GT Daytona McLaren 720S GT3
- Corey Fergus
- Paul Holton
C360R teammates Keegan and Rondet notch second place in GS whilst Block and Kleinubing take third in ST
AUSTIN, TX — Circuit of The Americas must now be considered one of Compass Racing’s favourite tracks after an incredible weekend that saw the squad take the top two steps of the podium in the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge Grand Sport-class as well as a third-place finish in Street Tuner.
Paul Holton qualified the No. 76 AlphaClone / AERO Paint / Pfaff Auto / Race Day Foundation McLaren 570S GT4 in pole position, with Mathew Keegan starting the No. 77 AERO Paint / Santo Mezquila / Misahara Jewelry / Race Day Foundation car from third. Holton’s effort marked the first GS-class pole for C360R.
The first stint of the two-hour race featured hard-fought battles at the front of GS with Holton and Keegan versus the strong Porsche Cayman contingent, Ford's Mustang GT4 and a new arrival from Chevrolet in its striking Camaro GT4. In ST, Roy Block made great progress in his No. 75 APR / Audi Genuine Parts & Tire Centre / Pfaff Auto / Race Day Foundation Audi S3, moving up to 10th place before pit stops were affected when a full-course caution came out just after the 45-minute mark.Whilst the C360R squad was able to gain an advantage with the Audi’s pit stop (coming out in seventh), the McLarens didn’t fare as well, hampered by their single-lug wheels and the series’ requirement of having only one crew member operate the tire guns (as opposed to two for five-lug cars like the Audi). This resulted in the No. 76 and No. 77, which had been in first and third, exiting the pits in eighth and ninth, respectively.
With Matt Plumb now behind the wheel of No. 76 and Nico Rondet at the helm of No. 77, the McLaren duo worked together to move their cars through traffic to the front. Pierre Kleinubing, at the wheel of No. 75, similarly was on a charge. Plumb made a daring moving into turn one, passing the leading Porsche and second-place Camaro, with Rondet following closely on his heels. From there it was a delicate balance to stay out front and conserve fuel to get to the end, which both drivers did with aplomb. Kleinubing, meanwhile, was embroiled in a fierce battle with a Mazda MX-5, crossing the line in third place with just inches to spare.
“You dream of having days like today, and you really have to appreciate them because they happen so infrequently,” remarked C360R Team Principal Karl Thomson. “All the pieces fell into place here; the crew did a great job with the cars and in the pits, and every single one our drivers dug super-deep. I’m really proud of everyone. Just an amazing result for all of us, and we’re grateful for all the support from McLaren, Audi and our commercial partners."The win marks the first for the new McLaren 570S GT4, which debuted earlier this year. “We’ve enjoyed being amongst the first teams to field the McLaren GT4, and the support from them has been excellent,” noted Technical Director Ray Lee. “We’ve been working as partners with their engineers here and back in Woking (England), and it’s gratifying to see the results of these efforts in just our third race together."
This is Compass Racing’s 15th win in CTSC competition, and is the second for Holton, who also won in 2015 with the team’s Audi S3. It’s Plumb’s 23rd, which brings him back into a tie with C360R alumni Billy Johnson for the most all-time wins in the series.
The race from Circuit of the Americas will be broadcast tape-delayed on FOX Sports and available to view after that on the IMSA website (http://imsa.com/). The next event on the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge schedule is Watkins Glen, NY on June 29th – July 1st.
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AERO Advanced Paint Technology™ is an environmentally sustainable paint applique that eliminates the need for harmful sprayers. AERO was initially designed for The Boeing Company as a lightweight paint film technology for the 787 Dreamliner. As such, the technology provides significant performance gains in weight reduction while enabling the finish to be a fully strippable system. AERO has proven to be successful in the motorsports industry due to the ease of install, significant weight savings, and enhanced durability. For details visit http://rethinkpaint.com.
APR, LLC. is a global leader in performance aftermarket products for Volkswagen, Audi, Porsche, and other vehicles. APR develops and manufactures hardware, software, calibration & data-logging tools for engine and transmission controllers, including intakes, exhaust systems, intercoolers, turbocharger systems, suspension, brake systems, wheels, and more. APR delivers software via a 24-hour automated global delivery system from its 78,000 square foot state of the art facility in Opelika, Alabama. For details visit http://goapr.com.
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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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The Race Day Foundation is a 501(c)(3) for-good foundation, offering children and families living with life-threatening illness a "day away" from their daily challenges. By harnessing the power of the racing and automotive communities, we are able to provide a uniquely empowering, hope-filled Race Day - a positive experience shared by patients, parents and siblings alike. Learn more at http://racedayfoundation.org.
Photo credits: Sideline Sports Photography.