First MICHELIN Pilot Challenge fan vote awards confirmed

October 24, 2019

First MICHELIN Pilot Challenge fan vote awards confirmed

October 24, 2019

Michelin’s inaugural “Bibendum Awards” received more than 200,000 votes through a mix of fan and team encouragement, to earn the newly crafted trophies that selected IMSA MICHELIN Pilot Challenge teams would receive.

The idea came together in the run-up to the final race weekend of the season at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta and saw a two-week period open for fans and teams to vote.

Like a Pilot Challenge race, there were a few unexpected moments that popped up along the way. But ultimately the winners received their awards on Friday, October 11. Michelin North America motorsports director Chris Baker presented the awards at the series’ award ceremony where he extolled the Pilot Challenge competitors.

“You guys provide the best racing in the paddock,” Baker said. “Let’s be honest, you’re (racing) all over yourselves all weekend. Those guys (in WeatherTech) are up against the fence watching the MICHELIN Pilot Challenge race.

“You are a community of folks who share the passion and sights and sounds of competition. This championship gives us a chance to bring more people into our world.”

HART Racing Team captured the inaugural “Fan Engagement Award” with the efforts exuded by the team and its drivers, Ryan Eversley and Chad Gilsinger, who shared the No. 89 Honda Civic Type R.

Fittingly, as no one from the team was able to attend Pilot Challenge awards ceremony, the drivers accepted the first “Fan Engagement Award” on the grid at their car in a moment shared with the fans..

Robin Liddell’s fourth-to-first last lap brilliance at Road America netted the driver of the No. 71 Rebel Rock Racing Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R the maiden “Checkered Flag Award.” He shared that car with Frank DePew; the pair having also won at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park earlier this year.

Liddell, the Scotsman and past GS class champion, took an opportunity to poke fun at himself for winning an award voted on by the fans.

“On behalf of the team and myself, thanks to the fans who voted for that because I don’t think I’ve won a popularity contest before and I don’t know if I will again,” he told IMSA Radio.

The “Best Livery Award” went to the No. 5 KMW Motorsports with TMR Engineering Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR, with its Bahamas flag-inspired livery that premiered at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. It was a hard-earned effort courtesy of a heavy word-of-mouth push by team director Louis Milone.

Milone noted the vote link went out to the Alfa Romeo club of Italy, and the club members were significantly active in their voting.

Once informed they’d won the vote at Michelin Raceway, the team burst into a euphoric state. Milone raised the trophy up at the awards ceremony itself.

Ceremony host Justin Bell, co-host of The Torque Show presented by Michelin, said these may be the “awards of the night.”

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