WeatherTech SportsCar Championship
Race: Michelin GT Challenge at VIR
Race Length: 2 hours and 40 minutes
Car: No. 57 Audi R8 LMS
Drivers: Andrew Davis and Lawson Aschenbach
Championship Points Rebound: After opening the season with strong performances but bad racing luck, Stevenson Motorsports has made a comeback through the second half of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season as the team currently sits third in the championship standings. The team clawed back up the championship ladder after scoring a breakthrough win at CTMP and a podium finish at the previous event of Road America.
Home Sweet Home: Stevenson Motorsports, which is based in North Carolina, will have the home track advantage at this weekend’s Michelin GT Challenge. Stevenson Motorsports has called VIR “home” for 12 race seasons and has two class wins in GRAND-AM Rolex Series competition in 2008 and 2009.
Davis & Aschenbach Advantage: The co-drivers of the No. 57 Audi R8 LMS have an edge up on their competition, having already competed at the Virginia circuit this year in the Pirelli World Challenge. Aschenbach picked up a pair of third place finishes while Davis – who drove an Audi R8 – scored second and seventh.
Davis at VIR: Davis has a strong record of outings at VIRginia International Raceway with half resulting in podium finishes. Davis has won twice alongside GRAND-AM Rolex Series co-driver, Robin Liddell in 2008 and 2009 driving for Stevenson Motorsports. In addition, Davis has scored three podium finishes the past three race seasons in both IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar and IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge competition.
Aschenbach at VIR: Aschenbach has earned podium finishes in his two previous IMSA visits to VIR in both the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge. Aschenbach scored his first win at the track in 2008 when racing for Georgian Bay Motorsports in the ST class of the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge (nee GRAND-AM Koni Challenge).
Andrew Davis: “VIR is our home track for the Stevenson Motorsports team and we have had some very good days there. We have won lots of races and had lots of podiums. VIR has spent a lot of time on that facility and I always give kudos to Connie (Nyholm) and Kerrigan (Smith), who work so hard to make it a great place to race. I’ve already raced there this year, in an Audi, and had some success. I think that this is a track that lends well to our No. 57 Stevenson Motorsports Audi. We are going to carry the momentum from the last few events. We are going for the win, the gloves are off and we are ready to take another win.”
Lawson Aschenbach: “VIR is definitely one of my favorite tracks on the schedule. We finished second there last year and the Audi seems to excel at a place like that where you have a lot of high speed corners. The downforce really comes into play with heavy brake zones. It was one of those races that was a turning point for us last year and we really started to understand the car a little bit better. We have definitely made gains since then and I am looking forward to getting back there and hopefully getting back on the podium.”
Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge
Race: Biscuitville Grand Prix
Race Length: 2 hours
Car: No. 57 Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R
Drivers: Matt Bell and Robin Liddell
Road America Rewind: The previous event at Road America was brought to an early end after only 25 laps of racing when thunderstorms halted the race. Bell drove his stint in its entirety and advanced his Camaro up to fourth before turning the car over to Liddell who was only able to drive one lap before the race was red flagged and ultimately ended early. The team was left to settle with a fourth-place finish.
Success in Numbers: The Stevenson Motorsports IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge program has proved to be the most successful at VIR, totaling six podium finishes over its 12 years of racing at the track.
NASCAR XFINITY Start for Bell: There are no “off-weekends” when it comes racing schedules. Matt Bell made his third career NASCAR XFINITY start at Mid-Ohio on Saturday, August 12th in a different kind of Chevrolet. The California native proved his road-course skills on the start and improved nine positions before it all came to a sudden end when he suffered a brake failure going into Turn 1, bringing the car to a dramatic halt and moving the concrete barrier in the process. Fortunately, though disappointed with the result, Bell emerged unscathed.
Bell at VIR: Over the course of his seven seasons racing at VIR, Bell has proven to be a top contender. With three second place finishes (2010, 2015 & 2016) – all with Stevenson Motorsports – Bell is looking to move one step up on the podium and give the Stevenson Motorsports Camaro GT4.R its first CTSC win at VIR.
Liddell at VIR: Liddell’s long history with Stevenson Motorsports has been highlighted by his success at VIR. Having only finished outside of the top-five twice, Liddell knows the ins-and-outs of the 3.27-mile course. Liddell has celebrated back-to-back GRAND-AM Rolex Series wins (2008 & 2009) along with three podium finishes over his career racing at the track.
Matt Bell: “VIR is one of my favorite tracks and it has certainly been kind to us in the past. Stevenson Motorsports knows how to win there, but we’ll be battling the same issues we’ve been seeing all season. VIR is a diverse track, and I don’t think the long, uphill straight will hurt as badly as Road America, but we’ll have to really go into the weekend with a mind toward capitalizing on our car’s strengths to make sure we have a fighting chance. Our success at CTMP and Lime Rock were due to consistency, strategy, and keeping out of trouble, plus a pinch of luck. We’ll absolutely be going into VIR trying to do the same: keep out of trouble, drive as hard as we can every lap, and look for strategic opportunities.”
Robin Liddell: “I am really excited to get back to VIR, it is the team’s home track and we’ve had success there in the past. It’s a great fun circuit. It’s got elevation changes, it is fun to drive and it has a good turnout of fans. It’s a real driver’s track, I think most drivers really enjoy racing there. It’s nice because we get a lot of local fans because of the Stevensons. We actually first tested the new Camaro down at VIR earlier this year and I am excited to see how the car will go now that we have learned more about it.”
Source. Sunday Group