Forty7 Motorsports’ Austin McCusker and TJ Fischer claimed victory in Sunday’s IMSA Prototype Challenge presented by Mazda race at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.
The duo delivered a dominant 19.237 second win in the No. 47 Norma M30 over the series-leading No. 30 Extreme Speed Motorsports Ligier JS P3 of Kris Wright and Yann Clairay.
It was the first win for Forty7 in IMSA competition and comes on the heels of runner-up finishes in all three prior races this season, including two for the No. 47 entry at Daytona and Sebring.
“We’ve been quick, and really this wasn’t the place where we had the speed, but it was about Forty7 Motorsports,” said Fischer.
“I think we had surprising pace in the race. We had good race pace and it just worked out perfectly. I’m stoked, man. It’s great that we could bring this thing home for both Austin and I, this is awesome.”
Fischer started the race in the fourth spot and by the end of his stint was chasing down pole-sitter and race leader Leo Lamelas in the No. 7 Charles Wicht Racing Ligier, before hitting pit road.
Not long after Fischer hit his pit box, a yellow flag for the No. 33 ESM Ligier of Lance Willsey allowed the team to do its service and driver change under caution rather than under the green flag like its closest competitors.
The time saved on pit road allowed McCusker to inherit a nearly one-lap lead. From there it was just about managing the gap and avoiding lap traffic.
“There was a lot of lapped traffic for me,” said McCusker. “It was pretty difficult. I just didn’t want to chance anything, so I kind of played it safe with my passes and only pass when I thought I could make it through. That was it. I just wanted to nurse it home to get that first win. I knew we had a big gap.”
The runner-up finish for Wright and Clairay was exactly what the team needed to preserve its points lead with only two races remaining, now leading McCusker by 13 points.
Wright has finished on the podium in each of the four races this season and is looking to ride that consistency to the championship
“We just wanted to do our job and get a podium if we could do that,” said Wright. “We wanted to win if we could, but if we didn’t have the car for it we weren’t gonna push it. We’re trying to be really smart about it and not taking any chances and see what happens [in the season finale] at Road Atlanta.”
Max Hanratty and Garett Grist rounded out the podium in the No. 3 ESM Ligier, 10 seconds behind their teammates.
Dean Baker and Zacharie Robichon, meanwhile, finished fourth in the No. 4 ANSA Motorsports Ligier JS P3. The team rebounded from a penalty to deliver Baker the LMP3 Masters victory.
Jacobs, French Score MPC Victory Following Drive Time Penalty To Performance Tech Teammates
Performance Tech Motorsports scored the class in in MPC, albeit it after a post-race drive-time penalty for the Dr. Robert Masson and Kyle Masson-driven entry, which initially crossed the line in first.
It was determined post-race that Kyle Masson did not record the minimum 40 minutes of drive time and the No. 11 Masson Spine Institute Elan DP02 was moved to the back of the MPC results.
That penalty elevated apparent runner-up Howard Jacobs and James French to the race win in Performance Tech’s No. 77 Elan DP02.
The third-place finishing No. 28 Wolf Motorsports Elan DP02 of Bart Wolf and Tazio Ottis was also hit with a drive time penalty and moved down the MPC results to seventh.
“I knew the goal was to go out there and keep it close so when James was going to come in I knew he was going to fight for it and he did,” said Jacobs.
“With the new rules I have to get out of the car anyway [during fueling on a pit stop]. I’ve been working with James for the last two years as a teammate and mentor. He does a great job and was the perfect person to do the second stint.”
Prior to the penalty, Kyle Masson chased down his IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship teammate French and made the apparent winning pass with 24 minutes remaining.
Jon Brownson crossed the line fourth in the No. 34 Eurosport Racing entry, but was elevated to second after the penalties were issued. Paul LaHaye was moved to third in the No. 36 ONE Motorsports entry.
Brownson now leads the MPC points, but with two races remaining the standings are historically close.
Dr. Masson and Dave House are tied for second, one point back, while Ottis and Wolf are two points back.