Jeff Westphal believes their recently extended points lead gives them a “nice deal of comfort” heading into this weekend’s penultimate round of the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge season at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.
Westphal and CarBahn with Peregrine Racing co-driver Tyler McQuarrie hold a 26-point advantage over the No. 69 Motorsports in Action McLaren 570S GT4 of Corey Fergus and Jesse Lazare following a runner-up finish for the No. 39 Audi R8 LMS GT4 in last month’s race at Virginia International Raceway.
While unlikely to clinch the GS class title this weekend, with a maximum of 70 points still to play for in the final two rounds, the former Nürburgring 24 pole-sitter feels confident about their chances, having finished third at Laguna Seca last year.
“The lead we have is certainly the largest we’ve had all season and with that comes a nice deal of comfort,” Westphal said. “However I am a firm believer that the best defense is a good offense.
“We’ve been extremely consistent this year whilst minimizing risk, which has awarded us this position. Sometimes you have a 4th or 5th place car and you need to take it.”
The second-year team, owned by renowned engine tuner Steve Dinan, has been a measure of consistency this season, with Westphal and McQuarrie scoring five podium finishes in eight races, although only a single win, which came at Sebring International Raceway in March.
The duo took over the championship lead following the Lime Rock Park round in July and have seen their advantage extended in each following race.
While Saturday’s two-hour contest will mark the San Jose-based team’s home race, McQuarrie believes they can’t rest on their laurels.
“Going into our home race we have the largest lead of the year but I don’t think we have any room to relax because it only takes one mistake for the point lead to disappear,” McQuarrie said.
“Luckily I think our car will be strong which will help us to stay focused on simply getting points.”
CarBahn will again field its second Audi GT4 entry for the fourth time of the season, with Tom Dyer being joined by Sameer Gandhi for the first time this season.