GT Daytona McLaren 720S GT3
- Paul Holton
- Matt Plumb
The closest drivers’ championship battle in the Continental Tire Challenge entering Friday’s race was that in the TCR category. Compass Racing’s Tom Long and Britt Casey Jr. in the No. 77 Audi RS3 LMS were ready to defend their five-point margin against teammates Rodrigo Sales and Kuno Wittmer in the No. 74.
And it was shaping up to be a tantalizing battle, as the No. 74 had mechanical issues during Thursday’s qualifying, which meant the team would have to climb from last to the front of the field for a shot at the title.
However about 40 minutes into the race, the No. 74 machine got away from its driver, Sales, and went into the Turn 6 wall. The car was done for the day and the No. 77 secured the championship by 13 points, 318-305.
“It’s an incredible day, being so close to winning the Continental Tire championship before, this is it,” said Long, who made his 100th Continental Tire Challenge start at Road Atlanta. “It’s a big day for not only for Britt Casey, Jr. and I, but obviously for Continental and the ST class as it’s the class I started in. Our Audi RS3 LMS TCR car has just been incredible all season. I can’t thank Compass Racing enough for the excitement that they brought us this year. I couldn’t be prouder of the program.”
The No. 77 went on to finish third behind polesitters Tom O’Gorman and Kenton Koch in the No. 12 eEuroparts.com Racing Audi. This was the second victory for the duo that joined the TCR field midway through the season and it came on the heels of O’Gorman’s fifth consecutive Motul Pole Award.