Motorsports In Action (MIA) took to Daytona International Speedway the day before the Rolex 24 to contest the first round of the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge’s 2017 season. The four-hour BMW Endurance Challenge at Daytona launch saw MIA’s pair of McLaren 570S GT4s experience a very promising introduction to the series.
Chris Green and Jesse Lazare, both from Montreal, battled for the Grand Sport (GS) class lead in the No. 69 McLaren until contact resulted in a broken radiator, unfortunately ending their race and hopes of victory with only 30 minutes remaining. In the sister No. 68 Advanced Cardiovascular Center of Tampa Bay McLaren, Ontario’s Kenny Wilden and American teammate Rodney Randall had better luck, finishing the event in ninth.
This first event of the season marked the North American endurance racing debut for Montreal-based MIA, brought together by owner and veteran driver Eric Kerub. It was an emotional first race for the team, but undoubtedly confirmed the competitiveness of its two McLarens.
“Sure, our inexperience meant that we made a few mistakes in the pits that probably cost us a few seconds, but we challenged for the podium with both cars and that’s excellent,” said Kerub. “While the contact was unfortunate and we had to pull car (No.) 69, that’s part of racing. Jesse (Lazare) fought for it and that’s great, I'm happy that he pushed to go for the win.”
Lazare, the 2016 IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama Platinum champion, went on to further prove his capabilities in the most significant way possible when he won the Rolex 24 as part of the Alegra Motorsports lineup in the GT Daytona class.
“Overall, I’m proud of all of the drivers’ skills and I now know that we’re a team that can win,” Kerub added. “We’ll analyze all the data from Daytona and work with McLaren to do even better at the next race in Sebring.”
The BMW Endurance Challenge will be televised on FS1 this Sunday, Feb. 12 at 1:30 p.m. ET. The next round of the Continental Tire Challenge, the Sebring 120 at Sebring International Raceway, is set for March 17 as part of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh From Florida race weekend.