BOWMANVILLE, Ontario, Canada, July 9 -The Bodymotion Racing No. 12 Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport of Cameron Cassels and Trent Hindman ended up right where it started, fourth in Grand Sport and fourth overall, after two hours and 30 minutes of competition in the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge (ICTSC) race at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (CTMP) Saturday afternoon. The entry has never been out of the top five, as it was coming off three consecutive victories in its first three races of the year.
Cassels, a rookie from Coldstream, British Columbia, Canada who was making his first start at this very fast and very challenging 10-turn, 2.459-mile road course, got a lap down 41 minutes into the race but still retained fourth. Hindman, of Wayside, N.J., got in at about the 48-minute mark and was able to make that lap up by lap 56 with about 1 hour remaining, but a drive-through penalty for a rules violations during a pit stop put the car back a lap down to the leader. With a fourth-place finish secure, Cassels returned to the cockpit for the finish to see the checkered flag and collect the points.
Nothing ever ceases to amaze me more than the emotional rollercoaster that is motorsport.
Sometimes, it’s not just day by day or even session to session. Occasionally I find that perspective and attitude can change all within one lap, and that could be the difference between a win, podium, or even finishing a race.
This past weekend at Watkins Glen International was one such weekend, and I’ll be brutally honest here, it was a rollercoaster straight from the start.
The whole Prestige Performance/Wayne Taylor Racing squad was more than ready to get back at it after just about nine weeks off.
Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca was the first-ever race in the Blancpain Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America Championship for Craig and me, so we were certainly hungry to improve upon some excellent results that we had achieved in the beginning of May.
We both knew that we still had much to learn about the car, and that was our main focus throughout practice.
Unfortunately, there were some fairly lengthy red flags in practice for incidents (which if I’ve heard correctly, all drivers involved were ok) and that really took away from the amount of time we had to set a number and see where the cards fell for us.
At that point, all we could do was focus on building solid balance and making sure we had a car that could run the entire 50-minute race without experiencing any large scale tire degradation; luckily it wasn’t too difficult because of the beautiful new surface at Watkins Glen.
We maintained the same plan as we did at Mazda Raceway. I would qualify and start Race One and finish Race Two.
Qualifying was off to a great start as my teammate Shinya and I battled for pole position, but fortunately the No. 10 Prestige Performance/WTR Lamborghini came out on top!
Craig was in the very same position for the second qualifier, as he continued to find lap time and ultimately put us on the inside of row two for race two.
Race 1 was off to a great start as we took the lead coming out of Turn 1, pulling a little bit of a gap, and maintained that gap for my stint in the car.
The main goal as a starting driver is to go fast, but also preserve the equipment for the finishing stint… a skill I was very fortunate to learn during the 2014 CTSC season with Fall-Line Motorsports and John Edwards.
The Prestige crew executed an excellent driver change and then Craig was off to chase the leaders down. He put together a very solid and consistent race, where we finished 2nd overall and won the Pro-Am class; exactly where we left off at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
Unfortunately Race 2 wouldn’t be so nice to us. Early on, just after the drop of the green flag, Craig had reported a soft brake pedal that continued to get worse.
Somehow he hung on to the thing for about four laps until it was time to pit and do our driver change.
As I was getting into the car, he had warned me that something was very wrong and please be careful… I more or less said “to hell with it” and pushed hard straight out of pit lane until, of course, it was time to slow down for the bus stop.
The brake pedal went straight to the floor and never came back. It wasn’t necessarily the worst spot to have this sort of problem, as it is fairly safe to go straight on at the bus stop and make it around turn five without any issues.
At that point I knew that there wasn’t a chance that I could race with that issue unless we could do a quick repair to the car on pit lane, which was not possible as it turned out.
I was fairly bummed that we had this problem, as Craig would have surely been chasing the leaders closely during his stint, giving us the opportunity to fight for the overall victory. Either way, it’s just a part of racing and we will move on.
With that said, a massive congratulations to Shinya and his double win weekend and a huge thank you as well to the entire Prestige Performance/WTR squad for their effort up to, and throughout the weekend.
It is no coincidence that hard work and long hours by everybody results in luck.
So, to round this whole thing up, I call racing an emotional rollercoaster because you can and will experience the extreme highs to the devastating lows all within one day.
For example, this weekend was the second of five total IMSA events where I was, and will be, running back and forth between two cars, two teams, and two championships.
The GS race on Saturday was the third win of the year for Cameron Cassels, Bodymotion Racing, the Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport, and myself.
It was only a matter of about two hours between the time we were standing in victory lane with our Porsche to the time I was bringing our Huracan LP620-2 Super Trofeo back to the Prestige trailer with 30 minutes still left to go in the race and no brakes.
That’s the way she goes sometimes…
Thanks for reading, and I’ll be back online with you all again after Road America!
OCEAN TOWNSHIP, N.J., July 5, 2016 – Bodymotion Racing is thrilled that it enters Saturday’s IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge (ICTSC) race at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (CTMP) in Bowmanville, Ontario as the winner of the series’ last three races, including last Saturday’s race at Watkins Glen International in Watkins Glen, N.Y.
“This will be my first time here. We are eager to take in some of the sights in the area. I do have a niece and nephew near Bowmanville.”
Three months ago I was completely convinced that I would be a spectator for this season, and now I have just had the opportunity to partake in the busiest weekend of car racing ever in my career.
Pre-race weekend prep for me does not change entirely too much when running two different championships.
A bit more time studying data and video is absolutely necessary, but aside from that it’s business as usual.
The real fun started when the Thursday test day came around, where it was four practice sessions total – two for Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge and two for Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo North America.
Schedules were tight and I was constantly worried about having enough time to properly debrief with one team then run over to the other and have enough time to cover our plan for the next practice.
Needless to say I was thrilled that I was getting to drive both a Lamborghini Huracan Super Trofeo and a Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport, but I was most definitely worn out at the end of the day!
The whole crew at Prestige Performance/Wayne Taylor Racing along with the Bodymotion/Cassels Racing team really did their best to accommodate my tight schedule and I really can’t thank either group enough for that!
Qualifying day was much less hectic and I was happy to have some time to review data, video, and even do some driver change practice with my co-drivers in both championships.
Huge shoutout to Craig Duerson and Cameron Cassels for putting up with my constant disappearance from one camp to the other.
In recent times, qualifying day for Continental Tire Challenge has been a day where I don’t drive at all, but a huge positive of running two championships is the simple fact of more seat time.
Fortunately and unfortunately, the first 15 minute qualifier for Super Trofeo Race one was cut short by a red flag about six minutes into the session.
Luckily we were the first car out of pit lane at the start of the session, and that above all else is what gave me the opportunity to have one clear lap to put it on the pole.
Both Super Trofeo races were just one big learning experience for Craig and me. The structure of the series along with the pit lane/drive time rules are very new to both of us, and really we just wanted to keep the car in one piece while we both continue this learning process.
Race 1 was off to a great start and we were able to hold the lead overall throughout my short stint in the car.
Craig hopped in at about the 25-minute mark and had an excellent drive to bring us home 4th overall, 2nd in class – a fantastic way to kick off our season.
Race 2 was definitely a bit more nerve racking for both of us. Craig had qualified 4th in class, 10th overall and had moved up to 8th by the time he came in for our driver change.
Unfortunately we had lost a bit of time on pit lane and that had put us quite a way back from the leaders.
I had no idea at that time, so I just tried my best to do what I always do; put together a smooth, clean stint and drive like hell!
The radio was mostly silent for my stint until it was looking like we really had a shot at catching and passing the leader of the Pro-Am class before the end of the race.
We made the move for the lead with about 5 minutes remaining and we never looked back. That secured the first Super Trofeo win for Craig and me, along with a solid 3rd place finish overall… not bad for a bunch of rookies!
A massive thank you to the entire Lamborghini Paramus/Prestige Performance/Wayne Taylor Racing Team (boy, that’s a lot) for their weeks of hard work in preparing the cars and giving us two seriously great cars for race day.
One pole position, a second place in class, a win in class with an overall podium, and not to mention a second GS win in a row really made this a weekend to remember.
It was a great feeling hopping on the long flight back to New Jersey knowing that all of the hard work and preparation had paid off in a big way this time, but as soon as that flight landed it was back to work figuring out how we will go about achieving these results again.