Continental Tire COTA Post-Race Notebook

Photo: Brian Cleary/bcpix.com

Photo: Brian Cleary/bcpix.com

***A celebration of life ceremony for Alex Job Racing co-founder Holly Job will be held June 10th from 2:00 p.m. through 6:00 p.m. ET in the Legends Ballroom of the Mission Inn Resort in Howey-in-the-Hills, Florida. If you have photos of Holly you would like to share for the slide presentation, please email them to carol@alexjobracing.com. A special room rate will be available for out of town guests who wish to stay at the resort and you can contact them directly at (352) 324-3101. Guests are asked to RSVP to the above email address by May 23rd.

***A double podium result for Action Express Racing and a Cadillac sweep of the top-three spots in the Advance Auto Parts Sportscar Showdown at Circuit of The Americas was far from a sure thing in the stages of the race. With just over 30 minutes remaining, the No. 5 AXR Cadillac DPi-V.R of Joao Barbosa ran out of fuel on pit lane and had to be pushed by the No. 31 AXR crew after coming to a halt on pit road.

***The slight miscalculation dropped Barbosa from second overall back to sixth, but quick thinking by the AXR team to have the No. 31 crew push while the No. 5 crew remained in position for the pit stop helped to limit the damage. A strong charge from Barbosa, and misfortune for the No. 2 Tequila Patron ESM Nissan Onroak DPi of Ryan Dalziel, combined to get Barbosa back to third place by the time the race ended.

***Dalziel’s ESM team had reported high oil temperature several minutes before the massive fire that ended the day for the No. 2 Nissan broke out, but Dalziel reported no noticeable signs of trouble until the conflagration emerged at the back of the car. The fire took away a shot at a second-consecutive podium for the car, and the sixth-place result was a tough pill to swallow after Dalziel posted the second-fastest race lap at COTA.

***Three different manufacturers were responsible for the top three race laps on Saturday. Jordan Taylor posted the fastest lap of the race in the Wayne Taylor Racing Cadillac at 1:57.198, 0.611 seconds faster than Dalziel’s quickest trip around the circuit. Stephen Simpson and JDC-Miller Motorsports claimed the third-fastest time in their No. 85 Oreca 07 Gibson at 1:57.851, the last of the cars in the 1:57-bracket, en route to a fifth-place finish.

*** Several IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Prototype teams fought through electrical issues over the course of the race. Gremlins before the start meant the No. 52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports Ligier JS P217 Gibson of Marco Bonanomi and Jose Gutierrez were unable to start from their fifth-place qualifying position and lost many laps before they were able to join the race. They finished ninth, 30-laps behind the leader.

***Approximately 20 minutes into the race, Jonathan Bomarito reported a misfire that reduced the horsepower from the engine in the No. 55 Mazda RT24-P. The team tried repeatedly to correct the electrical problems, but were never able to get to the root problem of the mystery and the car would finish tenth.  

***In the meantime, the No. 70 entry of Tom Long soon began to suffer a turbo-boost issue on the sister car and limped home to finish eighth with Joel Miller behind the wheel.

***The key point in the GT Le Mans race came when No. 3 Corvette lead engineer Kyle Millay called Jan Magnussen to the pits at the 51-minute mark as another car stopped on track. Magnussen reached the pit lane before the caution flag flew and handed off to Antonio Garcia, who cycled ahead to the lead when the rest of the class contenders pitted under yellow. The No. 3 was largely unchallenged to the finish from there.

***A double podium for BMW Team RLL was the first for the team since a 1-2 finish for the squad at Laguna Seca in 2015, but the chance to nab a class win was sidelined by pit road penalties for both entries. The No. 24 of Martin Tomczyk was handed a stop plus sixty-second penalty for running the red light at the exit of pit lane while running second, and the No. 25 was penalized for leaving the pits with equipment attached to the car.

***Not only was Ben Keating and Jeroen Bleekemolen’s Texas triumph a third-straight win for the Mercedes-AMG GT3 in GT Daytona, it was also a third-consecutive double podium for the manufacturer and car in its first season in IMSA. Tristan Vautier charged from fifteenth to third in his final stint to put the SunEnergy1 Racing Mercedes on the final step of the podium and keep the streak alive.

***A runner-up finish at COTA was the third-consecutive podium finish this season as well for the No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GT3 squad of Christina Nielsen and Alessandro Balzan, which entered the race second overall in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GTD standings. With the finish, the team maintained their position just behind Riley Team AMG in the season-long championship.

***After qualifying an impressive second in the Motorsports In Action McLaren 570S GT4, Chris Green and the No. 69 entry was MIA when the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge Circuit of The Americas 120 got started due to a fire while the car was on its way to the grid. The car was unable to start the race in what was otherwise a banner weekend for McLaren teams.

***Jade Buford and Scott Maxwell were unable to defend their championship points lead at COTA because the Ford Mustang they had driven under the KohR Motorsports banner at Sebring was being refitted into final GT4 homologation according to team principal and driver Dean Martin.

***Martin said the KohR car that he co-drove with Jack Roush Jr. at COTA was still in the same configuration that it had run in at Daytona and Sebring and would be updated to fit GT4 regulations as soon as the team returned to their shop from COTA. Martin and Roush finished sixth in the GS class on Friday.

***Martin said it was likely that a second KohR-run Mustang would be seen again in Continental Tire Challenge this season, but said it would not necessarily be Buford or defending series co-champion Maxwell behind the wheel.

***Derek Jones and Mat Pombo, who teamed to win the ST class at Daytona earlier this season, struggled through a difficult weekend at COTA after the No. 73 MINI suffered from an electrical problem during the race. The duo finished 10th in class.

*** Sarah Cattaneo and Owen Trinkler’s race came to an abrupt end in No. 44 CRG-I Do Borrow Nissan Altima when nose contact on the opening lap broke the hood support, prompting the hood to pop up while at speed and break the windshield. The damage could not be repaired and the car was retired after just two laps.

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