Ryan Eversley would definitely admit that his Pirelli World Challenge TCR Drivers’ championship this year was not easy.
The Atlanta veteran had a dogfight on his hands in the debut of the TCR series when he rejoined RealTime Racing for an assault on the coveted point championship.
After winning GT races for the Wisconsin-based operation the past few years, Eversley and RealTime teamed again with the new Honda Civic Type-R TCR car in the inaugural TCR season in North America.
Eversley completed a sensational campaign with five race wins and six other podium finishes in capturing the title over Michael Lewis and Mark Wilkins, the duo from Bryan Herta Autosport with Curb-Agajanian in the Hyundai i30 N TCRs.
In fact, all 12 of Eversley’s race finishes were in the top-four and he showed amazing consistency in claiming his first professional sports car championship.
Eversley recorded victories at Virginia International Raceway, Lime Rock Park, Portland International and Watkins Glen International twice in his path to the title and scoring 276 points to Lewis’ 259 and Wilkins’ 229. Lewis won four TCR races with Wilkins taking three events.
While Eversley secured his PWC TCR crown, veteran Vesko Kozarov of Salt Lake City, Utah, won the Touring Car class Drivers’ championship in the No. 3 Rearden Racing Nissan 370Z TC Spec and young Tom O’Gorman of Mason, Ohio, drove the No. 94 TOMO Racing Honda Civic Si to the TCA Drivers’ title.
“The Watkins Glen finale races were probably the best way we could have won the championship with double wins on the weekend,” said Eversley.
“We had the most podium finishes which means we had the best reliability, and that’s what Honda is known for. So, when you’re talking about race cars and JAS Motorsports building cars for Honda since the 90’s, I knew right away that it was going to be a successful and consistent program.
“My goal coming into the final weekend was to try to get a pole, and try to maximize points, and we figured if we got second in both races if Michael Lewis maxed out points (we would be good.)
“When we got the pole that was good, and we agreed with Michael and Mark that we needed to get through turn one safely and cleanly. They all agreed. And the weekend was awesome for us. I’m so excited to win the first TCR Drivers’ championship. That is history.”
While Lewis and Wilkins settle for second and third in the drivers’ standings, the pair led Bryan Herta Autosport to the TCR Team championship with 284 points to RealTime’s 272.
In addition, Hyundai became the first TCR Manufacturers’ champion with 115 markers to Honda’s 103.
Kozarov Captures TC Title
Kozarov enjoyed an outstanding TC season with six wins in 12 events as well as four top-five finishes in the Rearden Racing-prepared Nissan.
Those victories were double wins at Circuit of The Americas, Portland International Raceway and Utah Motorsports Campus.
The Utah racer scored 260 points to Karl Wittmer, in the No. 91 Classic BMW BMW M235iR, at 256, Johan Schwartz, in the No. 80 Rooster Hall Racing/West Virginia University BMW M235iR, at 240, and Matt Travis, in the No. 26 Classic BMW BMW M235iR, at 230.
In the TC Team points, the Fast Track Racing/Classic BMW squad won the top honors with 262 to Rearden Racing’s 255 followed by Rooster Hall Racing at 237. BMW won the Touring Car Manufacturers’ crown with 109 points over Nissan’s 104.
“The season was good, and the car was good all year,” said Kozarov. “Lara (Tallman) and her Rearden Racing team did a fantastic job with the race car and the preparations.
“We never had a car problem and the car was always very speedy. I appreciate racing with the guys who were around me on the track.
“We had some good competition with Karl Wittmer, Johan Schwartz and the others. There is no gain if you aren’t racing against some very good drivers. They kept me honest this year.
“We definitely earned it this year. It might have looked easy at certain times, but the team gave me a superb car to drive. At times it felt like the BMWs were ganging up on me, but I could fight off one or two.
“It wasn’t easy when there were a bunch of them. It’s tough with myself and five BMWs running together. I’m happy to get through the year and win the championship for Lara and the team.”
TCA Championship Goes to O’Gorman
O’Gorman, the 2016 TCB series champion, took his second PWC class championship with a superb performance in the TCA division with five wins, three seconds and two thirds in the 12-race tour.
The Ohio racer collected 258 points over second place Spencer Patterson, in the No. 79 TechSport Racing Subaru BRZ tS, at 218, Jeff Sexton, in the No. 89 TechSport Racing Subaru BRZ tS, at 213 and Eric Powell, in the No. 95 TechSport Racing Subaru BRZ tS, at 201.
TechSport Racing was the TCA championship team in 2018 with 288 over TOMO Racing at 255 and Murillo Racing at 169. In the TCA Manufacturers’ points, Subaru captured the TCA title with 112 over Honda’s 97 and Mazda’s 71.
“It means a ton to clinch the Driver’s championship and we tried hard to achieve that Team championship too,” said O’Gorman. “We needed the Subaru guys to falter a bit for the Manufacturer’s championship. We wanted to win all three, but we’ll take the Driver’s title.
“The Civic Si is built for a track like Watkins Glen. The Honda loves the high-speed flowing long-radius stuff, it pulls up the hill great. It was a super season to win the TCA championship as well as proving the speed and reliability of the Honda Civic Si. We showed that the Civic Si is good customer car too. It’s a great way to go pro racing with a solid car in the TC classes.”
Series champions will be honored on Dec. 5 at the Indiana Roof in Indianapolis.