Compass360Racing (C360R) has signed Kyle Gimple to drive the No. 77 CTF.org/Touge Tuning/Racing4Research Subaru WRX STi in this weekend’s Northeast Grand Prix as the youngster makes a return to the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge GS Class.
Taking on the role of closing driver, Gimple will race to the finish as he returns to CTSC’s top class, which also features competition from Porsche, Aston Martin, Mustang, and Camaro machines.
C360R has stepped up to the GS Class with the Subaru platform after having secured multiple championships in both IMSA and World Challenge competition. The team is new to the all-wheel drive, turbocharged Subaru entry but is arming itself with all the tools needed to build that program to the level that fans of the black and orange have come to expect.
The Lime Rock Park event schedule is unique as it sees the ST and GS Classes staging separate races, giving Gimple the chance to run both as he is set to open the Saturday race day with a run in the No. 75 CTF.org/HPD/Racing4Research ST Class Honda Civic Si that he shares with Ryan Eversley. The duo paired for a run to sixth place at the track in 2013 and will look to build on a solid run at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca earlier this month.
“I feel pretty comfortable at Lime Rock, even though it is such a different track to all the others, with just the one left hand corner,” said Gimple. “It’s a fast lap, and the downhill is always exciting, even when you get it perfectly right as you are carrying so much speed through there.”
Gimple made a handful of starts in the GS category in 2011, and has some experience with the challenges of taking on multiple races on the same day, having done so with dual duty in Mustang Challenge and Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge competition on the same day.
Both of Gimple’s cars will feature unique Children’s Tumor Foundation “Art Car” liveries inspired by a signature piece of artwork from highly-acclaimed artist and NF Hero Jeffrey Owen Hanson.
The 20-year-old philanthropic artist is visually impaired from an optic nerve tumor related to neurofibromatosis – known simply as NF – that is a common yet under-recognized genetic disorder that can cause tumors to grow on nerves throughout the body. NF affects one in every 3,000 people, more than cystic fibrosis, Duchenne muscular dystrophy, and Huntington’s disease combined.
Hanson’s heavily textured artwork hangs in the homes of art collectors the world over, including Sir Elton John, Warren Buffett, and Susan Sarandon. The original painting that is the model for the C360R cars’ livery has been donated by Jeff to the Children’s Tumor Foundation and will be auctioned off at the Foundation’s annual Benefit Gala, which takes place October 30, 2014 at the Plaza Hotel in New York City.
“It’s going to be a very good day!” smiled Gimple. “Going from one car to the next, even as different as the two are, should only take a lap or two to get used to it. Both cars need different approaches and timing to get the most out of them. It’s a great opportunity from Karl (Thomson), and I’m just looking forward to doing as well as I can in both these races.”
The Northeast Grand Prix will open with practice and qualifying on Friday May 23rd, with race day featuring a 9:10 AM start for the ST 150 and a 2:15 PM green flag for the GS 150.