GTWC America Acura NSX GT3 Evo
- Matt McMurry
- Rodrigo Sales
- Michael Di Meo
- Ashton Harrison
- Mario Farnbacher
Braselton, GA – Ever since Kyle Gimple and his co-driver Paul Holton debuted Compass Racing's No. 75 AERO Advanced Paint Technology/Children’s Tumor Foundation Audi S3 at Sebring International Raceway in Round Two of the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge, the group has continued to improve the car throughout the season.
That relentless hard work paid off on Friday as Holton and Gimple broke through for the squad’s first victory of the year at Road Atlanta. Gimple, who won the season-finale race last year driving Compass Racing's Honda Civic Si, showed his prowess behind the wheel in what were some treacherous rain conditions to take the checkered flag first, over 13 seconds ahead of the ST class field.
“This Audi S3 and its Quattro system makes it easy to drive in the rain,” said Gimple. “This win was important for the team. We needed the boost and the morale for the team at the end of the season. We’ve come so far from where we started with this car. It feels so good to be back in Victory Lane here at Road Atlanta. We’ll go into the off season and do some testing and come back fighting at Daytona. It feels really good.”
Prior to the race weekend, Gimple had been hoping for a rain-filled race and his wishes were granted.
The race opened on a damp track so the Compass squad opted to start the race on the slick Continental Tires. Qualifying had been rained out so the grid was set by championship points which meant that Holton would line up 13th on the grid.
In an impressive opening lap, Holton leapt from 13th to fifth in the order and climbed his way up to second as rain began to fall harder. He pitted for fuel, tires and a driver change from the second place position just over an hour into the race.
The pit stop took place under green flag conditions, but a full course yellow flew shortly thereafter. Following the yellow, Gimple restarted sixth in line and made it look easy as he manevered his way all the way up to the race lead.
Gimple took control of the field and had extended his gap to over 13 seconds when another full course was displayed with 30 minutes to go. Despite having lost the leading advantage over second place, Gimple never looked back once the race went back to green for the final time. He once again grew the gap to over 13 seconds and dominated the closing laps to bring home the victory.
“The most difficult part of the race was deciding whether we were going to stay on the slicks that we started on or if we were going to switch to rains,” said Gimple. “We watched the weather and saw the rain coming in and switched to wets when I got in the car. I just made my own pace and about 10-15 minutes into my stint, they told me I was P1. So I just kept the pace going.”
Holton and Gimple will celebrate with the Compass Racing team at the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge Championship Banquet held at Chateau Élan Winery & Resort Friday evening.
(Thanks to Sunday Group Management.)