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- Corey Fergus
- Paul Holton
New TCR-specification platform has strong showing in Pirelli World Challenge Touring Car season opener
DANVILLE, VA — The Pirelli World Challenge Touring Car Championship launched its season at Virginia International Raceway this past weekend, marking a return to the picturesque southern track, which was last on the calendar in 2010. The series' top class, TC, welcomed a number of new cars for the first time. Most notable of these was the new Audi RS 3 LMS, which is the German manufacturer’s offering in the increasingly popular TCR series that compete around the globe. Modified slightly from its TCR spec to match the performance of the TC-class, it cuts quite a figure, with its body-arch extensions reminiscent of DTM prototypes.
Toronto-based Pfaff Automotive Partners were one of the first to order one of these new cars, and partnered with C360R / Compass Racing to run the car in PWC. Long-time C360R hot shoe Paul Holton was engaged for driving duties, after having been invited by Audi to be their pilot for the series-sanctioned Balance-of-Performance test at VIR in March.
“We got the Pfaff car about six weeks back, and immediately went testing,” noted Holton. “The RS 3 LMS was solid out of the box, and we learned a bunch prior to the first race at VIR.”
That comfort with the platform clearly showed, with Paul qualifying second and winning the first race, on Saturday, in the No. 71 Pfaff Auto / AlphaClone / Audi Genuine Parts & Tire Center / AERO Paint / APR / Race Day Foundation car.
“That race was not without its challenges,” chuckled Holton. “The car in TCR spec runs with its windows up, and I elected not to use a cool suit. That was a mistake, as I got overheated and then when the race was red-flagged, the car joined me.”
Team Principal Karl Thomson noted, “When we were ready to go back to green, I knew Paul was feeling pretty rough. So I told him, ‘You’ve got ten minutes to battle this out, and you can win it.’ And that he did, making a nice, clean pass for the lead on the second-last lap, and making it stick to the checkered flag.”Starting on outside pole again for race two, on Sunday (and with a cool suit fitted), Holton was in contention for the lead throughout the race, but was unable to attempt another late-race move as the race finished under yellow. He netted second.
“What a great debut for our new car!” enthused Steve Bortolotti, Motorsports Director at Pfaff. “Paul and the guys at Compass Racing did an incredible job, and we’re looking forward to a great championship fight.” Holton leaves VIR tied for first with C360R alumni Greg Leifooghe, who pilots a BMW M235iR for Cameron Motorsports.
We couldn’t be happier with the result at VIR,” remarked Senior Manager of Motorsport & Customer Racing Tristan Herbert. “Adding this new RS 3 LMS to our Customer Racing portfolio has allowed us to reach new customers and welcome them to the Audi family. Winning in our first race is a significant milestone.
”The races from VIR will be broadcast tape-delayed on CBS Sports and available to view after that on the World Challenge website.
The next event on the PWC TC schedule is at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park on May 19th – 21st. As Pfaff and Compass Racing’s home race, one would expect them to pull out all the stops to win in front of the local fans. Tickets are available at https://canadiantiremotorsportpark.com.———————
Photo Credits: Halston Pitman / MotorSport Media
About Pfaff Automotive Partners
Pfaff Automotive Partners, a leading Canadian automotive retailer, was founded in 1964. Its brand offering includes Volkswagen, Toyota, Audi, BMW, Porsche, McLaren, Singer Vehicle Design, Pagani, Harley-Davidson, Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, and Mazda automobiles and motorcycles. It has a 50-plus-year racing history across many forms of motorsport. The company also operates Pfaff Tuning, Pfaff Leasing, and Pfaff Autoworks. For more information, please visit http://pfaffauto.com.
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Photo credits: Halston Pitman / MotorSports Media