September 30, 2023

Toyota and Hattori Motorsports take first MPC win at CTMP; Audi storms back to win in TCR

The No. 50 Hattori Motorsports Toyota GR Supra GT4 was awarded overall and Grand Sport (GS) class victory in Saturday’s IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge race, the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park 120, when the No. 95 Turner Motorsport BMW M4 GT4 (G82) received a few penalties after the post-race technical inspection.

BMW with No. 95 was found to have a refueling time that was shorter than the minimum weight limit and also below the minimum weight limit. The penalties moved the car to the back of the 24-car GS finishing order and propelled the No. 50 Hattori Motorsports Toyota co-driven by Parker Thompson and Billy Johnson to race victory. It marks the first Michelin Pilot Challenge triumph for Toyota and made Hattori Motorsports a winner in its series debut. It is also Thompson’s first series win and Johnson’s 24th, making him the winningest driver in Michelin Pilot Challenge history.

During the race, the No. 95 BMW, with drivers Robert Megennis and Cameron Lawrence, executed a one-stop strategy to cross the finish line 27.234 seconds ahead of the No. 50 Toyota which started the two-hour race from pole position . With the penalties imposed, the No. 71 Rebel Rock Racing Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R shared by Frank DePew and Robin Liddell moves into second place in the preliminary results, with the No. 19 van der Steur Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT4 and co-drivers Rory van der Steur and Austin McCusker finished third.

The GS class returns to action on August 6 at the Road America 120 at Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.

Jake Galstad/Lumen

No. 17 Audi charges back to win TCR

In his mid-20s, Mikey Taylor was unsure if he could backtrack and win the Touring Car (TCR) portion of Saturday’s race. But reluctant strategy combined with a bumpy pass for the lead on the penultimate lap took Taylor and co-driver Chris Miller to victory in the No. 17 Unitronic/JDC-Miller MotorSports Audi RS3 LMS TCR.

Miller started from pole in the No. 17 and led most of his stint, with Harry Gottsacker in the No. 33 Bryan Herta Autosport with Curb-Agajanian Hyundai Elantra N TCR hot on his heels throughout. Gottsacker pitted from second position with 1 hour and 7 minutes left to hand over the No. 33 Hyundai to Robert Wickens – the latter looking to take a second win in a row at his home circuit.

Miller retired five minutes later, but Taylor was staring 20 seconds behind as he returned to the track in the No. 17 Audi. From there, the South African made a calculated comeback as Wickens tried to save fuel in a gamble to reach the finish.

“The team was just telling me what numbers to hit and what to do, and we were closing those guys,” said Taylor. “Saving fuel, going fast, it’s a bit of balancing. It was just a management game the whole race.”

The leaders were running nose to tail late until Taylor dove into Wickens at Moss Corner with less than two minutes to go. The cars made contact, forcing Wickens wide and allowing Taylor to take the lead. Sensing damage to his Hyundai, Wickens made another pit stop for a splash of fuel and a quick check of the car. He returned almost a lap down, but still came home second, to the sister No. 98 Hyundai shared by Mark Wilkins and Mason Filippi.

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“There was a little bit of contact, but we both saved fuel and he saved a little bit more than me,” explained Taylor. “I went in and he turned around and I was there. That’s racing.”

Wickens said his car was challenging to drive on top of the need to save fuel.

“That was the only pace I had and I knew he was catching me,” he said. “My only plan was hopefully to have enough tire left to run at the end. Unfortunately he hit me in (Turn) 5B to take the lead and then we had to go into the next lap. It is what it is.”

The win was the first for Miller and Taylor since Lime Rock Park last season and the first in the updated version of the Audi RS3 LMS.

“Every race we learn more about this new Audi,” said Miller, “and the team has done a great job to keep developing it and getting better with our pit stops. I think we are in top form now for the rest of the season .”

Despite losing the win, Wickens and Gottsacker unofficially took the lead in the TCR class after five races by 20 points over Wilkins and Filippi and 30 over Miller and Taylor.

“Unfortunately it didn’t work out for us today, but it’s coming,” said Gottsacker. “It’s good points for us, but we really want that win.”

The Lime Rock Park 100, a TCR-only race at the Connecticut road course, is scheduled for Saturday, July 22.


Story originally appeared on Racer

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