Era Motorsport is two for two in their debut IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season. The LMP2 racing team earned a second podium finish of the year at the Cadillac Grand Prix of Sebring with drivers Kyle Tilley and Dwight Merriman in the No. 18 Oreca.
“I’m happy to get another podium with the team,” said Tilley. “The Era Motorsport guys worked wonders with the car this weekend. Most impressive of all was Dwight’s opening stint, hounding his much more experienced rivals. It bodes well for the rest of the year! We learned a lot this weekend and can’t wait for Road America!”
The weekend got off to an interesting start after lightning and heavy storms pushed the first practice back to the evening hours. The field ran in damp conditions, with the LMP2 class turning their first laps of official sessions since January’s Rolex 24 at Daytona. Due to COVID restrictions, the sanctioning body condensed the IMSA WeatherTech event into two days, reserving the second day for the final practice, qualifying, and the race.
Clutch issues plagued the No. 18 Oreca during the final practice session, forcing the team to extract and repair the gearbox before qualifying. Dwight Merriman started the race in fourth, and drove a perfectly clean stint to maintain position on a notoriously demanding circuit. While other competitors suffered mechanical issues or were the victims of contact, Merriman stayed clear and competitive, completing his stint in fourth place.
Tilley took over the driving just past the hour mark, fighting a battle with the #38 of Kyle Masson that would last for the next 90 minutes. The two traded positions, but speed and pit stop strategy by Era Motorsport brought the advantage, as the team crossed the finish line in fourth place. A drive time infraction by the class winner means that unofficially, the No. 18 Era Motorsport Oreca finished in third place, a strong result for the championship points battle.
It’s great to race again after a long break,” said Merriman. “The team was great and I’m looking forward to coming back in November.”
Round three of the LMP2 championship will be held at Road America Road Course August 1-2.
Source. KBru Communications