IMSA reaches Weathertech Raceway Laguna Seca

Tuesday, October 27, 2020


This week sees both the IMSA Weathertech Sportscar Championship and its supporting Michelin Pilot Challenge move across the USA from Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta on the east to the infamous Weathertech Raceway Laguna Seca on the west for their respective penultimate rounds of the 2020 season.

This race comes just two weeks after the Championship’s blue ribband Petit Le Mans fixture at Road Atlanta where the Heart of Racing Aston Martin Racing V8 Vantage GTD suffered an undeserved DNF after eventual unrepairable and ending accident damage was sustained during the night having ran at times within the top five in class with a crew of Roman de Angelis, Ian James and Darren Turner and despite starting from last at the beginning of the ten hour event.

De Angelis was also part of the #159 Silver Cup Garage 59 effort at the Total 24 Hours of Spa last weekend, where that car suffered a similar fate during the night having ran in equal or greater heights within their class there.

For this penultimate round of the 2020 season, the #23 car will be back done to the now usual crew of just De Angelis and James for this 140 minute race as part of a smaller grid of just twenty eight cars. Having skipped the first two rounds after lockdown, the team are sadly not in any Championship contention.

Joining them at the Californian track is again the Michelin Pilot Challenge which this weekend will feature just the two Aston Martin Racing Vantage GT4 cars from the Kohr Motorsport and Archangel Motorsports teams. Both Automatic Racing AMR Vantage GT4 crews have elected not to travel and compete at this event.

Having stepped into the #7 for very much the first time at Road Atlanta, drivers Alan Brynjolfsson and Trent Hindman certainly threatened to ‘upset the apple cart’ after their mid-season swap from the Porsche to the Aston except for a catastrophic misjudgement (his words) from gentleman driver Brynjolfsson going under the bridge for only about the seventh time saw the bright yellow AMR slew out and impact heavily into the tyre guarded parapet and into instant retirement.

Thankfully, Brynjolfsson was able to remove himself from his stricken new machine, admit to the errors of his ways and move onto this week’s affairs at Laguna Seca. If Road Atlanta was anything to go by – the #7 will be quick again this weekend!!

That leaves just the MPC Championship title contending #60 car of both Nate Stacey and Kyle Marcelli in the fray with the Archangel prepared #7 car after the #60 crew suffered, what was for them a disappointing result at the end of that two hours of racing. Having started down in P4, the Brynjolfsson incident lost AMR Academy Driver Stacey a lot of track time under Caution and another caution period soon after forced the team to pit him early at only his minimum limit of his drive time requirement rather than closer to the race’s half way mark.

At the end, Marcelli could do no more than return the #60 car home in P6 but the good news for them came from their main Championship rivals falling foul of their own driver minimum drive time during the mid-race caution periods and retired themselves before race officials could delete them from the results.

Results from that round increased the points gap between the #60 crew to the #39 Carbahn Audi GT4 crew to the twenty points it is now going into the preliminaries of Laguna Seca. With the third placed Mercedes AMG GT4 crew still in a position to overlap the two teams above at the final two rounds of the season should events and misfortune go in their favour – it is all too close to call either way.

The start of the Michelin Pilot Challenge race will be at 18:35hrs local on Saturday with the IMSA Weathertech Sportscar Championship starting at 16:05hrs local on Sunday. The circuit is minus 7 hours GMT.

Photo credits - IMSA / Archangel / Kohr / CSJ Motorsport
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