As the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge heads to Lime Rock Park this weekend to kick off the second half of the season, the focus on championship battles is beginning to intensify.
In the GS class, the top three teams in the championship standings are the ones fans would expect given how the first five races have played out.
Nate Stacy and Kyle Marcelli in the No. 60 Roush Performance / KohR Motosports Ford Mustang GT4 lead the charge in first place, having scored three victories already this year.
The No. 82 BimmerWorld Racing BMW 328i duo of Tyler Cooke and James Clay – with three podiums in five races – sit second, while the defending GS championship team, the No. 28 RS1 Porsche Cayman GT4, is in third with one win and a podium at the hands of Dillon Machavern and Spencer Pumpelly.
It’s the group in fourth place, however, that could give GS competitors a run for their money in the final five rounds.
Continental Tire Challenge veterans Hugh Plumb and Owen Trinkler have piloted their No. 46 Team TGM Mercedes-AMG GT4 to within 17 points of championship leaders Stacy and Marcelli.
And while the duo hasn’t broken through for their first podium of the season quite yet, the team is confident in its potential.
“We haven’t been on the podium yet, but we have been really consistent, so it’s great for Mercedes-Benz,” said Trinkler. “We hope that Mercedes can recognize what we are doing here at TGM, which is a great team with a great set of drivers.
‘The car is developing really well and we can’t wait to see what it can do for the rest of the season.”
While being two of the most experienced drivers in the Continental Tire Challenge field – both drivers rank in the top 10 drivers with most starts in the series – they’re both looking for their first championship after finishing runner-up in seasons past. They’ll also both be seeking their first win at the 1.5-mile “Bullring” this weekend.
“I love Lime Rock,” said Trinkler. “It’s another old school track that’s fast. I think we will be good there and I think we will run a quick lap.
“We can be competitive, and we will just play the game again. We just can’t risk having a DNF right now.”
Not having a DNF so far in 2018 has put Trinkler and Plumb in their current position in the standings.
The No. 46 car hasn’t finished outside of the top 10 all year – a statistic that none of the top three championship contenders can claim – which is all the more impressive since there have been more than 20 cars entered in the GS class in every race so far this season.
Plumb expects more of the same this weekend during the Lime Rock Park 120 on Saturday morning.
“Lime Rock will be interesting,” said Plumb. “There will be a lot of cars on a short circuit and we will expect more of the same that we saw at Mosport.
“We have to keep fighting our battle and will have our act together and get a good finish.”