Kris Wright entered this weekend’s IMSA Prototype Challenge Presented by Mazda season finale at Road Atlanta knowing all he had to do was have a clean race to win his first professional sports car racing championship.
Forty7 Motorsports, which entered the race at Road Atlanta second in points, looked to cap off its first full season in the series on a high note after scoring the pole Thursday afternoon.
Mission accomplished for both.
Wright finished second to win the LMP3 class championship, capping off an unforgettable season that included podiums in all six races in the No. 30 Extreme Speed Motorsports Ligier JS P3, while Austin McCusker and TJ Fischer gave Forty7 Motorsports its second win of the season.
McCusker and the No. 47 Forty7 Motorsports Norma M30 finishing the season second in the standings.
“It’s really amazing, sleeping last night was not an easy thing to do knowing everything that could be thrown away with some stupid move, me or someone else,” said Wright.
“We are just really happy that we got everything to come together in the first 45 minutes and finished second.
“I think I clinched it (the championship) when I hopped out of the car and finished my 45 minutes but seeing (co-driver) Nic (Jonsson) cross the line in second was awesome, because a podium every race is quite an achievement.”
Forty7 Motorsports’ two entries combined to lead the first hour of the one-hour, 45-minute race with the No. 74 Norma M30 entry run in partnership with Alianza Motorsports also spending time at the front of the field. That entry seemed poised for a podium finish of its own, but Anthony Simone was forced to pit with a mechanical issue while running third with 16 minutes remaining.
A yellow flag shortly later set up an eight-minute sprint to the finish, but McCusker was able to hold off Jonsson to win by 7.809 seconds.
It was the second win of the season for McCusker and Fischer, with the duo also winning at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. It was the third podium in five starts with the duo co-driving together. McCusker also finished second in the season-opener at Daytona, but with co-driver David Droux.
“Got to give a thanks to Forty7 Motorsports, they had the car on rails all weekend and qualified the car on pole for TJ, took home the win,” said McCusker. “Didn’t need a pit stop under yellow this time, we won it on outright pace this time.”
Rounding out the podium was the No. 40 Polestar Motor Racing Ligier JS P3 of Keith Grant and David Grant, the duo’s best finish of the season while Max Hanratty finished fourth in the No. 3 Extreme Speed Motorsports entry alongside co-driver Harry Gottsacker to finish third in the standings. Cameron Cassels finished fifth to score the LMP3 Masters victory, his first of the season, which also was good enough to secure him the LMP3 Masters championship.
Brownson Caps Off MPC Class With Race Win, Championship
Longtime IMSA Prototype Challenge Presented by Mazda driver Jon Brownson called it an “honor” to win the final race for the Mazda Prototype Challenge (MPC) class Friday at Road Atlanta. Brownson, who started in the first race for the series in 2006, scored his first win of the season in the No. 34 Eurosport Racing Elan DP02 to win the final championship for the class.
Entering the weekend, seven cars were within nine points of the championship lead, with four of those cars within five points. Brownson was fifth in the standings entering the final weekend, six points back.
“It’s a wonderful way to end the season and see this car out,” said Brownson. “Dare I call it an honor. Thanks to my crew and Eurosport Racing. We had a car that was just ready to go this morning and I was fortunate to be the guy driving it. It was a great race and it’s so good to go out on a high note with the MPC car today. I started in the first race of the series back when they were just introducing the MPC and to win today is very special.
“I look forward to moving up to the LMP3 next year and take on the challenges that presents.”
In the end, Brownson edged out the duo of Tazio Ottis and Bart Wolf by two points, 172-170. Ottis and Wolf finished second in the No. 28 Wolf Motorsports Elan DP02, which means one position separated the championship.
Spencer Dawes rounded out the podium in third in the No. 22 Performance Tech Motorsports entry to also finish third in the standings. It was his third podium of the season.
The season finale will be telecast on FS2 on Thursday, Nov. 1 at 8 p.m. ET.