Matt Plumb dove to the inside of race leaders Robin Liddell and Trent Hindman into Turn 1 with 28 minutes remaining in the Circuit of The Americas 120, pulled off the three-wide maneuver, and sprinted away to claim the first win for the McLaren 570S GT4 in Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge history.
Plumb, driving the pole-sitting No. 76 McLaren started by Paul Holton for C360R, had his work cut out for him when he took over near the halfway mark, when a slow stop under yellow flag conditions relegated the No. 76 entry to eighth in class after entering the pits in first.
Plumb quickly raced through the field, getting up to fifth on the first full green flag lap, and moved into third with 31-minutes remaining.
From there, he quickly tracked down Hindman and Liddell, who leading the first laps in IMSA competition for the new Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R, and made the race winning move.
Plumb’s teammate Rondet followed him through a handful of laps later and would go on to finish second ahead of Hindman in the Bodymotion Racing No. 12 Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport.
Dillon Machavern raced his way up to fourth for RS1 in the No. 28 Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsports MR, while Liddell in the Stevenson Motorsports Camaro settled for fifth.
Eric Foss withheld a furious charge by Spencer Pumpelly to claim a controversial victory in ST for Murillo Racing in the No. 56 Porsche Cayman.
Foss used all of the race track in his spirited defense of the lead, but was not deemed to exceed track limits during the race by the stewards.
Pumpelly finished second for RS1, while Pierre Kleinubing out-dragged Stevan McAleer to the line by just 0.083 seconds to get his C360R Audi S3 onto the final spot of the podium ahead of the No. 25 Freedom Autosport Mazda MX-5.
Andrew Carbonell in another Freedom Autosport Mazda completed the top-five in ST.
The race was slowed by two full course caution periods, the first coming just over 45 minutes into the race when the class-leading No. 34 Mazda MX-5 driven by Christopher Stone lost its engine and covered the track with fluid.
Just before the track went yellow CJ Wilson Racing called both of its cars to pit lane.
Till Bechtolsheimer in the No. 33 Porsche made it safely, but Russell Ward in the team’s No. 35 entry lost control of the car and made heavy contact with the armco at the entrance to pit lane.
Ward was checked and released by the medical staff on site.
The second caution came right as the race restarted with just under an hour remaining. Connor Bloum and Brent Mosing collided coming onto the front straightaway, sending Bloum’s Porsche Cayman into the barriers and out of the race.
It was a tough race for the championship contenders from RS1. The No. 18, then driven by Aurora Straus, had been spun by Alan Brynjolfsson in the VOLT Racing McLaren earlier in the race
Up next for the Continental Tire Challenge series is a trip to Watkins Glen June 29-July 3.
RESULTS: Circuit of The Americas 120