L.A. Honda World goes for TCR three-peat to start 2019

April 23, 2019

L.A. Honda World goes for TCR three-peat to start 2019

April 23, 2019

Luis Perocarpi’s LAP Motorsports team has undergone a significant transformation for the 2019 IMSA MICHELIN Pilot Challenge season. However, the team’s season has started off incredibly well.

After several years running the MINI JCW in the now-defunct ST class, the team has stepped up to TCR this year with three Honda Civic Type Rs. The team now is entered as L.A. Honda World Racing as a result.

The team’s No. 37 car has emerged at the head of the field in both races in Daytona and Sebring to win both with an experienced, quality lineup.

No. 37 LA Honda World Racing Honda Civic TCR, TCR: Shelby Blackstock, Tom O’Gorman. Photo: Michelin North America

Tom O’Gorman established himself as a regular TCR pole and race win contender in 2018 with another brand. But most of O’Gorman’s formative years in sports car racing have come with Honda products, so returning to the brand this year has come at a good time.

Meanwhile teammate Shelby Blackstock was another contender in the series’ GS class several years ago, but he’s focused largely on the American open-wheel Road to Indy since that point. Paired with O’Gorman though, they’ve started the year perfectly.

The pair led 23 laps at Daytona en route to their first win there, and then followed it up with another 17 laps led at Sebring.

That the car has handled such diverse tracks, the infield road course with high banking at Daytona and the bumpy, rough and tumble Sebring road course is a testament to its ability in its first two races in the series.

As Blackstock explained, it’s a credit to the immediate fusion of the LAP Motorsports crew who’s sorted the new car so quickly.

“That’s the biggest thing that says the most about LAP Motorsports, LA Honda World, Honda and HPD,” Blackstock said.

“They’re two totally different racetracks. One was very smooth with high banks, one has been here since World War II and is extremely bumpy. The car has been competitive in both of them. That right there says so much about both organizations. It’s definitely made our lives easier, but we’re ecstatic right now. Where do you go from here?”

O’Gorman, of Mason, Ohio, now heads into both his and Honda’s home race at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington. It’ll be an important weekend for the whole group.

Blackstock scored his first career Indy Lights podium at Mid-Ohio (third in 2015). In six Indy Lights starts, he had five top-six finishes there.

Lest this car be the only focus, Perocarpi’s team has also fielded two more cars in the competitive TCR class.

Past ST class champion Mike LaMarra and Mat Pombo share the No. 73 Honda, and came second at Daytona. Last year’s Team USA Scholarship recipient Colin Mullan and Max Faulkner have a best finish of fifth at Sebring in the No. 52 Honda.

The LAP/L.A. Honda World Civics are three of five that have competed in the first two races this season.

No. 17 JDC-Miller Motorsports Audi RS3 LMS TCR, TCR: Britt Casey Jr., Mikey Taylor, No. 37 LA Honda World Racing Honda Civic TCR, TCR: Tom O’Gorman, Shelby Blackstock, No. #89 HART Honda Civic TCR, TCR: Ryan Eversley, Chad Gilsinger, podium. Photo: Michelin North America

HART Racing Team scored a podium at Sebring with Ryan Eversley and Chad Gilsinger, and are always a win threat.

Todd Lamb’s Atlanta Speedwerks organization with Lamb and Brian Henderson has led both races so far. However, they have finished only fourth and eighth.

The quintet of Hondas looks to maintain their win streak at their home race. They’ll work to continue to fend off challenges from Audi, Hyundai and Alfa Romeo.

The Mid-Ohio 120 is Saturday, May 4, at 1:45 p.m. ET. The race streams live on IMSA.TV with IMSA Radio commentary.

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