In just its third outing, Stevenson Motorsports was once again in victory lane as Matt Bell and Robin Liddell took a breakthrough IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge win with the No. 57 Stevenson Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park on Saturday.
The team dedicated the victory to Dexter Johnson, a long time Stevenson Motorsports employee who passed away last week.
The race winning result was a triumphant comeback for the team, which lost an engine in last weekend’s race at Watkins Glen while running in podium contention late in the race.
After a big team effort to install the new motor, the team continued to use each of the three practice sessions at CTMP to learn the new aspects of the GT4.R platform, setting the car up for qualifying on Saturday morning. A fifteen-minute qualifying session saw Bell lock in fifth on grid for the start of the the two-hour event.
Bell wasted no time getting up to speed in the early stages of the race, quickly picking off two drivers to move up the order, and handing the car over to Robin Liddell for his closing stint on lap 36.
After a great team pit stop, the focus was on fuel conservation for Liddell’s stint after returning to the track in second. Liddell put up a fight despite having to keep a close eye on fuel levels, crossing the line six seconds clear of the field.
The victory adds to the long history of success with Chevrolet for Stevenson Motorsports, which won the 2015 IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge Championship with the previous generation Camaro Z/28.R.
Matt Bell: “I mean what a great race! We were off in qualifying by over a second. As soon as the McLarens seemed to push hard they killed us in qualifying. For us to engineer this car to be this consistent and this early on is just amazing. The Continental Tires stayed under us much better than we were expecting and I think that was the key. We were just consistent, but not fast compared to our competitors. Our team is amazing and these are the brightest minds in the paddock and they truly got what they have been working so hard for.”
Robin Liddell: “It feels really great to be back on top again and I don’t think we ever forgot how to win, but here we are and we proved it today. The track got pretty greasy about 2/3 of the way through but I felt like it was pretty under control. With about 15 to 20 minutes today I realized I had lost some grip but the Continental Tires performed very well and stayed consistently fast.”
Mike Johnson, Team Strategist: “All I can say right now is ‘finally!’ It has been way too long and this team has been in almost a two year drought from a victory. It’s just been tough, we’ve been fighting and fighting and fighting. I knew it would come with the Camaro because it is just such a great car. Chevrolet and Pratt & Miller did a great job building it. We just had to put it all together and that’s exactly what we did today. I am just so happy for the team and for John and Susan Stevenson. Also, a shout out to our boy Dexter who passed away this week, this race was for him.”
The next round of IMSA Continental SportsCar Challenge competition will take place at Lime Rock Park on July 21-22.
Source. Sunday Group