IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge teams had a short day at Daytona International Speedway Sunday (Jan. 24) with just one 75-minute test session before teams packed up. Wright Motorsports’ Jan Heylen was fastest with a lap at 111.835 mph.
Heylen’s lap was four-hundredths of a second faster than Stephen Cameron Racing’s Greg Liefooghe. Murillo Racing’s Eric Foss was third quickest, then Archangel Motorsports’ Trent Hindman. Turner Motorsport’s Dillon Machavern was fifth in his BMW.
For the week, the lap turned in by Spencer Pumpelly Friday morning in the first session at 112.293 mph ended up as the fastest lap of the weekend in his Porsche Cayman GT4 MR. This is notable because BGB Motorsports is retiring their Cayman after next weekend’s race.
The fastest drivers in Grand Sport this weekend are not really surprising in any way. They are all veterans of sports car racing and Michelin Pilot Challenge in particular. In addition to Pumpelly and Heylen, you have Liefooghe, Foss, Hindman, Bill Auberlen, Chad McCumbee and Mike Skeen in the top eight for the weekend.
In TCR, Atlanta Speedwerks’ Ryan Eversley turned in the fastest lap of the weekend to top the final session at 106.974 mph. This was the only TCR lap of the weekend completed in under two minutes.
Eversley’s lap was a full second faster than LA Honda World Racing’s Mat Pombo. Rory van der Steur was third in his Veloster N TCR, then Copeland Motorsports’ Mason Filippi in fourth. Victor Gonzalez Jr. was fifth.
During the final session, there was one red flag that was triggered when Gonzalez ran into trouble in West Bend. That ended his session with just a few minutes to go. Chuck Cassaro, driving the KohR Motorsports No. 59, ran into problems in turn 6 as well. This did not trigger a stoppage.
Overall, Eversley’s lap was the fastest of the weekend in TCR. Others that showed good speed were Roadshagger Racing’s Jon Morley and Gavin Ernstone (defending winners at Daytona from last year), both Tim Lewis Jr. and Roy Block from KMW Motorsports with TMR Engineering, Mike LaMarra from LA Honda World Racing and van der Steur.
Last year, the Hyundais dominated much of the season. So far, the Hyundais really haven’t shown all that much. Van der Steur, who has the fastest Hyundai driver all weekend, has very little experience in the series, having just debuted towards the end of last season. Bryan Herta Autosport is trying to develop the new Hyundai Elantra N TCR, which didn’t seem to be on pace.
It won’t be long before Michelin Pilot Challenge teams are back on-track in Daytona. The first official practice session of the 2021 season is scheduled for Wednesday afternoon for Friday’s BMW Endurance Challenge at Daytona.
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