Compass Racing team owner Karl Thomson says Britt Casey Jr. and Tom Long’s season-opening win at Daytona took a monumental effort behind the scenes to accomplish after the team’s intended Audi RS 3 LMS TCR chassis was held up in customs.
Casey and Long were only announced in a third Compass Racing car one week before they were scheduled to be on track, and the timeline for the team to take delivery of the car was always going to be tight.
When the chassis was delayed coming through customs in Atlanta, however, Thomson said the team and Audi quickly worked out a solution to ensure the eventual race winners would be on track in time.
“The car [we raced] arrived on Friday night,” Thomson told Sportscar365. “The car that we ordered got stuck in customs at Atlanta so we actually got Drake Kemper’s car at the last minute.
“The car actually did clear out of Atlanta but by that time it would have been too late.
“There wasn’t time to ship Drew’s car to [Compass Racing’s Shop in] Toronto for prep, so Louis Milone and Mike Morgan and a couple of other crew were kind enough to work the weekend to get 77 prepped and the livery done at Louis’ shop in Boca Raton.
“We flew guys down and they basically worked all weekend long to get the car prepped. The wrap guys worked day and night to get the car done and it rolled in here on Tuesday just like everyone else.”
Compass scored an impressive 1-2 finish, with Casey and Long coming home just ahead of their teammates Rodrigo Sales and Kuno Wittmer in the first-ever TCR race in IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge, and the team swept the top three spots in qualifying.
Thomson said that his team’s previous experience running the car in Pirelli World Challenge, where the team won the TC class championship with Paul Holton last year, helped them make a strong debut.
“We know the platform really well from our work in World Challenge last year so I felt like we had a good handle on it, but it’s a testament to how good the Audi is that you can get a car on Friday and then the next Wednesday you’re on track with the thing and it’s super competitive,” he said.
“I’m really looking forward to the other manufacturers coming in. Hopefully we’ll see Alfa coming in, Honda coming in to join Audi and VW maybe by Mid-Ohio.
“It’s a great class. The cars are really good, they’re exciting to look at it. They look like little rocket ships, and they’re really well built. It’s a good direction for this kind of racing.”
John Dagys contributed to this report