EVENT: Round 10 & season-finale of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, 10 hours
DRIVER LINE-UP: Marc Goossens (Belgium), Renger van der Zande (Netherlands), Jonathan Bomarito (USA)
THE ADDITION OF BOMARITO: An IMSA race winner with multiple pole positions and podium finishes to his credit, Bomarito is on loan to VISIT FLORIDA Racing from Mazda Motorsports for the 10-hour endurance race. He has made five starts in the Petit Le Mans and scored two podium results earlier this year with a run to third place in the Long Beach Grand Prix and in the Sahlen’s 6 Hours of the Glen on board the No. 55 Mazda Prototype. With the Mazda Prototype program on hiatus for an extensive testing program, Bomarito is not only available to race, but also already has a good working relationship with both full-season VISIT FLORIDA drivers.
VISIT FLORIDA Racing endurance driver René Rast, who scored a podium finish with the squad in the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona, will remain in Europe during the Petit Le Mans event while he focuses on the DTM Championship title. He currently sits second in the DTM standings, with just one race remaining.
LOOKING BACK AT MAZDA RACEWAY: With a clever strategy, outstanding teamwork, and some bold moves from drivers Marc Goossens and Renger van der Zande, VISIT FLORIDA Racing scored a dramatic victory in the closing moments in the previous IMSA event at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. The victory marked the third at the track for the team having won in 2012 and 2015 in a Daytona Prototype, and was the third consecutive podium result at the 2.238-mile circuit for VISIT FLORIDA Racing. It was also the second podium of the season for the team, which opened the year with a run to third place in the Rolex 24 At Daytona.
VISIT FLORIDA RACING IN THE PETIT LE MANS: VISIT FLORIDA Racing has made three starts in the Petit Le Mans with a best finish of fifth in 2015. The 2017 event marks the first entry into the classic race with the Ligier JS P217 and the team looks to continue its winning ways with another positive performance at Petit as Ligier looks to win two consecutive Petit Le Mans events.
DRIVERS AT PETIT LE MANS: Both Renger van der Zande and Marc Goossens have sprayed the podium champagne at Petit Le Mans. Renger van der Zande finished first in 2014 and followed that result up with a runner-up finish in 2015 – both in the LMPC category. Goossens has finished third in the event twice (2014 & 2015) while driving the SRT Viper in the GTD category. Jonathan Bomarito has competed in the event five times with a best finish of fifth in 2013 while driving the SRT Viper in the American Le Mans Series.
CAR SPECS: Ligier JS P2
Chassis – Monocoque Carbon / HP Composites
Safety equipment – Crushable Nose box, 6 point safety harness, Onboard fire suppression system, Air conditioned cockpit for driver safety and comfort.
Transmission – Hewland six-speed sequential, paddle operated rear wheel drive.
Steering – KYB electrical power-assisted steering
IMSA Weight – 930 kg
MICHAEL HARVEY: Prior to the 2017 season, VISIT FLORIDA Racing added Michael Harvey to the team as Director of Race Operations. Harvey, who has a long and varied range of experience in the sport, most recently managed the competition efforts for Fall-Line Motorsports’ multiple-championship winning programs in IMSA and SCCA competition as well as serving as a Series Director for the Pirelli GT3 Cup Trophy USA series.
NEW PARTNERS FOR 2017: In addition to longtime partner VISIT FLORIDA, VISIT FLORIDA Racing has partnered with: Speed Chills, iRacing, Motegi Racing, RTIC, Go Puck, GoPro, Burt & Scheld, Under Armour, and Whelen.
MARC GOOSSENS: “Road Atlanta is a great track – a driver’s track with a lot of challenging corners and plenty of elevation changes. The race itself is always pretty good there too. It’s a long, 10 hour race with lots of passing in traffic. So it is very important to stay focused. Patience sometimes gets rewarded big time at Road Atlanta. After our win at Laguna Seca, we can hopefully keep the momentum going for a strong result at the Petit Le Mans event.”
RENGER VAN DER ZANDE: “We are carrying some good momentum from Laguna and we’re happy to give it another go at Road Atlanta. The track is uphill, downhill – there is everything in it – but what makes it especially challenging is the traffic. There needs to be a good combination of safe driving between the classes to work together. For example in Prototype, when you approach Turn 3 and exit Turn 3, whether the slower cars give us room or not is a big thing. You cannot take the room. You really have to make sure that they see you and that when you get to the corner, you’re not going to touch because it will end up in a big one. So for me the biggest challenge is to get through traffic in a good and safe way.”
JONATHAN BOMARITO: “The Petit Le Mans race is one of my favorites on the IMSA Weathertech schedule. Marc (Goossens) and Renger (van der Zande) are coming off of a great win and I am really looking forward to driving with both of them. This is a very tough race, the pace will be flat out while encountering non-stop traffic. The right combination of patience and aggression is key.”
Source. Sunday Group