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 Road America.
***It was another banner day for Action Express Racing, which picked up its third consecutive 1-2 finish this season, with Dane Cameron scoring his third straight class win at Road America, after taking top honors in a Turner Motorsport BMW Z4 GT3 in GTD in 2014. Cameron held off the No. 5 Corvette DP of Joao Barbosa without a functional dash.
***Cameron and co-driver Eric Curran have closed to only one point of teammates Barbosa and Christian Fittipaldi heading into next month’s penultimate Prototype round of the season at Circuit of The Americas.
***Results and points from the race remain provisional, as IMSA impounded an undisclosed number of cars and/or components post-race for off-site testing. The Corvette DP diffusers were impounded by IMSA from this event last year, but with no sanctions having been made.
***Mazda came up snakebitten yet again, with a questionable strategy call forcing the No. 55 Mazda Prototype of Tristan Nunez to make a green-flag pit stop for fuel and tires with 35 minutes remaining. It came after another strong run, on pace, for the Japanese manufacturer, with Nunez and co-driver Jonathan Bomarito leading for 35 laps and the 20-year-old Floridian setting the race’s fastest lap.
***Both Ford GTs faced issues in the race, at opposite ends. The class pole-sitting No. 66 car of Dirk Mueller was forced off-track early with right-front suspension failure, while the No. 67 Ford of Richard Westbrook slowed with power issues after the final restart while in the lead, which gave way for the No. 4 Corvette C7.R of Tommy Milner to make a dramatic fifth-to-first win in the final five minutes.
***All three full-course cautions came out for stricken Prototype Challenge machinery, the final incident being the most significant, following a multi-car accident involving Renger van der Zande and Stephen Simpson, who were running second and third, respectively. Van der Zande had a suspected mechanical failure and slammed into the wall, with Simpson ending up in the barriers in avoidance of the Starworks Motorsport car, which bounced back on the track.
***It came as a bitter blow to Starworks, which was classified sixth in class and saw 17-point championship lead reduced to just seven over class winners Tom Kimber-Smith and Robert Alon.
***GTLM and GTD cars are in action next for the Michelin GT Challenge at Virginia International Raceway, on Aug. 26-28, with all four classes returning to action at the next round at COTA in September.
Continental Tire Challenge:
***Billy Johnson put on a show both in the closing stages of the race and after the checkered flag, as the Multimatic Motorsports driver had his Ford Shelby GT350R-C burning up the tires in celebration of their third straight win. “It’s a really good drift car,” Johnson told Sportscar365. “I think the fans dig it and love it. I love doing it. No harm, no foul. As long as the series allows it, I’m going to keep doing it when I win.”
***Johnson and co-driver Scott Maxwell have extended their GS championship lead to 23 points over CJ Wilson Racing’s Marc Miller and Danny Burkett, who lost out on a runner-up finish due to a fuel miscalculation that forced Miller to make an additional stop for a splash on the final lap.
— SPEED (@SPEED) August 6, 2016
***There was a scary moment early in the race when contact between Paul Holton and Till Bechtolsheimer ended with the No. 76 C360R Ford on its side and the No. 35 Chicago Blackhawks Charity-sponsored CJ Wilson Racing Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport upside down. Both drivers were OK but it resulted in a lengthy cleanup.
***A unique two-driver change strategy for the No. 12 Bodymotion Porsche nearly paid off for Trent Hindman and Cameron Cassels. Hindman started the race from the rear of the GS field, due to not qualifying the car, but charged to the front to lead six laps before handing over to Cassels for the middle stint. Hindman returned to the wheel to finish fifth.
***CRG-I Do Borrow’s Owen Trinkler and Sarah Cattaneo took a big hit in their ST class championship fight, with a 19th place class finish after going behind the wall with gearbox problems. The Nissan Altima lost fifth gear, following an impressive early run by Cattaneo, who took the car to the class lead.
***The No. 65 Murillo Racing BMW 328i of Brent Mosing and Tim Probert was withdrawn prior to the start of the race after the team was unable to make chassis repairs from its accident on Friday. It resulted in a 34-car starting field.