Sep 25

VISIT FLORIDA Racing scores emotional win at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca

Edwards, Tomczyk Take “Spin and Win” Victory for BMW at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca

The infamous ‘Corkscrew’ at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca has seen its share of iconic passes over the years, but the winning pass in Sunday’s IMSA Weather Tech SportsCar Championship race definitely made the list.

Renger van der Zande – competing for the VISIT FLORIDA Racing team that had its Daytona Beach, Florida, race shop and equipment damaged in Hurricane Irma just 14 days ago – made the bold move with three laps remaining. After slowly reeling in Dane Cameron over the final 20 minutes of the two-hour, 40-minute AMERICA’S TIRE 250, van der Zande charged from nearly five car lengths back, outbraking the race leader with three laps remaining and completing the winning pass by the exit of the corner.

Van der Zande went on to win by 2.248 seconds in the No. 90 Ligier LM P2 started by co-driver Marc Goossens. It was the first win of the season for VISIT FLORIDA Racing, and the first WeatherTech Championship win for an LM P2 prototype.

The complete article here on IMSA.com

source: IMSA.com


VISIT FLORIDA Racing Wins Again in Monterey

Daring pass in closing laps to secure team’s third victory at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca

– Third victory for VISIT FLORIDA Racing at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca (2012, 2015, 2017)
– Third consecutive podium finish at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for the team
– Both Renger van der Zande and Marc Goossens scored their first victories at the track after having each finished second in previous events
– First North American Victory for Ligier JS P217

With a clever strategy, outstanding teamwork, and some bold moves from drivers Marc Goossens and Renger van der Zande, VISIT FLORIDA Racing scored a dramatic victory in the closing moments of the America’s Tire 250 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on Sunday.

The team, which had to deal with flooding and the effects of Hurricane Irma last week, rallied to be ready for the race weekend, which marked the penultimate race of the 2017 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season.

The victory is the third at the track for the team having won in 2012 and 2015 in a Daytona Prototype, and marks the third consecutive podium result at the 2.238-mile circuit for VISIT FLORIDA Racing. It was also the second podium of the season for the team, which opened the year with a run to third place in the Rolex 24 At Daytona.

Goossens opened up the 2 hour and 40 minute race from third on the grid and kept the No. 90 VISIT FLORIDA Racing Ligier JS P217 at the sharp end of the field. He worked his way up to the race lead prior to pitting at the 44 minute mark for a full service pit stop and a driver change.

After a flawless pit stop, van der Zande returned to the track fourth in the order. He showed speed as he began catching the top-three cars. At the half-way point of the race, the team called van der Zande to pit lane for fuel and tires.

A key call from the VISIT FLORIDA Racing strategists, saw van der Zande pit for the final time with 44 minutes to go – taking on fuel and only right side Continental tires. The call to take just the right side tires saw the No. 90 VISIT FLORIDA Racing Ligier JS P217 leapfrog up to second in line as van der Zande chased down the race leader.

Clicking off faster times than the leading No. 31 DPi, van der Zande closed the gap with each lap. With minutes left, van der Zande made an incredible pass through the iconic Corkscrew corner that features a 180 foot elevation drop to take the race lead. He never looked back for the final three laps and delivered VISIT FLORIDA Racing its first victory of the 2017 season.

“After Road America we knew we were right up to pace,” said van der Zande. “We only put on two tires at the last stop and then it was just holding onto the tires. Even with two tires compared to the others with four new tires – I was able to stay close to them. I’m just super happy for the whole team. For Marc (Goossens) we’ve been working hard to get this. That pass – that was a lot of fun!”

“What a move!” enthused Goossens following the race. “That’s what it takes to win and Renger (van der Zande) just did it. It was a great job!”

After scurrying to have the car ready for the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca round following the flooding at the team’s shop last week, the victory is a special one for the entire VISIT FLORIDA squad.

“The whole team deserves this – we’ve just kept pushing as a group and a family,” added Goossens. “It’s a great team. With everything everyone went through, this win couldn’t have come at a better time. We’ve been fighting all year and to finally show up on the podium with a victory is awesome.”

Team Owner Troy Flis was thrilled with his team’s performance and credited the organization’s partners with the victory.

“We’re winning races and it’s great to be a part of,” beamed Flis from Victory Lane. “We love Laguna – we knew this was going to be our best shot to win. We usually have pretty good success here and our set up is pretty good. We knew we had the best team and the best guys. It was a big challenge to get a P2 car to win overall and I have to give it to these guys. They did a hell of a job. Onroak, Ligier, my team, they’ve all worked their butts off this year, they needed this. This was a great outcome for us today – thank you to VISIT FLORIDA and all of our partners. The entire state of Florida is working hard after the hurricane under the leadership of Governor Rick Scott, and it is so important that we let everyone know Florida is open for business. Come visit!”

The victory was the first of the season for a non-DPi configuration Prototype entry as the Daytona Beach-based team earned the first North American victory for the Ligier JS P217 LMP2 chassis. The achievement was all the more remarkable given that the  team only took delivery of the car in August and had only one race worth of experience with the Ligier package ahead of the Monterey weekend.

VISIT FLORIDA Racing will return for the season-finale of the 2017 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in two weeks at Road Atlanta for the 10-hour Petit Le Mans.

source: VISIT FLORIDA Racing News, sundaymanagement.com


Mustang Sampling Racing Fights to Fifth in Monterey 

The No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R of Christian Fittipaldi and Joao Barbosa finished a frustrated fifth at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on Sunday. The duo ran in podium position from the drop of the green flag until late in the race, but had their champagne ambitions thwarted by a tangle with traffic in the closing laps to fall to fifth at the finish.

Fittipaldi started the race from the front row and slotted into second at the start, working to conserve both fuel and tires on the notoriously low-grip circuit. The race ran at a flat out pace under green flag conditions as Fittipaldi turned the Cadillac over to Barbosa on lap 29 and the team delivered a quick stop for full service.

Barbosa ran in second for the first 20 laps of his stint until stopping on lap 58 for a second set of Continental tires and a full load of fuel.

A lap 61 yellow flag saw the field bunched for the safety car period as Barbosa restarted from third on lap 65. A final fast pit stop on lap 81 saw the Portuguese racer return to the fray in third for the closing segment of the race. The duo were looking to score a breakthrough podium at the track as Barbosa ran solidly in third place in the closing moments of the race. Unfortunately for the championship duo, late race traffic conspired to cost the racers track position as they crossed the line in fifth at the finish.

“It was a tough race,” Barbosa said. “With a couple laps to go I thought I made a safe pass up into the kink into the Corkscrew, but I got hit in the right rear. That threw me off a little bit and then I got passed by two other prototypes. It is disappointing because we lost some points today. We have one more to go and try to win at Road Atlanta but this was a frustrating way to end the day.”

“The car was good for the beginning of my stint,” Fittipaldi said. “Up until the middle of my run it started to get too loose. We were holding our own. We were moving between second and third the whole race. Unfortunately Joao (Barbosa) got caught out in traffic and lost a few positions at the end. We will move onto Petit in two weeks.”

The 2014 and 2015 IMSA Champions will look to close the 2017 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship ‘season off on a high note in two weeks time with a winning outing in the Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta on October 7.

source: Mustang Sampling Racing News, sundaymanagement.com


Edwards, Tomczyk Take “Spin and Win” Victory for BMW at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca

Danny Sullivan became famous for his “spin and win” victory over Mario Andretti in the 1985 Indianapolis 500.

Sullivan now makes his home on the Monterey Peninsula, just a few miles away from Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, where John Edwards did his best Sullivan impression in Sunday’s AMERICA’S TIRE 250, spinning on the opening lap and then going on to win the two-hour and 40-minute IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GT Le Mans (GTLM) race in the No. 24 BMW Team RLL BMW M6 GTLM alongside co-driver Martin Tomczyk.

Edwards dropped all the way to last in the 33-car field after spinning in – appropriately – the Andretti Hairpin (Turn 2) just seconds after the green flag dropped on the race. It took him only eight laps to work his way back through the entire GT Daytona (GTD) field.

The complete article here on IMSA.com

source: IMSA.com


Ninth Place Finish for Change Racing at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca

The Change Racing team looked to continue its winning momentum in Round 11 of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on Sunday, but a return to the IMSA podium was thwarted following an unlucky yellow flag midway through the race and the team settled for a ninth-place result.

A cloudless California sky warmed up the track just in time for the start of the two-hour and 40-minute event. Starting from the outside of the third row proved to be extra complicated as a gaggle of cars bunched into Turn 1 in an attempt to avoid a beached GTLM car at the apex. Looking to avoid the bottleneck of slowed cars, Lewis ran wide and by doing so lost positions. Once through the start, Lewis drove a clean opening stint and held eighth before turning the car over to Mul.

The team made the call for a unique pit stop strategy which included a short stint to begin with. The strategy proved to be the right one after assuming the lead 45 minutes into the race, until an untimely full course caution on lap 61 threw that plan for a loop.

“All weekend both guys have been the same pace so we knew it was going to be an aggressive strategy and we needed green flag conditions,” said Benton. “We didn’t need the caution to fall the way that it did. Up until the caution the strategy was working out exactly the way that we needed it to. We had about a 30-second lead at one point, but unfortunately, it just didn’t work out for us.”

Mul highlighted the race by leading the GTD field for 20 laps despite experiencing a lack of grip as the elevated track temperature accelerated the tire degradation. Mul drove to a ninth place finish after making a charge to the checkered to gain as many positions back as possible.

“We tried something different with the strategy and it looked like it was going to work,” said Mul. “Then the yellow threw some dust in that plan. For me it’s very satisfying to see and feel that we do have the pace and have the capability to produce a podium result. Big thanks to the team for not quitting throughout the entire weekend and giving us the best car that we could have had.”

Lewis, who had the difficult task to conserve fuel and tires while keeping the charging competition behind, managed well and was pleased with the team effort through the weekend.

“I had a really good pace in the opening stint and we were looking good,” Lewis said. “The strategy that we had, had the potential to give us another podium result. Unfortunately, during my middle stint, the rears just fell off and I lost a bunch of grip. I tried everything I could to try and save fuel and keep (Jeroen) Bleekemolen behind me. Now we will regroup for the finale at Atlanta. I can’t thank everyone from the Change Racing organization and everyone that supports us enough.”

The final race of the season will be at Road Atlanta on October 4-7 for the 10-hour Petit Le Mans event.

Lamborghini Super Trofeo  

The Lamborghini Super Trofeo North American series concluded at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca with the second race of the weekend on Sunday.

Unfortunately, Richard Antinucci’s luck did not turn around for the second round of racing. After replacing the ECU following Saturday’s race, Antinucci experienced similar issues in the initial stages of Race 2 on Sunday and forced him to retire from on lap three. Antinucci finished his season second in the provisional championship standings.

Following Bryce Miller’s second place result on Saturday, the Californian looked to close out the season on a high note. With the sun providing for the warmest day of the weekend, Miller was focused on maintaining a smooth pace which ultimately aided him to lead the ProAm field for several laps. Unfortunately, Miller was just short of a podium result, closing out the 50-minute event in fourth. Miller’s season-long performance placed him third in the provisional Lamborghini Super Trofeo North American championship.

“I was able to put together some consistent laps after the start and was able to pull a gap,” said Miller. “Unfortunately, something about the seating position for me being a tall guy pinched my piriformis nerve and I slowly felt my leg start to go numb. I couldn’t really feel my brake pressure and made a mistake in my second stint that cost us a podium today. It’s been a great learning season and a great comeback from so many years out of the game. I really can’t thank the Change Racing guys enough for having so much faith in me and coaching me along the way.”

source: Change Racing News, sundaymanagement.com