Robin Liddell and Andrew Davis have won at Sebring in GS and overall for the second straight year in the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge.
It caps off a dominant week for the Stevenson Motorsports team in Round 2 of the season, where the team led both official practice sessions and went 1-2 in qualifying before matching the result in the Microsoft Visual Studio 150.
Davis started second in the No. 6 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28.R and ran behind his polesitting teammate Matt Bell in the No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28.R for the majority of his stint, hanging in well despite his cool suit failing on the grid.
Once the final pit stop and driver change sequence was complete in the final 50 minutes of the race, Davis’ co-driver Liddell emerged ahead of Bell’s teammate Lawson Aschenbach on the road.
Liddell and Aschenbach were close on track, but Aschenbach was never able to make a passing attempt. Liddell held on for the win by 0.393 of a second at the end of the 59-lap race.
The win comes a year after the car’s first in Continental Tire Challenge competition. The No. 6 Camaro and No. 9 Camaro finished second and third, respectively, at Daytona and this gives them four total podiums in four starts this season.
“This was our maiden win last year but it was a bit of a surprise,” Davis said. “Although we had a competitive car and some nice driving, there was an accordion accident and a move by Robin that put us in that position.
“Today we capitalized on having a good car. It’s a shame if you have a good car and can’t capitalize and get results. The car was flawless today.”
Daytona winners Rum Bum Racing finished third, with Hugh and Matt Plumb again sharing the No. 13 Porsche 911.
Camaro’s great day continued in GS with Mantella Autosport scoring its best finish with its new car, as Kyle Marcelli and Martin Barkey finished fourth in the No. 80 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28.R.
Bryan Heitkotter and Nick McMillen completed the top five in the No. 41 Doran Racing Nissan 370Z.
ST was a bit more of a strategic game, and became a wide-open affair with the top two finishing entries from Daytona – the No. 17 Rennsport One and No. 56 Murillo Racing Porsche Caymans – failing to figure into the lead battle.
Following the first round of pit stops, the No. 83 Next Level European Porsche Cayman of Eric Zimmermann and Greg Liefooghe and No. 26 Freedom Autosport Mazda MX-5 of Liam Dwyer and Andrew Carbonell emerged at the head of the queue despite starting ninth and 24th, respectively, in the 30-car class.
Carbonell, who was seeking a repeat of his win last year with Randy Pobst, fell back within the final 20 minutes from second place with apparent brake issues, and lost his shot to win.
While Liefooghe slowed to conserve fuel in the final 10 minutes of a race, he had enough of a gap built up once Carbonell dropped off to hold on for the win.
“When I got in the car, the strategy worked out really well,” Liefooghe said. “We came out of the pits in fifth, and after that it was a matter of using the speed in the car to get to the front, get a gap and then went into conserve mode.
“My engineer came on the radio with 45 minutes to go, saying we had a couple gallons we needed to save, so I tried to aggressively lift off. We definitely finished with no fuel in the car.”
It’s the first victory for the new team that features the partnership of Bimmerworld and BGB Motorsports.
David Murry (No. 64 Team TGM BMW 328i) made it up to second and then held off a furious last lap charge from Stevan McAleer (No. 5 CJ Wilson Racing Mazda MX-5) for second in the race. Murry was 5.485 seconds back of Liefooghe.
Murry and Ted Giovanis are the only ST driver pairing to have finished on the podium in both races.
The BMW started 15th while the Mazda started fifth. McAleer shared his car with his Mazda MX-5 Cup team co-owner Chad McCumbee.
Five more Caymans finished in positions four through eight, with the next BMW in ninth and Carbonell and Dwyer an unrepresentative 10th.
The series has more than a month break before the third round of the championship, at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on May 2.
RESULTS: Microsoft Visual Studio 150