Gilbert/Korthoff Motorsports made its on track debut in IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship competition on Thursday, qualifying 12th in challenging conditions for Friday’s WeatherTech 240 at Watkins Glen International.
Guy Cosmo and Shane Lewis share the No. 32 Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo, which took to the track for the first time in sanctioned competition on Thursday as the team launched its IMSA program with a select 2021 schedule in preparation for a full-season campaign in 2022.
“We’re a brand new team and our main goal is to get the bugs worked out and develop as a group,” Cosmo explained. “Thursday was the first time we even put up our awning. Thursday’s focus was getting through tech inspection, which we managed with only very minor changes. That took a lot of time, though. We didn’t have time to properly set up our pit, and then we had to get the crew ready for our opening practice.”
Having only recently acquired the brand new car, the team had a chance to do a shake down test with one session at Watkins Glen ahead of the event weekend.
Opening practice was held in steady rain, leading to standing water and treacherous track conditions. Cosmo opted to take the new car out for only two slow laps, and then had to pit while the team addressed a radiator issue.
Under IMSA’s unique qualifying system for the GT Daytona class, Lewis participated in the opening 15-minute session on a wet but drying track early Thursday evening to determine the starting position.
Lewis quickly posted the third-best time, 2:07.928-seconds. He then improved on each lap, winding up with a 2:04.610-second lap, but fell to 12th on the starting grid. He ran on rain tires, but the track dried out enough to make that the slower of the options.
Cosmo then took to the track for the second 15-minute session, which awarded Sprint Cup points. This event – which replaced the cancelled race scheduled for Canadian Tire Motorsport Park – does not count for full-season points.
Cosmo elected to do only one fast lap in the second session, coming in 11th in GTD with a lap of 2:20.045-seconds, scrubbing in a set of slick tires for tomorrow’s event.
“Today’s biggest takeaway is we’ve really focused on learning everything we can about this team, so we will be ready to go our next time out,” Cosmo said. “Everything we’ve done so far is for IMSA compliance; we haven’t begun to fine tune the car. This weekend is a great opportunity to learn how to approach our remaining events this season.”
The WeatherTech Championship competitors have only one session at The Glen on Friday – the WeatherTech 240 race, a two-hour, 40-minute event set to take the green flag at 6:10 p.m.
Source. Sunday Group