GT Daytona McLaren 720S GT3
- Paul Holton
Inagural SRO Winter Series event a success for new West Coast facility.
THERMAL, CA — Compass Racing concluded its 2019 season in fine form, with the team's No. 78 Richard Mille / McLaren Newport Beach 570S GT4 notching two podiums at the hands of Team Principal Karl Thomson.
SRO's Winter Series offers drivers and teams the opportunity to compete at the highly-acclaimed Thermal Club in a six-race, three-event Invitational from December through February. Limited to bronze-rated drivers, each weekend includes races for the GT Sports Club for GT2 cars, GT3 World Challenge, GT4 America and TC America classes.For most competitors, Thermal was a new experience. "As Thermal is a private members club, this is the first time on track here for a few of the drivers," noted Managing Director Jill Beck. "The events bring together regular SRO competitors with Club members in a sprint format with two 40-minute races each weekend. We've been enthusiastic supporters of the Invitational from the outset as it provides an opportunity for new drivers to try out an SRO weekend without committing to a full season, and allows us to showcase the talents of our new west coast facility, which is located in nearby Vista, CA."Thomson qualified the No. 78 in fifth place for Saturday's race, and finished in second place after a spirited battle with a number of competitors, including the Aston Martin of eventual race winner Jeff Burton, third-place Dominic Cicero's Porsche, Dimitri Novikov in his BMW, and the McLaren of Ray Shahi.
Sunday's race saw Thomson qualify third and maintain that position to the checkered flag, but not without some late-race drama as he closed on Cicero whilst Shahi pressured from behind."What a fantastic event!," enthused Thomson. "We've been to Thermal for McLaren's Pure events in the past, but having not raced here, I'm pleased to say it really is a fabulous track. The facility is world-class, and the configuration we used this weekend produced some really exciting racing. The GT2 and GT3 traffic made it all the more interesting."Newly-announced Manager of West Coast Operations, Adam Cox, was equally effusive. "This really was the perfect way to launch Compass Racing's Vista shop. Two trips to the podium, with the McLaren performing flawlessly. It's such a great car, and we are looking forward to not only the next Winter Series event, but to the entire 2020 SRO GT4 America season."The team's California and Toronto squads now earn a well-deserved break ahead of what promises to be a busy 2020, which kicks off at Thermal Jan 15-17.