Performance Tech ran a mistake free race, enduring two hours and 40-minutes of green racing in sweltering temperatures. Consistency in speed was the key theme for Performance Tech over the weekend. Drivers James French and Kyle Masson turned qualifying style laps in order to maintain position and fight through GT traffic.
Traffic and heat played the ultimate role in the 11-place finish. After a clean start, French was fighting forward assuming ninth after starting the race 10 in the Prototype class. However, he was held up by prototype traffic early on in his race, slowing his pace nearly three seconds. Once around prototype traffic French pushed back to running lap times around 1:13.365, his fastest lap of the race.
“I think from the get-go we made a lot of progress,” French said. “We rolled out of the truck a lot slower than we wanted to. Practice One didn’t go super well for us. We made a lot of progress in practice two and I think that really showed in qualifying. We were able to get ourselves into the mix. We made a few more good changes for the race which helped keep us up front in the middle of it all at the start.”
“I got caught up by the Nissan after the start and that cost us pretty big, probably around fifteen seconds. That was unfortunate there but thankfully he was nice enough to let my by eventually so thank you for that Scott Sharp. It was really refreshing to have an issue free race. We had no contact or mechanical issues. I think it’s good for a team, its show how much hard work they’re putting in and it finally is paying off.”
Masson dealt with tire degradation caused by high temperatures. After the driver change Masson worked his way through traffic to reclaim the 10 position. He balanced fuel load while maintaining speed on tires that were beginning to slide around track. Masson took advantage of low fuel at the end to run a final lap time of 1:14.710 defending his position from the No. 85 of JDC-Miller Motorsports.
“I think the biggest hurdle that I personally had to overcome was lack of tires towards the end of the session,” Masson said. “We were pushing hard the whole way through, trying to drive qualifying laps every time by. Around halfway through my first stint my fronts began to wear down aggressively. As the fuel load went lower and lower I was able to run faster laps and balance out my lack of tires. So even after the tires went I was still able to throw down quick laps.
“ Once we fueled the car up then it got very slick and it was really hard for the second half of my stints. It was definitely easier to manage once the fuel got lower again. Trying to manage the tires and the weight of the car was my biggest learning experience. The setup was really good, we made a few changes from the first session. We gained six seconds in pace over the weekend which is huge so overall I think it went really well.”
Performance Tech impressively improved its speed between Practice One and the race with an initial time of 1:17.884 in practice to the 1:13.365 set by French in the race. Team Principal Brent O’Neill noted the difference from the start to end of the weekend, happy with the knowledge they’ll bring home from the race.
“Every lap we turned we learned something else,” O’Neill said. “Kyle and James did an awesome job. James got stuck behind Scott Sharp who was a lap down right in the beginning and we went from running 1:15.1’s to 1:18.5’s. He blocked and blocked and blocked so finally James had to make a dive bomb move to get by him. Things like that set you back in your heels. It’s so competitive you can’t ever make that up. We thought we would try to pit a little early and not take tires which worked right up until the last seven laps of James stint.
“We didn’t put tires on Kyle later because it was the same pit sequence that everyone else was on. They started going away on him but I told him to buckle down and drive the car. He went from running 1:17’s to 1:15’s for the rest of the race and then held off Trummer, a guy from Europe that’s super-fast. It was an awesome job by both of them.”
Next up on Performance Tech’s schedule is the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix Presented by Lear at The Raceway at Belle Isle Park, Detroit, Michigan, from Friday June, 1 – Saturday June 2. The team won here in 2017 and is working towards a repeat.
Source. Performance Tech Motorsports