True endurance champions advance beyond the competition by expecting the unexpected and reacting in a moment’s notice. Performance Tech Motorsports showcased its inner champion this weekend overcoming every trial thrown its way from extensive damage during practice to incidents during the race.
Team Principal Brent O’Neill prepared his crew and drivers for the unimaginable allowing the team to push through the 24-hour endurance race to a fifth-place finish despite a plethora of gremlins throughout the weekend.
“Collectively this whole week was a huge team effort,” O’Neill said. “We would not have made the race had one or two of the guys chosen not to push as hard as they did. They all put in every ounce of effort they could because they knew they could get it done even when everyone doubted them. John Viscogliosi from Centinel Spine said he wanted to walk around the paddock taking bets on who thought we wouldn’t make the race because the car was that mangled.
“The crew, the drivers, everyone involved came together to make this possible and show how strong we are. The day didn’t end the way we wanted but when you look at the big picture, we were strong this weekend. It’s weeks like this that not only prepare us for the 24 Hours of Le Mans but prove we really do deserve a place there.”
The race began a full day early for the team after an incident in the final practice session left the car in need of a major repair. The team rallied through all of Friday to rebuild the car exactly as it was before the unfortunate event, going so far as to reapply a near replicate of the livery. The crew’s quick and efficient work allowed Cameron Cassels, British Columbia, to roll onto the grid in fourth place to start the 58th Rolex 24 At Daytona as anticipated.
Cassels took the green flag as a seasoned professional. He maintained the ideal gap to his competitors allowing him to quickly advance to second place at the start. From there he settled into a race pace, managing traffic while holding off competition. Cassels demonstrated this calm and consistent demeanor over the entirety of the race even when faced with a wheel lock-up during the night that would send him off course and into a tire barrier.
The crew awaited Cassels in pitlane with a new nose piece for the No. 38 Centinel Spine LMP2 following his abrupt halt in the tire barrier. The crew fixed the No. 38 and sent Dr. Robert Masson, Windemere, out on track a mere three laps down after tending to the damage. He along with co-driver Don Yount, Dallas, Texas, saw very little drama on-track, reflecting the ample amount of green racing and few cautions. Masson’s meticulous racecraft returned the car to his co-drivers in prime condition and in strong fighting position for their following stints. Each stint Yount took the tactfully placed car provided to him and pushed onward working to decrease the gap to his competitors.
Driver Kyle Masson, Windemere, shared in Cassels misfortune on-track having to navigate the car back to the pitlane with a severely damaged right rear suspension. His ability to handle the damaged car after nearly 18 hours of racing amidst traffic is a testament to the new leadership role he has stepped into on the team. Once more the crew fixed the car and sent it back on track in record time.
Unfortunately, hours later an additional suspension failure would cause the team to retire from the race with 40-minutes remaining in the race. The teamwork and reaction time demonstrated is a glimpse into how strong the Deerfield Beach-based team will be during The 24 Hours of Le Mans this coming June.
Performance Tech has a long list of race weekends ahead of its next 24 hour race. Next up for the No. 38 Centinel Spine ORECA LMP2 is the Super Sebring event weekend featuring the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours is Sebring at Sebring International Raceway. The raceway has served as the team’s home track since its conception and is always a welcome sight on the schedule. The No. 38 returns to the track in defense of its 2019 Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring win alongside the teams two IMSA Prototype Challenge entries.
Cameron Cassels, Driver of the No. 38 Centinel Spine LMP2
“I think this weekend is a true measure of the grit of the team,” Cassels said. “No one ever gave up or threw in the towel. For whatever reason, this 24-hour seemed really tough. I thought last year with the rain would have been tougher but for whatever reason this one topped it. We had incredible competition that forced us to raise our game. Unfortunately, we had some bad luck but that’s how racing is. If you look at the driver lineups, we went in with we had a technical disadvantage having three bronzes and one silver against some pretty world-class names. We were able to go out there and hold our own as drivers and as a team which I think speaks testaments for us as a group. Everyone has to hold their head up high and move on to the next race.”
Dr. Robert Masson, Driver of the No. 38 Centinel Spine LMP2
“Everything that happened this weekend is so much into my personal lifestyle and mantra,” Dr. Masson said. “You shouldn’t ever quit. Adversity is more common in my life than not. You don’t pack up and call it because it’s tough, you overcome. I think the team did that brilliantly. I really enjoyed Don being here. He was a huge asset and fit right in from the get-go. I really think the adversity makes it more memorable. In a lot of ways, it pumped me up for the race. Sadly, we didn’t get to finish it, but we sure as hell tried. I’ve always learned ten times more from failure than success and we all learned a lot from this race.”
Kyle Masson, Driver of the No. 38 Centinel Spine LMP2
“This was a very tough race,” Masson said. “Every step, every turn there were obstacles for the team to overcome. I personally was happy with my on-track performance, but I made a pretty crucial mistake in the pit lane. For me, that overshadows the positive things I had on track because when you make a mistake as I did you let the team down. I had to get back out and, run fast laps and get back into a rhythm. That being said the team did an awesome job. They were able to get the car back out so quickly, we only lost a couple of laps. It was hard to see it end with suspension failure when everyone had put in so much work.”
Don Yount, Driver of the No. 38 Centinel Spine LMP2
“The weekend didn’t go quite as we planned,” Yount said. “What’s important is that we learned a lot about the car and how to work together as a team. The car was great, I had a blast driving it and driving alongside Robert, Kyle and Cameron. The professionalism of the team was outstanding. They never gave up even when things were grim. I want to thank Performance Tech for giving us a safe race car and for the team welcoming me.”
Source. Performance Tech Motorsports