Ray Mason and Pierre Kleinubing will return for their second season of Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge Grand Sport (GS) competition in 2015, building on their success this past season in their Compass360 Racing (C360R) Subaru WRX STi.
“Last season was a development year, and the goal was to get into the top five,” Mason said. “We did that, and managed to get on the podium, too, which was a nice surprise.”
Mason, who starts his fifth consecutive season with the Toronto-based squad, has been instrumental in the team’s expansion into GS. After many seasons as a front-runner in the smaller-displacement ST-class with Acura, BMW and Honda, the team added the Subaru to its full-season program in 2014.
“We always planned the Subaru program as a multi-year effort, as we knew it would be a lot of work to make this platform competitive and reliable against the other cars in the class, most of which have much larger engines,” noted Team Principal Karl Thomson.
“The Subaru has a 2.5-liter, turbocharged motor, and it’s competing against 7-liter V8’s. But we had confidence that we could get it to a place where it can compete for a championship, and we feel, with Ray and Pierre, we’re now there.”
Kleinubing and Mason took a season-high finish of third, at Road America, and finished fourth at VIR. They looked set to take their first win of the year at the season finale at Road Atlanta before contact late in the race put paid to their strong run.
“We’ve been doing some additional testing over the off-season, including an on-track session at Sebring this coming weekend,” Mason said. “Our goal is to get the engine and intake temperatures down so the engine doesn’t run as hot. These turbocharged motors generate a lot of heat, which affects power and reliability.”
The No. 76 Touge Tuning/Children’s Tumor Foundation Subaru will run alongside two new ST-class Audi S3’s that the team is developing.
Newcomer Paul Holton will join returning shoe Kyle Gimple in the No. 75 Audi with drivers for the No. 74 car to be announced next week. New sponsor announcements are expected at the same time.
“2015 is a big year for us, with our new Audis coming on-line and now expecting to be in the championship fight with the Subaru,” Thomson said.
“It’s our 12th consecutive season in IMSA (and previously, GRAND-AM), and having won two championships and 18 CTSC races since 2004, we are really raring to go. We can’t wait for Daytona!”