Forty7 Motorsport’s Austin McCusker and Rodrigo Pflucker won Saturday’s three-hour IMSA Prototype Challenge round at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park. The Norma took the lead halfway through the race to secure the team’s first win of the year and extended their championship-lead with only two races to go.
Rodrigo Pflucker had qualified the team’s Norma M30 third yet dropped back to fourth during the opening laps at the Canadian venue behind a fast-starting Garett Grist, Stevan Mcaleer and Dakota Dickerson. Pflucker remained within touching distance throughout his 75-minute stint before handing over to McCusker on lap 52.
Helped by a rapid pitstop, the New York native set out in second, intent on closing the gap to the cars in front. Within a few laps, it became apparent that McCusker had a pace advantage over Leo Lamelas who had taken over the ANSA Motorsport Ligier JSP3 from Neil Alberico. A handful of fastest laps later McCusker made the move, made it stick and found a free track to exploit his pace.
From there on McCusker was never challenged and, helped again by the Forty7 Motorsports pit crew during the second pitstop, pulled away from the chasing pack. This was eventually led by the dicing Archinaco/Huffaker PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports Ligier and the Andrews/Kraut driven JDC MotorSports Norma and although similar on ultimate pace, the chasing cars were not able to close the gap. In fact, the fight for second was only settled on the final lap as McCusker, after three hours of racing, took the chequered flag, sixteen seconds clear. It is the largest margin of victory this season.
The best-placed Bronze-only driver lineup of Michal Chlumecky and last year’s MPC class champion Jon Brownson finished ninth in their Ansa Motorsports Ligier.
After the race, an elated McCusker found himself finally heading to the winner’s circle: “I’ve got to thank everyone at Forty7 Motorsports for being spot on all weekend, we really rolled off with a great setup.
“Rodrigo put in a good first stint, then the guys were flawless on the pit stops. I had good pace during my first stint so the team kept me in for the final stint to take home the win by 16 seconds. We extended our points lead, which was our main goal of the weekend, but I’m happy to finally get our first win of the season.”
The next, penultimate, race of the IMSA Prototype Challenge takes place at Virginia International Raceway on the 25th of August.
Current points table
1 AUSTIN MCCUSKER 127 points
1 RODRIGO PFLUCKER 127
2 NEIL ALBERICO 114
2 LEO LAMELAS 114
3 BRUCE HAMILTON 94
3 TONIS KASEMETS 94
4 DYLAN MURRY 89
5 STEVAN MCALEER 86