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IMSA ROAD AMERICA QUALIFYING ROUND UP

Cadillac DPi-V.R on Pole at Road America

Cadillac V-Performance racing team Konica Minolta Cadillac will start the IMSA WeatherTech Championship Continental Tire Road Race Showcase from the pole position for tomorrow’s race.

Ricky Taylor had the wheel of the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R for qualifying. He put in the sessions fast time of 1:53.058 on his third lap of the 4-mile, 14-turn track known as the National Park of Speed. Eric Curran had the wheel of the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R and posted a time of 1:54.222 that will have him starting sixth. Christian Fittipaldi will start in the next spot in seventh in the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R based upon his time of 1:54.588. The pole for the Konica Minolta Cadillac team is their fourth on the season.

“What an amazing day – the car was beautiful today,” Taylor said. “I think the team just really executed and gave me a really good qualifying car. Obviously, this was just one lap and it took 15 minutes to do it and the car was just beautiful. But, I think tomorrow is going to be a completely different story where there are a lot of good cars and, once the finishing drivers get in there, I’m sure it’s going to be a really hard fight. But we’ll enjoy this for now. It’s good to have another good starting position. We need to get some points this weekend after two tough ones. I’m really happy for Konica Minolta. The Continental tires had us on rails. I’m really looking forward to tomorrow. I think the weather for the race will be similar to Canadian Tire Motorsport Park with the changing conditions from wet to dry. We were spoiled in qualifying today with sunny skies and 75-degrees.”

Eric Curran and Dane Cameron are focused on consistency in the Whelen Engineering Cadillac.

“Overall not a bad run for our Whelen Cadillac,” Curran said. “It felt more like a practice session than qualifying. I was trying to figure out what the car wanted to go faster around Road America. Then, toward the end, we got it figured out and then didn’t have enough tire left. We have a very drivable car. I think it will race good. We will focus on the big picture tomorrow. We have always done well here at Road America. We were as quick at the end of the session as we were on our fastest lap so that gives us a good consistent Whelen Cadillac for the race tomorrow.”

Christian Fittipaldi and Joao Barbosa will go away from the third row for tomorrow’s 2:30 p.m. (ET) race start.

“It was a hard day for us in qualifying this afternoon,” Fittipaldi said. “We thought we had a good car yesterday. We will regroup and try to learn what happened. Tomorrow is what counts. We had a very shy qualifying effort. We will turn the page and make the Mustang Sampling Cadillac better for the race.”
The IMSA WeatherTech Championship Continental Tire Road Race Showcase at Road America will run Aug. 3-6.

Source. Kyle Chura/Cadsillac Racing

VISIT FLORIDA Racing Takes Fourth on Road America Grid

VISIT FLORIDA Racing scored its best qualifying position of the year at Road America on Saturday as the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship set the grid for Sunday’s Continental Tire Road Race Showcase which marks Round 8 of the 2017 championship.

Marc Goossens wheeled the No. 90 VISIT FLORIDA Racing Gibson powered Ligier JS P217 to a fourth place starting spot with a fast lap of 1:54.186-seconds. That time was just over a tenth off of the front row of the grid.

The result was a welcome one for the team, who only just took delivery of the Ligier last week. Despite the steep learning curve, VISIT FLORIDA Racing and Onroak have worked together to make rapid progress on the car in just three practice sessions at Road America held ahead of the 15-minute qualifying run Saturday afternoon.

Friday’s first practice session was held in cool and rainy conditions, but the team raised eyebrows by posting the fastest lap of the session in its first-ever official IMSA outing with the Ligier platform. The weather continued to be a factor on Friday, with Saturday featuring warmer temperatures and dry track conditions.

“Yesterday was a difficult day because of the weather conditions but this morning we threw some things at it and the Onroak guys together with the VISIT FLORIDA Racing engineering group have given us a great car,” said Goossens. “It is a matter of being able to touch it first to feel exactly what the car can do and by the time I managed to do that, the tires were no longer at their best. I think a 1:53.8-9 (second lap) would have been possible. We’re on the second row – it’s a big change for the team. I think we have a good race car – we still need to dial it in a little further. But we made quite a few changes – all the small ones together made for one big change. We need to keep tuning it but I think this baseline is pretty good for the race.”

As VISIT FLORIDA Racing continues to learn the ins and outs of the Ligier platform, the team has been pleased with the forward progress.

“It’s a steep learning curve because it’s still brand new to us,” said Renger van der Zande, who will anchor the No. 90 VISIT FLORIDA Racing Ligier JS P217 to the checkered flag in Sunday’s race. “We don’t know what the car needs and wants yet – but we’ve had some great help from Onroak and Ligier. Every time you get in the car you only get a few laps with the limited track time so whenever you’re in the car you’re trying to make the best of it. It’s a different driving style but once you get the grip of it you can feel that it is very good at parts of the track. It is interesting as a driver to learn different ways of working with the car with a different driving style. It’s pretty cool.”

The 2 hour and 40 minute Continental Tire Road Race Showcase will go green at 1:35 PM central time (2:35 PM ET)

Source. Sunday Group

WeatherTech Racing Porsche qualifies 11th at Road America

WeatherTech Racing drivers Cooper MacNeil (Hinsdale, Ill.) and Gunnar Jeannette (Salt Lake City, Utah) will start from the sixth row in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GTD class for Sunday’s Continental Tire Road Race Showcase.

Heading into this weekend, WeatherTech Racing made a BoP-based decision to campaign a Porsche instead of the Mercedes-AMG GT3 that the team had competed and won with earlier in the season. To that point, the No. 50 WeatherTech Racing Porsche is running for the first time this year, which means the team has spent most of the weekend trying to find just the right set-up to make the car immediately competitive in the highly competitive GTD class.
For qualifying, McNeil had the wheel of the No. 50 WeatherTech Racing Porsche and turned his quickest lap of 2:08.979 on his eighth and final lap around the 4.048-mile, 14-turn road course. His qualifying effort was good enough for 11th on the GTD grid and he was the second fastest of the four Porsches in the GTD field.

“This is a brand new race car,” MacNeil said. “We had to do a lot of updates to it over the last week just to get it up to date with all of the other Porsches in the paddock. So, we’re already a little bit behind the curve. But, hats off to the guys for working really hard to get the car prepared and ready to go. I think they did a pretty darn good job.

“In qualifying, I thought my pace was pretty good. For some reason, the lap time just wasn’t there. So, we’ll go back to the drawing board, look at some data, figure some stuff out, and go faster tomorrow.”

The conditions for today’s qualifying were much different than they were for both of Friday’s practices. Yesterday, it rained with temperatures in the low 50s. Today, it was partly sunny and dry with temperatures in the low 70s.

“Overall, the weekend’s been positive,” Jeannette said. “We’ve sort of been playing catch up going to the Porsche. The track conditions yesterday made it difficult to work on anything in terms of set-up. The track was wet, then drying, then damp. But, overall we’re in a decent spot. I think we’ll have a good race car for tomorrow – especially for mixed [weather] conditions. That’s all we can do, just go out and race it.”

Source. Kyle Chura/WeatherTech Racing

Michael Shank Racing Seventh on the Grid at Road America

Michael Shank Racing’s No. 86 Acura NSX GT3 will start the Continental Tire Road Race Showcase from the fourth row on Sunday after Ozz Negri qualified the car seventh on the grid. The event marks Round 9 of the 2017 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

Highlighting the competitive nature of the GTD category, Negri’s quick lap of 2:07.469-seconds in the chrome red liveried Acura machine was within hundredths of a top-five starting spot.

“Less than a tenth would have put me fifth and I’m pretty sure I had that,” said Negri, who shares the No. 86 Acura NSX GT3 with Jeff Segal. “I locked up on my quick lap going into Turn 5. That’s how important the perfect lap is. We made good changes from the morning practice to the qualifying session and I felt comfortable with the car. I’m pretty sure we have a little bit more and we will debrief with our engineers. I’m happy with the car but I know there is more we can get out of our Acura NSX GT3. I’m very confident that we can make it quicker. It’s just a shame that it’s such a very small difference in lap time that cost us a few spots.”

The No. 93 Acura NSX GT3 sustained damage during Saturday morning’s practice session which saw the car of Andy Lally and Katherine Legge unable to qualify. The Michael Shank Racing crew has set to work to repair the No. 93 ahead of Sunday morning’s warm up session.

“I’m happy with how the car held up,” said Team Owner Mike Shank of the heavy impact. “We can rebuild. It’s just too bad. It’s racing and sometimes this happens. I’m sorry that we have to go through this with all of the guys, but this a track where we can definitely make up positions, like we have all year, in the pits. We can still hopefully have a top-five showing if all goes well. We’ll see.”

With the potential for rain in the forecast for Sunday’s race – the 2 hour, 40 minute race could play into the favor of the Michael Shank Racing team.

“We were doing a mock qualifying run and the tires were just up to pressure I was on a decent first lap when I got on the gas on the curb and it shot me into the inside wall,” said Legge of the practice incident. “I’m just gutted. I feel bad for the guys because they have a lot of extra work now. I know these things happen and everyone on the team has been so amazing about it. It’s a testament to how strong the Acura NSX GT3 is. We’ll start at the back of the grid but with the rain, it may make it easier to overtake. Hopefully we can come away with a top-five – that’s the goal.”

Sunday will see a 20-minute warm up session at 8:30 AM CT (9:30 AM ET).

The team will host the Austin Hatcher Foundation auction at the Michael Shank Racing transporter at 11:15 AM Central Time with several items up for auction – including a right Rocker Panel, signed visors, and race-worn gloves and boots.

Source. Sunday Group

CORVETTE RACING AT ROAD AMERICA: Focusing Forward to Sunday

Corvette Racing will go for a repeat at Road America on Sunday from the fourth row of its class following qualifying for the Continental Tire Road Race Showcase. The pair of Chevrolet Corvette C7.Rs will furiously battle to work their way toward the front with the goal of maintaining Corvette Racing’s and Chevrolet’s lead in the GT Le Mans (GTLM) Manufacturer’s, Driver’s and Team points standings in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

Corvette Racing is a three-time winner this year in GTLM and has won seven times at the historic 4.048-mile, 14-turn Road America including last season.

Oliver Gavin qualified the No. 4 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C7.R seventh at 2:03.358 (118.134 mph), just ahead of Jan Magnussen and the No. 3 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C7.R at 2:03.581 (117.920 mph).

Saturday’s results weren’t unlike last year’s qualifying efforts – sixth and seventh – but Gavin and Tommy Milner parlayed a seventh-place starting position to a dramatic victory on their way to the GTLM Championship.

There may be more drama in store for Sunday. The weather forecast calls for an increased chance of rain – similar to Friday’s conditions that saw the two Corvettes much closer to the GTLM front-runners.

OLIVER GAVIN, NO. 4 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R – QUALIFIED SEVENTH IN GTLM: “After today’s result in qualifying, maybe changeable conditions would suit us. We’ve been surprised by qualifying. I genuinely thought we were closer than that. The Corvette isn’t terrible… certainly not. We made some progress over the weekend. But everyone made such massive gains today. If that’s our competition’s pace in the race, we will certainly be looking for some changeable weather to spice things up. In mixed conditions, I think we have a good, solid car. It has been a theme this year where there has been some wild qualifying pace from some people, then come the race comes everyone comes back to the same point. So that is what we are focusing on – what we can achieve for the race tomorrow. P7 isn’t the end of the world. We started there last year for this race, and we won it. We have to stick to our strengths and execute. I know our team can do that; I’ve seen them do it all year. Even with our luck this year, we have kept soldiering on and staying focused on what our strong points are: executing in the pit lane, strategy, good driver changes and smart driving. That’s what Tommy and I will be completely focused on tomorrow.”

JAN MAGNUSSEN, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R – QUALIFIED EIGHTH IN GTLM:“This was not part of the plan. It wasn’t very enjoyable. The handling of the Corvette was pretty nice; it was just slow. We have some serious work cut out for us from now through the race. We will see what that can get us. I am a little bit surprised that we are that far off the pace; that’s the first time this year. I’m obviously not satisfied with this result. It was a close qualifying between the two Corvettes, but that was about it from our side.”

Source. Corvette Racing

BMW Team RLL Qualifies P3 and P5 at Road America; Sims – P3, Tomczyk – P5. 

BMW Motorsport drivers Alexander Sims and Martin Tomczyk qualified third and fifth respectively in today’s 15-minute qualifying session for tomorrow’s two-hour-and-forty-minute Continental Tire Road Race Showcase at Road America, the eighth round of the 2017 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. After yesterday’s practice was affected by rain, today’s sessions ran under beautiful Wisconsin skies. Unfortunately, rain is threatening to play a role in tomorrow’s race.

Sims was the quickest of the BMW Team RLL teammates, qualifying the No. 25 BMW M6 GTLM in the third starting position with a lap of 2:02.211 minutes around the classic 4.048-mile, 14-turn road course. Sims’ time was .781 seconds in arrears of the pole winning Ford GT. The British BMW Motorsport driver and co-driver Bill Auberlen stand second in GTLM class driver points standings, seven points from the leaders. The duo have scored two wins so far this season, at Watkins Glen International and Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.

Tomczyk drove the No. 24 M6 GTLM to a 2:02.583 minute lap and will start fifth. Tomczyk and co-driver John Edwards finished third in the last round at Lime Rock Park, the duos third podium in the last four races. They stand seventh in GTLM driver points.

“That session did not quite turn out as we would have wished, but we feel confident for tomorrow’s race, said Neil Fife, BMW Team RLL Race Engineer. “Both cars showed competitive times. The 25 M6 showed best and the No. 24 car just missed out on a much better lap. We’ll keep pushing to get both on the podium tomorrow.”

Alexander Sims, driver No. 25 BMW M6 GTLM (P3): “With the inclement weather conditions yesterday and an issue with the car in the afternoon, today’s qualifying session was my first real chance to drive the car in anger. I don’t believe we are 100% there yet, but I am confident we are close enough that with a bit more work this evening we’ll have a strong race.”

Martin Tomczyk, driver No. 24 BMW M6 GTLM (P5): “There is certainly more in the car, but things do not always work out as you plan. A small delay in traffic can add up to a large deficit in lap time around a circuit like this.”

Source. BMW

Best 911 RSR on the second grid row

The best Porsche 911 RSR takes up Sunday’s race at Road America from the second row of the grid. In qualifying for the eighth round of the IMSA SportsCar Championship on the tradition-steeped 6.515-kilometre circuit close to Elkhart Lake in the US state of Wisconsin, Gianmaria Bruni clocked the fourth quickest time in the GTLM class with the #912 car. A fortnight ago at Lime Rock, the Italian had clinched pole position in the 510 hp race car, which was developed new by Porsche Motorsport in Weissach on the basis of the high-performance 911 GT3 RS. His teammate at Road America is Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium). In the second 911 RSR fielded by the Porsche GT Team, Patrick Pilet posted the sixth quickest time. The Frenchman is joined in the cockpit of the #911 racer by Dirk Werner (Germany).

Qualifying quotes
Marco Ujhasi, Director GT Factory Motorsports: “After three pole positions in a row for the 911 RSR, it wasn’t quite enough today for the front spot. We tried everything but we didn’t quite nail it. However, we’d already realised this in free practice so we concentrated on finding the best possible race setup and a good race strategy. We hope that it all works out well tomorrow.”
Gianmaria Bruni (911 RSR #912): “Once again we tried our utmost in this qualifying. However, unlike Lime Rock, it wasn’t good enough for pole this time. But I’m not too worried about it. The race is long and a lot can happen. I’m satisfied with our starting position and I’m convinced that we’ll perform strongly over the distance and definitely improve.”
Patrick Pilet (911 RSR #911): “We’re having a tough time understanding our 911 RSR this weekend. Its balance in the qualifying was not as it should be, although we made some slight changes from session to session. The fact that it rained yesterday and today the sun is shining made the setup a little more complicated. The starting position on this racetrack is not so decisive. Two years ago we came from the very back of the field and won. So anything’s possible.”

The 2:40-hour race takes off on Sunday, 6 August, at 13.35 hrs local time (20.35 hrs CEST). Outside the USA, the race can be seen live on http://www.imsa.com.

Qualifying result
GTLM class
1. Hand/Müller (USA/D), Ford GT, 2:01.422 minutes
2. Westbrook/Briscoe (GB/USA), Ford GT, + 0.781 seconds
3. Auberlen/Sims (USA/GB), BMW M6, + 0.789
4. Vanthoor/Bruni (B/I), Porsche 911 RSR, + 1.018
5. Edwards/Tomczyk (USA/D), BMW M6, + 1.161
6. Pilet/Werner (F/D), Porsche 911 RSR, + 1.248
7. Gavin/Milner (GB/USA), Corvette, + 1.936
8. Garcia/Magnussen (E/DK), Corvette, + 2.159

GTD class
1. Mul/Lewis (NL/USA), Lamborghini GT3, 2:06.649 minutes
2. Klingmann/Krohn (D/USA), BMW M6, + 0.174 seconds
3. Bergmeister/Lindsey (D/USA), Porsche 911 GT3 R, + 0.500
11. MacNeil/Jeannette (USA/USA), Porsche 911 GT3 R, + 2.381
13. Braun/Bennett (USA/USA), Porsche 911 GT3 R, + 2.898
14. Morad/de Quesada (USA/USA), Porsche 911 GT3 R, + 3.793

Source. Porsche

Stevenson Motorsports will look to turn its top-five qualifying effort into a successful race result for Round 9 of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship at Road America on Sunday.

A soggy start to the weekend saw Lawson Aschenbach and Andrew Davis encounter wet track conditions for Friday’s practice sessions. Unfortunately, the team only ran one lap during the first session due to a fuel delivery problem.

It was all hands-on deck to diagnose and find the issue once the car went behind the wall. A massive team effort saw the Stevenson squad working for over four hours to make the repairs needed to get the car back on track, completing the project just in time for the second session later on Friday afternoon.

The team saw progressive results throughout each practice session with Aschenbach scoring the fastest lap time – 2:06.600-seconds – and Davis posting the third fastest time – 2:06.708-seconds – of the final practice run.

Davis was poised for a strong qualifying result after finding the pace of his Audi R8 LMS during practice. Davis immediately set a fast time good enough for pole, but as the session progressed his best lap time landed him in fifth.

“The car was really good this morning, both Lawson (Aschenbach) and I posted really fast times,” said Davis. “I was really excited going into qualifying because we had a good shot of getting on the pole. With the track temperature rising, it was a little harder squeezing that kind of time out of our Audi R8 LMS. It is a really competitive field out there and kudos to the two front rows, and then we will find ourselves on the inside of the third row. We have a good race car and we will be able to race to the front, so I’m not worried about that. We’ve done a good job making progress especially after losing that first session. I am proud of the guys and we will have our Audi up front again.”

Aschenbach is looking forward to making his way to the front as he takes over the second stint of the race.

“Practice was quite good and to get P1 is always great because we know we have speed in the car,” said Aschenbach. “We have to be sure we are prepared for any kinds of weather conditions tomorrow, especially if the temperatures cool down. We lost a little bit of time during the first practice session but the guys have been working hard and we rebounded really well. I am happy with everything this weekend so far and hopefully we can keep the car up front.”

Sunday’s race will mark the 300th IMSA/GRAND-AM/ALMS race for Stevenson Motorsports Team Strategist Mike Johnson. The former driver has scored numerous victories with countless champagne celebrations and has made many critical decisions at key times from the pit box. The Road America weekend is one that Johnson had been looking forward to for a long time as his family is also on hand to be a part of the race weekend.

Source. Sunday Group

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