IMSA News And Notes: Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca

Please see attached News And Notes, below is a text-only version.

TUDOR United SportsCar Championship

Next Race: Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix powered by Mazda

The Place: Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca

The Date: Sunday, May 3

The Time: 4:05 p.m. (ET)

TV: FOX Sports 1, 4 p.m. (ET)

Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge

Next Race: Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix powered by Mazda

The Place: Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca

The Date: Saturday, May 2

The Time: 4 p.m. (ET)

TV: (live), 4 p.m. (ET); FOX Sports 1, May 17 at 9 a.m. (ET)

TUDOR Championship Classes Combined At Mazda Raceway

All four TUDOR United SportsCar Championship classes will race together at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for this weekend’s Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix powered by Mazda.
Unlike last year’s event, which had a pair of two-hour races for the two prototype and GT classes, the two-hour, 40-minute race on Sunday at 4 p.m. ET combines the four classes – Prototype (P), Prototype Challenge (PC), GT Le Mans (GTLM) and GT Daytona (GTD).
This will be the TUDOR Championship’s second visit to California over a three-weekend span. The recent Tequila Patrón Sports Car Showcase at Long Beach highlighted the P and GTLM classes in a 100-minute race.

Sacramento’s Pruett, Hand To Co-Drive In Home Race

Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates features a pair of Sacramento-area drivers, Scott Pruett and Joey Hand, in the No. 01 Ford EcoBoost/Riley.
Pruett, who hails from Auburn, California and recently turned 55, is a 10-time champion and leads all drivers with 59 major sports car victories. He also is an award-winning wine maker; Wine Spectator recently scored his Syrah at 96 – the highest-rated Syrah in the nation. Pruett personally operates and oversees the winery, Pruett Vineyards in Auburn. Pruett finished third in last year’s race at Mazda Raceway, co-driving with Memo Rojas.
Hand, who makes his home in the California capital city, joined Pruett in winning the 2011 Rolex 24 At Daytona (one of Pruett’s five overall victories in the event). Hand comes to the team after being the lone American driver to compete in the German DTM championship. Pruett and Hand are coming off their best finish of the season, taking second at Long Beach, and are third in the Prototype point standings.

Hometown Hero: Jonathan Bomarito, a native of Monterey, joins Tristan Nunez in the No. 70 Mazda Prototype, powered by a SKYACTIV Diesel engine. The team’s No. 07 entry features Joel Miller of Hesperia, California, co-driving with Tom Long. Bomarito had his best finish of the season – eighth – at Long Beach.

Brotherly Love: Ricky and Jordan Taylor dominated the race at Long Beach in the No. 10 Konica Minolta Corvette DP owned by their father, Wayne Taylor. Ricky won the TOTAL Pole Award and joined his brother in leading all but two laps in the 100-minute event.

Cameron’s Firsts at Home Track: Dane Cameron, a native of Glen Ellen, California, has recorded two major career firsts at Mazda Raceway. He won his first TUDOR Championship race at the circuit in 2014, winning the GTD class for Turner Motorsport en route to capturing the GTD championship.
He also scored his first GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series victory there in 2012, winning the GT class for Team Sahlen. Cameron will be looking for his first Prototype triumph this weekend, joining Eric Curran in the No. 31 Whelen Engineering/Team Fox Corvette DP.

Threes Are Wild: The No. 90 Corvette DP team comes to Mazda Raceway with three consecutive third-place finishes for Michael Valiante and Richard Westbrook at Daytona, Sebring and Long Beach.

Risi Competizione Ferrari Back-To-Back Winner Of DEKRA Green Challenge

The No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari F458 Italia of Giancarlo Fisichella and Pierre Kaffer take a pair of streaks into the Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix powered by Mazda. The team finished second in the GTLM class at both Sebring and Long Beach, while winning the DEKRA Green Challenge Award at both races.
The DEKRA Green Challenge Award is presented to the most environmentally clean, fast and efficient GTLM competitor at each TUDOR Championship race. The DEKRA Green Challenge award is determined through Green Racing protocols established by the United States Department of Energy (DOE), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) International as part of an overarching strategic alliance with IMSA.
The Green Challenge scores are calculated each lap of the race from “clean, fast and efficient” data provided by the timing and scoring system plus the observed energy consumption – or fuel used – of each car’s pit refueling tank sensors.
“The DEKRA Green Challenge Award is all about efficiency with the pit stops, fuel consumption and the amount of time you’re in the pits,” said Risi team manager David Sims. “Basically, if you spend a lot of time in the pits, you’re never ever going to win the award. Your stops have to be fast and quick, so the less time you spend with every pit stop, the better it is. It’s down to the crew and the engineering on the fuel consumption, as well. They have a meter on the fuel tanks and it registers how much you put in and how much fuel you use during the event.”

After 14 Different Pole Winners, Is It Time For The First Repeat In GTLM?

Bill Auberlen captured the pole for the recent Tequila Patrón Sports Car Showcase at Long Beach, keeping alive a streak of 14 different pole winners since the class debuted at the 2014 Rolex 24 At Daytona.
Auberlen won the pole in the No. 25 IHG Rewards Club BMW Z4 GTLM, and then joined Dirk Werner in giving BMW Team RLL its first TUDOR Championship victory, ending a winless streak for the team dating back to mid-2013 when it raced in the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón.
GTLM drivers entered in Sunday’s race yet to win a pole are Corvette Racing’s Tommy Milner; Team Falken Tire’s Bryan Sellers and Wolf Henzler; BMW Team RLL’s Lucas Luhr; and Porsche North America’s Patrick Pilet and Joerg Bergmeister.
Defending Winners Have Points Lead: Corvette Racing’s Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen opened up the season with back-to-back victories in the No. 3 Corvette C7.R. A year ago, the pair won at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca as part of a four-race winning streak. Garcia and Magnussen maintained a 10-point lead in the GTLM standings following a third-place finish at Long Beach. Class winners Auberlen and Werner are second in the points (103-93), while Ferrari drivers Giancarlo Fisichella and Pierre Kaffer are third with 89 points.

TUDOR Championship, Etc.

Porsche Driver Doing Double Duty: Michael Christensen is set for a busy weekend, entered in both of the Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSRs. The Danish driver will team with Pilet in the No. 911 entry, and will partner with Bergmeister in the No. 912. Pilet gave the team its best finish this season at Long Beach, placing fourth with Frederic Makowiecki.

Top of the Charts: Luhr is the leading sports car winner at Mazda Raceway, winning seven races in three ALMS classes. He won in GT in 2002 and 2003; P2 in 2005 and 2006, and P1 in 2008, 2012 and 2013. Luhr now shares the No. 24 IHG Rewards Club BMW Z4 GTLM with John Edwards – a three-time Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge winner at the circuit.

Still Perfect: Joao Barbosa and Christian Fittipaldi hold a three-point lead atop the Prototype point standings in defense of the title they won in 2014. The drivers of the Action Express Racing No. 5 Mustang Sampling Corvette DP have completed every possible lap since the TUDOR Championship debuted in 2014, logging 20,569 miles.

Bay Area’s Guasch Seeks Third Straight Prototype Challenge Victory

Mike Guasch quickly shook off any rust that accumulated after a year’s sabbatical from racing. The businessman/driver from Pleasant Hill, California opened up the season with back-to-back Prototype Challenge (PC) victories in the Florida endurance classics at Daytona and Sebring.
Guasch returns to his home track with the PC points lead, joining Tom Kimber-Smith in the No. 52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports ORECA FLM09.
“Molecule Mike” took a hiatus from racing to concentrate on business after winning the 2013 ALMS PC title. He owns a specialty chemical manufacturer company, Molecule Labs. In the past, he built a national brand of protective chemicals for the outdoor market, which he sold to DuPont in 2005.
Guasch and Kimber-Smith enter Sunday’s race with a six-point lead (72-66) over defending PC champs Jon Bennett and Colin Braun, who opened the year with a pair of runner-up finishes in the No. 54 CORE autosport ORECA FLM09.

Starworks Defends Victory: Renger van der Zande and Mirco Schultis scored their first career PC victories at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. They went on to win three races for Starworks Motorsport, with van der Zande finishing second in the final point standings.
The pair return in the No. 8 Starworks ORECA FLM09, carrying the classic Martini livery.

Vegas Drivers Seek Jackpot: Todd Slusher and John Falb will be testing their skill at Mazda Raceway, with the Las Vegas duo making their TUDOR Championship debut in the No. 16 BAR1 Motorsports Suite ORECA FLM09.
Falb is the reigning Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Powered by Mazda Lites 1 Masters champion. The ONE Motorsports teammates finishing 1-2 in Lites 2 in the series’ most recent race at NOLA Motorsports Park.

2014 Pole Winner Returns: Bruno Junqueira claimed three TOTAL Pole Awards in PC last season, including setting fast time at Mazda Raceway. He returns in the No. 11 RSR Racing AutoMaxUSA ORECA FLM09, co-driving with Chris Cumming.

CJ Wilson Racing Set For Grand Sport Debut

C.J. Wilson is expected to visit Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on Friday – the same day that the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim lefty is scheduled to take to the mound against the San Francisco Giants. CJ Wilson Racing will compete in the Grand Sport (GS) class for the first time this weekend.
Marc Miller and Tyler McQuarrie will drive the Fantasy Garage/Alpinestars Porsche 911 carrying No. 33 – Wilson’s jersey number. The pair raced a No. 3 Mazda MX-5 in the Street Tuner (ST) class for the team in the past, with McQuarrie finishing second in ST at Mazda Raceway in 2014. Chad McCumbee and Stevan McAleer will continue to drive the No. 5 Modspace Mazda in ST this weekend. They finished third at Mazda Raceway in 2014.
“This partnership is the first stage in an exciting new phase for the team,” Wilson said. “Discussions with a number of potential customers have led us to look at a wider number of competition options and we feel there are a several exciting areas for expansion.”

Tight Battles In GS, ST Point Standings

There’s no margin for error atop both the GS and ST standings entering Saturday’s event at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
Sebring winners Andrew Davis and Robin Liddell hold a two-point lead in GS over Daytona winners Matt and Hugh Plumb, 67-65. Davis and Liddell pilot the No. 6 Stevenson Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro Z/28.R, while the Plumb brothers are in the No. 13 Rum Bum Racing Porsche 911.
Third in GS – another three points back – are Lawson Aschenbach and Matt Bell, who have a pair of podiums in the No. 9 Stevenson Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro Z/28.R.
ST is even closer, where Greg Liefooghe and Eric Zimmerman lead David Murry and Ted Giovanis by one point, 63-62. Liefooghe and Zimmerman won at Sebring in the No. 83 Porsche Cayman to give Next Level European its first victory. After a career-best third at Daytona in the No. 64 Team MGM BMW 328i, Giovanis did even better at Sebring, joining Murry in finishing second.

Carbonell A Three-Time Winner At Mazda Raceway

Andrew Carbonell definitely knows his way around Mazda Raceway. The driver of the No. 26 Freedom Autosport Mazda MX-5 has won three times in the past four years, including the last two. He has podium finishes in all five of his races at the circuit, finishing second in 2012 and third in 2009.
Carbonell will co-drive with USMC Staff Sgt. Liam Dwyer, who made his series debut last year at Mazda Raceway. The pair have top-10 finishes at Daytona and Sebring and are sixth in the ST points.

Continental Tire Challenge, Etc.

The MINI John Cooper Works team will have three new drivers. Indy Lights driver Zack Meyer joins Remo Ruscitti in the No. 37 MINI John Cooper Works, while Wei Lu and Glenn Nixon pilot the No. 52. Ruscitti finished 18th in the team’s debut at Sebring.
Defending GS champion Trent Hindman won last year’s race from the pole for Fall-Line Motorsports. He returns with Ashley Freiberg in the No. 46 BMW M3.

IMSA Contact:

Nate Siebens



Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca Contact:
David Hart

Mazda Raceway NN_2015.pdf

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