The Continental Tyre Sports Car Challenge from Canadian Tyre Motorsports Park wrapped up on Saturday afternoon with Ford taking a memorable 1-2 in the top class, Grand Sport.
The #60 KohR/Roush Ford Mustang GT4 of Kyle Marcelli and Nate Stacy took home the win and claimed the championship lead for Roush Performance. The duo were closely followed by the #80 Ford Mustang GT4 of Brett Sandberg and Martin Barkey.
Both of the Ford Mustangs did not pit under the race’s only Full Course Yellow which came roughly 10 laps after most of the GS cars made their lone pitstop. They were some of the only leading GS cars to make the decision to stay out and gamble on fuel strategy, a gamble that ended up paying off.
The #92 Ramsey Racing Mercedes AMG GT4 lead for much of the first half of the race with Alexandre Premat at the wheel. The team also elected to not pit under the FCY but did not have the fuel milage to get to to the end, Mark Ramsey bringing the car in for a splash and dash in the race’s final ten minutes, and finishing a lowly 14th.
“My stint was quite stressful,” said Marcelli. “It was a miscommunication on the radio. When we got the full-course caution I was behind the safety car in Turn 8 and Dean Martin, our crew chief, asked me my opinion on if we should take fuel only. I was giving my answer through Turn 9 and as I released the radio button, he was yelling ‘Pit, pit, pit’ and I already missed the pit entry.
“I was kicking myself in the butt after that, and it just became a fuel conservation race for us. I just went to the fuel used page on the dash and called in the number every lap. We were basically using the gearbox to slow the car down. It paid off, we ended up saving about two and a half laps of fuel and I was able to win.”
That handed a maiden CTSC podium spot to the Winward Racing team, its #33 Mercedes AMG GT4 finishing third after Damien Faulkner made a late pass to get past the VOLT Racing Mustang which finished fourth. The #8 Multimatic Mustang finished fifth making it four Mustang GT4s in the top five.
The TCR class saw a dominant display from the #77 Compass Racing Audi RS3 LMS TCR with Tom Long and Britt Casey Jr.
Casey took the start and created a comfortable gap that was only threatened when the FCY made a brief appearance but Long was able to repeat the actions of his teammate earlier in the race and ended the race with a 13-second advantage over the #53 JDC-Miller Motorsports Audi RS3 LMS TCR.
“I’m just so proud of all the boys, that yellow was not what we were looking for but we just out our head down… Britt [Casey] did such a great job,” said Long after getting out of the car.
Rounding out the TCR podium was the #75 Compass Racing Audi RS3 LMS TCR with Roy Block and Pierre Kleinubing.
In ST it was a perfect day for the #81 Bimmerworld Racing BMW 328I with Nick Galante and Devin Jones. Jones started the car and after just 15 minutes of racing had already worked himself out to nearly a 30 second lead in the class. He held that lead all the way to the pits when Galante took over but Nick then had to deal with the full course yellow and the field being bunched up behind him.
Second in class was the #37 Mini JCW Team with Derek Jones and Nate Norenberg and finishing the race in third was the lone Porsche in the class, the #21 Bodymotion Porsche Cayman with Jason Rabe and Max Faulkner.
The Pombo brothers did not have a great afternoon, Mark stopping his Mini JCW in the final minutes after the race, while leading the class. It appeared to be an issue related to the gearbox. While his brother Mat was the race’s only full-course yellow coming just after the halfway mark after Pombo stopped his Mini JCW on the exit of Moss Corner.
The Continental Tyre Sports Car Challenge will now head to Lime Rock Park on July 20th and 21st for the next round of the championship.
Featured image courtesy of IMSA