TrackWorthy - Michelin Pilot Challenge Daytona No. 75 McLaren GT4

McLaren and Honda win in BMW Endurance Challenge at Daytona

by TrackWorthy,

TrackWorthy - Michelin Pilot Challenge Daytona No. 75 McLaren GT4
The 2019 North American sports car racing season got underway on Friday at the four-hour BMW Endurance Challenge at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. The overall win of round one of the Michelin Pilot Challenge series went to the No. 75 Grand Sport Compass Racing McLaren GT4 driven by Canadian Kuno Wittmer and Paul Holton from Orlando, Florida.

TrackWorthy - Michelin Pilot Challenge Daytona No. 75 McLaren, No. 39, Audi, No. 99 Aston Martin, No. 69 McLaren

“The car was really, really good,” said Holton. “The boys did a really good setup mechanically on the car. The car was the easiest thing I’ve ever driven. The racing out there was extra tough. We were three-wide through the trioval, three-wide through Turn 1, three-wide through Turn 3. Really good, respectful racing, hard racing. Was some of the most fun I’ve had in a race car in a long time.”

“I think the biggest thing for us was seeing how well the car performs on Michelin tires,” said Wittmer. “Having done five years, give or take, in GTLM where we only drove Michelin tires in the past, being back on the Michelin tire, it’s almost like being back home. Everything worked perfectly well. There were no issues and no blistering, no flats, none of that. It was very comforting. A lot of confidence in the car going forward.”

TrackWorthy - Michelin Pilot Challenge Daytona Podium
Second place in Grand Sport went to the No. 99 Automatic Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT4 driven by Kris Wilson from Monument, Colorado and Gary Ferrera from Houston, Texas. The final step on the podium went to the No. 69 Motorsports In Action McLaren GT4 driven by Canadian driver Jesse Lazare from Montreal, Quebec and Columbus, Ohio native Corey Fergus.

TrackWorthy - Michelin Pilot Challenge Daytona No. 69 McLaren GT4

The win in the Touring Car class went to the No. 37 LA Honda World Racing Honda Civic TCR driven by Tom O’Gorman from Cincinnati, Ohio and Nashville native Shelby Blackstock, the son of country music star Reba McEntire.

“The hardest part was to stay out of trouble, keep your wits about you, keep the car underneath us, because these guys were racing so hard,” said O’Gorman. “It was really easy to get caught up in all of it, the GS guys and the TCR guys. If you’d have told me this yesterday that we would be standing here, I wouldn’t have believed you. We worked really hard overnight, the L.A. Honda World guys did an amazing job. The race was really challenging and we just kind of checked ourselves until the end and we found ourselves in the lead and it came to us.”

Runner up went to the No. 73 LA Honda World Racing Honda Civic TCR sister car driven by Mat Pombo from Atlanta, Georgia and Mike LaMarra from Detroit, Michigan. Third place went to the No. 23 Fast MD Racing Audi RS3 LMS TCR driven by Canadian James Vance from Toronto, Ontario, Floridian Jared Salinsky and Nick Galante from Greenfield, Massachusetts.

TrackWorthy - Michelin Pilot Challenge Daytona pre race No. 23 Audi RS3 LMS

The remaining Canadian drivers did not have as successful a race day in the large 49 car field. Scott Maxwell finished 9th overall in the Multimatic Motorsports Ford Mustang GT4. Kenny Wilden finished 11th overall in the KohR Motorsports Ford Mustang GT4. Kyle Marcelli finished 32nd overall and 27th in class in the KohR Motorsports Ford Mustang GT4 sister car. The all-Canadian driving team of Scott Hargrove and Orey Fidani finished 35th overall and 28th in class in their AWA Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport.

Round two of the Michelin Pilot Challenge ten-race series is the Alan Jay Automotive Network 120 which takes place at the Sebring International Raceway in Sebring, Florida at noon Eastern on Friday, March 15, 2019.

TrackWorthy - Michelin Pilot Challenge Daytona Audi
  • TrackWorthy - Michelin Pilot Challenge Daytona Kuno Wittmer
  • TrackWorthy - Michelin Pilot Challenge Daytona No. 5 Alfa Romeo Retirement

Photographs © Copyright 2019 Gary Maavara

Leave a Comment