Continental Tire Beyond the Podium looks at some of the other news, notes and nuggets to come out of this past weekend’s fourth round of the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge season, from Watkins Glen International.
***Arguably the biggest issue during the race affecting some of the GS class cars was windshields fogging up, which reduced visibility. Squeegeeing and anti-fog liquid were needed to correct the issue. It cost the polesitting No. 15 Ford Shelby GT350R-C of Scott Maxwell and Billy Johnson time during the race, as well as the fourth-starting No. 41 Doran Racing Nissan 370Z of Steven Doherty and Nick McMillen. “The windshield fogged over and you had to try to see out of the side windows as much you could,” McMillen explained.
***Both of the debuting Ford Shelby GT350R-Cs led during the race, with Maxwell leading twice for six laps and Austin Cindric once for one lap. It marked the first time both Multimatic Motorsports entries led in the same race this year; Cindric and co-driver Jade Buford took the No. 158 Ford to a season-best fourth.
***What a difference a year makes for Trent Hindman and Ashley Freiberg in terms of podium finishes. The Fall-Line Motorsports BMW M3 pair scored their first podium together in their fourth race in 2015; a year ago, defending GS class champion Hindman finished off the podium for the first time in the fourth race, then at Lime Rock.
***Hindman will head to Europe after this weekend’s race, as he’ll make a trip to the IZone simulator in Silverstone, England as part of the BMW Motorsport Junior program in between Watkins Glen and CTMP to prepare for upcoming races in Europe.
***Mantella Autosport ended eighth and ninth in the race, with Sasha Anis posting solid practice times in the No. 8 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28.R in a fill-in role for Anthony Mantella’s usual co-driver Mark Wilkins.
***Freedom Autosport’s Andrew Carbonell and Liam Dwyer should move into the ST class points lead after their fourth place finish in the No. 26 Mazda MX-5. The No. 83 Next Level European Porsche Cayman and No. 64 Team TGM BMW 328i, whose driver pairings were tied for the lead heading in, ended 18th and 26th respectively.
***For the second consecutive race, Mazda MX-5s finished 1-2, and Carbonell and Dwyer in fourth made it three MX-5s in the top five for the second race running.
***After all Porsche Caymans failed to finish in the top five at Mazda Raceway, the best Cayman ended fifth on Saturday, with Eric Foss and Jeff Mosing sharing the No. 56 Murillo Racing entry.
***Rennsport One banked a double top-10 with Dylan Murcott and Adam Isman ending sixth in the No. 18 Porsche Cayman, and teammates Greg Strelzoff and Connor Bloum 10th in the No. 19 car. It’s the best finish of the season for both pairings.
***Compass360 Racing just missed its first top-10 finish with its new Audi S3s, as Jim McGuire and Nico Rondet ended 11th in the No. 74 car. It was still an impressive drive from 28th on the grid.
***LAP Motorsports endured a nightmare weekend with Remo Ruscitti being hit by another car on Friday, forcing significant front- end repairs to the No. 52 MINI JCW. It came as a bitter blow to then see the repaired front-end smashed again when Ruscitti’s co-driver Cody Ellsworth spun to avoid Jason Briedis in the No. 84 Bimmerworld 328i on the second lap of the race.
Ashley Freiberg, along with fellow young driver Austin Cindric, were arguably two of the stars in the wet weather conditions on Saturday. Freiberg finished a season-best second at a track she has a past win at, in IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup USA, and reflected on her drive during a cold afternoon.
Kevin Boehm was moved over to the HART team’s flagship No. 93 Honda Civic Si co-driving with Chad Gilsinger this week, qualified second and then drove a clean race in the challenging conditions for both his first career podium and Honda’s first Continental Tire Challenge podium of the season. He is unsure whether he will do more races in the No. 93 Honda, driven the last two races by Kuno Wittmer, or return to the No. 92 car that he drove earlier this season.