Performance Tech Motorsports finished second after a valiant effort in recovering its lead in the LMP2 Class at Road America with Sheboygan native James French and Canadian Cameron Cassels.
The No. 38 Centinel Spine LMP2 finished second at Road America in the IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship after debris on the track thwarted the team’s opportunity to win. The two hour and 40-minute sprint race saw no full course cautions making it impossible for the team to gain back lost time. The flawless pit stops by the crew and fast laps by the drivers preceding the incident allowed the team to make up 36-seconds on the leading car, showcasing the strength of the No. 38 ORECA LMP2.
“Today didn’t go the way we planned,” Team Principal Brent O’Neill said. “Unfortunately, we picked up some debris from a crashed car and it punctured our tire. Cameron drove a killer stint. He really was amazing out there. It was great having James back with us in the LMP2 at his home track. We still made up over 30-seconds on the No. 52 so if our tire hadn’t been cut, we would have won by a long way. We’ll see if we can get better luck at Laguna Seca.”
French highlighted his vast knowledge of the 14 Turn, 4.05-mile track earning the Motul Pole Award. However, a last-minute strategy call would see co-driver Cassels took the reins of the No. 38 for the start obliging the team to forfeit its first place starting position. Cassels drove a remarkable stint running consistently faster laps than his competitors while gracefully maneuvering through traffic. He maintained pace through the entirety of his stint handing the car over to French with a 30 second lead.
French quickly acclimated to the car and track conditions furthering the lead Cassels provided him with. Unfortunately, debris from a competitor’s car punctured his tire in Turn 12 forcing him to return to the pits for an emergency service. The incident caused the team to lose one minute and 12-seconds, approximately three fourths of a lap around Road America. French spent the remainder of the race on a valiant charge in green conditions finishing only 36-seconds behind the leader.
Performance Tech Motorsports currently sits second in the LMP2 Class Points Championship. Next up for the No. 38 Centinel Spine LMP2 is the team’s last sprint-race of the season at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca from September 12-15. In the meantime, the team switches gears for the penultimate IMSA Prototype Challenge race at VIRginia International Raceway August 23-25. For more information on all of the team’s future events visit http://imsa.com.
Cameron Cassels, Driver of the No. 38 Centinel Spine LMP2
“The car felt great,” Cassels said. “The car was incredible around traffic. When I got around the No. 52 it really came to life. It didn’t like being behind other cars, it got a bit of aero wash, so once I passed them, I immediately felt the difference. We unloaded fast and had fantastic pace and balance all weekend. I feel really bad for James losing a race due to debris from another class. This is his home and it was great having his family and friends are all here cheering us on. We’re still going to hold our head high and one of these races we’ll overturn the bad luck we’re having.”
James French, Driver of the No. 38 Centinel Spine LMP2
“It is such a privilege and pleasure to drive at my home track,” French said. “This only happens once a year so it’s really special for me to get back to Road America with Performance Tech and drive with my friends and family all here supporting me.”
“The race was off to a great start for us. Cameron had a mega stint and laid down a super impressive lap. I hoped to continue on that trend but unfortunately, we got a puncture going into Turn 12. It was a pretty scary moment; I wasn’t really able to stop. I felt an unsettling moment in the kink and then the tire finally gave out in 12. Luckily, we were close to pitlane, so it didn’t cost us much time. Unfortunately, after that, I made quite a few mistakes myself. I did a bit of rally driving out of the carousel which isn’t great for an LMP2 car. I’m just happy to bring it back in relatively one piece.”
Source. Performance Tech Motorsports