Promise Unfulfilled for Insight Racing at Watkins Glen

Promise Unfulfilled for Insight Racing at Watkins Glen

Watkins Glen, New York (3 June, 2011) Despite starting up front and running in the lead, the Continental Tire 150 at Watkins Glen didn’t produce the result that Insight Racing had been targeting in round six of the 2011 GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge championship.

A mid-race fuel strategy change cost the front-running group crucial track position as Jeff Westphal and Nico Rondet shared the No. 18 Insight Racing BMW 328i to bring home a seventh place finish.

“We had a great car. Two great drives, and the crew did a great job,” said Insight Racing Principal and Director Gil Lynagh. “The simple fact is that we had a pit stop strategy that
was based on last year’s cautions, and for some inexplicable reason during the race, we changed our strategy because we doubted a repeat of the number of cautions. But in the end, we had more than last year. We could have stuck with our original strategy and wouldn’t have had to come in for the splash and we would have been right where we should have been.”

The race got off to a promising start, as the team once again led early as Westphal converted his pole position into the point at the start before turning the car over to Rondet.

“We fared pretty well. Obviously I would have liked to lead the field longer, but we knew we didn’t have the straight line speed especially up to the bus stop so I had to do everything I could to defend,” said Westphal. “I’m glad we held them off.The car was in a good position throughout the opening stint and the car was handling well. Nico and I worked on a direction with the set up this weekend and we were on the same page, so it was great to start up front like we did.”

Returning to the fray in 29th, Rondet set about moving his way forward, setting the second-fastest lap of the race on the way back into the top-10. The strong pace and planning were looking to produce another podium run for the first year team, but a subsequent stop for fuel compromised the result as the team scored a fifth-consecutive top-10.

“I wasn’t sure where we were with the strategy but I knew we had to do a splash at the end,” said Rondet. “We had a fast car, on our own. If we had no one ahead, I could carry all the speed through the corner that the car was capable of. But, then you would catch other cars and they just don’t have the cornering speed that we do, but they have so much torque so it was very difficult to pass. There was a chance to take one more position right at the end, but it was high risk. That is not how you win a championship, and that is what we want to do, so I didn’t take the risk."

With the top-10 result, Insight Racing picked up valuable points as the team continues its quest for the championship. It also picks up yet more experience to build on in the future.

“We took the work that the crew and drivers did, and through a miscalculation on the fuel strategy, we came home in eighth," said Lynagh. "But we brought home a good car that was in good shape. The boys raced really hard and we had the second fastest lap of the race. But in ST, track position is critical, and we gave some of that up today. And because the turbo cars have so much torque, they can power out of the corners and we just cannot pass them. We are faster through every corner. It was a good race at the end with 10-12 cars together, running neck and neck, going after each other and racing clean. Today was a learning error, and we will learn from it, and not make it again."

Insight Racing returns to on-track action June 23-24 for Round 7 of the GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge. The Continental Tire 150 will air June 12 at 5:00 PM (ET) on SPEED.

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