IMSA MICHELIN Pilot Challenge Notes: Watkins Glen and CTMP

July 12, 2019

IMSA MICHELIN Pilot Challenge Notes: Watkins Glen and CTMP

July 12, 2019

Here are some quick notes following the last two IMSA MICHELIN Pilot Challenge races in succession, at Watkins Glen International and Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.

Post-race wraps from Daytona, Sebring and Mid-Ohio are linked here.

GS
Three of the five GS winners thus far in 2019 are in this shot: No. 71 Camaro, No. 39 Audi, No. 75 McLaren. Photo: Michelin North America
  • “Five” is the magic number through five GS races. In Round 4 at Watkins Glen, five different brands (Mercedes-AMG, BMW, Audi, Porsche and Chevrolet) finished in the top five. In Round 5 at CTMP, it was five different brands in the top six (Chevrolet, Ford, McLaren, Audi and BMW). And through five GS races, five different brands have won (McLaren, Audi, Porsche, Mercedes-AMG and Chevrolet).
  • Dylan Murry’s drive on Michelin slicks in the wet at Watkins Glen was hailed by many as a “breakout” drive as he steered the No. 35 Riley Mercedes-AMG GT4 to the GS win. It also marked the 18-year-old third straight podium finish in two different IMSA series, highlighting some of the “Sparkling Cider Society” drivers who’ve been on the podium before their 21st birthday.
  • Rebel Rock Racing’s recovery has been impressive. After three finishes of 21st or worse in the first three races, Robin Liddell and Frank DePew have gone fifth-first the last two races in their No. 71 Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R.
  • Just two points cover the top three pairings in the GS championship. Without a win, consistency has placed the No. 82 Bimmerworld BMW M4 GT4 of Devin Jones and James Clay (finishes of second through ninth) in first by one point. Similar MIA Racing’s Jesse Lazare and Corey Fergus have finished between third and eighth in all five races, and sit second in their No. 69 McLaren 570S GT4. Sebring winners Tyler McQuarrie and Jeff Westphal are third, two points back, in the No. 39 Carbahn Audi R8 LMS GT4. They have four straight top-four results, but are hindered by a 16th in Daytona.
  • Fergus went from eighth-to-first on a restart at Watkins Glen. However, he was unable to hang on wets, as the track dried quicker than expected.
  • Fourth-placed Trent Hindman and Alan Brynjolfsson are there too. They’re just 15 points back with four top-eight results in five races in the No. 7 Park Place Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport.
  • After a tough start to the year, KohR Motorsports banked a needed second place with Kyle Marcelli and Nate Stacy in their No. 60 Ford Mustang GT4 at CTMP.
  • PF Racing’s Jade Buford and James Pesek scored their best result in fifth at CTMP in their pink No. 40 Ford Mustang GT4.
  • Past ST class champion Eric Foss and longtime co-driver Jeff Mosing got their setup and balance dialed in on their No. 56 Murillo Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4 at CTMP and ended seventh, but were consistently top-five contenders all weekend.
  • In their first race sharing the Airbnb-liveried No. 97 Aston Martin AMR Vantage, Greg Liefooghe and Ari Balogh finished 10th with Liefooghe setting the fastest race lap at CTMP. The Automatic Racing team fielded its previous generation Vantage GT4, still with Stoner Car Care support, for Gary Ferrera and Kris Wilson who returned to action at CTMP for the first time since Daytona.
  • Team TGM was unlucky to end better in either Watkins Glen or CTMP. Guy Cosmo took over from Ted Giovanis and carved his way to the lead in the No. 4 Mercedes-AMG GT4 at Watkins Glen before a late drive-through halted their charge. Despite scoring another pole at CTMP, Owen Trinkler and Hugh Plumb fell to an unrepresentative 12th place in the No. 46.
KohR (No. 60), Automatic (No. 97) and Murillo (No. 56) had decent races at CTMP. Photo: Michelin North America
TCR
Morley and Ernstone have three straight TCR podiums. Photo: Michelin North America
  • The call to run slicks rather than wets helped propel Mat Pombo and Mike LaMarra to the TCR win at Watkins Glen in their No. 73 L.A. Honda World Racing Honda Civic Type R.
  • JDC-Miller’s win at CTMP with Mikey Taylor and Britt Casey Jr. came with a twist. They rallied back after a nightmare pit stop sequence. During the stop, the fire extinguisher went off and they hit a tire exiting the pit box. But they recovered nicely afterwards.
  • The Roadshagger by eEuroparts team is riding the biggest wave of momentum in class right now. Gavin Ernstone and Jon Morley have scored three straight podium finishes. Two of them have come courtesy of last-lap passes from Morley.
  • L.A. Honda World got a third car on the podium this year. Colin Mullan and Max Faulkner finished second at CTMP in their No. 52 car.
  • The team’s lead car of Shelby Blackstock and Tom O’Gorman has persevered through two tough races and still leads the TCR standings by six points over Ernstone and Morley.

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IMSA at Watkins Glen and CTMP Recaps

Tuesday July 9, 2019