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IMSA CIRCUIT OF THE AMERICAS QUALIFYING ROUND UP

Cadillac DPi-V.R Team Konica Minolta on Pole in Texas

Cadillac V-Performance racing team Konica Minolta will start from the pole position for tomorrow’s running of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Advanced Auto Parts SportsCar Showdown at the Circuit of the Americas (COTA) in Austin, Texas.

The Konica Minolta Cadillac team had the morning practice cut short with a suspension issue, robbing Ricky and Jordan Taylor of valuable track time. Ricky Taylor had the wheel of the No. 10 Cadillac DPi-VR for the 15-minute qualifying session run under clear skies and 85-degree temperatures. On his fifth lap of the 3.4-mile, 20-turn COTA circuit, Ricky Taylor posted a lap time of 1:54.809. The pole is his second on the season (first at Sebring) and third for Cadillac.

“Qualifying looked dominant, with that time,” Ricky Taylor said. “We made some set-up changes to get that time. In the speed traps we saw that we gave up some overall quickness, but it really handled well in the twisty parts. Tomorrow we will be preserving tires and focusing on having a good race car. We thought it would be a little cooler in May, but it is pretty hot. On my out lap for qualifying I knew it was going to be a tense session as the car was really on edge. We will really have to preserve the rear tires.”

In the No. 51 Whelen Engineering Cadillac it was Eric Curran’s turn to qualify. Driving the newly rebuilt red Cadillac DPi-V.R he was able to put in a lap of 1:56.429 good for a third place starting position for tomorrow’s 2:35 p.m. ET start. He and Dane Cameron are looking to rebound after Long Beach.

“The Whelen Engineering guys have worked like crazy since Long Beach,” Curran said. “To be here with a new car is great. The Cadillac is running strong, we just got third. I was just nipped out for second by the ESM car. It would have been nice to have a couple of Cadillacs upfront. Hats off to the Konica Minolta team, they have been flying all year. We are still getting the hang of this new car. We are learning, we are going pretty quick, but we need to go quicker. All of the work from the team has paid off with a third place starting spot today. Dane and I need a good run after the start to the season we have had so far. We are feeling good about this weekend.”

Christian Fittipaldi posted a lap of 1:56.655 that will have him starting next to Curran in fourth. He and teammate Joao Barbosa are still searching for the ultimate set-up on the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac.

“Right now the car is a handful to drive,” Fittipaldi said. “We have been working hard on the set-up, I guess we know now what not to have on the car. We haven’t found the sweet-spot of the Cadillac yet. We have found things here and there, but we are looking for that sweet-spot. Engine wise and mechanically we are fine, we just need to adjust on the set-up. We are going to do some homework and get it better for the warm-up and race tomorrow.”

At COTA the Cadillac DPi-V.R has an adjustment to its gear ratios which hamper exit acceleration speeds out of the 20-turns at the undulating natural terrain road course located southeast of Austin.

Source. Kyle Chura/Cadillac Racing

Michael Shank Racing for Circuit of the Americas on Saturday

As the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship stages Round 4 at Circuit of the Americas on Saturday, Michael Shank Racing is ready to race forward with the team’s two-car Acura NSX GT3 effort (Green Flag 1:35 PM CT, 2:35 PM ET).

Katherine Legge and Ozz Negri were tabbed to qualify their respective Acura machines during Friday’s 15-minute qualifying session. The competitiveness of the GTD field was on full display with third through 10th on the grid separated by mere tenths.

Legge put the No. 93 Acura NSX GT3 ninth on the grid with a fast lap of 2:08.089-seconds.

“We were just three tenths off of third and honestly we could have been third, but by the time I could put a lap together, the tires had already gone off a bit,” said Legge. “It’s a little bit my bad for not putting us P3 on the grid but I’m still getting used to driving a GT car around here and we’ll be in good shape for tomorrow.”

The No. 93 Acura NSX GT3 posted the fourth fastest time of Practice 2 and was sixth quickest in Practice 3 so the team is hopeful of a positive run in Saturday’s 2 hour and 40 minute race.

“It’s so tricky to drive out there, so I think if I can minimize the mistakes by the end of the race and hand over to Andy (Lally), we’ll be in good shape,” added Legge. “We need to make less mistakes than the others – that’s what it’s going to be about tomorrow. We’ll see some different strategies tomorrow and fast pit stops are going to be key, and we have some of the best in the business so I think we’ll be good.”

As the Michael Shank Racing squad continues to dial in the No. 86 Acura NSX GT3, Negri, who shares the car with Jeff Segal, will start 13th on the grid.

“We were actually better as far as the handling, but we just didn’t have the speed,” offered Negri following the run. “I had a big slide on the first lap, but the lap time kept improving with each lap. I wasn’t unhappy with the car, it felt pretty good. But we’ll take a look at some things and come back stronger for the race tomorrow.”

Source. Sunday Group

Porsche GT Team face a pursuit – Porsche Young Professional on pole

The qualifying for the Advance Auto Parts SportsCar Showdown in Austin turned into one of the most fiercely-contested of this season’s IMSA SportsCar Championship. On the Circuit of the Americas, the 5.513-kilometre Grand Prix racetrack near the capital of Texas, only 25-hundredths-of-a-second separated Frenchman Patrick Pilet’s 510 hp Porsche 911 RSR from pole position. Facing extremely tough competition in the GTLM class, his fastest lap time, however, was only enough to secure the seventh grid spot. He shares his #911 Porsche 911 RSR for Saturday’s race with Dirk Werner (Germany). Wolf Henzler (Germany), who steps in as a teammate to Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium) to replace Kévin Estre (France) while he contests the WEC round in Spa, clocked the ninth quickest time in the second 911 RSR (#912) fielded by the Porsche GT Team. All competitors in the GTLM category ended up within one second.

Porsche Young Professional Mathieu Jaminet (France) celebrated a sensational start in the IMSA SportsCar Championship. Contesting the GTD class in the 911 GT3 R of Alegra Motorsports, he clinched pole position. The Porsche customer team had kicked off the season with the 500+hp racing car from Weissach with a class victory at the 24 Hours of Daytona.

Qualifying quotes
Steffen Höllwarth, Programme Manager IMSA SportsCar Championship: “We’re not satisfied with positions seven and nine. We didn’t expect to be on pole, but we’d secretly set our hopes on the second grid row. Unfortunately, we didn’t manage to pull together the whole package into one lap. Nevertheless, we won’t be sticking our heads in the sand. In tomorrow’s race we have two hours and forty minutes to make up positions. The key to success will definitely be tyre management, and we’ve already worked very well in this direction during practice.”
Patrick Pilet (911 RSR #911): “The result is not exactly what we’d hope for. The team worked well and tried everything, but unfortunately it wasn’t enough for a better grid position. Still, I’m feeling confident that we’ll perform better in the race and be able to work our way up the field.”
Wolf Henzler (911 RSR #912): “It was a difficult qualifying for us. We’d expected we would land further up the grid. I was driving a much better lap, the tyres were great – but then I botched a corner and lost several tenths. Anyway, all of our preparations were with an eye on the race, so I’m sure that things will go better for us over the distance.”
Mathieu Jaminet (911 GT3 R #28): “I know the Circuit of the Americas from the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup, however the fact that I secured pole position here with the 911 GT3 R still came as a surprise. I hope we can perform as strongly in the race.”

The event starts on Saturday, 6 May, at 13.35 hrs local time (20.35 hrs CEST) and runs over 2:40 hours. Outside the USA, the race can be seen live on http://www.imsa.com

Qualifying result
GTLM class
1. Edwards/Tomczyk (USA/D), BMW M6, 2:02.833 minutes
2. Fisichella/Vilander (I/SF), Ferrari 488, + 0.032 seconds
3. Auberlen/Sims (USA/GB), BMW M6, + 0.157
4. Westbrook/Briscoe (GB/USA), Ford GT, + 0.181
5. Hand/Müller (USA/D), Ford GT, + 0.190
6. Garcia/Magnussen (E/DK), Corvette, + 0.197
7. Pilet/Werner (F/D), Porsche 911 RSR, + 0.252
8. Gavin/Milner (GB/USA), Corvette, + 0.761
9. Henzler/Vanthoor (D/B), Porsche 911 RSR, + 0.926

GTD class
1. Morad/Jaminet (USA/F), Porsche 911 GT3 R, 2:06.531 minutes
2. Alon/Haksworth (USA/GB), Lexus GT3, + 0.092 seconds
3. Sellers/Snow (USA/USA), Lamborghini GT3, + 1.193
5. Bergmeister/Lindsey (D/USA), Porsche 911 GT3 R, + 1.247
15. Chase/Gottsacker (USA/USA), Porsche 911 GT3 R, + 2.764
17. Bennett/Braun (USA/USA), Porsche 911 GT3 R, + 3.690

Source. Porsche

John Edwards Scores GTLM Pole Position at COTA in No. 24 BMW M6 GTLM; Alexander Sims to Start P3 in No. 25 M6

BMW Team RLL returned to the sharp end of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship field in today’s 15-minute qualifying session for Saturday’s Advance Auto SportsCar Showdown as John Edwards scored the first pole position of the season for BMW. Edwards, driving the No. 24 BMW M6 GTLM he shares with Martin Tomczyk, lapped the 3.4-mile, 20-turn Circuit of the Americas, in Austin, Texas, with a 2:02.833 minute lap to top the very close GTLM grid and record a new qualifying record. The entire field was separated by less than one second, with only two-tenths of a second between the first six cars. The pole was the 23rd of the BMW Team RLL program and the third for Edwards as a BMW Team RLL driver (Lime Rock Park, 2013; Road America, 2014).

Alexander Sims, driving the No. 25 M6 GTLM, qualified in the third position with a 2:02.990 minute lap – only .157 seconds from Edwards. Today’s results represent a turning point for the BMW M6 GTLM program that has taken strong steps since the 12 Hours of Sebring in March to increase the competitiveness of its effort.

“Getting the first pole of the season with a qualifying record has meant a lot of hard work with everyone involved within BMW Team RLL and to see this result brings a boost of enthusiasm to the team,” said Neil Fife, BMW Team RLL Race Engineer. “COTA is a very abrasive track, so maintaining the performance of the car over the long run is really going to be the key for tomorrow. We are looking optimistic but we know it is going to be a tough race.”

John Edwards, driver No. 24 BMW M6 GTLM (P1): “It’s been a while since I’ve gotten a pole, so it is really gratifying to see number one after I stepped out of the car. It was nerve racking but ultimately I was able to stay on top and keep the pole. COTA is a challenging place as it has a little mix of everything. There is less than a quarter of a second separating the first seven cars so we know tomorrow is going to be a very tight race. Managing the tires and traffic are going to play a key role and we’ll do everything we can to close it up tomorrow for a win here at COTA.”

Alexander Sims, driver No. 25 BMW M6 GTLM (P3): “Congratulations to the sister car that got pole! It was a very close qualification session and I think we did a pretty good job. The car felt well balanced and we were able to have some clean laps with just the GTLM field out at the track. We are looking forward to the race and I think we are in good shape of scoring a podium finish.”

Source. BMW

VISIT FLORIDA Racing Focuses on Progress at Circuit of the Americas

Following a crash in the previous IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship round of Long Beach, VISIT FLORIDA Racing arrived to Circuit of the Americas on Friday with a brand new racecar.

In the short break between races, the VISIT FLORIDA Racing team members worked long hours to build a new No. 90 VISIT FLORIDA Gibson-powered Riley in time for the COTA event. A shakedown test scheduled ahead of the race weekend was rained out so the first practice session saw the car take to a racetrack for the very first time.

“I have to thank the VISIT FLORIDA guys,” said VISIT FLORIDA Racing team owner Troy Flis. “Our test got rained out so we came here with a brand new car that had never been on a racetrack before and started testing with the first session. Our guys did a great job on that – building a new car, getting it out here and having no issues and getting it on track. We just have to keep working on it. We’re still struggling for a bunch of speed. And that’s just where we’re at right now. We’ll keep pushing hard and see if we can make it better.”

After two practice sessions on Thursday and a third practice Friday morning, Marc Goossens, who shares the No. 90 VISIT FLORIDA Gibson-Riley with Renger van der Zande, took to the track for the 15 minute qualifying session.

Goossens will start eighth on the grid for Saturday’s 2 hour and 40 minute Advance Auto Parts Sports Car Showdown and despite a lack of speed compared to the front runners, he was pleased with the progress the team has made through the COTA event.

“There are some areas where we’re struggling to find grip,” offered Goossens following his qualifying run. “We’ve thrown everything at it – changing everything – and we haven’t been able to find the grip there. Our biggest issue is the speed. We’re lacking speed on the straightaways and it’s crucial around here. We are just a sitting duck at the moment. Nevertheless we keep working. We throw big changes at the car so we can at least learn something about the car. We know we don’t have the car to put on the front row right now, so we’re looking at it as test sessions – just trying to gather data and work well with the engineers and all of our partners to make it better. It’s a steep learning process that we have to go through but the VISIT FLORIDA guys did an awesome job in getting this car out here – running it without any issues. This team is professional and knows what they’re doing. They had limited time to get a new car going this weekend and they did. The car is running perfectly fine right now, we just need to find speed.”

Source. Sunday Group

WeatherTech Racing to Start 12th in GTD at COTA

WeatherTech Racing drivers Cooper MacNeil (Hinsdale, Ill.) and Gunnar Jeannette (Salt Lake City, Utah) will start 12th in the GTD class for Saturday’s IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship Advanced Auto Parts Sports Car Showdown at the Circuit of the Americas (COTA).

MacNeil had the controls of the No. 50 Mercedes-AMG GT3 for the 15-minute qualifying session. The team had to put in some hard work since the morning practice, replacing a right rear wheel bearing on the black and white Mercedes. Despite not turning any laps in this morning’s practice, MacNeil was still able to post a time of 2:08.697.

“So far, I’ve had about 20-minutes in the car all weekend,” MacNeil said. “We were really loose everywhere yesterday and the guys worked hard on the set-up. Then, this morning we had the bearing issue which cost us the morning practice. I qualified 12th out of 17, decent for not having any laps in the car. The car is better than yesterday. We need to work on some minor issues. The Riley Motorsports guys are working hard on it.”

“Yesterday, we struggled with some set-up issues,” Jeannette said. “We were a little further off than we expected. We chased some things. We thought we had it sorted, then we had a wheel bearing issue this morning. We are in a decent spot right now with the car. Cooper did a good job in qualifying considering the little time he had in the car yesterday and none today. We will see what happens. I think our momentum from Long Beach ended when we pulled in the track on Thursday.”

Source. Kyle Chura/WeatherTech Racing

Tequila Patrón Celebrates Cinco de Mayo with Strong Qualifying Effort in Austin

-Today at Circuit of the Americas, the No. 22 Tequila Patrón ESM Nissan Onroak DPi gave its strongest qualifying performance of the season, with drivers Ed Brown and Johannes van Overbeek. With a fast lap time of 1:56.401, van Overbeek qualified the car to start in second position in Saturday’s Advance Auto Parts Sportscar Showdown.

Coincidently enough, the qualifying session landed on the same day as Cinco de Mayo, a day dear to the team as well as President and CEO of Patrón Spirits, Ed Brown. The team arrived at Circuit of the Americas chasing the setup of the Nissan Onroak DPi cars, but utilized the three practice sessions to find more speed. While still 1.6 seconds off of pole position, the No. 22 Nissan Onroak DPi’s fastest qualifying lap was enough to land in second in the highly competitive field. The sister car of Scott Sharp ran a predictive lap to take third, but lost the lap after being held up by traffic. The No. 2 Nissan Onroak DPi will start sixth.

Heat will be sure to play a role in Saturday’s race. While qualifying took place in 80 degree temperatures, the race day temperatures are predicted to be at 89, affecting the track grip and tire management for the two hour and forty minute event.

Round four of the IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship takes place Saturday, May 6 at 1:35PM Central. Fans can watch live from inside the cars at imsa.tv, or catch the delayed broadcast at 7:00PM Eastern on FOX Sports 1.

Driver Quotes

Johannes van Overbeek | No. 22 Nissan Onnroak DPi
It was a good result, everything considered. The Patrón ESM guys have been chasing the setup all weekend, and this is the best the car has been. We still have a ways to go. It’s good in qualifying, but the race will be a challenge and a struggle with the heat, I fear. Hats off to our engineer Matthew for sticking with it and giving us a great car for qualifying.

Ed Brown | No. 22 Nissan Onnroak DPi
Today people think today is Cinco de Mayo, but it’s really Cinco de Patrón. On this day, my teammate went ahead and put us in second. I’m really proud of the whole team. Both cars came a long way. We struggled when we came out of the truck. Each session we got better and better. This is a work in progress. I’m really happy for the team, but really happy for my teammate and myself. We’re starting second tomorrow and will hopefully have a good race.

Scott Sharp | No. 2 Nissan Onnroak DPi
Great run in qualifying for the No. 22! Johannes did a great job of maximizing everything. I got a bit stuck in traffic, and when finally clear, the sweet spot of the tires was gone. The team has done a great job and we just need to focus on the race.

Ryan Dalziel | No. 2 Nissan Onnroak DPi
Great job from Johannes. I’m happy for him and Ed. The lap times are about where we expected to be. We thought we’d be a second or so off the Cadillacs. I’m a little surprised why the Action Express cars didn’t post quicker times. Front row for the No. 22. Scott Sharp had a P3 lap going, but got held up by the JDC car again. Seems like that happens quite consistently. It is what it is. It would have been nice to have been second and third for Cinco de Mayo, but we have pace, and hopefully over the distance of the race, we can stick with the Cadillacs. We’re unsure of our race pace, and there’s a full second gap on every race lap, it’ll be an easy race for them. We will rest tonight, try to make the cars better, and try to get a podium for tomorrow.

KBru Communications

Two Corvettes in Thick of Close GTLM Qualifying Battle

Jan Magnussen paced Corvette Racing’s qualifying efforts Friday at Circuit of The Americas with the sixth-best time in the GT Le Mans (GTLM) class of the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship at Circuit of The Americas.

Ahead of Saturday’s Advance Auto Parts Sportscar Showdown, Magnussen set a best lap of 2:03.030 in the No. 3 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C7.R that he shares with Antonio Garcia. Magnussen’s starting position may not look promising but the gap to the head of the GTLM field is – just 0.197 seconds.

The entire GTLM category is separated by just 0.926 seconds. Tommy Milner, in the No. 4 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Corvette C7.R, was eighth in class and within 0.729 seconds of the front row in class. He will drive with Oliver Gavin.

Corvette Racing won at COTA in class during 2013, and it has two victories in the first three IMSA events of 2017. Garcia and Magnussen won at Sebring (with Mike Rockenfeller) and sit second in GTLM points. Gavin and Milner were winners last month at Long Beach and are the defending series champions in class.

Chevrolet ranks second in the GTLM Manufacturer’s championship and is one point from the lead heading into Saturday’s race.

The Advance Auto Parts Sportscar Showdown at Circuit of The Americas is set for 1:35 p.m. CT on Saturday, May 6. FOX Sports 1 will have television coverage beginning at 7 p.m. ET with live audio coverage from IMSA Radio available on IMSA.com.

JAN MAGNUSSEN, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R – QUALIFIED SIXTH IN GTLM: “Sixth is nothing to celebrate but the gap to the front is a lot less than what I feared we would be looking at here. Obviously it’s going to be a super-close race. All the cars are getting lap times in different places. But at the end, everyone is about the same. For the race, it should be interesting. Strategy will play a large role. I need to do my very best to hand over Antonio a 100 percent-ready race car.”

Where Are You Making Your Time: “It’s difficult to say. We have been working on the setup of the Corvette in all three practices. We made some good steps in the right direction. I think especially here, the two cars have gone different directions on setup and we took the best of both to make it work. I was very happy with the No. 3 Corvette. I tried to make another late run but halfway through I could see I wasn’t going to improve. The tires had peaked. Overall I’m very happy. Sixth is where I thought we were going to be regardless, but the gap to the front is a lot less that I had thought.”

TOMMY MILNER, NO. 4 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R – QUALIFIED EIGHTH IN GTLM: “I’d rather be further up the grid but we just missed a little bit with the setup. We had a little too much understeer. I really only had a lap to get it done, which I didn’t know until that lap! It was an OK lap; you do tend to learn every lap you run so that’s good. We have a good handle on the car direction in which to go. The No. 4 Corvette is in the window… we just need to get it a little bit better balance-wise. Considering this track has never been great to us, I feel pretty good that we can make a couple of small changes to get us closer. Jan (Magnussen) had a good qualifying run and was within two-tenths of pole. That bodes well for the pace our two Corvettes. Every year here seems be close and competitive; we’ll make a couple changes be ready to go racing tomorrow.”

Source. Corvette Racing

Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Customer Racing Teams Qualify for Circuit of The Americas IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Race

Four Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Customer Racing entries qualified for Saturday’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race at Circuit of The Americas (COTA) where the Mercedes-AMG GT3 will compete on the 3.4-mile, 20-turn Formula 1 track. Ben Keating qualified the GT Daytona (GTD) championship-leading No. 33 Mercedes-AMG Team Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3 on the inside of row four, and will be joined in the GTD field by the Mercedes-AMG GT3 entries of SunEnergy1 Racing, WeatherTech Racing and Lone Star Racing.

Keating’s top lap time of 2:08.033 in the No. 33 car was the quickest of the four Mercedes-AMG GT3 entries racing at COTA and placed him seventh overall in the GTD class. Keating will start tomorrow’s race before a hand-off to fourth-year codriver Jeroen Bleekemolen.

Keating and Bleekemolen are looking for their third IMSA GTD win at COTA after back-to-back victories in 2014 and 2015. More recently, Keating, Bleekemolen and Mario Farnbacher won this year’s 12 Hours of Sebring, the first win for a Mercedes-AMG GT3 in its inaugural season of competition in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

Keating will be joined in the top-10 of the GTD field by Kenny Habul in the No. 75 SunEnergy1 Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3, who turned a top lap time of 2:08.515 in qualifying. The principal of the first-year SunEnergy1 Racing team, Habul made his COTA debut and participated in his first-ever IMSA qualifying session. Habul shares the SunEnergy1 Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 with Tristan Vautier, who was fastest in both of Friday’s practice sessions in the No. 75 car.

Despite losing track time in practice on Thursday and Friday morning, Cooper MacNeil qualified 11th in the No. 50 WeatherTech Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 with a time of 2:08.697. MacNeil and co-driver Gunnar Jeannette will be shooting for two race wins in a row after earning their first victory of the year one race ago on the streets of Long Beach.

Lone Star Racing, making its 2017 IMSA season debut this weekend with the No. 80 Mercedes-AMG GT3, was also on a top-five pace in Friday’s pair of practice sessions but was left scrambling before qualifying today after being hit from behind by a Prototype competitor in this morning’s practice session. Quick work by the Lone Star team got the No. 80 on track in time, but qualifying driver Dan Knox could do no better than a lap time of 2:09.500 for 16th on the grid. The team never had a chance to apply its intended qualifying setup during the repairs, but will be ready for tomorrow’s race after some final fixes and setup changes this evening.

Heading into tomorrow’s race, Mercedes-AMG leads the GTD Manufacturers Championship with 100 points, nine ahead of Porsche’s 91 points. Ferrari is third with 86 points.

In the IMSA GTD Driver and Team Championships, Keating, Bleekemolen and their No. 33 Mercedes-AMG Team Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3 lead their respective championships with 98 points. The second-place Ferrari team and its drivers have 77 points.

The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race at COTA is scheduled to start at 2:35 p.m. CDT on Saturday, May 6. Live coverage, timing and scoring is available via IMSA.com and on the IMSA mobile app. Same-day television coverage of the race can be seen later on Saturday on FOX Sports 1 (FS1) at 7 p.m. EDT.

Ben Keating, Driver – No. 33 AMG-Team Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3:
“I am disappointed because I had one really good lap that would have put us in third. We finished in eighth, a quarter-of-a-second out of P3 and it was from a mistake I made at the end of the back straight. And that’s it, one little mistake costs you 2/10ths and all of a sudden you are in eighth instead of third. It’s a very difficult place to pass, and I don’t expect a lot of full-course yellows – maybe none – but the Mercedes-AMG GT3 is good on tires, and this is a track where tires fall off sharply, so we feel like we will have a good race car. As always, we have the Mercedes-AMG Team Riley Motorsports pit crew behind the wall, and you can never count us out when it comes to that.”

Cooper MacNeil, Driver – No. 50 WeatherTech Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3:
“So far, I’ve had about 20-minutes in the car all weekend. We were really loose everywhere yesterday and the guys worked hard on the setup. Then, this morning we had a bearing issue that cost us the morning practice. We will start 11th out of 17, which is decent for not having many laps in the car. It is better than yesterday, we need to work on some minor issues, but the Riley Motorsports guys are working hard on it.”

Kenny Habul, Driver – No. 75 SunEnergy1 Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3: “It was just one of those drama filled sessions. My radio fell from its mount into my lap early and then bounced down in front of the pedals, so I couldn’t get to the brake easily. I was trying to move it out of the way with my foot, braking with my heel, and the thing got jammed down there in the end. It kind of put me off a little bit. So, the session wasn’t perfect, there were probably three-quarters-of-a-second left in the car, but we couldn’t tie it all together. Tomorrow we will be OK, and at the end of the day it is my job to bring it back to Tristan in a good spot and let him go out there and go crazy.”

Dan Knox, Driver – No. 80 Lone Star Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3: “The Mercedes-AMG GT3 is a little more forgiving when you get to the limit. If something happens, it is easier to get back under control than our Viper was. The car is more balanced to some extent and has much more downforce, so it feels a lot better through the high-speed turns. I think the car is capable, we are struggling a little to find the right setup for us, but I think we will get it. As soon as we do we will be in good shape.”

Source. Mercedes

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