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Korthoff Focused on “Executing Well” as GTD Points Leaders

Mike Skeen, Stevan McAleer taking race-by-race approach to GTD title fight…

Photo: Jake Galstad/IMSA

Mike Skeen says Team Korthoff Motorsports is focused on “executing well” and taking one race at a time despite their strong start to the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season in GTD.

Skeen and co-driver Stevan McAleer head into this weekend’s Hyundai Monterey Sports Car Championship as the full-season points leaders, with a 57-point margin over Wright Motorsports’ Jan Heylen and Ryan Hardwick, who are effectively in second.

It has come courtesy of podium finishes in both the Rolex 24 at Daytona and Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, which has put the first-year full-season Mercedes-AMG squad in a somewhat-surprising position amid the highly competitive Pro-Am GT3 ranks.

“The Team Korthoff Motorsports guys have really come together strong,” said Skeen. “The endurance races that start the year are quite a bit different than this weekend or Long Beach.

“You have a lot more time to make mistakes but a lot more time to maybe catch back up if you have issues or early penalties.

“With these shorter races, you really have to be on it from the start and not make any mistake at all.

“I think that’s the biggest thing is making sure we continue to get really strong pit stops and execute really well on pit lane, and Stevan and I don’t make any mistakes, obviously.

“It’s much harder to catch back up in the short races.”

Skeen and McAleer are coming off a sixth place class finish in the Acuram Grand Prix of Long Beach, a race that only counted towards WeatherTech Sprint Cup points. 

“Long Beach was a bit of a practice for us,” Skeen said. “Even though it doesn’t count towards the full-season points we would like to be going for Sprint [Cup] points as well.

“That was important for us to do that event. It gives us a little bit of practice towards that sprint format.

“I think we had great pace at Long Beach and we were probably in the shot for a podium or close to it but got hit from behind.

“Fortunately, Stevan was able to salvage a pretty good finish.

“I think we’re pretty hopeful going into Laguna. The car has been quick. The team has been doing really well. Hopefully we can just continue on that path.”

When asked by Sportscar365 on the team’s championship position, Skeen said they’re not too worried about getting wrapped up in the title fight this early into the season.

“I think it’s sunk in a little bit now since it has been since Daytona that we’ve held that,” he said. “It’s very early in the year and early to be starting to think about points.

“I think right now we have to take it on a race-by-race basis and make sure we’re executing well and take each one as it comes.

“When we get halfway or a little past halfway, we’ll start thinking more about that.

“We don’t want to hold that over our heads too much. We just have to execute every week.

“We’ve got some staff changes throughout the year, fitting guys into the weekends they can do.

“So we have to make sure those guys are already on queue and doing things out of habit and making sure they’re up to date on the rules of the weekend and that sort of thing so we don’t get any silly penalties.

“That’s the stuff that will hurt us a lot.”

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for and SPEED Channel and has contributed to numerous other motorsports publications worldwide. Contact John

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