Continental Tire Beyond the Podium explores the post-race news and notes from both the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge races from last weekend at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.
***After much promise heading into the weekend, the No. 60 Michael Shank Racing Ligier JS P2 Honda failed to live up to the potential in the race, with Ozz Negri and John Pew finishing 11th overall, following contact and a spin early by Pew and a two-minute and 20-second stop-and-hold penalty for an improper wave-by procedure.
***The Prototype Challenge race-winning CORE autosport Oreca FLM09 started from the rear of the prototype field, after the team elected to give up class pole to have Jon Bennett start the race instead. Colin Braun told Sportscar365 that they used qualifying as a test session, following issues with the car earlier in the weekend.
***JDC-Miller Motorsports took a unique race strategy, with Stephen Simpson having completed the first two hours and 20 minutes in the team’s PC car, before handing over to Misha Goikhberg from the lead. With both drivers Silver-rated, only one had to complete the minimum drive time of 60 minutes to score points.
***Goikhberg, who typically qualifies and starts the car, traveled back to his home in Vancouver on Saturday for the birth of his child.
***BMW became the fifth different GTD manufacturer to win this season, with Turner Motorsport’s Jens Klingmann and Bret Cutis giving the BMW M6 GT3 its first victory in WeatherTech Championship competition. Turner also gave the BMW Z4 GT3 its first win in the series, in 2014.
***Scuderia Corsa’s Alessandro Balzan and Christian Nielsen extended their GTD championship lead, as nearly all of their title rivals hit trouble. The pairing’s fourth place class finish on Sunday has now put them 20 points ahead of the No. 23 The Heart of Racing/Alex Job Racing duo of Mario Farnbacher and Alex Riberas.
***Riberas, who claimed class pole, dominated the early stages until the left-front wheel came off when Mario Farnbacher was driving. It resulted in a lengthy stop to replace the wheel hub, relegating the pairing to a 12th place finish in class.
***Andy Lally and John Potter, who entered the weekend third in the GTD championship, was classified 10th after a late-race accident by Lally, while the Riley Motorsports Dodge Viper GT3-R of Jeroen Bleekemolen and Ben Keating were 11th after Bleekemolen suffered a broken radiator after contact while battling for the class lead in the final 30 minutes.
***The third place GTD class finish for Bryan Sellers and Madison Snow was the first podium for Lamborghini in WeatherTech Championship competition. It came after a strong showing for the No. 27 Dream Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3, which held the class lead until pitting with about 30 minutes to go.
***The No. 25 BMW Team RLL BMW M6 GTLM will remain in its throwback stars-and-stripes livery for the next round at Lime Rock Park, before reverting to its standard 2016 design for the remainder of the season, beginning at Road America next month.
***Wins by Clarke Toppe and Austin Versteeg over the weekend in IMSA Mazda Prototype Lites Presented by Cooper Tires has given JDC Motorsports its record 25th consecutive overall victory in series competition, dating back to Road America 2014. JDC’s PC entry finished fifth in class on Sunday.
***Visit Florida Racing team owner Troy Flis told Sportscar365 he expects to announce their 2017 Prototype plans shortly, possibly by the end of the week. The team has been linked with both Mazda and Cadillac DPis, while also having evaluated several Gibson-engined LMP2 chassis options as well.
***Starworks Motorsport has yet to finalize the lineup of its No. 88 PC entry for Lime Rock. Richard Bradley, who took part in the past two races with the team alongside full-season driver Mark Kvamme, is unavailable due to his FIA WEC that weekend. Team owner Peter Baron had been exploring an option with a Prototype class driver, as the P category is not in action that weekend.
***The next event for the WeatherTech Championship is the Northeast Grand Prix. The GTLM class will be competing at Lime Rock Park for the first time, joining the PC and GTD competitors on Saturday, July 23. The Prototype class returns to action at Road America on Aug. 4.
Continental Tire Challenge:
***Bodymotion Racing’s drive for a third straight GS win came unraveled after a number of setbacks in the race. Cameron Cassels went down a lap early, and although Trent Hindman made an impressive charge back onto the lead lap, getting around leader Billy Johnson, he was hit with a drive-through penalty for having an extra crew member during the final scheduled pit stop. Hindman was forced to return to the pits following the penalty due to a loose wheel nut.
***While Hindman and Cassels finished fourth, Multimatic Motorsports’ Johnson and Scott Maxwell extended their championship lead with their second victory of the season. The four drivers are still the only GS competitors to claim wins this year.
***A dominant run by the No. 93 HART Honda Civic Si of Chad Gilsinger and Ryan Eversley resulted in a third place ST class finish for the pairing, after Eversley faded in the closing stages.
***The ST class-winning CRG-I Do Borrow squad lived up to its name, quite literally, last weekend, as pit crew members, on loan from Rum Bum Racing, helped take Owen Trinkler and Sarah Cattaneo to top class honors, their second of the season and first with its Nissan Altima.
***The GS class field, which featured an all-time series low of four entries at CTMP, is expected to rebound for the next round at Lime Rock Park, with the second CJ Wilson Racing Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport returning, as well as at least one Automatic Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT4. Additional entries are also possible.