Two to go for IMSA MICHELIN Pilot Challenge

September 14, 2019

Two to go for IMSA MICHELIN Pilot Challenge

September 14, 2019

Monterey might throw a curveball into the form book for the IMSA MICHELIN Pilot Challenge as there are just two races to go. Today’s WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca 120 (6 p.m. EDT, IMSA.TV) sets the stage for the finale at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta next month.

There isn’t rain forecast. That in and of itself is a surprise the way the season has gone.

Races at VIRginia International Raceway, Road America, Watkins Glen and Mid-Ohio – four of the last seven – have had intermittent-to-frequent rain during the race, which has made picking either MICHELIN(R) Pilot(R) Sport GT rain or S8M/S9M commercial slicks a distinct challenge.

Monterey will see the series’ GS class return to the medium compound S8M for the first time since Mid-Ohio.

The hard compound S9M was selected for the summer races in consultation between IMSA and Michelin, knowing the races would in theory be run in much hotter conditions.

Monterey, however, is cooler and a wild card by contrast. And after a hotter than normal Friday with ambient temperatures in the high-80s and low-90s, with track temperatures north of 110, Saturday was a very different day.

Tyler McQuarrie (No. 39 CarBahn by Peregrine Racing Audi R8 LMS GT4, GS) and Michael Lewis (No. 98 Bryan Herta Autosport Hyundai Veloster N TCR, TCR) have won the pole positions for today’s race earlier this morning.

GS CLASS SEASON-TO-DATE

The championship picture is fairly straightforward in GS, with Tyler McQuarrie and Jeff Westphal leading the field by 24 points with only two races to go. The CarBahn by Peregrine Racing pairing has been the model of consistency with seven consecutive top-four finishes, including five podium finishes.

“The lead we have is certainly the largest we’ve had all season and with that comes a nice deal of comfort,” Westphal said.

“However I am a firm believer that the best defense is a good offense. We’ve been extremely consistent this year whilst minimizing risk, which has awarded us this position. Sometimes you have a fourth or fifth place car and you need to take it. I personally love Laguna Seca, and our car was strong there last year so I am really looking forward to the drop of the green flag!”

While 24 points cover first to second, just 18 points cover second through fifth in the GS class championship. On the heels of their win at VIR, KohR Motorsports’ pair of Kyle Marcelli and Nate Stacy is surging and now up to fifth in points.

No other car this season besides the No. 39 Audi has scored more than three podiums. Through eight of 10 races, a total of 12 cars from 11 teams and eight different automotive brands have been on the podium, with six of those brands having won at least one race (McLaren, Audi, Porsche, Mercedes-AMG, Chevrolet, Ford).

PODIUM FINISHERS

  • 39 CarBahn by Peregrine Racing Audi R8 LMS GT4 (5 podiums)
  • 69 MIA Racing McLaren 570S GT4 (3 podiums)
  • 82 Bimmerworld BMW M4 GT4 (2 podiums)
  • 60 KohR Motorsports Ford Mustang GT4 (2 podiums)
  • 71 Rebel Rock Racing Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R (2 podiums)
  • 75 Compass Racing McLaren 570S GT4 (2 podiums)
  • 35 Riley Team AMG Mercedes-AMG GT4 (2 podiums)
  • 56 Murillo Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4 (2 podiums)
  • 46 Team TGM Mercedes-AMG GT4 (1 podium)
  • 7 Park Place Motorsports Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 (1 podium)
  • 99 Automatic Racing Aston Martin Vantage (1 podium)
  • 80 Bimmerworld BMW M4 GT4 (1 podium)
TCR CLASS SEASON-TO-DATE

Despite a smaller car count (anywhere from 12 to 15 cars at each event), the TCR class has grown in competitiveness and intensity all season.

Some 11 of the 16 cars that have entered this year have scored at least one podium. Honda, Audi and Hyundai are separated by just two points in the manufacturer’s championship. Alfa Romeo has also shown signs of progress in its first year with the Giulietta TCR.

It may come down to Bryan Herta Autosport’s Hyundai pair of drivers that will win the championship. Although lurking in third, the L.A. Honda World duo of Shelby Blackstock and Tom O’Gorman will look to recapture their early season form.

PODIUM FINISHERS

  • 61 Roadshagger Audi RS3 LMS TCR (4 podiums)
  • 21 BHA Hyundai Veloster N TCR (3 podiums)
  • 98 BHA Hyundai Veloster N TCR (3 podiums)
  • 37 L.A. Honda World Honda Civic Type R (3 podiums)
  • 73 L.A. Honda World Honda Civic Type R (2 podiums)
  • 23 FAST MD Audi RS3 LMS TCR (2 podiums)
  • 54 JDC-Miller Audi RS3 LMS TCR (2 podiums)
  • 17 JDC-Miller Audi RS3 LMS TCR (2 podiums)
  • 52 L.A. Honda World Honda Civic Type R (1 podium)
  • 89 HART Honda Civic Type R (1 podium)
  • 12 eEuroparts.com Audi RS3 LMS TCR (1 podium)

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