The No. 7 Sobel At Home/Hotels.com Ligier JS P3 of Blake Mount and Max Hanratty finished the race fourth overall. Following closely behind were teammates Cameron Cassels and James French in the No. 75 NorCan Electric LMP3 who rose from 11th to sixth. The No. 19 Kerr Industries LMP3 of Dean and Brad Baker retired early from the race due to damage after a brilliant drive up to ninth from 14th.
The excitement for Round Two mirrored that of another opening round for the IMSA Prototype Challenge series after a two-month hiatus. While many fell subject to over-enthusiastic maneuvers, Mount stayed calm. Mount began the race from 16th and slowly climbed through the field over the duration of his stint. He fought through two restarts to continuously gain position and eventually hand off the car to Hanratty inside the top 10. Hanratty never looked back and pushed forward with haste. Only the clock stopped Hanratty’s ambitious advance; he was on pace for a podium finish when the checkered flag waved.
Cassels ran a steady race holding position for the majority of his stint. Nearing the 45-minute mark, Cassels was advancing through the top 10 but during an attempted pass for ninth made light contact with the No. 19 Kerr Industries. After a loss of position, he kept the car on course to bring it into the pitlane for French to take over. French got down to business immediately picking off cars and moving back up through the field. Without the benefit of any cautions, he made his way up to sixth before the finish.
Brad Baker didn’t get the result his drive deserved. After beginning, the race from 14th Baker immediately pushed through the field taking advantage of the close racing the start of the race provided. Baker spun when he and the No. 75 NorCan Electric LMP3 made contact nearing the halfway point of the 1-hour 45-minute race. He continued after the loss of position. Shortly after, a caution flag came out due to another incident on-track and as the field slowed the No. 2 Ansa Motorsport entry hit Baker from behind ultimately ending his day.
Brent O’Neill, Team Principal
“All of our cars were really strong this weekend and so were the drivers,” O’Neill said. “Everyone came ready to race. Blake and Max made a great team and that showed today. They really could have finished on podium with a bit more time or just an opportunity to pack up the field again. Cameron was in the thick of a lot of crazy moves, but he kept himself cool, got into a little trouble there but recovered and brought the car home clean.
“James did just a really great job. He’s so consistent in this car. I fell awful for the Bakers, but as the saying goes that’s racing. It’s the term we all hate to hear but that’s what that stacks up to today. They had a great car, Brad did a great job. They just didn’t get the outcome. Hopefully, we progress a little further at Mid-Ohio.”
Blake Mount, Driver No. 7 Sobel At Home/ Hotels.com Ligier JS P3
“I went into this weekend with a new teammate, Max Hanratty, and was feeling super optimistic,” Mount said. “We had done a lot of testing, were running similar lap times and preferred similar car setups so I was excited. We ran into a few issues in the first couple of practices which was a bit discouraging. Then we got to the race and the car was great. I did a lot of good things but also a lot of things I want to work on. I handed it over to Max halfway and he drove us up to fourth so overall I’m really happy.”
Max Hanratty, Driver No. 7 Sobel At Home/ Hotels.com Ligier JS P3
“I have quite a bit of experience in ELMS and IMSA with the LMP3, so I think that really helped with my transition,” Hanratty said. “It’s a really great group of people here at Performance Tech Motorsports. They made it very welcoming and have a really strong platform, so it was easy for me to step in. I was able to work closely with Blake and create a strong package for the race. We really were aiming to just have a strong car. Blake did a really great job in his stint going all the way from sixteenth to seventh. I was able to finish fourth to cap off a really good weekend.”
Cameron Cassels, Driver No. 75 NorCan Electric Ligier JS P3
“From the minute we unloaded for the promoter session the car felt the best it’s ever been,” Cassels said. “We were really struggling over the bumps but were finally able to figure it out right before qualifying. The car had great race pace, but it was super aggressive out there. The moves that people were making, and defensive positions were pretty crazy. There was a lot of easily avoidable contact. We struggled with rear grip but overall it was a good stint for me. James drove the wheels off and was able to get us back up to sixth so I’m really happy overall.”
James French, Driver No. 75 NorCan Electric Ligier JS P3
“I think we made a lot of progress throughout the weekend,” French said. “We made a few really good changes that helped us get over the bumps here. Cameron had a good stint and handed me the car in one piece. Over the course of my stint I made sure to save my rear tires for the end. This let me have a few really good battles in the last few minutes. I had some pretty wicked battles and was able to finish sixth. All in all, it was a great weekend for points. I’m thankful to be here and I’m looking forward to Mid-Ohio.”
Brad Baker, Driver No. 19 Kerr Industries Ligier JS P3
“This was the best the car has ever been for me,” Baker said. “Brent and his guys did a great job. It’s unfortunate how it ended today but that’s racing. Bruno was great and helped so much as well. Ultimately, it didn’t turn out how we wanted but we’re still happy. I’m excited for Mid-Ohio and to see what more we can do.”
Dean Baker, Driver No. 19 Kerr Industries Ligier JS P3
“This was nothing to be upset or ashamed of,” Baker said. “Brad went out there and drove great putting us in contention for a strong finishing position. We hate to see it happen, but it was the best we’ve run all season and it was fun so that’s what it comes down to.”
Source. Performance Tech Motorsports