Continental Tire Challenge Completes Test at Daytona
Wednesday, December 6, 2017

It was a mix of familiar faces and newcomers on Wednesday at the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge December test at Daytona International Speedway.

The single-day test offered an opportunity for GS and TCR teams to experiment ahead of January’s Roar Before the Rolex 24 weekend and season-opening BMW Endurance Challenge at Daytona.

On hand was 2017 GS class champion Dillon Machavern, co-driver of the No. 18 YouRulz/Friction-One Porsche Cayman GT4 MR for RS1. At this time last year, Machavern and RS1 were preparing to compete in their first year of GS competition, but after a stellar championship-winning season – which included one win and three additional podium finishes – the team returns to Daytona in sync.

“Soaking in the championship probably lasted a couple days and we were right back to figuring out what we were doing for the season,” said Machavern. “I think everybody deserved a break after working so hard last year. It was really nice to get to relax, but I’m excited to be back with the RS1 guys.

“It’s definitely great for everybody to be on the same page. We’re all coming back as a cohesive unit knowing what’s going on, which is pretty awesome, whereas last year, although RS1 had been ST champions, stepping up to GS was a big change for everybody. It was definitely a learning curve at every racetrack we showed up to. Coming back with some data and knowledge of what we’re getting into is extremely helpful.”

One of the series’ new teams facing that learning curve in 2018 will be Winward Racing/HTP Motorsport. Team Manager Grant Barclay is confident that his lineup – with former CJ Wilson Racing co-drivers Damien Faulkner and Russell Ward – and the team’s experience with the new Mercedes-AMG GT4 in other series can combat potential issues.

“I think it’s going to give us, I wouldn’t say huge advantage, but it should equalize a lot of stuff for us,” said Barclay. “For Russell in 2017, most of the tracks were the first time he had ever been there, with an exception of some of the west coast events. We’ve seen a huge improvement for him as he goes back to a track, learning to become familiar with it. He and Damien work great as a partnership, and Damien is such a great coach and an awesome driver to boot.

““Winward was contracted with HTP to provide support, transport, crew, and as much effort as we could, so we just wanted to do a good job for the AMG guys… If I had to summarize the test today, it went really well. Anytime you load the car under its own power at the end of the day’s testing is a good day.”

A wealth of TCR cars also took to the track for the first time under an IMSA-sanctioned event. After moving up its ST program to the TCR ranks, C360R brought two Audi RS3 LMS cars to test at Daytona. Shortly, additional driver lineup information will be available for C360R, which also plans to compete in GS.

The test also featured single-car efforts from Alfa Romeo and Volkswagen.

The Continental Tire Challenge returns to competition at the Roar Before the Rolex 24 test weekend on Jan. 5-7, 2018. The first race of the season, the four-hour BMW Endurance Challenge at Daytona, is scheduled for Jan. 26. Tickets for both events are available at