TeamTGM once again brought two strong Mercedes-AMG GT4s to the field on race day as the reigning IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge champions looked to build championship momentum after a disappointing outing at Daytona.
After qualifying on pole with a record-setting time, TeamTGM was racing its way to the Sebring podium but was involved in an incident on Lap 36 that resulted in a 13th place finish for the No. 46 JKTGfoundation.org / Camp Boggy Creek Mercedes-AMG GT4 of Owen Trinkler and Hugh Plumb.
The team’s second entry of Ted Giovanis and Guy Cosmo finished 14th after bad luck with a caution period cost the duo track position in the No. 4 JKTGfoundation.org / Camp Boggy Creek Mercedes-AMG GT4 entry.
Starting on the point, Trinkler was smart through the start, finding a rhythm in second place before handing the car over to Plumb on a Lap 20 pit stop. Plumb maintained a strong pace, keeping the No. 46 Mercedes within the top five.
Following a well timed stop for a new set of Michelin tires and fuel to the finish, Plumb was in third place and looking for more. But before his tires were even fully up to temperature, he found himself punted off track by the No. 59 Mustang on Lap 36 heading into Turn 7.
The contact turned Plumb around, causing him to fall down the order as he worked to rejoin the field. Returning to the fray 23rd in the overall order, Plumb was able to recover to a 13th place finish despite possible suspension damage.
“We had such a strong car heading into that race it’s really unfortunate that we got hit and ruined any chance of having a good finish,” said Plumb. “Owen (Trinkler) did a fantastic job to start the race and handed me a great car. After our second stop, it took longer for our tires to get up to temperature. We were going to be better than the rest of the field and it’s unfortunate that that’s how it had to end. I can’t thank TeamTGM and Ted Giovanis enough for putting in the work this weekend, I wish I could have given them a better result.”
Despite an unfortunate finish, Trinkler held his head high in knowing that the pace was there for the Mercedes-AMG GT4.
“Joe Varde did a really great job engineering the car this weekend and strategy was great,” said Trinkler. “My first stint I was just pacing myself with the 39 car. I felt like I could close up on him when I needed to. It’s disappointing with what happened on track with Hugh, but that’s the way racing goes. We have been on the plus side for a really long time but now we have two races that didn’t go in our favor. We’ll bounce back and hopefully get a better result at Mid-Ohio.”
The sister No. 4 Mercedes of Giovanis and Cosmo showed remarkable strength through the 49 lap race. Having improved his personal best Sebring lap by over 3 seconds in qualifying, Giovanis took advantage of the start and picked up two positions following the green flag. Continuing to show his progress behind the wheel Giovanis had a solid run before turning the car over to Cosmo on Lap 22.
With his vision set ahead, Cosmo made up a lap and began clicking off positions one lap at a time. From Lap 34 to Lap 39 Cosmo improved one position per lap making his way to 16th. The final six laps saw Cosmo move up another two position to finish 14th.
“It wasn’t the race we were hoping for but the 4 car really moved up a lot of positions,” said Giovanis. “I was really happy about how I was able to perform in the car— I’m seeing improvement and Guy (Cosmo) has been a big part of that process. Cosmo drove a great race and really picked up several positions. Owen (Trinkler) certainly did a great job in qualifying and Hugh (Plumb) drove a great race and was running really consistent times even with what we think was suspension damage after he got hit. We’ll come back just like we always do.”
“Ted (Giovanis) did a really great job,” said Cosmo. “The TCR cars that ran up at the front of the field are really strong, and we knew that. He did a great job managing traffic and made no mistakes. We pitted when it was the most opportune time for us. We got back on the lead lap and I was able to have a strong run in that Mercedes. I feel terrible for the 46 car, it’s another solid finish thrown out the window but we’ll rebound hard at Mid-Ohio.”
The next round of the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge will head to Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on May 3-4.
Source. Sunday Group/Photo. Gavin Bake