Action at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park
The first day of the 2019 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama season is officially in the books at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.

 
After two practices, Roman De Angelis in the No. 79 Mark Motors Racing Porsche GT3 Cup Car was fastest of the day with a lap in the afternoon session of one minute, 19.245 seconds (111.709 mph). Temperatures were a bit different between the two sessions, with the afternoon dominated by sunny skies in contrast with clouds and strong winds in the morning.

 
Those morning conditions will be closer to what is expected Saturday during qualifying which begins at 7:30 a.m. ET.

 
“We were two-tenths off this morning,” said De Angelis, who finished runner-up in the GT3 Cup Challenge Canada championship last year. “It was a bit cooler, which I think we probably could’ve gone quicker than we did in the afternoon. This track has a tendency to be quicker when it’s cold. I think we put a pretty good lap together given how hot it was. I think the temperature will play a big part tomorrow morning in qualifying considering how early we’re on.”

 
Jeff Kingsley in the No. 16 Policaro Motorsport Porsche was fastest in the morning session and second overall on the day with a time of 1:20.222 (110.348 mph).

 
 GT3 Cup Challenge Canada newcomer and representing the Platinum Masters category was Alan Metni in the No. 99 Kelly-Moss/AM Motorsports machine, being third quickest of the day at 1:20.280 (110.269 mph). Metni, like De Angelis, is pulling double duty between GT3 Cup Challenge Canada and GT3 Cup Challenge USA this year.

 
Saturday brings a 20-minute qualifying session at 7:30 a.m. ET follow by Race 1 at 10:55 a.m. The race will be streamed live on the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama Facebook page. Race 2 is scheduled for 11:55 a.m. For fans onsite, a 30-minute autograph session is slated for 9:30 a.m. at the Yokohama Tire Service Center.

 
For news and updates throughout the weekend, check IMSA.com and join the conversation on social media using the hashtags #GT3Canada and #IMSA. 

 
Fierce ‘Art Cars’ Unveiled for Dussault, Borgeat at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park
Teammates Patrick Dussault and Etienne Borgeat with Porsche Lauzon/Porsche Rive-Sud unveiled liveries this weekend that competitors might be too scared to have in their rearview mirrors this year.

 
The ‘Art Cars’ feature brightly colored designs from Mario Adornetto, an artist local to the team’s two Porsche dealerships in Quebec. A large face of a lion is painted on Dussault’s No. 77 Porsche, while a dragon tops the No. 2 of Borgeat.

 
“It took maybe a month or so to configure everything and decide,” explained Dussault. “The idea was really quick, (Adornetto) knew exactly ‘I have an idea, I can do this, can do that.’ My sponsors are the owners of the two stores and they decided with him to cooperate and do the car. I only drive the car, so for me it’s white on the inside, but I actually like it. We composed around that and adapted to it. The painting was already done. The rough part was to actually put the design on the wrapping, so props to those guys. It was a very hard job.”

 
The reasoning behind choosing the two beasts was simple. For Dussault, the car’s livery was a depiction of what Adornetto considered his personality to be. Meanwhile, Borgeat has been a guest judge on the popular Canadian television show “Dragon’s Den,” which sees entrepreneurs pitch business ideas to a panel in hopes of receiving an investment.

 
“The design came from an idea that the lion pulls respect and pulls its territory, to be very confident and to seize any opportunity he can get, but through respect,” said Dussault. “He thought he saw me and he saw the type of personality I had and tried to fit something that would fit the car. He named it ‘The GT3 Lion.’”

 
Dussault is hoping “The GT3 Lion” can roar its way through the field this year as the Quebecker is still seeking his first win in the series.

 
“2019 for me, I would say, it’s a year where we want to be strong, very consistent and get good results for a long-term advantage,” said Dussault. “I don’t like to talk in the future and say, ‘I want to win this, I want to win that.’ For sure, every time I’m on track I want to win. No matter what the result, I want to win through consistency. We want to progress and work differently. If you want to do things you’ve never done, you have to do things you’ve never done. I need to be sharp and more consistent. Obviously, we want to win this year.”
Fellows Adjusting Nicely to Porsche at Home Track
Not only is Sam Fellows making his Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama debut this weekend, it’s also his first time sliding into the driver’s seat of a Porsche racecar.

 
In the No. 35 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche as part of the series’ Gold Class, Fellows took advantage of the promoter test day on Thursday before official on-track sessions began Friday. The Toronto native has already made quick progress.

 
“It honestly feels amazing,” said Fellows. “You hear a lot of people talk about having difficulty switching into these cars coming in from front-engine cars or open wheel. But I feel like I took to it pretty fast. The guys are all pretty impressed with what I’ve been able to do so far and basically, it’s just tuning on the car and trying to get some more lap time. I’ll go chase as many people as I can and it’ll be fun.”

 
If there’s anywhere for Fellows to try something new, it’s Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. His father, sports car legend Ron Fellows, is co-owner of the circuit and the younger Fellows has been a familiar face on the CTMP staff over the years.

 
“That’s one of the things I thought about,” said Fellows. “Thankfully I’m not in this car the first time at (the Canadian Grand Prix in) Montreal or somewhere I don’t know or have had very little track time anyway. This is home for me and to do this makes me feel really comfortable.”

 
Fellows is schedule for a partial season this year in GT3 Cup Challenge Canada, with two of the next three events he’s entered in being the joint races with Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama at the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal and at Road America during the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship weekend. Both races will see bolstered Gold Class car counts for Fellows, who is interested in mirroring the path that fellow GT3 Cup Challenge Canada driver Roman De Angelis took on his way to stardom.

 
“(Roman) did the same thing a couple years back,” said Fellows, of De Angelis competing in Gold Class before transitioning to the Platinum Class. “He was saying, “Ah man, you’ll have so much fun chasing the Platinum guys around.’ So that’s my goal, to basically echo what he did a couple years ago.

 
“He’s a really great driver so that’s my goal, to follow similar to what he did – chase as many Platinum guys as I can this weekend and then obviously when we go to Montreal and Road America, I’m looking forward to the Gold battles there. This track with all the momentum and high speeds, I’m pretty positive.”

 

Porsche Scores Third Consecutive GTLM Victory
With Bamber, Vanthoor Win At Mid-Ohio

 
May 5, 2019
Staff Report
IMSA Wire Service
LEXINGTON, Ohio – Momentum can mean everything in racing, and when you have it you don’t want to let it go. Such is the case for Porsche, who continued its dominant stretch in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GT Le Mans (GTLM) class this season with its third consecutive victory in the Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio.

 
Points leaders Earl Bamber and Laurens Vanthoor co-drove to their second consecutive win in the No. 912 Porsche 911 RSR, beating the No. 3 Corvette Racing Corvette C7.R of Antonio Garcia and co-driver Jan Magnussen to the stripe by 2.340 seconds.

 
The Porsche duo also won one race ago on the streets of Long Beach, while the team’s No. 911 Porsche 911 RSR of Nick Tandy and Patrick Pilet won at Sebring International Raceway in March.

 
“I think we need to keep pushing forward,” said Bamber. “We’ve found a good rhythm, especially on our car. We’ve got a new engineer this year, so every race we’ve been getting stronger and stronger as a crew. Last year was a tough year, so we had to bring a bit of tools to get ourselves into the game, and this year we’ve been executing well.”

 
With the win, Bamber and Vanthoor have opened up a seven-point lead in the championship standings, 126-119, over Garcia and Magnussen – the defending GTLM champions – and nine points on their teammates Tandy and Pilet.

 
Porsche’s hot start hasn’t just been on race day, either. The manufacturer entered the Mid-Ohio weekend with poles in all three races to date but fell one spot short in qualifying Saturday when Vanthoor qualified second.

 
Despite going winless so far in 2019, the No. 3 Corvette Racing team is lurking with the type of consistency that has made it a perennial GTLM stalwart with its third consecutive podium finish. The team led much of the middle part of the race before pitting from the lead with just over one hour remaining. During the sequence of pit stops, however, the No. 912 took advantage of less lap traffic to make up enough ground to inherit the lead, pacing the final 38 laps.

 
“From where we started to where we finished, today was a good result and good for the championship,” said Magnussen. “At the beginning for me, the balance wasn’t great and I had little grip. We made some adjustments for Antonio, and as the track built some rubber into it, things got somewhat better. So, we’re happy with P2. But we really need a win. I don’t know what we need to do, but we need a win.”

 
It was an impressive comeback for the No. 911 Porsche after the team was issued a drive-through penalty for jumping the start of the race. Pilet and Tandy ran flawlessly from that point forward, marching through the field despite the race not seeing a yellow flag until 34 minutes remaining.

 
On the final restart, Tandy slipped to fourth behind the No. 25 BMW Team RLL BMW M8 of Tom Blomqvist but was able to get back around the BMW to secure the final podium position in the final few minutes. Blomqvist and his co-driver Connor De Phillippi finished fourth, while the No. 67 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT of Richard Westbrook and Ryan Briscoe finished fifth to make it four different manufacturers in the top-five.

 
The GTLM class now goes into its summer break with a number of its teams and drivers preparing for the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The next Weather Tech Championship event with the GTLM class in it is the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen on the weekend of June 27-30.

 
Hawksworth Hits Marks in Final Minutes to Give AIM VASSER SULLIVAN First IMSA Win with Lexus

 
Jack Hawksworth proved to be calm under intense pressure on Sunday afternoon at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course to send AIM VASSER SULLIVAN to victory lane for the first time in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

 
Driving the No. 14 Lexus RC F GT3 in the GT Daytona (GTD) class, Hawksworth kept a hard-charging Mario Farnbacher in his rearview mirror after stealing the lead from him on a restart with 30 minutes remaining in the two-hour, 40-minute Acura Sports Car Challenge.

 
Farnbacher didn’t relent, though, keeping Hawksworth within striking distance of his No. 86 Meyer Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3 machine. On the final lap, Farnbacher was able to pull along the driver side of the Lexus, yet couldn’t complete the pass on the outside line.

 
The victory is Lexus’ third in IMSA GTD competition, with the first coincidentally coming one year ago at Mid-Ohio. The No. 14 was expected to be a fierce competitor on Sunday, with Hawksworth’s co-driver Richard Heistand placing the car on the pole during qualifying on Saturday.

 
“My first race in the WeatherTech Championship I won (2014 Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Prototype Challenge class), and then I went on the biggest dry spell of all-time, so it’s nice to be back in a win,” said Hawksworth. “I was a part of the team last year when they won here and I’ve had some great times in the Lexus RC F over the last three years. It’s a pleasure to work alongside Lexus and drive with these great teams. I’ve had a lot of poles and fastest laps and I’ve had a lot of fastest cars, but it just never happened. But this race, it just all came together.”

 
Hawksworth described his battle with Farnbacher as a cat-and-mouse game, seeing the Lexus and Acura having strengths at different sectors of the track. Heistand was quick to give credit to his co-driver following the race for holding off the Acura.

 
“Jack did an unbelievable job,” said Heistand, who earned his first IMSA victory. “That pass on the restart, it was just incredible. His pace at the end, people don’t realize this Lexus at the end of the stint is hard compared to the other cars with the tires. What he does at the end of the stint is remarkable. Just look at the pace of the other cars at the end of the race there. What he did was incredible. I’m thrilled.”

 
It was a bittersweet runner-up finish for Farnbacher and co-driver Trent Hindman, who led a class-high 85 laps after starting from the ninth position. Hindman and Farnbacher, however, now hold a seven-point lead over the other AIM VASSER SULLIVAN entry, the No. 12 of Townsend Bell and Frank Montecalvo.

 
The No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R of Scott Hargrove and Zach Robichon was poised for its first podium finish of the season until bad luck struck the team again. With under seven minutes remaining, and running third at the time, Hargrove’s Porsche slid off the track into the gravel and was unable to continue. The team ultimately finished 12th.

 
Capitalizing on the Porsche’s bad luck was the No. 48 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini Huracán GT3 of Bryan Sellers and Ryan Hardwick. It is the team’s first top-10 finish of the season.

 
A television re-air of the Acura Sports Car Challenge will be shown on NBCSN on Wednesday, May 8 at 3 p.m. ET. 

 
The next round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship takes place at the Detroit Grand Prix at Belle Isle Park. The 100-minute Chevrolet Sports Car Classic is set for Saturday, June 1 at 12:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN with live coverage also available via IMSA Radio on IMSA.com, RadioLeMans.com and SiriusXM Radio. Tickets are available now on DetroitGP.com.
Montoya, Cameron Deliver Second Consecutive Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio Win for Acura Team Penske

 
May 5, 2019
Staff Report
IMSA Wire Service
LEXINGTON, Ohio – A year ago, Acura Team Penske celebrated its first IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship victory in the Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio with a sweep of the top two podium spots.

 
No. 6 Acura ARX-05 Daytona Prototype international (DPi) co-drivers Juan Pablo Montoya and Dane Cameron came home second that day as their teammates in the No. 7, Helio Castroneves and Ricky Taylor, celebrated the victory. Following Sunday’s two-hour and 40-minute battle at the 2.258-mile Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, it was the No. 6 team’s turn to celebrate.

 
Montoya and Cameron turned the tables on the weekend-long battle with Mazda Team Joest in Sunday’s race – showing speed when it mattered most, both on the racetrack and on pit road. Montoya took the lead with an hour and 18 minutes remaining following the middle pit-stop sequence and the No. 6 Acura outmuscled Tristan Nunez in the Motul Pole Award-winning No. 77 Mazda RT24-P DPi, pulling away on a restart with 24 minutes remaining to win by 2.022 seconds.

 
“I think we just executed well,” Montoya said. “We had been unlucky with mechanical issues and stuff this year, but we executed today the way it needed to be.

 
“I think the pace was good, but it’s tough because if you push hard you go quicker, and you open up a bit of a gap. But you can catch the cars in the wrong place and the seven-second gap you had becomes a two-second gap. So you want to run at an easy pace and just see how the traffic comes. The big difference was I did a good job on the restart with cold tires, and I did a good opening lap. We have races and race tracks that suit our car are coming up and we should be able to get some good results. The key here is not to make mistakes and give in to pressures and stuff like that.

 
“Last year we had a lot of races where we would finish second and third, but could never get it done. If you had told me last year when I made the deal it was going to take me this long to win my first race, I would have said no way. So it’s nice to finally put it together, it’s a pretty big day.”

 
It was the first WeatherTech Championship win for Acura Team Penske since last year’s race at Mid-Ohio. Montoya picked up his first WeatherTech Championship win and his fourth IMSA win after recording three previous Rolex 24 At Daytona triumphs in GRAND-AM competition. For Cameron, the victory was his 13th in IMSA competition – including 11 in the WeatherTech Championship and one each in GRAND-AM and the American Le Mans Series.

 
“It’s really satisfying to win today,” Cameron said. “We definitely didn’t expect to have the year we had last year. Or even the first couple of races this year, so it’s really nice to have a really close to perfect race today.

 
“Juan did a great job on his stints. I was able to get up to the lead and turn it over to him. It really couldn’t have gone any better. Hopefully, we can get a bunch more wins from here now that we’ve reminded ourselves we do know how to do it. We just need to continue to execute, and there are a couple of tracks coming up that suit us, and suit our car, and I think we just need to take advantage at the ones where we can and find the difference in the tracks that we don’t.”

 
The victory wasn’t lost on Cameron for the importance of winning a race that their manufacturer sponsored.

 
“Obviously, it’s a super important day,” he added. “It’s great to see Acura so involved in our sport and this series, and this type of racing. Everyone wants to win the big marques enduros, but before that, it’s just as important to win the title sponsor races. Hopefully, they can continue to grow their involvement in motorsport, and we can continue to work with them.”

 
Mazda Team Joest swept the final two spots on the podium led by Nunez and co-driver Oliver Jarvis in second aboard the No. 77. Jonathan Bomarito and past IndyCar champion and Indy 500 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay – standing in for regular driver Harry Tincknell – came home third in the No. 55 Mazda DPi, duplicating the team’s 2-3 performance at last year’s season-ending Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.

 
Felipe Nasr and Pipo Derani retained their WeatherTech Championship DPi points lead with a fourth-place run in the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R. With 120 points, the No. 31 teammates now have a four-point lead over No. 7 Acura Team Penske ARX-05 DPi co-drivers Castroneves and Taylor, who finished fifth Sunday.

 
In the LMP2 class, No. 52 PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports ORECA co-drivers Eric Lux and Matt McMurry scored a dominating victory, their first of the season in the WeatherTech Championship, after the No. 38 Performance Tech Motorsports ORECA driven at the time by Cameron Cassels encountered difficulties on the opening lap of the race.

 
It was McMurry’s first-ever victory in IMSA competition, and was the fifth IMSA win – but first WeatherTech Championship victory – for Lux.

 
“It feels good to have luck on our side this time, McMurry said. “I’ve had a couple of unlucky races before with a couple failures and incidents. So it was nice just to have a clean race where we could just put down laps and stay clean and end up on the top step of the podium.”

 
For Lux, it was his basically his first time in a prototype in over five years, and the feeling of winning wasn’t lost on him.

 
“Except for Daytona last year, it’s been five years since I’ve been in a prototype,” he said. “So it was quite a steep curve jumping back into it. But I couldn’t have asked for a better team to get back into it with. I’m happy to make this the weekend I came back and to end up on the top step of the podium.”

 
A television re-air of the Acura Sports Car Challenge will be on Wednesday at 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

 
Next up for the WeatherTech Championship is the 100-minute Chevrolet Sports Car Classic at Detroit’s Belle Isle Park on Saturday, June 1. The race will feature the DPi and GT Daytona (GTD) classes.

 
NBCSN will televise the race live beginning at 12:30 p.m. ET, with live coverage also available via IMSA Radio on IMSA.com, RadioLeMans.com and SiriusXM Radio. Tickets are available now on DetroitGP.com.  

 

 

De Angelis Wins Third Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama Race in Four Tries; Extends Points Lead at Mid-Ohio

 
May 5, 2019
Staff Report
IMSA Wire Service

 
LEXINGTON, Ohio – For the third time in four 2019 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama races, 18-year-old Canadian Roman De Angelis is a race winner in the No. 79 Kelly-Moss Road and Race Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car.

 
But this win at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course was a far bit tougher than De Angelis’ first two – which both came in pole-to-checkered flag runs last month at Barber Motorsports Park. This time, De Angelis had to fight his way past fellow Canadian Parker Thompson in the No. 3 JDX Racing Porsche, who celebrated his first series victory Saturday afternoon in the first race of the weekend doubleheader at Mid-Ohio.

 
Thompson started Sunday’s 45-minute race from the pole position by virtue of setting the fastest lap in Saturday’s race and pulled into the lead at the drop of the green flag. De Angelis, meanwhile, started third and quickly found his way past second-place starter Riley Dickinson in the No. 53 Moorespeed Porsche and set out after Thompson.

 
De Angelis began applying pressure within the first 15 minutes of the race, but Thompson fought valiantly to keep the No. 79 Porsche in his mirrors. But De Angelis seemed to be just a bit faster than Thompson and found his way into the lead with just over 25 minutes remaining in the race. He led the rest of the way en route to a 5.052-second victory over Thompson.

 
“We pushed really, really hard,” De Angelis said. “It was really difficult because we started third. I had to get by a few cars. Parker didn’t make it really easy for me. We were driving pretty aggressive, so I had to push to get by him. Then, after that, what an amazing job. The No. 79 Racing for Children’s/Medical Properties Trust Kelly-Moss car was on rails once again.

 
“I just can’t thank them enough. I’d like to be four-for-four right now, but it is what it is. We’re just going to keep gathering these points and pull out as big of a lead as we can and hopefully take the championship at the end. That’s what we’re here for.”

 
The win allowed De Angelis to extend his lead in the Platinum Cup championship standings for 911 GT3 Cup cars built between 2017 and 2019. He now has 137 points, 10 more than Thompson heading into the next two rounds of the season next month in Montreal as part of the Formula 1 Canadian Grand Prix weekend.

 
Thompson, meanwhile, now has podium results in all four of his GT3 Cup Challenge USA starts to date. In addition to his Saturday win, he also finished third in both races at Barber. Rounding out the Platinum Cup podium was Max Root in the No. 7 Wright Motorsports Porsche with a third-place showing. Root also finished third in Saturday’s race.

 
The Platinum Masters class for drivers age 45 and over had its 100th race as part of the GT3 Cup Challenge USA on Sunday and fittingly had a spirited battle for the victory. Reigning class champion Alan Metni came away with the win in the No. 99 AM Motorsports/Kelly-Moss Porsche, but not without a fight that included Charlie Luck in the No. 45 Wright Motorsports Porsche and the Topp Racing machines of David Baker in the No. 56 and Bill Smith in the No. 42.

 
The four cars ran nose-to-tail with Luck as the leader until Metni finally found his way past with under 15 minutes to go. It was Metni’s third victory in four races this season and enabled him to extend his Platinum Masters points lead to 18 over Fred Poordad, 135-117.

 
“I just love it here at Mid-Ohio,” Menti said. “This was where I had my first win (in 2018) and it was nice to come back here and do well. The team gave me a great car. I also want to thank my wife and my kids for making it possible for me to be out here.

 
“There’s great racing in the Masters division. Those guys are wonderful to race with and learn from. Charlie and Mark (Kvamme) and David and Bill, they did a phenomenal job and I’m delighted to be able to race with them.”

 
Baker wound up second in Platinum Masters after an incident between Luck and Smith battling for second took Luck off the road and Smith on to pit lane for a drive-through penalty for incident responsibility. Local racer Kvamme took the third and final spot on the podium in the No. 43 JDX Racing Porsche.

 
It was also a nail-biter in the Gold Cup class for 911 GT3 Cup machines built between 2014 and 2016. Sebastian Carazo ended up sweeping the weekend in the No. 27 NGT Motorsport Porsche, but just barely. After leading throughout the race, Carazo had to win a drag race from the final turn to the finish line with Rob Ferriol in the No. 5 TPC Racing Porsche, which he did by a scant, 0.052 seconds.

 
Like De Angelis and Metni, Carazo also picked up his third win in four races this season to extend his Gold Cup points lead. With 135 points, he is 12 points ahead of second-place Kurt Fazekas, who finished third in Sunday’s race in the No. 52 Kelly-Moss Road and Race Porsche.

 
With a fourth-place class showing and a 14th-place overall result, Curt Swearingen earned the Yokohama Hard Charger Award for Race 2 as the Gold Cup driver who improved the most positions from start to finish in the race. He started 17th on the overall grid.

 
The Mid-Ohio rounds will be televised on NBCSN at 1 p.m. ET on Monday, May 13.

Next up for the GT3 Cup Challenge USA is the first of two combined events with the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama at Montreal’s Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on the weekend of June 7-9.
De Angelis Wins Third Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama Race in Four Tries; Extends Points Lead at Mid-Ohio

 
May 5, 2019
Staff Report
IMSA Wire Service

 
LEXINGTON, Ohio – For the third time in four 2019 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama races, 18-year-old Canadian Roman De Angelis is a race winner in the No. 79 Kelly-Moss Road and Race Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car.

 
But this win at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course was a far bit tougher than De Angelis’ first two – which both came in pole-to-checkered flag runs last month at Barber Motorsports Park. This time, De Angelis had to fight his way past fellow Canadian Parker Thompson in the No. 3 JDX Racing Porsche, who celebrated his first series victory Saturday afternoon in the first race of the weekend doubleheader at Mid-Ohio.

 
Thompson started Sunday’s 45-minute race from the pole position by virtue of setting the fastest lap in Saturday’s race and pulled into the lead at the drop of the green flag. De Angelis, meanwhile, started third and quickly found his way past second-place starter Riley Dickinson in the No. 53 Moorespeed Porsche and set out after Thompson.

 
De Angelis began applying pressure within the first 15 minutes of the race, but Thompson fought valiantly to keep the No. 79 Porsche in his mirrors. But De Angelis seemed to be just a bit faster than Thompson and found his way into the lead with just over 25 minutes remaining in the race. He led the rest of the way en route to a 5.052-second victory over Thompson.

 
“We pushed really, really hard,” De Angelis said. “It was really difficult because we started third. I had to get by a few cars. Parker didn’t make it really easy for me. We were driving pretty aggressive, so I had to push to get by him. Then, after that, what an amazing job. The No. 79 Racing for Children’s/Medical Properties Trust Kelly-Moss car was on rails once again.

 
“I just can’t thank them enough. I’d like to be four-for-four right now, but it is what it is. We’re just going to keep gathering these points and pull out as big of a lead as we can and hopefully take the championship at the end. That’s what we’re here for.”

 
The win allowed De Angelis to extend his lead in the Platinum Cup championship standings for 911 GT3 Cup cars built between 2017 and 2019. He now has 137 points, 10 more than Thompson heading into the next two rounds of the season next month in Montreal as part of the Formula 1 Canadian Grand Prix weekend.

 
Thompson, meanwhile, now has podium results in all four of his GT3 Cup Challenge USA starts to date. In addition to his Saturday win, he also finished third in both races at Barber. Rounding out the Platinum Cup podium was Max Root in the No. 7 Wright Motorsports Porsche with a third-place showing. Root also finished third in Saturday’s race.

 
The Platinum Masters class for drivers age 45 and over had its 100th race as part of the GT3 Cup Challenge USA on Sunday and fittingly had a spirited battle for the victory. Reigning class champion Alan Metni came away with the win in the No. 99 AM Motorsports/Kelly-Moss Porsche, but not without a fight that included Charlie Luck in the No. 45 Wright Motorsports Porsche and the Topp Racing machines of David Baker in the No. 56 and Bill Smith in the No. 42.

 
The four cars ran nose-to-tail with Luck as the leader until Metni finally found his way past with under 15 minutes to go. It was Metni’s third victory in four races this season and enabled him to extend his Platinum Masters points lead to 18 over Fred Poordad, 135-117.

 
“I just love it here at Mid-Ohio,” Menti said. “This was where I had my first win (in 2018) and it was nice to come back here and do well. The team gave me a great car. I also want to thank my wife and my kids for making it possible for me to be out here.

 
“There’s great racing in the Masters division. Those guys are wonderful to race with and learn from. Charlie and Mark (Kvamme) and David and Bill, they did a phenomenal job and I’m delighted to be able to race with them.”

 
Baker wound up second in Platinum Masters after an incident between Luck and Smith battling for second took Luck off the road and Smith on to pit lane for a drive-through penalty for incident responsibility. Local racer Kvamme took the third and final spot on the podium in the No. 43 JDX Racing Porsche.

 
It was also a nail-biter in the Gold Cup class for 911 GT3 Cup machines built between 2014 and 2016. Sebastian Carazo ended up sweeping the weekend in the No. 27 NGT Motorsport Porsche, but just barely. After leading throughout the race, Carazo had to win a drag race from the final turn to the finish line with Rob Ferriol in the No. 5 TPC Racing Porsche, which he did by a scant, 0.052 seconds.

 
Like De Angelis and Metni, Carazo also picked up his third win in four races this season to extend his Gold Cup points lead. With 135 points, he is 12 points ahead of second-place Kurt Fazekas, who finished third in Sunday’s race in the No. 52 Kelly-Moss Road and Race Porsche.

 
With a fourth-place class showing and a 14th-place overall result, Curt Swearingen earned the Yokohama Hard Charger Award for Race 2 as the Gold Cup driver who improved the most positions from start to finish in the race. He started 17th on the overall grid.

 
The Mid-Ohio rounds will be televised on NBCSN at 1 p.m. ET on Monday, May 13.

Next up for the GT3 Cup Challenge USA is the first of two combined events with the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama at Montreal’s Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on the weekend of June 7-9.

 

 

 

Ford Puts End To Porsche’s GTLM Pole Streak
With Bourdais Last-Lap Flyer At Mid-Ohio

 
May 4, 2019
Staff Report
IMSA Wire Service

 
LEXINGTON, Ohio – Porsche’s impressive three-race qualifying streak in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GT Le Mans (GTLM) class came to an end Saturday at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, but it certainly wasn’t for a lack of effort.

 
Sebastian Bourdais – subbing for Joey Hand in the No. 66 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT – alternated fast laps with the No. 912 Porsche 911 RSR of Laurens Vanthoor throughout the session’s final two minutes, with Bourdais ultimately nipping Vanthoor by 0.275 of a second at the checkered flag.

 
Vanthoor held the top spot briefly with a lap of one minute, 19.399 seconds (102.378 mph) on his final lap, but was bested by Bourdais just seconds later with a lap of 1:19.124 (102.734 mph).

 
It was Bourdais’ second career WeatherTech Championship pole, with his first coming at Sebring in 2014 for Action Express Racing. He will lead the eight-car GTLM field to the green flag for Sunday’s Acura Sports Car Challenge which takes the green flag at 1:30 p.m. ET and can be seen live on NBCSN.

 
“The guys did a really good job,” said Bourdais, who is subbing for Hand for the second consecutive race as Hand is focusing on recovery efforts from a recent bout with the flu to ensure he’s prepared for Le Mans. “It’s really tricky conditions. We really didn’t get good reads this morning, and it was wet again to start with but to begin the weekend out on top, I’m really proud of all the guys. Ford gave us a great car. I couldn’t be any happier.”

 
Porsche had previously won the pole for all three WeatherTech Championship races to-date this season, with Nick Tandy scoring the pole at Daytona and Long Beach and his No. 911 Porsche 911 RSR co-driver Patrick Pilet leading the way at Sebring.

 
It was a back-and-forth qualifying session, with the pole position swapping hands nine times over the final five minutes of the 15-minute session and five different drivers leading at one point. In fact, the four different manufacturers that make up the GTLM class took the top four spots on the grid with the No. 24 BMW Team RLL M8 of Jesse Krohn and the No. 4 Corvette Racing Corvette C7.R of Tommy Milner making up the second row.

 
Ford is the only manufacturer with two cars in the top-five with Ryan Briscoe qualifying fifth in the No. 67 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT entry.

 
Lexus Wins Motul Pole Award for Second Consecutive Season in GTD at Mid-Ohio
Lexus is making a case for being “the one to catch” at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

 
Richard Heistand won his first Motul Pole Award in the No. 14 AIM VASSER SULLIVAN Lexus RC F GT3, topping the GT Daytona (GTD) class with a time of 1:24.281 (96. 448 mph).

 
It was an unpredictable qualifying session for GTD teams, as the track was transitioning from wet to dry following heavy mist earlier in the day. Adding to the challenge was that this weekend is Heistand’s first trip to Mid-Ohio.

 
Heistand’s pole marks the second consecutive season that a Lexus RC F GT3 has led the GTD field to green at the 2.238-mile road course. Heistand’s co-driver Jack Hawksworth scored the pole position in the No. 15 Lexus last year, while its sister car – and current pole-sitting car – the No. 14, went on to win the race. It was the first WeatherTech Championship victory for the manufacturer.

 
“I think it’s a great car,” said Heistand. “I’m happy with the lap. To be honest, I think the car suits the conditions. It turns the tires around pretty quick. With the track drying, I just had to put together a clean lap. It’s funny when everything is going right, you don’t feel like anything was that hard. And then on days it’s not working, you’re trying really hard and don’t get anywhere.”

 
Heistand’s time turned out to be almost two seconds quicker than that of second-place Ben Keating in the No. 33 Mercedes-AMG Team Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3, who posted a time of 1:26.109 (94.401 mph). Despite the large margin between front row cars, the morning weather conditions prevented cars from reaching Hawksworth’s 2018 track record of 1:19.317 (102.484 mph).

 
Adding to Lexus’ qualifying success was Frankie Montecalvo, who placed both AIM VASSER SULLIVAN machines in the top three for Sunday’s Acura Sports Car Challenge.

 
The Acura Sports Car Challenge gets underway on Sunday starting at 1:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN. IMSA Radio commentary will be available on RadioLeMans.com and on SiriusXM Radio Channel 202 (Streaming 972). Fans are also encouraged to join the conversation on social media using the hashtag #IMSAatMO.
Jarvis Gives Mazda Second Motul Pole Award, Second Track Record of 2019 Season in Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio Qualifying

 
May 4, 2019
Staff Report
IMSA Wire Service

 
LEXINGTON, Ohio – If Sunday’s Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio is anything like Saturday’s 15-minute IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Daytona Prototype international (DPi) qualifying session, the race fans at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and those watching the NBCSN live telecast (coverage begins at 1:30 p.m. ET Sunday) are in for quite a show.

 
It was an all-out, battle royal for the Motul Pole Award that went right down to the final minute of the session before Oliver Jarvis secured his second pole of the season in the No. 77 Mazda Team Joest RT24-P. After current DPi points leader, Pipo Derani set the pace early on in the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R, the battle for the pole came down between Jarvis and Dane Cameron in the No. 6 Acura Team Penske ARX-05 DPi.

 
Jarvis and Cameron traded the top spot no less than four times before Jarvis finally posted a lap of one minute, 10.705 seconds (114.967 mph) around the 2.258-mile permanent road course to get the pole. He then ran out of fuel at the end of his final qualifying lap as Cameron appeared to be on one last flyer, but the Mazda had just enough to keep the pole.

 
“We basically had zero dry running (before qualifying),” Jarvis said. “We got a little bit this morning, but the track was still improving. I think what you saw was a combination of the track getting better, the drivers taking a step each lap, and then Dane and I just going head-to-head.

 
“It was a head-to-head battle, we just didn’t realize it at the time. I just kept getting a new update. I’d do, like a 12.0 and think, ‘Oh, that was a good lap.’ Then, I’d get told on the radio, ‘Target time’s 11.6.’ It’s like, ‘OK, I’ll go again.’ Then do 11.4 and there’s a new target time. It was great fun.

 
“This track for me in the dry – I mean, I was disappointed when it was wet, just purely because it’s such a driver’s track in the dry. You can really hang the car out and push. You can really find some time by taking a bit of risk, but you can also stick it in the wall and look silly. To come into pit lane in P1 and the car in one piece is fantastic.”

 
Jarvis eclipsed Helio Castroneves’ year-old track record of 1:11.837 by more than a second. That’s nothing new for Jarvis, though. He opened the year with the Motul Pole Award for the Rolex 24 At Daytona, breaking PJ Jones’ 26-year-old track record at Daytona. He and co-driver Tristan Nunez will be looking for Mazda Team Joest’s first WeatherTech Championship victory on Sunday.

 
To do it, they’ll have to hold off a stout field that includes both Acura Team Penske DPis, which qualified second and third. Defending race winner Castroneves wound up second in the No. 7 ARX-05 DPi he shares with Ricky Taylor with a best lap of 1:10.727 (114.931 mph), with Cameron third at 1:10.806 (114.803 mph) in the No. 6 he co-drives with Juan Pablo Montoya.

 
Derani wound up fourth in the No. 31 Cadillac with a lap of 1:11.721 (113.338 mph) as he and co-driver Felipe Nasr look to preserve their current lead in the WeatherTech Championship DPi standings. They head into the race holding a two-point lead, 92-90, over Castroneves and Taylor.

 
Joao Barbosa made it two Action Express Racing Cadillac DPis in the top five, putting the No. 5 Mustang Sampling entry fifth at 1:12.320 (112.400 mph). Barbosa and co-driver Filipe Albuquerque won the most recent WeatherTech Championship round, last month’s BUBBA burger Sports Car Grand Prix at Long Beach.

 
In LMP2 qualifying, class points leader Kyle Masson took the Motul Pole Award. He posted a best lap of 1:14.877 (108.561 mph) in the No. 38 Performance Tech Motorsports ORECA he shares with Cameron Cassels. It was Masson’s first career WeatherTech Championship pole.

 
“It feels really good,” Masson said. “We had a strong race car last year. The conditions have been wet, so not much time to focus on anything, but we went on the knowledge we had last year and capitalized on it. We were able to improve the car regardless of the fact we didn’t have any sessions or time to put it together. The team did a great job doing that. It’s really cool to be here.”

 
In addition to NBCSN’s live telecast, IMSA Radio also will cover Sunday’s action on IMSA.com, RadioLeMans.com and SiriusXM Radio Channel 202 (Streaming 972).

 
Tickets are still available now at MidOhio.com, and also may be purchased at the gate.
Strategy Call Allows Park Place Porsche to Run Away
For MICHELIN Pilot Challenge Victory at Mid-Ohio

 
May 4, 2019
Staff Report
IMSA Wire Service
LEXINGTON, Ohio – For as much uncertainty as there was for Saturday afternoon’s weather conditions, a victory for Park Place Motorsports in the IMSA MICHELIN Pilot Challenge Grand Sport (GS) class essentially became a lock.

 
The two-hour race started with clouds overhead and with just under an hour remaining the drivers had to begin dealing with a mist that settled in over Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. It was enough for some teams to make a switch to Michelin’s Pilot Sport GT Rain Tires, yet for some to remain on slicks.

 
When it was a decision for the No. 7 Park Place Motorsports Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport and its co-drivers Alan Brynjolfsson and Trent Hindman, the team followed the second strategy.

 
Brynjolfsson handed over the reins to Hindman as the mist began to make its presence known. As competitors ducked into the pits for wet tires, Hindman cycled into the lead. The neon yellow, VOLT-sponsored Porsche couldn’t be missed in the fog as it led for the remaining 26 laps of the race.

 
“At the end of the day with these changing conditions, we kind of expected that there was going to be quite a few full course yellows,” said Hindman, who is pulling double duty this weekend between the Pilot Challenge and IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. “Along with that, just the way everybody else jumped as soon as they saw some rain coming up on the radar, we stayed patient. We definitely analyzed the situation I think a bit further, and that’s ultimately what got us into victory lane. It was just staying calm, looking around and making a call, and not just knee-jerk reactions. I think that’s what got the Park Place Motorsports crew a win today.”

 
Brynjolfsson, the owner of VOLT, recalled his anxiety watching the radar to see if the mist would turn to rain, and potentially ruin his chance at a second career Pilot Challenge victory.

 
“This was a classic ‘everything needs to go right’ win,” said Brynjolfsson. “It’s a real team win. When you have this level of competition in IMSA, that’s required. Basically, everything happened in our favor. We had a great strategy from Mike Johnson with his calls, the car was set up beautifully, and we stayed on the slicks. There was rain all around us with a little pocket of no rain. If that rain had hit, that would have gone against us. Both drivers did great, the car was set up perfect, the strategy went well, and that’s how we got the win.”
Bryan Herta Autosport Secures Hyundai’s First Ever IMSA Victory
In Intense TCR Battle at Mid-Ohio

 
May 4, 2019
Staff Report
IMSA Wire Service
LEXINGTON, Ohio – All eyes were glued to the IMSA MICHELIN Pilot Challenge TCR battle in the final 15 minutes at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on Saturday.

 
It was Hyundai versus Audi as the race approached the checkered flag, with Bryan Herta Autosport’s No. 98 Hyundai Veloster N battling against Audi RS3 LMS entries from Mark Motors Racing and Roadshagger Racing by eEuroparts.com.

 
Michael Lewis in the No. 98 Hyundai had all he could handle against Remo Ruscitti in the No. 81 Mark Motors Audi, with the two continuously swapping lead changes. The No. 61 Roadshagger Audi of Jon Morley lurked in third and was looking to make a move to second if one of the top two faltered.

 
Two moves decided the race with the first coming with less than three minutes remaining. At that point, Lewis slid his Hyundai around Ruscitti and a GS car blocking the latter to take the lead. The move solidified Hyundai’s first IMSA win in just its third start for Bryan Herta Autosport, Lewis and co-driver Mark Wilkins.

 
“I’m so happy I was in this Hyundai Veloster N,” said Lewis. “It was really grippy. I was confident in the car, and then the only thing I was thinking about is where to place my car because Remo behind me was doing a good job of placing his car in that traffic. So, I was thinking about each corner ahead and then even a bit further ahead to see where he would time a run. With about two laps to go, I thought I had to make this one move, and if I was going to crash, that was what I had to do to try to win. And if I would’ve crashed, hey, it happens.

 
“We ended up sticking it, I think it was on the outside of eight or nine on a Mustang and got some clear air. Then in the last corner again, another Mustang got in the way, but we were able to get the win. Honestly, it was just pure driving. That was touring car racing and multi-class racing at its best.”

 
The No. 98 team also won the “Spirit of the Race” award presented by Forgeline in conjunction with IMSA Radio.

 
“It was an amazing day getting the first IMSA win for the team, and the first IMSA win for the Veloster N TCR car,” said team owner Bryan Herta. “What a race to win because I have a lot of history here at Mid-Ohio. I have raced here a lot of years, and I couldn’t think of a better place for it to happen or how it happened. It came down to the very last corner on the very last lap. Our guys were fighting and swapping positions, and I am proud of everybody on the team.”

 
With Lewis’ pass, Ruscitti was relegated to second and left to battle Morley. Contact with the No. 61 sent Ruscitti spinning into the grass, ultimately winding up fourth, and Morley with co-driver Gavin Ernstone runner-up.

 
Ruscitti and co-driver Marco Cirone are part of a newly announced, part-time Pilot Challenge effort for 2019 with their next race coming in June or July.

 
Rounding out the podium in their best finish-to-date as rookies were Russell McDonough and Ryan Nash in the No. 12 eEuroparts.com ROWE Racing Audi RS3 LMS.

 
The next IMSA MICHELIN Pilot Challenge race comes at Watkins Glen International on Saturday, June 29. The Tioga Downs Casino Resort 240 is the second of two, four-hour races on the 2019 schedule.

 
The television broadcast of the Pilot Challenge race from Mid-Ohio will air on Saturday, May 11 at 11 p.m. ET on NBCSN.
Thompson Splashes to First Career Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama Win in Wet and Wild Race 1 at Mid-Ohio

 
May 4, 2019
Staff Report
IMSA Wire Service
LEXINGTON, Ohio – Parker Thompson is no stranger to the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. The Canadian has previously raced here – and won – in open-wheel cars.

 
But before Friday, Thompson never had driven a Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car in the rain anywhere. As it turns out, he’s a pretty quick study.

 
In Saturday afternoon’s rain-soaked, 45-minute Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama first race of a weekend doubleheader at Mid-Ohio, Thompson handled the conditions masterfully. He got a great jump on a restart to take the lead from Riley Dickinson and never put a wheel wrong – which was easier said than done – to record the first victory of his GT3 Cup Challenge USA career in the No. 3 JDX Racing Porsche.

 
“It’s unbelievable,” Thompson said. “I’m just so proud of this JDX Racing crew. It didn’t look like I was even going to get into sports cars this year, but for them to have me in as a transfer from open-wheel, my hat is off to the crew. I can’t thank these guys enough for getting me in here.

 
“These guys develop one heck of a rain car. All I did was make sure I kept it on track, and we just drove off in the sunset. Really, a rain race is about the car. It’s about the driver too, but I did my job, they did their job and we came away with the win today.”

 
There were three full-course caution periods, including one that came out as the field was coming to take the white flag. As a result, the race finished behind the safety car.

 
Coming home second behind Thompson was Roman De Angelis in the No. 79 Kelly-Moss Road and Race Porsche. The 18-year-old Canadian went into the race as the leader in the Platinum Cup point standings for 911 GT3 Cup machines built between 2017 and 2019 after sweeping both races at last month’s season-opening doubleheader at Barber Motorsports Park. In fact, he led every lap of both of those races.

 
He started today’s race from the pole position as the starting grid was set by championship points when qualifying was not completed earlier Saturday. But De Angelis never led today, as both Dickinson and Thompson found their way past at the start of the race. He benefited from a late off-course excursion by Dickinson – who went off in avoidance of a spinning car – to take second and retain the points lead.

 
With three of 16 races complete, De Angelis now leads Thompson by seven points, 102-95.

 
Max Root picked up his first podium result of the season with a third-place showing in the No. 7 Wright Motorsports Porsche. The 2018 IMSA Hurley Haywood GT3 Scholarship recipient also took home Yokohama Hard Charger Award honors as the Platinum Cup driver who improved the most positions from start to finish, improving from 10th on the grid to third at the finish.

 
Jeff Kingsley made it two JDX Racing Porsches in the top-four with a fourth-place run in the No. 16 Porsche. Dickinson recovered from his late race “off” to come home fifth in the No. 53 Moorespeed entry.

 
It was a wild race in Platinum Masters for drivers 45 years of age and older. Early on, points leader and defending Masters champion Alan Metni in the No. 99 AM Motorsports/Kelly-Moss Porsche and Bill Smith in the No. 42 Topp Racing Porsche tangled while battling for the lead in Turn 2, sending both cars spinning off course and Smith eventually to pit road to serve a drive-through penalty for incident responsibility.

 
That gave the lead to Fred Poordad in the No. 20 Wright Motorsports Porsche, but he was bitten a few laps later by the conditions and spun. David Baker then took the lead in the No. 56 Topp Racing machine. He was within two laps of the victory but skidded off course and brought out the race-ending full-course caution. That gave the Masters win to Poordad. It was his first victory since Race 2 last year at VIRginia International Raceway.

 
“It was really kind of a survival test out there,” Poordad said. “There were some guys with pretty good pace, actually, but it’s hard to keep it on the track. I even had one little excursion, kept it on the track, although I did a 360 and got going again.

 
“I’m just happy that we were able to finish the race and with Max Root as well. Thumbs up for Wright Motorsports for putting us in a great car. It was a struggle all week for everybody, but we’re happy with the results today.”

 
Smith battled back to take second in Masters, followed by Metni, who wound up third.

 
In Gold Cup for Porsche 911 GT3 Cup machines between 2014 and 2016, Sebastian Carazo brought home his second victory of the season in the No. 27 NGT Motorsport entry. Carazo took the lead early on from Gold Cup polesitter Kurt Fazekas in the No. 52 Kelly-Moss Road and Race Porsche and held on the rest of the way to win.

 
“It was a pretty eventful race right from the start,” Carazo said. “It was basically, the first couple laps, staying alive and avoiding everything. It was just trying to get by the first couple laps, and then just finding your rhythm, finding your points and then just start hitting them. That was pretty much all the race.”

 
Rob Ferriol finished second in Gold Cup in the No. 5 TPC Racing Porsche with Efrin Castro completing the podium by finishing third in the No. 65 ACI Motorsports Porsche.

 
Race 2 from the Mid-Ohio weekend rolls off Sunday morning at 11 a.m. ET and will be streamed live on IMSA.tv.

 

 

 

Mid-Ohio Friday Notebook


 
May 3, 2019
Staff Report
IMSA Wire Service
LEXINGTON, Ohio –

 
IndyCar Regulars Hunter-Reay, Bourdais Late Additions to Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio
In addition to the regular stars and cars of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, two past IndyCar champions – Ryan Hunter-Reay and Sebastien Bourdais – were late additions to the Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio field.

 
Hunter-Reay, the 2012 IndyCar champion and 2014 Indy 500 winner, got the call late last week to share the No. 55 Mazda RT24-P Daytona Prototype international (DPi) machine with Jonathan Bomarito, whose regular co-driver, Harry Tincknell, is racing the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) event this weekend at Spa.

 
“I finally got in the car this morning,” Hunter-Reay said after posting the second-quickest time of the day in Friday afternoon practice. “It was a bit of a washout, so I had to be patient getting in the car this afternoon. My first time ever behind the wheel of a Mazda was in the wet at Mid-Ohio, so pretty tough conditions considering how slick the racetrack is, but it was inviting. I got right into it. It allowed me to push the car, I got lap time out of it that way.

 
“It was fun just getting up to speed in another new race car that I get the opportunity to drive. This team has done a great job getting me in here last minute, prepping the car, driver fit, and of course, Bomarito’s the ultimate pro. We’re all working really well together, so hopefully, we can go make these Mazdas quick in the dry tomorrow.”

 
Four-time Champ Car champion Bourdais, meanwhile, was tapped to again fill in for Joey Hand in the No. 66 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT alongside co-driver Dirk Mueller. The Frenchman usually competes in just IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup events alongside his full-time ride in the Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser-Sullivan IndyCar, but he’s making his fourth WeatherTech Championship start of the season this weekend.

 
He pinch-hit for Hand in last month’s BUBBA burger Sports Car Grand Prix at Long Beach when Hand was battling flu-like symptoms and was pressed into service again this weekend as Hand continues to recuperate.

 
“I was on standby,” Bourdais said. “I knew it was a possibility I was going to get the call-up, and sure enough, I did.”

 
Bourdais is no stranger to Mid-Ohio. He’s logged plenty of miles here in IndyCar over the years, and also drove the Ford GT at the 2.258-mile facility as he got back up to speed following his crash during qualifying for the Indianapolis 500 in 2017.

 
“I came testing here actually in ’17 after my crash since I’d not driven the car between Sebring and the crash and everything,” Bourdais said. “I had tested here. I remember it the way it pretty much is right now, which is very, very low grip, which is funny because it’s completely the opposite in IndyCar.

 
“It’s a really high-grip track for us in IndyCar, and here we’re just slipping and sliding and clearly not switching on the tires very well. That’s probably not the forte of the car, because it’s very gentle on tires. Here, I think you probably want to beat them pretty hard, so it’s interesting. We’ll see what we’ve got. It’s just a different weekend.”

 
NBCSN will televise the race live beginning Sunday at 1:30 p.m. ET. IMSA Radio also will cover the weekend action on IMSA.com, RadioLeMans.com and SiriusXM Radio Channel 202 (Streaming 972). Tickets are available now on MidOhio.com.

 
Honda Unveils IMSA MICHELIN Pilot Challenge Historic Livery at Home Event
Honda has a significant presence in Ohio as it is home to several of the company’s manufacturing and research and development facilities. The manufacturer also has a strong representation in the IMSA MICHELIN Pilot Challenge and has chosen the No. 37 Honda Civic to sport a historic livery for one of its home events.

 
Fielded by L.A. Honda World with co-drivers Shelby Blackstock and Ohio native Tom O’Gorman, the No. 37’s new silver metallic look pays tribute to the 1974 Honda Civic and driver “Honda Bob” Boileau. Boileau constructed the first Honda racecar and went on to win six SCCA GT5 championships.

 
The No. 37 could be well on its way to its own championship this season in the TCR class, having won the first two races of the season.

 
“With Mid-Ohio being one of my favorite tracks, I am excited to get the weekend started in the No. 37 L.A. Honda World / LAP Motorsports Honda Civic Type R,” said Blackstock. “We’ve had a strong start to the year, so we are hoping to keep the streak alive.”

 
“With two wins already this year, I’m really stoked about getting to my home track to compete in this car,” added O’Gorman. “It’s been a dream to progress through the Honda racing ladder, having raced the Honda Fit, Civic Si, and now, this amazing race car.”

 
The two-hour IMSA MICHELIN Pilot Challenge race goes green on Saturday, May 4 at 1:45 p.m. ET and can be streamed live on IMSA.tv with IMSA Radio commentary. For series updates throughout the weekend, visit IMSA.com or join the conversation on social media using #IMSAatMO.

 
First-Timer Thompson Quickest in Wet Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama Practice
It was a pretty good first day in wet conditions for Parker Thompson in Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama practice on Friday at Mid-Ohio. Thompson posted the quickest time of the day, a 1 minute, 50.917 second lap around the 2.258-mile circuit in the second of the day’s two practice sessions in preparation for this weekend’s doubleheader of races.

 
“It’s my first time in the wet with a roof over my head, so my hat is off to the JDX Racing crew because I had no real input on the setup,” Thompson said. “They gave me a car, they put it on the ground, and it went really fast. The No. 3 Hertz Porsche is on rails, and we’ve just got to keep our momentum up for tomorrow when it counts.”

 
The first GT3 Cup Challenge USA race of the weekend will be at 4:20 p.m. ET Saturday with the second set for 11 a.m. ET Sunday. Both races will be streamed live on IMSA.tv.

 
Performance Tech Motorsports Welcomes Special Guest to Mid-Ohio
Performance Tech Motorsports has a special guest this weekend in Be the Match ambassador Quinton O’Donnell. The non-profit organization is dedicated to finding marrow transplant donors and matching them to blood cancer patients in need. O’Donnell was diagnosed with Hodgkin Lymphoma in February of 2015 at the age of 16 and is currently searching for an unrelated bone marrow donor, for an allogenic transplant.

 
“I became involved with Be the Match in the fall of 2017 when my mom and I hosted a local donor drive that recruited over 90 people for the registry,” O’Donnell said. “Since then I have represented them through social media outreach and public speaking. I chose to become a part of Be the Match because I have experienced personally the pain and fear that a patient and their family go through when unable to find a donor and I don’t want anybody else to go through the same thing.”

 
The team and its sponsor Centinel Spine partnered with Be The Match beginning at the Rolex 24 At Daytona to bring awareness to marrow donation and innovation. One of the team’s drivers Dr. Robert Masson was selected by Be The Match to be its medical investigator to study and optimize the procedures and processes necessary for safe and lifesaving bone marrow transplantation treatment.

 
In addition to being a guest of the Performance Tech Motorsports team this weekend, he also will give the IMSA Prototype Challenge field the command to start engines for its race on Sunday at 8:50 a.m. ET.

 
#Bamthor On WeatherTech Championship GTLM Hot Streak for Porsche GT Team

 
May 16, 2019
Staff Report
IMSA Wire Service
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – In the grand tradition of great collaborations, IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship fans are witnessing another in the GT Le Mans (GTLM) class.

 
They’ve become known as #Bamthor. It’s the new nickname taking hold in social media for the co-drivers of the No. 912 Porsche GT Team 911 RSR, Earl Bamber and Laurens Vanthoor.

 
The name is taking on a life of its own after the duo’s back-to-back victories in the BUBBA burger Sports Car Grand Prix at Long Beach last month and the Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio on May 5.

 
“We’re starting to get more and more known for this whole ‘Bamthor’ thing, which really just started out like a funny joke by somebody on Twitter,” Vanthoor says. “But now I see the hashtag is being used quite seriously. It just shows how good we get along.”

 
Just how “good” do they get along?

 
“I think we trust each other a lot, we respect each other even more, and that’s important,” said Vanthoor. “Because in the end, basically on a yearly basis, I spend as much time with him as I do with my wife, so you’d better get along well.

 
“I think it’s one of the best relationships I’ve had with a teammate. Not just on track – I live close to Porsche (headquarters) because my wife’s from the area and I often actually see Earl when we’re not racing. We’re also just good friends. Obviously, it’s like a married couple, where sometimes you have a discussion as well, which is perfectly normal.

 
“We have the kind of relationship where if I don’t feel well about something, I can just go up to him and say, ‘Hey, I don’t like this. What’s happening? Same from his side. I think that’s an important strength together to have.”

 
Their relationship off the racetrack clearly is paying dividends on it. Buoyed by the back-to-back victories, as well as a third-place showing in the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona, Bamber and Vanthoor are leading the WeatherTech Championship GTLM standings by seven points, 126-119, over the winners of the past two GTLM titles, Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen in the No. 3 Corvette C7.R.

 
In fact, the No. 3 team’s performance the past two seasons – and Corvette Racing’s No. 4 team of Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner winning the 2016 GTLM title – has provided a blueprint for the Porsche GT Team, and specifically the No. 912 squad, to follow.

 
“It’s all about teamwork,” Bamber said. “It’s important to qualify at the front because then you can stay out of trouble, and then it’s about executing perfectly. Corvette has been masters in GTLM for the last couple years of executing every race perfectly, so I guess our goal would be to try and emulate that.

 
“We’ve been studying quite hard about how they do things and how they’ve gone about winning championships, so I guess it’s just about trying to continue to beat the 3 each weekend and keep staying in front of them. Sometimes, it means you’ve got to take a second. Sometimes, it means you’ve got to take a third or fourth. If you have an average finishing rate of fourth place in the championship or higher, then you win the championship.”

 
This is also the third year of what was a “revolutionary” mid-engine layout for the Porsche 911 RSR when it debuted at the start of the 2017 season. That coincided with Vanthoor’s first year with the team, a year before he and Bamber were paired for the first time in the No. 912.

 
Both drivers attribute the car’s development as a critical reason for the team’s strong performance. This includes victories by the No. 911 trio of Nick Tandy, Patrick Pilet and Frederic Makowiecki at this year’s Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts and the 2018 season-ending Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.

 
“Obviously, this is the first mid-engine car that Porsche built in a long time, so I think it took a little while to get our heads around that idea,” Bamber said. “Now, certainly this year, they’ve really refined it and the car – even when we take it off the truck – wherever we go at any track, it’s definitely performing very, very well.”

 
“There’s a lot of details to make sure you have all those boxes ticked before you can actually be, let’s say, successful in that [GTLM] class,” Vanthoor added. “That’s why I think experience plays a big role to know which parts are important. To get all those small details right, it takes time. I can really see it now with our team.

 
“Now, it’s very good, but it takes time for things to go the way you want. For sure, the longer you’re there, the more experienced you are, the more you’re with the same people, it always helps in my opinion.”

 
Vanthoor and Bamber are together and teammates almost everywhere in 2019, except at next month’s 24 Hours of Le Mans. Vanthoor will rejoin FIA World Endurance Championship points leaders Kevin Estre and Michael Christensen in the No. 92 Porsche 911 RSR as the trio goes for their second consecutive GTE Pro class victory with the Germany-based Porsche GT Team.

 
“It will be different from last year for me because I’m a third driver joining Kevin and Michael,” Vanthoor said. “Last year, I think it was the second race of the [WEC] season, so we wanted to win Le Mans and that’s it. Now, it’s a little bit different because they are leading the world championship quite comfortably, but still, the main target is to win the championship – and preferably together with Le Mans, I guess.”

 
Bamber, meanwhile, will drive for the U.S.-based team alongside Pilet and Tandy in the No. 93 Porsche 911 RSR. Bamber is a two-time overall Le Mans winner in the LMP1 class, the first coming in 2015 alongside Tandy and Formula 1 racer Nico Hulkenberg.

 
“It’s going to be quite weird not being in the same car [as Vanthoor], obviously, also because we’ve got good momentum going from America with the team, engineering and stuff like that, to another car crew,” Bamber said. “That’s always a little bit weird to see all your mechanics and guys on the other side of the garage, but it’s just for one weekend.

 
“I’m looking forward to joining Nick, who obviously I had a lot of success with in 2015, and Patrick. I think we should form a pretty strong driver lineup to represent the American side of Porsche going to Le Mans.”

 
And two weeks after Le Mans, it’ll be back to normal for the No. 912 team, beginning with the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen on Sunday, June 30.

 
“Once we get back in, it’s pretty quickfire with three races in [late-June and] July, which is going to be pretty intense,” Bamber said. “That’s when the bulk of the points in the season will start to play out. I think we’ve got a good team of guys, and we’re all gunning pretty hard for the championship as well, flat out.”

 
“Yeah, obviously we have the championship lead, but it’s not even really worth thinking about,” Vanthoor added. “Sure, you have it in the back of your head, but you want to be smart and not do anything stupid. You’re not calculating yet or stuff like this. It’s way too early.”
Notes:
-   Oliver Jarvis posted the fastest time of the day in WeatherTech Championship practice with a best lap of 1:28.158 (92.206 mph) in the No. 77 Mazda Team Joest RT-24P DPi. Eric Lux led the way in LMP2 practice at 1:37.375 (83.479 mph) in the No. 52 PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports ORECA, while Nick Tandy topped the GT Le Mans (GTLM) time charts in the No. 911 Porsche GT Team 911 RSR at 1:32.142 (88.220 mph). Jack Hawksworth – who won the GT Daytona (GTD) class pole here last year – was quickest in GTD practice Friday at 1:30.190 (90.129 mph).

 
-   IMSA Prototype Challenge points leader Austin McCusker set the fastest lap Friday in a pair of wet practice sessions. His lap of 1:50.697 (73.432 mph) in the No. 47 Forty7 Motorsports Norma M30 came in the day’s first session and was 0.669 seconds quicker than Stevan McAleer, 1:55.366, who paced the field in the second session in the No. 43 Robillard Racing Norma M30.

 
-   Joining Thompson as leaders of GT3 Cup Challenge USA Friday practice were Charlie Luck, who led the Platinum Masters class with a lap of 2:02.120 in the No. 45 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 Cup machine and Sebastian Carazo, who was quickest in Gold Cup at 2:03.606 in the No 27 NGT Motorsport Porsche.

 
- Sunday’s GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama race will be the 100th in history for the Platinum Masters class for drivers 45 years of age and over.
 

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WORLD CHALLENGE

 

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Sports Car Club of America

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VP Fuels: Not Just a Race Fuel Company Anymore

 
May 23, 2019
Staff Report
IMSA Wire Service
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – If you’ve been a race fan for any length of time, chances are you’re familiar with the red, white and blue VP Racing Fuels logo.

 
After all, it’s been a fixture in racing – from drag racing to motocross to sports cars and everything in between – since Steve Burns founded the company back in 1975.

 
“[Burns] was a drag racer and a motorcycle guy, and he started out as a self-thought chemist by blending some fuels in his garage and bringing them to the track,” explained Bruce Hendel, vice president, North American sales, race fuel and consumer products for VP Racing Fuels. “He’d sell it at the track and go back and blend a little bit more.”

 
VP’s customers in the mid-‘70s included budding NHRA legends like Warren Johnson and Reher-Morrison Racing Engines. From there, the company expanded into motorcycle racing – both road racing and motocross – and eventually into sports car racing.

 
VP’s relationship with IMSA dates to the mid-2000s when the company became the fuel provider for the American Le Mans Series (ALMS). Since 2014, the first year of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship following the merger of the ALMS and GRAND-AM, VP Racing Fuels has been the Official Fuel Provider of IMSA.

 
“Just on the race fuel side, we have over 70 different blends of racing fuel for a lot of different applications,” Hendel said. “A lot of different fuel rules are out there, so that’s why you end up with so many different fuels, and that’s what we specialize in.

 
“I think that’s our advantage over our competition. When it comes to racing fuel, for a lot of our competition, it’s kind of a side business for them. If they decided not to make racing fuel tomorrow, I think they’ve still got a viable business. For us, we can’t make that choice. That is our business.”

 
But VP’s business is rapidly growing beyond racing fuels, particularly in fuels for small engines. If you walk into any major big-box retailers including Tractor Supply, Home Depot or Walmart looking for fuel to power your chainsaw or leaf blower, you’re likely to find VP Small Engine Fuel on the shelf.

 
“I think what really turned the corner for us on the consumer-product side was the issues that outdoor power equipment was having with pump gas and fuel storage,” Hendel said. “That kind of got us thinking about – granted we weren’t the first ones to come up with small engine fuel – but back in the northeast, we had one of our locations that was dealing with a lot of fire departments and they were saying they had some problems with their equipment and keeping it running.

 
“From an emergency standpoint, it’s got to be ready to go and ready to run at any time, but maybe doesn’t necessarily get used all that often unless they go out on an emergency. We said, ‘We think we can come up with a solution.’”

 
The solution became VP’s line of small engine fuels, which are based on the same chemistry as VP’s popular racing fuels with no ethanol to help avoid damage and costly repairs caused by ethanol pump gas to outdoor power equipment.

 
“Racing fuel, in general, has a much longer shelf life than pump gas does,” Hendel said. “That led us to the small engine fuel line that we have, which is really the way we launched ourselves in the consumer product side of the business.

 
“It turns out that the small engine fuel market itself is way bigger than the race fuel part of the business. If you think of how many people have a piece of outdoor power equipment, it’s pretty much everybody.”

 
Pretty much everybody also has at least one passenger vehicle. VP has fuels for those, as well, through a rapidly expanding network of branded gas stations.

 
That expansion has come under the watchful eye of VP Racing Fuels President, Alan Cerwick. Prior to joining VP in 2011, Cerwick oversaw the launch of Valero-branded gas stations. Cerwick suggested VP adopt a similar approach.

 
“Alan saw an opportunity with VP,” Hendel said. “He goes, ‘We were successful building the Valero brand when we had no brand equity. What could we do with VP?’ That’s what his interest was in coming with the company.

 
“That helps us build on the consumer retail side of it. Because if you start branding gas stations, which is what we’re doing now and that’s the experience he brings – we have about 260-some odd sites now and another 45-50 under contract. There are always new ones coming in, but this is what we have currently. We have 13 going up in Mexico, we’ve got a few in Canada and that’s going to grow. When it’s all said and done, we’ll probably have 2,000-3,000 sites.”

 
Those sites not only enable you to fill the tank of your daily driver or weekend hot rod. You can purchase fuels for your other engines also.

 
“VP is the only company that’s certified with 101 octane that can be legally pumped at a dispenser,” said Donato Bonacquisto, vice president of marketing for VP Racing Fuels. “In addition, VP Racing Fuels-branded stations also offer five-gallon pails of VP Racing Fuels blends in fuel cages similar to what you see when you go to Walmart, where they have the propane tanks stored.

 
“Let’s say you’re pulling up in your McLaren and you fill up your car. If you’ve got a dirtbike or race car at home, you can come back later and buy a five-gallon pail of fuel in whatever specific blend you need to put in your dirtbike and go hit the trails or in your race car to hit the local track that afternoon.”

 
VP’s rapidly expanding business on the consumer side is a perfect match for IMSA. Between its flagship WeatherTech Championship and the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge, IMSA has 19 official automotive partnerships. That’s one of the key reasons why the two companies announced a long-term extension of their partnership in 2017.

 
“With IMSA being the premier sports car series in North America, a big part of what we’re looking to get out of the relationship is obviously a tie to the OEMs, but also the consumer base that watches it on TV and attends the races,” Bonacquisto said. “They’re our core demographic. Those fans own sports cars or are really into it, and with that also have, probably, other toys in the mix. I think utilizing the IMSA platform gives us a very targeted consumer lifestyle audience.”

 
And VP also is using its consumer products to shine a light on its involvement in IMSA.

 
“IMSA is leveraging its media channels to drive (consumers) in the store, and then we’re actually introducing new consumers to the sport,” said Andy Deel, VP Racing Fuels division manager, consumer products. “A good example will be Tractor Supply. They’ve got a big point-of-purchase display in their stores right now for our small engine fuel, which has IMSA can toppers. A lot of these guys are big NASCAR fans. What we’re hoping is this gets them to cross over and check out sports car racing if they’re not already into it. I think there’s a good hand-in-hand relationship there.”

 
“We’d love to inform the consumer that we’re not just a race fuel company anymore,” Bonacquisto added. “We offer extended lines of products - ranging from lubricants to our very own Madditives® that can be used in their everyday street cars - that they can find easily at their local retail locations. The story is, really, we’re the Official Fuel of IMSA, but we’re more than just a race fuel company. We are a consumer lifestyle brand.”

 
More information regarding VP Small Engine Fuels can be found at VP-SEF.com. For more information on everything VP Racing Fuels has to offer, visit, VPRacingFuels.com.

 
Next up for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship is the 100-minute Chevrolet Sports Car Classic at Detroit’s Belle Isle Park on Saturday, June 1, featuring the Daytona Prototype international (DPi) and GT Daytona (GTD) classes. Tickets are available now at DetroitGP.com.

NBCSN will televise the race live beginning at 12:30 p.m. ET, with live coverage also available via IMSA Radio on IMSA.com, RadioLeMans.com and SiriusXM Radio.

 
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Follow IMSA on Social Media: Instagram: @imsa_racing / Twitter: @IMSA / Facebook: @IMSA / #IMSA. For further information, visit www.imsa.com or download the IMSA App. 

 

 

 

Rain Stays Away, Mostly, for Saturday Portland Hoosier Super Tour

 

PORTLAND, Ore. (May 18, 2019) – To be truthful, the weather in Northwest Oregon has been pretty wet as of late. So it's no surprise that those competing in this weekend's Hoosier Racing Tire SCCA® Super Tour at Portland International Raceway, an event hosted by SCCA's Oregon Region, thought the 1.97-mile, 12-turn circuit would be damp at times. But that wasn't the case for nearly all seven of Saturday's race groups.

 

The day opened with Spec Racer Ford Gen3 taking the track under dry conditions. Todd Harris was on pole with his son, Calvin, starting second, followed by fierce competitors such as John Black, Mike Miserendino and Steve Fogg. After going three-wide at the start, Todd moved to the front. But for the next 15 laps, it was anyone's race.

 

Fogg and Black looked strongest as the race neared its conclusion. But with just under five minutes remaining in the event, Black and Fogg touched, taking them both out of the running. The damaged cars could not be cleared in the time remaining, so the race was checkered. The winner became Calvin Harris in the No. 42 Pro Drive Racing/Flat Out Racing SRF3 car.

 

"Early on, I was just trying to play it safe and not make any mistakes," said 20-year-old Calvin after the race. "I knew there was going to be a lot of passing. I figured if I just kept my cool, we could get there in the end.

 

"I've been watching Spec Racer Ford my whole life," Calvin continued after receiving a big, congratulatory hug from his dad. "I've looked up to a lot of the guys I went up against today. To come out on top just means more than anything. When I came around and saw the checkered flag, I couldn't control my emotions."

 

On a side note, Calvin was not the youngest driver to win Saturday. That honor falls to 15-year-old Formula Continental® racer Nick Persing who brought home his No. 29 OPI Commercial Builders Inc Van Diemen RF00 a winner after a great battle with fellow competitor Rick Payne. And in another family affair, B-Spec racer Cherie Storms, in the No. 16 WCS Motorsports Mazda 2, managed to get the better of her father, WC Storms, who was driving a Ford Fiesta in the B-Spec race.

 

"I just raced my dad for the first time ever," Cherie said with a huge grin after the race. "I didn't expect to beat him, and this is actually my first win in SCCA. I will never forget this."

 

The second race group of the day saw an amazing battle develop in the Touring 2 class. The No. 69 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 of Denis Novak started on pole. At the back of the field was T2 competitor Bill Collins in his Chevrolet Corvette. Why make mention of a driver starting at the rear of the field? Well, because Collins charged through the pack and chased Nowak down within a handful of laps. What developed was a fantastic battle for the lead, with both drivers taking turns at the front. But after the 25-minute race, Nowak edged out Collins by just .082-second at the finish line.

 

"I was surprised to see Bill after only the second lap, but there he was right behind me," Nowak said. "He can out brake me, but I've got just a tiny bit more motor. It was a chess game. But I knew if I could drag him to the finish, I could get him. It was a lot of fun."

 

Continuing the day's excitement was Formula Atlantic® where John Purcell led Jay Horak for more than half the race. But with five laps to go, the two competitors, each driving a Star Pro Formula Mazda, ran into traffic. Horak, in the No. 37 AutoEnginuity car, got the edge and held on for the win.

 

"John got caught in traffic," Horak explained. "It was a drag race down the back straight ... and we were three wide, and all three of us are teammates. But I held the peddle in, I braked a lot less than I normally would, so it was a Hail Mary. That put me in the position to win."

 

An equally exciting open-wheel race developed later in the Formula F (FF) class. Neil Shelton, in a Swift DB-1, was easily cream of the FF crop Saturday. He had a commanding lead right up until he pulled off track and into the pits. That handed the lead to the Piper DF05 of Mark Keller, who was being aggressively chased by the No. 38 R&A Manufacturing Swift R&A DB-1 of Larry Bangert. That battle came right down to the final lap with Bangert getting by Keller and holding on for victory by the slightest of margins.

 

"I knew Mark couldn't beat me from turn nine to the finish line. So, I knew I had to be in front by then on the last lap," Bangert said after the win. "We had a really tight battle through turn seven; we were side-by-side. I got by and held Mark off the back half of the lap. I'm glad to take the win."

 

Once again, Saturday's activities closed with volunteers, competitors, crews and families gathering for beverages and Mexican food at the All Participant Party. Sunday morning, PIR with be buzzing again as a second round of qualifying for each of the seven races groups begins at 9 a.m. local time. Follow all the action live at www.scca.com/live.

 

Below are provisional winners from Saturday's Portland International Raceway Hoosier Super Tour event with Class: Name, Hometown, SCCA Region and Car.

-B-Spec: Cherie Storms; Langley, BC; Northwest Region; Mazda 2

-E Production: Darren Dilley; Hillsboro, OR; Oregon Region; Mazda RX-7

-F Production: Parker Johnstone; Wilsonville, OR; Oregon Region; MG Midget

-H Production: Michael Cummings; Martinez, CA; San Francisco Region; Austin Healey Sprite

-Formula 500: Lance Spiering; Beaverton, OR; Oregon Region; KBS MK VII

-Formula Atlantic®: Jay Horak; Mesa, AZ; Arizona Region; Star Pro Formula Mazda

-Formula Continental®: Nick Persing; Morgan Hill, CA; San Francisco Region; Van Diemen RF00

-Formula Enterprises 2: Thomas Burt; Woodway, WA; Northwest Region; SCCA FE2 Mazda

-Formula F: Lawence Bangert; Issaquah, WA; Northwest Region; Swift R&A DB-1

-Formula Vee®: Robert Posner; Bellevue, WA; Northwest Region; Protoform P2

-Formula Mazda: Melvin Kemper; Toledo, WA; Northwest Region; MSR Formula Mazda

-GT-3: Collin Jackson; Langley, BC; Oregon Region; Nissan 240SX

-GT-Lite: Scott Twomey; Tacoma, WA; Northwest Region; Toyota Tercel

-Prototype 1: Jim Devenport; Alamo, CA; San Francisco Region; Norma M20F

-Prototype 2: Tim Day Jr; Scottsdale, AZ; San Francisco Region; Stohr WF1

-Spec Miata: Glenn Nixon; Mission, BC; Oregon Region; Mazda Miata

-Spec Racer Ford 3: Calvin Harris; Portland, OR; Oregon Region; SCCA Enterprises SRF3

-Super Touring® Lite: Kristina Etherington; Henderson, NV; Las Vegas Region; Mazda RX-8

-Super Touring® Under: Whitfield Gregg; Bellevue, WA; Northwest Region; Mazda Miata

-Touring 1: Marc Hoover; Shingle Springs, CA; Arizona Region; Chevrolet Corvette

-Touring 2: Denis Nowak; Edmonton, AB; Oregon Region; Chevrolet Corvette Z06

-Touring 3: Scotty B. White; Auburn, WA; Northwest Region; Ford Mustang

-Touring 4: Derrick Ambrose; Brush Prairie, WA; Oregon Region; Mazda 3

 

Photo: Spec Racer Ford Gen3 winner Calvin Harris (No. 42) leads his father, Todd, through the Festival Chicane at Portland International Raceway.

 

Photo Credit: Doug Berger

 

NEWS AND NOTES   NEWS AND NOTESNEWS AND NOTES   NEWS AND NOTES

International Motor Sports Association

Chevrolet Sports Car Classic Entry List Notebook

 
May 22, 2019
Staff Report
IMSA Wire Service

 
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Anytime you’re racing in the Motor City it’s a big deal.

 
After all, Detroit is the automotive capital of the world. It’s an especially big deal for the 23 race cars – representing 12 different manufacturers – that will compete in the 100-minute Chevrolet Sports Car Classic at the 2.3-mile Belle Isle Park street circuit on Saturday, June 1.

 
The entry list features 11 Daytona Prototype international (DPi) machines competing in what will be the fifth round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. There also will be 12 entries in the GT Daytona (GTD) class, all vying for a new title in 2019, the WeatherTech Sprint Cup, which encompasses seven “sprint races” two hours and 40 minutes in length or shorter.

 
The Chevrolet Sports Car Classic – a featured event of the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear event weekend – will be televised live on NBCSN beginning at 12:30 p.m. ET on June 1. IMSA Radio also will cover the action live on IMSA.com, RadioLeMans.com and SiriusXM Radio Channel 202 (Streaming 972).

 
Tickets are available now on DetroitGP.com.

 
Here’s a closer look at this year’s Chevrolet Sports Car Classic field:

 
·      Of the 45 drivers on the entry list (one driver for the No. 50 Juncos Racing Cadillac DPi is listed as TBD), 10 have at least one victory.

 
·      Jordan Taylor is the winningest active driver at Belle Isle with five career IMSA victories. His first came in the GRAND-AM GT class in 2012, followed by the Daytona Prototype and overall victory in the final GRAND-AM appearance in 2013. He’s earned overall and Prototype class victories in 2014, 2016 and 2017. All of his victories came in General Motors race cars. Taylor’s wins came in a Chevrolet Camaro GT.R (2012), Chevrolet Corvette DP (2013, 2014, 2016) and Cadillac DPi-V.R (2017).

 
·      General Motors has earned at least one class victory in every IMSA race at Detroit dating back to the inaugural American Le Mans Series (ALMS) event on Belle Isle in 2007. Chevrolet, which does not have any cars competing in this event, is the winningest manufacturer at Detroit with nine victories. Cadillac has won in both of its DPi appearances to date.

 
·      Ricky Taylor is the second-winningest active IMSA driver in Detroit, co-driving to three victories (2014, 2016 and 2017) with his younger brother, Jordan. He will share the No. 7 Acura Team Penske ARX-05 DPi with Helio Castroneves.

 
·      Wayne Taylor Racing is the winningest IMSA team at Detroit, with four previous victories (2013, 2014, 2016, 2017). Action Express Racing picked up its third Detroit win last year with co-drivers Felipe Nasr and Eric Curran in the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R. Either WTR or AXR has won every race on Belle Isle dating back to 2012.

 
·      In the GTD ranks, Meyer Shank Racing will be going for its third consecutive Detroit victory. In 2017, Katherine Legge and Andy Lally brought home the first victory anywhere in the world for the Acura NSX GT3 race car. Legge scored a repeat win last year co-driving with Mario Farnbacher. This year, Legge is sharing the No. 57 Heinricher Racing with Meyer Shank Racing Acura with Christina Nielsen, while Farnbacher is co-driving the No. 86 Meyer Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian NSX with Trent Hindman.

 
·      Bryan Sellers, driver of the No. 48 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini Huracán GT3, is the only driver on the entry list with multiple pole positions at Detroit. Sellers scored Motul Pole Awards for the GTD class in both 2016 and 2018, but will not go for a third this year as his co-driver, Ryan Hardwick, will handle qualifying duties.

 
·      Porsche and Acura are tied as the winningest active manufacturers in IMSA races at Detroit. Each has three previous victories.

 
Previous Chevrolet Sports Car Classic Winning Drivers in 2019 Field (10)
Jordan Taylor (5) – GRAND-AM GT – 2012, GRAND-AM DP/Overall – 2013; P/Overall – 2014, 2016, 2017
Ricky Taylor (3) – P/Overall – 2014, 2016, 2017
Renger van der Zande (2) – Prototype Challenge (PC) – 2015, 2016
Mario Farnbacher (2) – GTD – 2015, 2018
Katherine Legge (2) – GTD – 2017, 2018
Joao Barbosa (1) – GRAND-AM DP/Overall – 2012
Tristan Nunez (1) – GRAND-AM GX - 2013
Dane Cameron (1) – P/Overall – 2015
Andy Lally (1) – GTD – 2017
Felipe Nasr (1) – P/Overall - 2018

 
Previous Chevrolet Sports Car Classic Pole-Winning Drivers in 2019 Field (4)
Bryan Sellers (2) – GTD – 2016, 2018
Jordan Taylor (1) – GRAND-AM DP/Overall – 2013
Lawson Aschenbach (1) – GTD - 2017
Pipo Derani (1) – P/Overall – 2018

 
Previous Chevrolet Sports Car Classic Winning Teams in 2019 Field (6)
Wayne Taylor Racing (4) – GRAND-AM DP/Overall – 2013; P/Overall – 2014, 2016, 2017
Action Express Racing (3) – GRAND-AM DP/Overall – 2012; P/Overall – 2015, 2018
Starworks Motorsport (2) – PC – 2015, 2016
Meyer Shank Racing (2) – GTD – 2017, 2018
Penske (1) – ALMS P2/Overall – 2007
Scuderia Corsa (1) – GTD – 2014

 
Previous Chevrolet Sports Car Classic Winning Manufacturers in 2019 Field (6)
Acura – 3
Porsche – 3
Cadillac – 2
Ferrari – 2
Audi – 1
Mazda – 1 

 

eEuroparts Adjusting to Learning Curve, Showing Progress
Following Offseason Expansion

 
May 21, 2019
Staff Report
IMSA Wire Service
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. Following a rapid expansion over the offseason, IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge team eEuroparts.com ROWE Racing is finding some stability.

 
In 2018, the Connecticut-based crew initially entered the new TCR class at the start of the season with a single Audi RS3 LMS. They doubled their presence with a second Audi three races later at Watkins Glen and stormed to the front of the pack. By the end of its rookie season, the eEuroparts.com team had taken home victories at VIRginia International Raceway in August and at the season finale at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta in October.

 
What 2019 would bring, however, became a whirlwind.

 
“The plan as it sat at the end of last year was to have three TCR cars coming into this season,” Team Owner Matt Moran explained. “We had a lot of discussions around which cars they were going to be exactly because there were six new makes that were available to us to run this year.

 
“That conversation with Audi and with others evolved into ‘Well, have you guys taken a look at the GT4 car and thought about running a GT4 program (in the Grand Sport [GS] class)?’ We took a long look at that and said ‘Okay, this makes sense to have our two TCR cars and one GT4 car, rather than three TCR cars, so let’s see if we can put this together.’”

 
They did. Remaining with Audi and after announcing the team’s Audi R8 GT4 program, Moran then received a call to help run Roadshagger Racing’s own Audi in TCR, which competed in two races in 2019 and was now seeking a full-season effort.

 
Then another call came asking to field a second Audi R8 GT4. Within weeks, Moran went from having responsibility over three cars to five.

 
The first two races of 2019 were a challenge for the eEuroparts cars. The team was plagued by errors or collected in incidents – one of which at Sebring International Raceway damaged the Audi TCR of Lee Carpentier and Kieron O’Rourke beyond repair. But the third race at Mid-Ohio was a welcome breath of fresh air.

 
The No. 2 Audi R8 GT4 of Kenton Koch and Tyler Cooke took the Motul Pole Award in the GS class and finished in the top 10. In TCR, the No. 61 Roadshagger Racing by eEuroparts.com Audi came home runner-up with Jon Morley and Gavin Ernstone. The team’s No. 12 with rookie lineup Russell McDonough and Ryan Nash wound up third for its best finish to date.

 
“Jon drove phenomenal, that was one of the best efforts I’ve seen in a car period,” said Moran. “He survived a drive-through penalty which at the time, I thought was a death sentence… He managed to drive that car all the way back to second place. Russ was in the right place at the right time and did his job and ended up on the podium. That was awesome for them.

 
“We were pumped as a team to finally get some results here in 2019 because we’ve been a little snake-bit, I felt, in the first couple races with all the accidents. We came out of Mid-Ohio with four cars that are basically ready to go, so we’re very excited about that.”

 
An advantage of the team’s expansion has been the varying level of experience each driver brings to the table. In the team’s second Audi GT4, it’s sports car veteran Gunnar Jeannette paired up with Rodrigo Sales, who won three TCR races in his rookie season in 2018.

 
Tyler Cooke, in his eighth consecutive Pilot Challenge season, is joined by Kenton Koch, who has a wealth of racing experience across multiple series, but less than 10 starts in this one.

 
Meanwhile, Morley and Ernstone first tried their hand in Pilot Challenge for two races last year, while youngsters McDonough and Nash are embarking on their careers in sports car racing after stints in open wheel.

 
“The focus for our team, and really in combination with Audi, is driver development over the course of the last year,” said Moran. “From my perspective, how do you bring guys in and teach them the skills that they need in order to be successful in a short amount of time against a highly competitive field? The dynamic, I think, is a good one. We have a very open team. Everything is available for our drivers.

 
“We do community debriefs with everybody post every session. Everybody knows what everyone else is experiencing on the track in their cars, what changes we’re planning, whether it’s different from car to car and what the game plan is in order to get the fastest product you possibly can on the track for our drivers. Hopefully at that point, it’s their job and they can go out and be successful during races.”

 
Moran recognizes each driver’s talent. They switch between cars on test days for different perspectives and Moran asks the veterans to encourage the rookies, calling their times “a rabbit to chase.” 

 
While some of the drivers and personnel are well-versed in the Pilot Challenge, Moran’s team is still learning every day.

 
“The theme for us is still we’re a new team,” said Moran. “We’ve had some good things and we’ve definitely taken our medicine in some situations as well. This hasn’t been easy but I’m hopeful that we have the right combination of people working on the problem at this point.

 
“We’re going to be hopeful for the remainder of the season. We showed some good promise at Mid-Ohio and now we have to make some slightly different decisions and capitalize on that. We’re in a good place here right now and I don’t want to jinx it, but I think we’ll finish in a different place than we started.”

 

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Victoria Day SpeedFest Hosts Opening Rounds of
2019 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama Season

 
May 15, 2019
Staff Report
IMSA Wire Service
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. The 2019 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama season gets underway with the drop of the green flag this Saturday at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Bowmanville, Ontario.

 
The first doubleheader of the single-make series’ ninth season is part of the annual Victoria Day SpeedFest at the 2.459-mile, 10-turn circuit. The expected 17-car field races first on Saturday at 10:55 a.m. ET with the second race on Sunday at 11:55 a.m. ET.

 
Last year’s series champion – Zach Robichon – has moved onto IMSA’s flagship WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, so there will be a new face atop the podium in 2019 at the end of the year and also at CTMP, as Robichon won all four rounds there in 2018.

 
The question is who will that new driver be?

 
The easy frontrunner would be Roman De Angelis who returns to Mark Motors Racing in 2019. The 18-year-old finished runner up in each of the four rounds at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park last year to his teammate Robichon and was second in the championship standings. 

 
De Angelis also competes in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama with Kelly-Moss Road and Race and has won three of the four rounds so far this year in that series. The youngster from Belle River, Ontario is seeking to win both championship titles in 2019.

 
“This is a big year for Mark Motors Racing,” said Mark Motors Group Executive Vice President Liza Mrak. “We have the pressure of coming off a winning year and of course, wanting to keep that spot in 2019. Roman is part of the winning recipe and we have full faith that he has what it takes to get us there.”

 
Also contesting both the GT3 Cup Challenge Canada and USA championships will be Parker Thompson with SCB Racing, Alan Metni with Kelly-Moss/AM Motorsports and Jeff Kingsley with Policaro Motorsport.
 
Kingsley is the only driver of the three with experience in GT3 Cup north of the border. He returns with Policaro as part of the team’s two-car entry, with Ethan Simioni behind the wheel of the second Porsche following a championship-winning season in the 2018 Canadian Touring Car Championship. Policaro also will be sporting a special tribute livery to Policaro’s 40th anniversary, which coincides with IMSA’s 50th anniversary season being celebrated this year.

 
Others returning for their sophomore seasons in GT3 Cup Challenge Canada are Michael Fantin with Engineered Automotive and Michael Di Meo with OpenRoad Racing.

 
The all-Quebec team of Lauzon Autosport returns to the GT3 Cup Challenge Canada grid. Patrick Dussault is back driving an eye-catching “Art Car” livery designed by Mario Adornetto, featuring popping colors and a lion on the hood of the race car. Dussault’s teammate Etienne Borgeat – who last year set a record for the most podiums achieved in one weekend (four) at the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal – will pilot a similar Art Car adorned with Adornetto’s work.

 
For fans of the series, the iconic McDonald’s-liveried Porsche of Martin Harvey returns, as he and a handful of others – including Borgeat, Metni and Mark Motors teammates Perry Bortolotti and Marco Cirone – are contesting the Platinum Masters championship for drivers 45 years and older.

 
As always, familiar faces in the field will be joined by a wealth of new drivers and teams diving into the racing pool or rejoining the series after a hiatus.

 
One such team is Pfaff Motorsports, with Sam Fellows and Shaun McKaigue each piloting Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars. Fellows – a rookie to the series – is the son of legendary Canadian racer Ron Fellows, while McKaigue – one of the first drivers in the series in 2011 – is a two-time GT3 Cup Challenge Canada Gold class champion, taking those titles in 2011 and 2016.

 
“Racing in a single-make championship like the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama is a tremendous opportunity,” said Fellows. “The level of competition is high and it has been a proven stepping stone for young drivers. I know I have a steep learning curve in front of me, but I’ve trained hard this off-season, so I feel confident and ready to take this step.”

 
Jean Audet with Grand TIMES Hotel Motorsport and Marc Raymond as part of SCB Racing’s multiple-car effort are also new to the GT3 Cup Challenge Canada grid in 2019.

 
Race 1 on Saturday will be streamed live on the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama Facebook page (@Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada). For the remainder of the weekend timing and scoring will be available on www.timing.imsa.com.

 
To keep up with news and updates on GT3 Cup Challenge Canada this weekend and the rest of the year, follow along on IMSA.com, Porsche.com/Canada or on social media using the hashtags #IMSA and #GT3Canada.

 

Lexus Teammates Hawksworth, Heistand
Take Long Road Back to Victory Lane

 
May 13, 2019
Staff Report
IMSA Wire Service
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Jack Hawksworth won his first race in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship back in 2014 in the Prototype Challenge (PC) class at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

 
But it wasn’t until the Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio on May 5 that he’d win again, this time in the GT Daytona (GTD) class aboard the No. 14 AIM Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3.

 
“My first-ever race in the championship, I won, but it took five years to get back there,” Hawksworth says. “It was a long old road, but I’m obviously really excited to get back into victory lane. It was special to do it in one of the Lexus RC F cars, which I’ve had the pleasure of driving for the last two and a half years.

 
“To get a win so early in the season with AIM Vasser Sullivan as well, which is a new team, it was just a testament to everyone’s hard work and persistence. I’m very, very happy.”

 
Richard Heistand was thrilled as well coming out of Mid-Ohio. Hawksworth’s first-year co-driver in the No. 14 Lexus took an even longer road back to victory lane.

 
More than a decade ago, Heistand was a solid performer in Skip Barber National competition. But then he moved into the Atlantic Championship, and everything changed.

 
“After doing two years with Skip Barber National, when the second year I had a lot of good results, I took this big step up to Atlantic,” Heistand explained. “I was on a rookie team, and we did no testing. It was a super competitive year, and we didn’t have good results. I knew I could drive, but I wasn’t able to show it, and then I stopped.”

 
That was at the end of the 2007 racing season. Heistand stayed away from the sport for more than 10 years, before returning to the cockpit in another highly competitive environment – Porsche Carrera Cup and Porsche Supercup in Europe – last year.

 
“I had some good results, particularly in context, in Supercup and Carrera Cup,” he said. “But in general, it’s a field of 25 fast drivers. It’s a massively competitive thing. I really didn’t have the opportunity to have real success there, either. I would have had to stick around a couple years.

 
“So, it had been a long time since I had been able to show what I was capable of in a race car. I’d be lying if I said that there weren’t moments where you start doubting yourself when you’re talking about a 12-, 13-year period of time. You keep having to tell yourself, ‘If you get the opportunity, eventually you’ll be able to show what you could do again like you did in that second year of Skip Barber. It was a long wait, so to do that now was pretty special.”

 
The victory capped an excellent weekend for Heistand and the No. 14 team. In qualifying, Heistand scored the first Motul Pole Award of his career in impressive fashion.

 
“Mid-Ohio was kind of his breakthrough moment,” Hawksworth said. “He really came out of the blocks strong at the beginning of the weekend. He was strong in practice, and he put a stellar lap together in qualifying in tricky conditions when the track was drying up.

 
“Any racing driver will tell you those are very, very hard conditions when you’re on slick tires and the track’s still damp. He did a fantastic job.”

 
As Hawksworth was quick to credit Heistand’s performance in qualifying, Heistand attributed the team’s victory to Hawksworth’s performance as the team’s “closer” at Mid-Ohio. He made a bold pass to take the lead and then held off a hard-charging Mario Farnbacher in the No. 86 Meyer Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3 over the closing laps to earn the victory.

 
“I felt really happy for Jack because I think everyone knows what a fast driver he is,” Heistand said. “He had two full seasons in the car, and the other car won a couple races, and he hadn’t even been on a podium yet. The fact that we were able to go out and get a win was pretty cool for him.”

 
Ever the team player, Hawksworth wouldn’t have minded if his teammates in the No. 12 Lexus, Townsend Bell and Frankie Montecalvo, would have taken the victory. Establishing AIM Vasser Sullivan and Lexus as a winning program was most important to him.

 
“Regardless of whether the 12 car won or the 14 car won, I would have been happy because it’s a team effort,” he said. “We’re all here vying for the same thing. Obviously, I’m pleased that I got to stand on the podium. I was thrilled with that. But at the end of the day, it really is a team effort, and everybody involved in the team is part of that victory.”

 
And with their first victory now in the books, the mission from here is to keep winning and compete for GTD championships. Hawksworth and Heistand lead the standings for the inaugural, seven-race WeatherTech Sprint Cup title, and are currently third in the 10-race WeatherTech Championship GTD standings behind the leading No. 86 Acura team of Farnbacher and Trent Hindman, and second-place Bell and Montecalvo.

 
“To say we’re already second and third in the points, I think it bodes really well for the rest of the season,” Hawksworth said. “It’s been impressive. To me, it’s just awesome to be a part of it. I’m just looking forward to more success.

 
It felt so good on the weekend to get that win, and once you’ve had that taste of victory, you just want to get back out there and get to the next race and try to do it again. I’m already kind of frothing at the mouth to try to do this again.”

 
He and Heistand will get their chance on Saturday, June 1 in Detroit for the 100-minute Chevrolet Sports Car Classic, featuring only the Daytona Prototype international (DPi) and GTD classes. Tickets are available now at DetroitGP.com.

 
NBCSN will televise the race live beginning at 12:30 p.m. ET, with live coverage also available via IMSA Radio on IMSA.com, RadioLeMans.com and SiriusXM Radio.

 

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Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio: Five Takeaways

 
May 7, 2019
Staff Report
IMSA Wire Service
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Sunday’s Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio was the first “standard-length” IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race at two hours and 40 minutes and brought with it fascinating competition throughout.

 
It also could foreshadow a great, summer-long battle for the Bishop-France Trophy that could go right down to the final minutes of October’s 10-hour Motul Petit Le Mans. Let’s take a closer look in our five takeaways from Mid-Ohio:

 
1) Championship Donnybrook

 
There are five different teams within eight points of the lead in the WeatherTech Championship Daytona Prototype international (DPi) point standings with next month’s Chevrolet Sports Car Classic in Detroit representing the end of the first half of the season. Those five are the leading No. 31 Whelen Cadillac squad (120), the No. 7 Acura Team Penske team (116), No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac (113), No. 6 Acura Team Penske (112) and No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac (112).

 
There are two more teams within 20 points of the lead as both the Nos. 55 and 77 Mazda DPi teams each have 100 points. That means there are seven – more than half of the full-time field – well within striking distance of taking the championship.

 
Don’t overlook the JDC-Miller Motorsports and CORE autosport teams either, because we’re coming up on some racetracks where both have been extremely strong in the past, especially last season.

 
In LMP2, No. 38 Performance Tech Motorsports teammates Cameron Cassels and Kyle Masson are clinging to a four-point lead over No. 52 driver Matt McMurry with PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports.

 
In GT Le Mans, there’s a nine-point gap, 126-117, between the leading No. 912 Porsche GT Team duo of Earl Bamber and Laurens Vanthoor and their No. 911 Porsche teammates Nick Tandy and Patrick Pilet. Two-time and defending champions Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen in the No. 3 Corvette sit between them with 119 points.

 
And in GT Daytona (GTD), eight points are separating the top five teams. Leading the way is the No. 86 Meyer Shank Racing Acura squad with 84 points, followed by the No. 12 AIM Vasser Sullivan Lexus with 80, the No. 14 AIM Vasser Sullivan and No. 73 Park Place Porsche are tied with 77 and the No. 44 Magnus Racing Lamborghini has 76.

 
Buckle up, because this is shaping up to be fun.

 
2) Repetition in The Name of the Game

 
Sunday’s race featured “repeat” winners of sorts in the DPi, GTLM and GTD classes, with the LMP2 making its first appearance as a standalone class this past weekend.

 
DPi winners Juan Pablo Montoya and Dane Cameron made it two in a row at Mid-Ohio for Acura Team Penske in the No. 6 ARX-05 machine, the year after Helio Castroneves and Ricky Taylor delivered the program’s first win at the same racetrack. Bamber and Vanthoor repeated their GTLM class victory from a year ago, and also picked up their second straight GTLM class win after taking last month’s BUBBA burger Sports Car Grand Prix at Long Beach.

 
In the GTD class, it was the second Mid-Ohio win in a row for the Lexus RC F GT3. Last year, Dominik Baumann and Kyle Marcelli scored the marque’s first GTD win for 3GT Racing. This year, it was Jack Hawksworth and Richard Heistand delivering the goods for AIM Vasser Sullivan.

 
3) Here Comes Acura Team Penske and Mazda Team Joest

 
After Cadillac DPis won each of the first three races of the 2019 WeatherTech Championship season last weekend at Mid-Ohio was all about Acura Team Penske and Mazda Team Joest.

 
The two teams battled it out Saturday in qualifying, which saw Oliver Jarvis take the pole position in the No. 77 Mazda DPi ahead of Cameron in the No. 6 Acura and Helio Castroneves in the No. 7 for Acura Team Penske. The battle resumed Sunday when both the No. 77 Mazda and the No. 6 Acura took turns at the head of the field and were joined by the No. 55 Mazda DPi shared by Jonathan Bomarito and a guest-starring Hunter-Reay.

 
Ultimately, the war was won by Cameron and Montoya in the Acura, with Jarvis and Tristan Nunez coming second in the No. 77 followed by the No. 55 Mazda.

 
The Mazda Team Joest and Acura Team Penske DPi programs in the WeatherTech Championship were announced within a month of each other back in the summer of 2017. Much was said and written before both teams’ respective debuts in the 2018 Rolex 24 At Daytona about the strength of both organizations, and last weekend could foreshadow a clash of sports car racing titans ahead.

 
4) How Many Podiums is that for the No. 3 Corvette Team?

 
From the start of the 2017 WeatherTech Championship season through Sunday’s Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio, there have been 26 GTLM races.

 
The No. 3 Corvette C7.R squad of Magnussen and Garcia have been on the podium in 16 of them. Sunday’s runner-up result marked the team’s third consecutive top-three result this season. Last year, they podiumed eight times in 11 races. In 2017, they had five podiums, including their most recent win at VIRginia International Raceway.

 
Magnussen, Garcia and the Corvette Racing team drew up the blueprint on how to win GTLM championships in 2017 and 2018 – which they did each time. It appears they’re following it again in 2019.

 
5) McLaren Makes GTD Debut

 
Sunday’s race marked the debut of the seven-race WeatherTech Sprint Cup competition for the GTD class. The “championship within the championship” encapsulates seven sprint races of two hours, 40 minutes in length or shorter.

 
The introduction of Sprint Cup also ushered in the debut of the new McLaren 720S GT3, bringing the British supercar marque into the top level of IMSA competition for the first time. Paul Holton and Matt Plumb shared the No. 76 Compass Racing McLaren, which Plumb qualified eighth on the GTD grid ahead of two manufacturers in the class that now has nine different brands competing.

 
That would be the highlight for the weekend, unfortunately, as the car retired before the checkered flag in Sunday’s race with a mechanical issue. But it was still a decent start to a program that will only get stronger from here.

 

 

Mid-Ohio Home To Plenty Of Memories
For WeatherTech Championship Competitors

 
May 2, 2019
Staff Report
IMSA Wire Service
LEXINGTON, Ohio – As is the case throughout the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship schedule, Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio is steeped in sports car racing tradition.

 
Heading into this weekend’s Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio, we caught up with WeatherTech Championship competitors for some of their favorite memories and recollections from past events here at the 2.258-mile, 13-turn circuit.

 
Bill Auberlen, who will share the No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3 with Robby Foley in the GT Daytona (GTD) class, and Oliver Gavin – who co-drives the No. 4 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C7.R in the GT Le Mans (GLTM) class – are active drivers with the most IMSA wins at Mid-Ohio. Each have four victories, and plenty of memories.

 
“Mid-Ohio has been very good to myself as well as BMW,” Auberlen said. “I have won a bunch of races here, and that comes down to great teams and a great car. BMW has given me such great handling and powerful machines at Mid-Ohio that it made the very technical road course a dream to drive. 

 
"Last year I ran with Turner BMW M6 GT3 and it was fast straight out of the box, but we just missed the mark by a bit. This year, I feel we are going back with an even better car. I can’t wait to unleash the twin-turbo v8 powered machine this weekend and redeem ourselves.”

 
“Winning here in 2012 was huge for Tommy and I,” recalls Gavin. “Getting that win here was one of the victories that led to us getting the championship. That year, we had a fantastic car. I do remember that with very fond memories. It was a pleasure to drive that day, that car was. But then some of the other times that we’ve raced here, I remember I had a great race here with Jamie Melo with the Risi team. We finished second that day, but it was super close between us.

 
“I also remember one year where Jan and I had raced hard in our first stint, but we’d got out of the car, and then Johnny and Olivier got in the car and had that huge drag race to the end of the pit lane with a bit of bumping and banging and then it carried on behind the safety car. That made for an entertaining and fun, sort of, hour or so. Jan and I were just sort of standing there going, ‘We’re not in the car. It’s not us.’”

 
For drivers like Ricky Taylor and Laurens Vanthoor, their best Mid-Ohio memories are fresh in their minds, because they came last year. Taylor and co-driver Helio Castroneves won their first race with the new Acura Team Penske Daytona Prototype international (DPi) program in the No. 7 ARX-05 DPi, while Vanthoor took the GTLM win in the No. 912 Porsche GT Team 911 RSR with co-driver Earl Bamber.

 
“Mid-Ohio was my first victory in IMSA,” Vanthoor said. “It was a good race and a hard-fought one. If I remember correctly, we were saving fuel and the BMW was charging quite fast. It was a stressful win. It wasn’t an easy victory, but it was a sweet one.

 
“Mid-Ohio is a complicated track. It’s quite low grip and has some good elevation changes. After our win at Long Beach, Earl Bamber and I are looking forward to going back. We’ll be sharing a motorhome too, so that will make for good Instagram stories.” 

 
“Up until last year, this had been a pretty rough place for me, so last year was definitely the highlight,” Taylor said. “To get my first win with Penske and to be the 50th different driver to win for Penske was pretty cool so that’s definitely my highlight here at Mid-Ohio.”

 
Both Taylor and Vanthoor raise good points. Mid-Ohio is a tough racetrack, which makes sustained success fleeting. That’s certainly the experience of Ryan Dalziel, who will share the No. 8 Starworks Motorsport Audi R8 LMS GT3 with co-driver Parker Chase on Sunday.

 
“2011 was a big win for me with Starworks,” Dalziel said. “It was the last race of the season and started off the 2012 offseason with a bang. Other than that, my IMSA results have been rough here.”

 
Jordan Taylor, Ricky’s brother, has a similar tale. But he’s optimistic the best is yet to come this weekend for himself and No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R co-driver Renger van der Zande.

 
“I guess I had one podium here, but qualifying-wise, I’ve had two poles here, one in 2010 and one in 2013,” Jordan Taylor said. “Qualifying’s gone well in the past, but hopefully this weekend we can get a race win and that’ll be my new top Mid-Ohio memory.”

 
Jordan and Ricky’s father, Wayne Taylor, has what might be one of the most unique memories of racing at Mid-Ohio. It goes back 15 years, when he was sharing the driving duties of the No. 10 Pontiac Riley Daytona Prototype with Max Angelelli in the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series Daytona Prototype class.

 
“It was 2005, which is the year we won the championship and I went out to qualify,” said the Wayne Taylor Racing owner who fields the No. 10 Cadillac DPi. “Going down the back straight, suddenly the cockpit was engulfed in flame and black smoke and stuff, and I had to bail out. The guys came and when they brought it in, you would have said, ‘These guys are done.’

 
“(SunTrust Racing Team Owner) Bill Riley was on the phone, stuff was coming from Indy, other people that had Riley stuff, everybody came together. I don’t think we won [NOTE: the team finished third in the race]. That could have been a big game-changer for us in the championship. It was a scary moment. You’re winning so many races and then your car catches fire and there’s nothing you can do about it. It’s burning to the ground and you’re just watching it.”

 
Among those to step in and help the No. 10 team rebuild the car was their main competition in the Daytona Prototype championship, Chip Ganassi Racing.

 
“They were the first to help,” Wayne Taylor recalled. “That was always the biggest thing for me. Racing against Chip and (Chip Ganassi Racing Managing Director) Mike Hull, those were the best years for me, because we get on really well together. If I’m in trouble, they helped me, if they were in trouble, I’d help them. It was really a great couple of years when that happened.”

 
More memories will be made this Sunday in the two-hour, 40-minute Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio.

 
NBCSN will televise the race live beginning Sunday at 1:30 p.m. ET. IMSA Radio also will cover the weekend action on IMSA.com, RadioLeMans.com and SiriusXM Radio Channel 202 (Streaming 972). Tickets are available now on MidOhio.com.

 

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Super Sebring Weekend Returns To Iconic Venue In 2020

Sebring International Raceway to Host the 68th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring
Presented by Advance Auto Parts and the 1,000 Miles of Sebring Next March
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (May 2, 2019) – The International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) and the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) today jointly announced that following the tremendously successful combined race weekend at Sebring International Raceway in March, the event will return to the iconic circuit on March 18-21, 2020.

 
The second edition of the Super Sebring weekend will feature the 68th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts on Saturday, March 21 and the WEC’s 1,000 Miles of Sebring on Friday, March 20, once again giving fans the opportunity to witness two world-class sports car endurance races on consecutive days.

 
“The 2019 Super Sebring weekend exceeded expectations by every measure, and we look forward to working with the World Endurance Championship and Sebring Raceway staffs to enhance the experience in 2020 for everyone involved,” IMSA President Scott Atherton said.

 
“The Sebring event this year was greatly enjoyed by competitors and fans alike, and it’s a real pleasure to come together again with our partners at IMSA and Sebring Raceway to put on an even better show for 2020,” WEC CEO Gérard Neveu said.

 
“A tremendous amount of work by the Sebring team and all parties involved went into making the 2019 Super Sebring weekend a success, and our goal is to build on that and again surpass the milestones established this year,” said Wayne Estes, Sebring International Raceway president and general manager.

 
Ticket and schedule information for the 2020 Super Sebring weekend will be announced in the near future.

 

IMSA MICHELIN Pilot Challenge: Entry List Notebook for Mid-Ohio

 
May 1, 2019
Staff Report
IMSA Wire Service
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. After nearly a two-month hiatus, the IMSA MICHELIN Pilot Challenge is back in action this weekend at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course for the third race of 2019.

 
A field of 37 cars will take the green flag in the Mid-Ohio 120, which can be streamed live Saturday on IMSA.tv with IMSA Radio commentary at 1:45 p.m. ET.

 
Before returning in 2018, the Pilot Challenge hadn’t raced at Mid-Ohio since 2013 after 13 consecutive years of competition at the 2.258-mile circuit.

 
So as teams and drivers head to Lexington, here’s a refresher on some of the key lines heading into this weekend.

 
  • Exactly half of the drivers (37) on the current Pilot Challenge entry list did not compete at Mid-Ohio last year. This makes the trip a first for all rookies in the field and for the veterans, a long overdue return not sooner than six years ago.

 
  • It’s even more difficult to find drivers competing this weekend who have previously won at Mid-Ohio. In the 14 years that the Pilot Challenge has raced there, no driver has recorded more than two victories. Of those drivers with two notches in the win column, there are three in the field on Saturday: Bill Auberlen, Kenny Wilden and Mat Pombo. Six drivers have one win apiece.

 
  • Stick around to the end of the race – Mid-Ohio is prone to close finishes. Eleven races have been decided by less than one second, including last year’s overall win collected by Kyle Marcelli and Nate Stacy in the No. 60 KohR Motorsports Ford Mustang GT4. After taking the checkered flag by .286 seconds, the closest in Mid-Ohio Pilot Challenge history, the duo will look to repeat their success in 2019.

 
  • After sweeping the podium in the TCR class last year, Compass Racing is stepping up to the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GT Daytona (GTD) class with a McLaren 720S, while also keeping a McLaren GT4 in the GS class. Paul Holton will be pulling double duty this weekend and he just might be the man for the job in the McLaren 720S’ IMSA debut. Why? He and WeatherTech Championship co-driver Matt Plumb delivered the first North American victory for the McLaren GT4 in May 2017 at Circuit of The Americas. In the Pilot Challenge on Saturday, Holton will be co-driving with Kuno Wittmer, who was part of the TCR-winning lineup with Compass Racing in 2018.

 
  • It’s a homecoming weekend for the Honda TCR teams. L.A. Honda World Racing, Atlanta Speedwerks and HART will all be looking for a win in front of a large Honda contingent, given that several of the manufacturer’s larger plants are located in Ohio. L.A. Honda World is two-for-two so far in 2019, winning with Tom O’Gorman and Shelby Blackstock at Daytona International Speedway in January and Sebring International Raceway in March. Can one of the other Honda teams break L.A. Honda World’s momentum, yet keep the streak alive for the marque?

 
  • Speaking of impressing the hometown crowd, there are a few drivers looking to do that too. Chad Gilsinger from Marysville, Ohio is seeking his second victory at his home track in the No. 89 HART Honda Civic TCR after winning in the 2012 Street Tuner class. Columbus native Corey Fergus is looking to break onto the top step of the podium following two third-place finishes in the No. 69 Motorsports In Action McLaren GT4. Also from Columbus and racing in Pilot Challenge for the first time this season is Mark Kvamme in the No. 3 KMW Motorsports with TMR Engineering Alfo Romeo Giulietta. Lastly, Tom O’Gorman – from Mason, Ohio – is looking to keep up his winning ways, riding a two-race win streak in TCR with the No. 37 L.A. Honda World entry.

 
  • Fans are encouraged to vote on Twitter for their favorite driver in Forgeline Motorsports’ Spirit of the Race competition. Tweet @IMSARadio during the race using #ForgelineSOTR and the results will be posted after the checkered flag!

 
IMSA MICHELIN Pilot Challenge action gets underway with a pair of practice sessions on Friday, one at 11:40 a.m. and the second at 4:35 p.m. Teams qualify Saturday morning at 9:45 a.m. ahead of the two-hour race at 1:45 p.m., which will be streamed live on IMSA.tv with IMSA Radio commentary.

 
The television broadcast of the Mid-Ohio 120 will air on Saturday, May 11 at 11 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

 
To keep up with Pilot Challenge news and updates throughout the weekend, visit IMSA.com or join the conversation on social media using the hashtags #IMPC and #IMSAatMO.  

 

What to Watch For: Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio

May 1, 2019
Staff Report
IMSA Wire Service
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – All four IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship classes. Two hours and 40 minutes of hard-fought racing.

 
That’s what’s on tap for Sunday’s Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio, the fourth round of the 12-race 2019 WeatherTech Championship season. The series is visiting the 2.258-mile, 13-turn circuit in Lexington, Ohio for the second consecutive season following last year’s return to the popular road course after a five-year absence.

 
Whether you will be one of the many loyal race fans at the track this weekend, watching NBCSN’s live telecast beginning Sunday at 1:30 p.m. ET, or following the action throughout the weekend through IMSA Radio’s coverage on IMSA.com, RadioLeMans.com and SiriusXM Radio Channel 202 (Streaming 972), here are a few things to keep an eye on:
 
Championship Battles Taking Shape
It’s still early – after all, this is only the fourth round of the season – but the time is now for teams in all four classes to position themselves for a championship run heading into the summer. And it’s really anybody’s race in all four classes.

 
In the lead Daytona Prototype international (DPi) class, four points are separating the top four teams in the standings. Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts winners Felipe Nasr and Pipo Derani lead the way in the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R with 92 points, but defending Mid-Ohio winners Helio Castroneves and Ricky Taylor are hot on their heels in the No. 7 Acura Team Penske ARX-05 DPi, just two points behind.

 
Filipe Albuquerque and Joao Barbosa – winners in last month’s BUBBA burger Sports Car Grand Prix at Long Beach – are third in the standings in the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi with 89 points, while 2019 Rolex 24 At Daytona winners Jordan Taylor and Renger van der Zande are fourth in the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi with 88 points.

 
In the LMP2 class, seven points separate current leaders Cameron Cassels and Kyle Masson in the No. 38 Performance Tech Motorsports ORECA LMP2 machine from No. 52 PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports driver Matt McMurry – who welcomes a new co-driver this weekend in Eric Lux.

 
In GT Le Mans (GTLM), defending Mid-Ohio winners Earl Bamber and Laurens Vanthoor are carrying both the points lead and the momentum of their victory last month at Long Beach in the No. 912 Porsche GT Team 911 RSR back to Buckeye State.

 
But not by much. They’re only four points (91-87) ahead of a tie between their teammates in the No. 911 Porsche, Nick Tandy and Patrick Pilet, who won at Sebring, and the GTLM season champions for the past two years, Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia in the No. 3 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C7.R.

 
Also within 10 points of the GTLM lead is No. 66 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT driver Dirk Mueller with 84 points, and 2019 Daytona GTLM winner Connor De Phillippi with 83 points in the No. 25 BMW Team RLL M8 GTE.

 
The GT Daytona (GTD) standings are deceptive. Right now, the No. 11 GRT Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini Huracán team of Mirko Bortolotti, Rik Breukers and Rolf Ineichen have a 16-point lead in the standings by virtue of their victories at both Daytona and Sebring.

 
But they’re an IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup-only program in 2019 and will not be racing at Mid-Ohio. So that means the WeatherTech Championship GTD race is wide open. No. 12 AIM Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3 co-drivers Townsend Bell and Frankie Montecalvo are the effective leaders coming into the weekend with 53 points, just one ahead of No. 44 Magnus Racing Lamborghini co-drivers Andy Lally and John Potter.

 
With 52 points, No. 86 Meyer Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3 co-drivers Trent Hindman and Mario Farnbacher are just one point behind the No. 44 squad and two behind the No. 12 duo. Ben Keating and Jeroen Bleekemolen – co-drivers of the No. 33 Mercedes-AMG Team Riley Motorsports GT3 – currently have 51 points.

 
And No. 73 Park Place Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R driver Patrick Long is currently sixth in the GTD standings with 49 points. That’s five different teams with five different manufacturers separated by just five points. Wow.

 
Speaking of Championships…
This weekend will mark the debut of the new, seven-race WeatherTech Sprint Cup competition for the GTD class. It will use the same points-scoring format as the overall WeatherTech Championship, but will recognize the top performers in the seven GTD races that are two-hours and 40-minutes in length or shorter.

 
The launch of the WeatherTech Sprint Cup brings with it two teams and one manufacturer that are debuting this weekend. McLaren will make its first-ever appearance as a GTD manufacturer with Compass Racing and co-drivers Paul Holton and Matt Plumb sharing the No. 76 McLaren 720S GT3.

 
The Karl Thomson-led Compass Racing team is a longtime competitor in the IMSA MICHELIN Pilot Challenge, but the team is making its first WeatherTech Championship GTD appearance since a race at Circuit of The Americas in late 2015.

 
Lone Star Racing, meanwhile, is returning to GTD competition for the first time since the 2017 event at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. The team will field the No. 74 Mercedes-AMG GT3 for Gar Robinson and Lawson Aschenbach.

 
Mid-Ohio is Unique
At every other WeatherTech Championship event, the race starts and finishes from the same location – commonly known as the start/finish line.

That’s not the case at Mid-Ohio. The straightaway that includes pit lane at Mid-Ohio is a short one, so to allow the field to properly “pack up” for the start of the race, a separate starting line is used along the much longer backstretch. So, the first turn of the race actually is considered “Turn 4” on the circuit.

 
But the initial start of the race is the only time the backstretch starter’s stand is used. For the remainder of the race, the “main” starter’s stand and finish line on the pit straight is the place where all full-course cautions, restarts, white flags and checkered flags are displayed.

 
Passing Zones
Mid-Ohio is a classic permanent road course, with a park-like setting that allows fans to roam throughout the facility and take in the action from different vantage points. If you’re going to be there this weekend, and especially if this is your first time, we encourage you to do just that.

 
Of course, Mid-Ohio has generations of fans that have been flocking to the circuit for decades, and all have their own favorite locations to watch from.

 
If you’re looking for passing spots, Turn 4 is a good one. It’s the right-hander at the end of the long backstretch and feeds into Mid-Ohio’s famed “Esses” sequence of turns. There’s a reason you see a lot of fans on the hillside at drivers’ right through the Esses.

 
Turn 1 is fast, but it’s another place where passes happen, especially on restarts or in traffic. And if there’s a signature turn at Mid-Ohio, it’s probably Turn 2, otherwise known as “The Keyhole.” It’s a double-apex right-hander that’s almost a hairpin but not quite.

 
It’s also at the end of a straightaway, which is inviting to late brakers. There’s a huge viewing mound overlooking The Keyhole, but you’re going to want to get there early, because it fills up fast.

 

Event

acura sports car challenge at mid-ohio

After two endurance races totaling 36 hours of competition, followed by a 100-minute sprint race, the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship heads into its “regular season” this weekend with the Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio.

Fans will have no shortage of viewing options with four IMSA series racing on the weekend, culminating with Sunday’s two-hour, 40-minute WeatherTech Championship race at 1:40 p.m. ET. Fans can watch the entire race live on NBCSN or the NBC Sports App. International, flag-to-flag coverage is available on IMSA.com and a variety of international television outlets, as well as IMSA Radio commentary on RadioLeMans.com and SiriusXM Radio.

IMSA.tv, meanwhile, will bring both domestic and international fans live streaming of Motul Pole Award qualifying live on Saturday at 11:40 a.m. ET, as well as races for the IMSA MICHELIN Pilot Challenge, Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama and IMSA Prototype Challenge.

Visit IMSA.com for full details.

Tune-In Schedule

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Radio

Select Imsa Sessions & Flag-to-flag acura sports car challenge at mid-ohio coverage

May 3-5
IMSA.com, IMSA App (LIVE)

   
IWSC
 
Qualifying

acura sports car challenge at mid-ohio qualifying

Saturday, May 4: 11:40 AM - 12:45 PM ET
IMSA.com, IMSA App (LIVE)

IMSA.com
 
 
Race

acura sports car challenge at mid-ohio

Sunday, May 5: 1:30 PM - 4:30 PM ET
NBCSN (LIVE)
Visit IMSA.com for full broadcast details

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IMPC
 
Race

Mid-ohio 120

Friday, March 15: 1:45 PM - 3:45 PM ET
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IMSA.com
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IPC
 
Race

acura sports car challenge at mid-ohio

Sunday, May 5: 8:50 AM - 10:35 AM ET
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IMSA.com
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Porsche Cup
 
Race 1

acura sports car challenge at mid-ohio

Saturday, May 4: 4:20 PM - 5:05 PM ET
IMSA.com, IMSA App (LIVE)

IMSA.com
 
 
Race 2

acura sports car challenge at mid-ohio

Sunday, May 5: 11:00 AM - 11:45 AM ET
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IMSA Prototype Challenge Rookie Alberico Leans on Prior Mid-Ohio Success Ahead of Series Debut at Track

 
April 30, 2019
Staff Report
IMSA Wire Service
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – A wildcard weekend for the IMSA Prototype Challenge at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course is right in the wheelhouse of championship hopeful Neil Alberico.

 
The 26-year-old Californian has had his share of success at the technical 2.258-mile road course as an open-wheel standout coming through the Road to Indy ladder, giving him a pivotal leg up on a competitive LMP3 field which heads to Mid-Ohio for the first time this weekend.

 
Mid-Ohio replaced Barber Motorsports Park on the series schedule for 2019, the last of three races before the series takes a two-month hiatus in advance of Canadian Tire Motorsport Park the weekend of July 5-7. It’s also the halfway point of the six-race season, which makes this weekend a critical one for championship contenders looking to position themselves ahead of a three-race championship stretch.

 
The addition of Mid-Ohio to the schedule may benefit Alberico more than anybody else in the 24-car field.
 
Entering the weekend second in points alongside co-driver Leo Lamelas in the No. 4 ANSA Motorsports Ligier JS P3, Alberico has been at a minor disadvantage early this season learning both a new car as a rookie in the IMSA Prototype Challenge, and often going to tracks for the first time. It hasn’t slowed him down, winning the season-opener at Daytona in his first weekend there, but more seat time in the LMP3 has certainly helped with the transition to sports cars.

 
The comfort level of two races now in the LMP3 prototype coupled with three previous race wins at Mid-Ohio, including two in USF2000, gives Alberico reason for optimism.

 
“When I saw this on the calendar at the beginning of the season, I was rubbing my hands together; I can't wait to get there,” said Alberico. “It’s a super technical track. It's one of those places where I think the driver has to be really comfortable with a car that's sideways and loose 90 percent of the lap. It's a tricky place and an intimidating place because of that. When you do link together a big lap at Mid-Ohio, it feels really, really good.

 
“The interesting factor I think is the co-drivers. It'll totally give us a little advantage as far as giving Leo tips and tricks as to going fast around this place. Those experiences from my past will be super helpful. It could definitely give us an advantage going into a scenario where we may have more experience collectively than the other guys.”

 
If Alberico and Lamelas are going to close the eight-point deficit, 64-56, to points leaders Austin McCusker and Rodrigo Pflucker and the No. 47 Forty7 Motorsports Norma M30 team, it’s likely going to take consistency and a couple of wins over the final four races to do so.

 
Dating back to last year when McCusker was paired with co-driver TJ Fischer, the No. 47 team has finished second or better in six of eight races, including two wins in 2018 at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park and Road Atlanta.

 
McCusker and Pflucker have so far mirrored that 2018 IMSA Prototype Challenge campaign with two runner-up finishes in the first two races for the second consecutive season. Of note, while their open-wheel careers never crossed paths, McCusker has a similar advantage as Alberico, also having Mid-Ohio open-wheel experience, including an F2000 Championship Series win to his name.

 
If there is any slip up whatsoever, however, there is no shortage of additional teams looking to move into the championship picture ahead of the summer break.

 
Among them, James French and Cameron Cassels are lurking 13 points back in third for Performance Tech Motorsports, while Sebring winner Stevan McAleer for Robillard Racing and K2R Motorsports’ Naveen Rao and Alex Barron are 15 points back in fourth.

 
The one-hour, 45-minute race will be streamed live on IMSA.tv with IMSA Radio commentary on Sunday, May 5 at 8:40 a.m. ET. The race also will be shown on NBCSN on Friday, May 10 at 3:30 p.m. ET.

 

Castroneves Even More Comfortable Returning to Mid-Ohio
to Defend Maiden Acura Team Penske Win

 
April 30, 2019
Staff Report
IMSA Wire Service
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – If Helio Castroneves is comfortable heading into this weekend’s Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio – and the Brazilian driver says he is – that could make many of his IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship competitors somewhat uncomfortable.

 
Last year, Castroneves and his No. 7 Acura Team Penske ARX-05 Daytona Prototype international (DPi) co-driver, Ricky Taylor, partnered to lead a 1-2 sweep for the team in the first IMSA race on the 2.238-mile Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course since 2013. Castroneves also took the Motul Pole Award in a 1-2 sweep of qualifying.

 
That weekend turned out to be the highlight of the first season for the Acura Team Penske program in the WeatherTech Championship and stands as the lone series victory so far for the team. But for as much history as Team Penske has, both Castroneves and teammate Juan Pablo Montoya – who co-drives the No. 6 Acura DPi with Dane Cameron – were newcomers to the series in 2018.

 
That’s why Castroneves is even more comfortable heading back to Mid-Ohio – where he also won back-to-back Champ Car races in 2000 and 2001 – this week.

 
“Every time you have one year under your belt, it helps a lot,” Castroneves said. “It doesn’t mean – just because of that – we know everything now. We’re still learning. It’s new tires and that changed a little bit of the setup that we had from last year.

 
“However, it’s the same for everyone. I do feel that knowing the cars, the teams, the competitors, it definitely helps you understand the strategy that you’ve got to play. We’re second in the championship, only two points behind first, and that’s our goal. We’ve got to execute this championship.”

 
As Castroneves mentioned, he and Taylor are right in the mix in the WeatherTech Championship DPi standings. They trail the leading No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi squad of Felipe Nasr and Pipo Derani by two points, 92-90, and are one point ahead of the third-place duo of Filipe Albuquerque and Joao Barbosa in the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi.

 
Sitting in fourth place, two points behind Castroneves and Taylor, are No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi teammates Jordan Taylor and Renger van der Zande. All three of those teams have a victory this season.

 
Jordan Taylor and van der Zande teamed with two-time Formula 1 World Champion Fernando Alonso and Kamui Kobayashi to win the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona in January, while Nasr and Derani co-drove with Eric Curran to win the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts in March. Albuquerque and Barbosa won the most recent WeatherTech Championship race, the BUBBA burger Sports Car Grand Prix at Long Beach on April 13.

 
But Castroneves and Ricky Taylor have been solid so far, with podium results of third at Daytona and second at Long Beach sandwiching a fourth-place outing at Sebring.

 
“We feel that the beginning of the season’s been very favorable, very strong,” Castroneves said. “My goal is to take the lead from Mid-Ohio and hopefully never look back.”

 
He knows that will be easier said than done, though.

 
“The competition is hard,” Castroneves said. “Cadillac and Mazda, they stepped up their game from last year. I mean, last year Cadillac was really strong, but this year, they seem to be even tougher. But Mazda definitely got in the mix. And Nissan, there’s only one car, but those guys and Mazda and the Cadillacs, obviously, it’s pushing us to the limit.”

 
Castroneves has made a career out of pushing to the limit. He’ll do it again this May. For the second consecutive year, he’ll add to his full-time IMSA commitments by competing in the IndyCar Grand Prix on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course on May 11, followed by the 103rd Indianapolis 500 on May 26.

 
He’ll once again go in search of his fourth Indianapolis 500 victory, which would tie him with A.J. Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears as the only four-time winners of the prestigious race. Castroneves was in the IndyCar last week for a day of testing. He was comfortable there, too.

 
“It helps a lot when you have a team like Team Penske,” he said. “It’s like I never left. My seat’s the same, the position is the same, it makes it so much easier when you jump in.”

 
He believes that racing both the Acura DPi and the IndyCar make him better in both disciplines.

 
“I think driving a different car, driving with different tires, expands your ability to understand the car in so many different ways,” Castroneves said. “I mean, after 20 years driving IndyCar, sometimes you create habits. Obviously, technology changed over the years, tires changed over the years, power changed over the years, but you’re still in the same window of that scenario.

 
“So you expand your sensibility a little more about what the car does. I do feel it helps. Every time you’re behind the steering wheel, it does help.”

 
And he’s obviously looking forward to getting back behind the steering wheel at Mid-Ohio again this weekend.

 
“That track, several things happened,” Castroneves said. “For me, it’s very special. I won there in IndyCar, I won there last year, so defending and coming back is awesome. Also, it’s the backyard of one of the Acura manufacturing (plants) where they build, actually, the NSX. So, when you start putting all those together, it’s like, ‘Man, this is a big weekend for us.’ We’re looking forward to it very much.”

 
NBCSN will have live television coverage of the Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio this Sunday beginning at 1:30 p.m. ET. Live IMSA Radio coverage is available on IMSA.com, RadioLeMans.com and via SiriusXM Radio. Tickets are available now at MidOhio.com.

 

16-Year-Old Dickinson Has Bright Future

In Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama

 
April 29, 2019
Staff Report
IMSA Wire Service
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The start of 16-year-old Riley Dickinson’s Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama career couldn’t have gone much better.

 
In the season-opening doubleheader weekend earlier this month at Barber Motorsports Park, Dickinson drove the No. 53 Moorespeed Porsche 911 GT3 Cup machine to second-place results in both 45-minute races. He finished behind third-year GT3 Cup Challenge USA driver Roman De Angelis.

 
“Definitely, the second-place finishes were the highlight of the weekend for sure,” Dickinson said. “I mean, obviously, you want to win, but we feel like that was such a great starting point as kind of a baseline. Going into the weekend, my mindset for it wasn’t really about the results.

 
“I wasn’t focused on, ‘Hey, I want to get a podium. I want to go and win.’ I was more focused on going out there and executing, doing my job the best that I could. And then, if good results come after that, then so be it. It was a good weekend for sure.”

 
It’s exactly the kind of start Moorespeed President David Moore envisioned for the Texas teenager.

 
“He’s extremely mature for a 16-year-old,” Moore said. “When we tested him back in August, I felt that he had something special and we just need to develop. It’s all brand new to him. Yeah, we are all in this to win together, but we also realize that he has an awful lot to learn, still.

 
“The level of progression that he is making is very quick. He listens, but he has really sound fundamentals. The Cup Car is not an easy car to drive. When it comes down to it, of all the cars to drive, it’s a hot rod. It’s a thoroughbred racer and it requires some very specialized skills of putting it all together. I think to really be able to put it all together and be the guy to beat, Riley has that potential in him, for sure. We’re going to strive to continue to get there.”

 
Dickinson certainly announced his presence with authority on his debut weekend in the series in Alabama. But the youngster from New Braunfels, Texas has been on Moore’s radar for quite some time, especially after Dickinson’s driver coach, Derek Eastty, tipped him off.

 
“I’ve known Derek for 20-25 years and he’s been watching our Cup program,” Moore said. “He’s real big in the karting scene and I told him a few years back that I was looking for some young talent that we could help build the racing culture. I wanted to see some more young Texans get an opportunity to showcase their talents and get the chance to compete on a national level.”

 
Dickinson first made a name for himself in the karting ranks – especially on tracks local to him near New Braunfels like Harris Hill Raceway and Hill Country Kart Club. He began working with Eastty in early 2018 as he began to make the transition from karts to race cars.

 
“We’d been working extensively in (Mazda) Miatas, and that was just for me a stepping stone to learn how a car reacts, which is different to a go-kart,” Dickinson said. “Just learning how to manipulate the car, how to just deal with a lot more weight. I was dealing with a 300-pound kart compared to a 2,000-pound car, so for me, that was a steep learning curve.”

 
Nevertheless, he adapted quickly and began charting a course for the next step of his career. Enter the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama.

 
“We had been following the series for a little bit,” Dickinson explained. “There were other go-kart drivers who had made their way up into the series, so we were following along because of that. So, whenever we decided to make the next step and we were going through the list of the different series, GT3 Cup just kept on coming up to the front of the list.

 
“Right now, we feel like it’s the premier series out there. I feel like it had the best opportunity. Then, with Moorespeed through my driver coach, Derek, we felt like it all just made a little bit too much sense not to go do it. We feel like it’s – bar none – the best series out there in the country right now.”

 
“They did their due diligence,” Moore added. “They didn’t just come to me at the end of the offseason. Riley and his dad and Derek came – we had them as our guest when we came back with Zach Robichon (in 2018) at Road America. I introduced them to the series.”

 
That was almost nine months ago. Since then, some of the names have changed, but the competition is as tough as it’s ever been. If Barber was any indication, drivers like De Angelis, Canadian driver Parker Thompson and Californian Max Root – among others – will provide tough competition all year long. Dickinson and Moore wouldn’t have it any other way.

 
“I’m going to gain so much invaluable experience throughout this year,” Dickinson said. “That’s also one of the reasons why we chose this series because of the stiff competition throughout the entire series. It doesn’t matter if it’s a practice session, qualy or a race. You’re always having to be aware, just because of the amount of talent that’s in the field.”

 
“We’ve been looking forward to this for a while,” Moore added. “When we tested last summer, we saw some things in Riley. We knew that he was going to be a contender. For me, personally, the stiffer the competition, the better. This is a development series, and the way we look at this is, if we can continue to push all the young drivers to the next level to where they’re better prepared to make the next step – I mean, I want to see the Americans dominate the world scene when it comes to drivers.”

 
We’ll get the chance to see if Dickinson takes the next step – which would be to the top step of the podium – this weekend at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course as part of the Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

 
The weekend includes two, 45-minute GT3 Cup Challenge USA races – the first at 4:20 p.m. ET on Saturday and the other at 11 a.m. ET Sunday. Both races will be streamed live on IMSA.tv, with tape-delayed television coverage airing on NBCSN at 1 p.m. ET on Monday, May 13.

 
Tickets are available now at MidOhio.com.
 

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 WORLD CHALLENGE

 

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Sports Car Club of America

 

2019 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship schedule:

Date

Venue

Classes/

Jan. 4-6  

Roar Before The Rolex 24 At Daytona
Daytona International Speedway
Daytona Beach, Florida
DPi/LMP2/GTLM/GTD

 

3-day test

Jan. 24-27 Rolex 24 At Daytona
Daytona International Speedway
Daytona Beach, Florida
DPi/LMP2/GTLM/GTD

 

24 hours

March 13-16 Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring
Sebring International Raceway
Sebring, Florida
DPi/LMP2/GTLM/GTD

 

12 hours

April 12-13 BUBBA burger SportsCar Grand Prix 
Long Beach, Calif.
DPi/LMP2/GTLM 

 

100 minutes

May 3-5 Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course
Lexington, Ohio
DPi/LMP2/GTLM/GTD

 

2 hours, 40 minutes

May 31-June 1 Chevrolet Detroit Belle Island Grand Prix
Detroit, Michigan*
DPi/LMP2 (GTD Sprint Cup)

 

100 minutes

June 28-30 Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen
Watkins Glen, New York
DPi/LMP2/GTLM/GTD

 

6 hours

July 5-7 Canadian Tire Motorsport Park
Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada
DPi/LMP2/GTLM/GTD

 

2 hours, 40 minutes

July 19-20 Northeast Grand Prix
Lakeville, Connecticut
GTLM/GTD

 

2 hours, 40 minutes

Aug. 2-4 Road America
Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin
DPi/LMP2/GTLM/GTD

 

2 hours, 40 minutes

Aug. 23-25 VIRginia International Raceway
Danville, Virginia
GTLM/GTD

 

2 hours, 40 minutes

Sept. 13-15 WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca
Monterey, California
DPi/LMP2/GTLM/GTD

 

2 hours, 40 minutes

Oct. 10-12 Petit Le Mans
Brazelton, Georgia
DPi/LMP2/GTLM/GTD

 

10 hours

 

Pirelli GT World Challenge America

Circuit of The Americas March TBA
VIRginia International Raceway April 27-28
Canadian Tire Motorsport Park May 18-19
Sonoma Raceway

June 8-9

Watkins Glen International Aug. 31-Sept. 1
Road America Sept. 21-22
Grand Finale Oct. 5-6

 

GTS Pirelli World Challenge

Grand Prix of St. Petersburg March 9-10
VIRginia International Raceway April 27-28
Canadian Tire Motorsport Park May 18-19
Sonoma Raceway

June 8-9

Portland International Raceway July 13-14
Watkins Glen International