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LEWIS: A Weekend I’ll Remember Forever

Corey Lewis files his first Sportscar365 column, recapping the IPC race at Sebring as well as his GT Daytona class victory…

Photo: Jake Galstad/IMSA

The second race on the schedule for IMSA Prototype Challenge presented by Mazda brought us to Sebring International Raceway. I’ve had great memories of this circuit dating back to 2015 where I was able to bring home the U.S. and World Championships in the Lamborghini Super Trofeo World Finals.

This week I was competing in the LMP3 car prepped by P1 Motorsports with Matt Dicken as well as driving duties in the GT Daytona car running in the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship for Paul Miller Racing. I could not be more excited for the busy week ahead!

On track activities started bright and early on Wednesday morning for Matt and I during promoter test day. This was the first time we had been in the race car since the Roar at Daytona in January.

P1 Motorsports did a top job in giving Matt and I a solid baseline to start out with allowing us to quickly get up to speed. We made a few setup changes throughout the practice sessions in preparation for qualifying on Thursday.

The early morning LMP3 qualifying session presented us with cold temperatures. The tires would take a good five to six laps to get to optimum temperature to enable us to throw down a solid lap time.

Unfortunately, a red flag halted the qualifying session just three laps in, resulting in our car to start in 15th for Friday morning’s race.

With the sun starting to set quickly, it was time to get behind the wheel of the No. 48 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3.

As a team we knew that this practice would be critical to nail down our setup as this would be the closest opportunity to actual night time race conditions.

Throughout the session we made various changes but still as a team we just were not completely satisfied with the handling of the car. We had one more shot to nail down the setup at Friday morning’s final practice before qualifying.

Friday morning was another hectic start with GTD practice ending just before the start our LMP3 race. GTD practice flew by and at the end of it we felt that we had gotten a solid handle on the setup giving a strong car for Madison Snow to qualify later that afternoon.

After the GTD practice I had to quickly get back to the P1 Motorsports hauler to change driver suits and prepare for our LMP3 race.

Just as I arrived at the P1 Motorsports pit box, the green flag dropped for the start of the race. Matt got off to a very strong start battling his way up through the field in his opening stint.

Quickly Matt found himself within the top-10. As the pit window quickly approached it was time for a driver change. Our P1 Motorsports crew was spot-on with their tire change and fuel. I was strapped in the car to finish out the second half of the race.

After a late race caution stacked the field, I could see the leaders in sight. I was able to advance my position four cars, But I was struggling with the rear tires locking requiring me to back my pace down which just wasn’t enough to stay with the leaders.

Matt and I ended up with a strong fifth place finish. I was very impressed with how well Matt drove showing a strong race pace.

I cannot thank the guys on P1 Motorsports enough for all their efforts week in and week out. There is no doubt in my mind that we will be on the top step of the podium this season!

Just when you thought my weekend was over… it was now time for the Twelve Hours of Sebring!

Madison took the green flag from fifth and the Paul Miller Racing crew gave Madison, Bryan and I amazing strategy and flawless pitstops throughout the 12 hours.

Each of us spent time leading our GTD class. Bryan was given the final stint and brought home the win with an amazing outside pass in Turn 1 with 20 minutes to go in the race. Its so hard to put into words, but I guess the easiest way to say it is… We are Twelve Hours of Sebring winners!

I cannot thank Paul Miller and Lamborghini Squadra Corse for the opportunity be a part of the program for this event.

This is a weekend that I will remember forever!

Photo: Jake Galstad/IMSA

Corey Lewis (@CoreyLewis39) is a IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race-winner, driving for P1 Motorsports in IMSA Prototype Challenge presented by Mazda and Paul Miller Racing in the Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup races.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Daniel H Fiallo

    March 21, 2018 at 3:02 pm

    Great drive by all. Lambo seemed to be very competitive throughout the day. A victory well and truly earned.

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