Insight Racing Scores Debut Podium with No. 18 at VIR

Insight Racing Scores Debut Podium with No. 18 at VIR

Feast and Famine for Insight as No. 19 Not as Lucky

Attached photo: Insight Racing drivers Nico Rondet and Tyler McQuarrie (r) enjoy the post-race celebrations at VIR

ALTON, Va., 14 May – Only some 135 days after starting as Insight Racing, the team earned their first podium result by finishing in second place at the GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge Bosch Engineering 200 on Saturday.

The No. 18 Insight Racing BMW 328i finished a whisker-thin 0.621 seconds behind the race winner in the ST Class at the conclusion of a thrilling late race battle. With driver Nico Rondet behind the wheel, after Tyler McQuarrie handled the starting duty, the Insight Racing machine battled the defending race-winner No. 75 Honda Civic Si for the point, trading the lead on each one of the final seven laps, including multiple lead changes during one lap on a couple of occasions.

While good fortune swung the way of the ST class No.18, the GS Class No. 19 BMW M3 was much less lucky for the second race in a row. This time it was Paul Gerrard, taking the opening stint, who suffered a harsh blow at he hands of another car that suffered a brake failure at the end of the fast, front straight and collected the front end of the M3 in the process. Realizing heavy damage to the right front suspension, Gerrard was forced to retire immediately, never giving co-driver Martin Jensen a chance to get in on the race.

For the No. 18 car; however, there was a real feeling of jubilation, even if the result was just one spot shy of the real goal.

“It was awesome. The battle with Eversley was always clean. We didn’t have the straight line speed to fight with him, but we have a great handling car. We’re finally close to what we are here to do,” said Rondet cheerfully.

Starting from 10th after traffic thwarted an optimum qualifying run, McQuarrie worked his way through the usual early race fender banging to halve his deficit to the lead. On lap 16, McQuarrie pitted, handing the reigns to Rondet, who reemerged 20th in class.

“The Insight car was super, super fast. Passing here early in the race is really tricky, so I just wanted to give Nico a clean car,” said a visibly pleased McQuarrie. “All-in-all, to finish second in our fourth race – I’m ecstatic. Winning would have been good, but right now, second feels pretty good too.”

Unfortunately, the caution period that gave McQuarrie the opportunity to pit was the same one that was caused by his teammate Gerrard’s mishap. Until that point in the race, Gerrard was also making steady progress through the GS class field. Opting against pitting during the race’s first caution period, Gerrard was likewise advancing through the field from his 20th starting position. By lap 17 when the incident occurred, Gerrard had climbed to 11th place.

“I was really happy with the way the race was going. The starts are always nuts, so I was taking it easy trying to keep it clean and have the race come to us. We were able to run consistent lap times and soon I was able to pick up my pace and began to click off positions. I was just waiting for the next yellow to pit and hand the car over to Martin. Next thing I know, this car is cutting across my bow and clipped the right front end. It’s incredible that it’s a similar circumstance to what ended our race at Barber (Motorsports Park) so we are feeling a little victimized right now,” said Gerrard. “It’s disappointing because the team, as always, has done a fantastic job and they deserve more than this.”

Meanwhile, Rondet, reaped the rewards of a shrewd pit strategy from the Insight Racing engineering staff as he relished a significant move up in track position. When the race restarted on lap 33, following another brief caution, Rondet was in third position. Yet another caution period was signaled on lap 43, and when it was time to go green again, all eyes were on the team as Rondet was on point.

It was then that the very entertaining battle with Eversley’s Honda ensued. The pair would swap positions continuously since Rondet had the advantage through the corners while Eversley was faster on the straights.

Rondet led a final time on lap 53 before Eversley seized the advantage for good. Rondet never gave up, but would fall short by less than a tick of the clock at the finish line.

“Today was feast and famine,” commented team Principal and Director Gilbert Lynagh. “This is the realization of our potential. Obviously we still have some frustrations on the GS side, but this is a good, solid result. So we’ll celebrate tonight, but then get back to work tomorrow.”

The next stop for Insight Racing is the Memorial Day classic at Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, Connecticut on May 27-28. The Bosch Engineering 200 airs on May 22nd at 1:00 PM EDT on SPEED.

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