DEERFIELD BEACH, Fla. --This weekend Performance Tech Motorsports will compete in the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patròn (ALMS) final race, the coveted Petit Le Mans powered by Mazda at Road Atlanta.
Performance Tech would like to step into the future with one last ALMS win. After the team's win at the Grand Prix of Baltimore they have had two consecutive fourth place finishes, making finishing on podium all the more enticing.
A podium at Road Atlanta would be the perfect way to end Performance Tech's run in ALMS. The 12-turn road course is considered world class. More than 320,000 visitors from 33 states and 18 countries come every year to see the 2.54-mile course. Drivers and fans alike admire and enjoy the energetic atmosphere that consumes the track both night and day.
Behind the wheel of the Prototype Challenge (PC) car for the 10-hour endurance test will be Charlie Shears and, Rookie of the Year contender, Tristan Nunez. The duo will split the thousand-mile contest into two shifts each. Both Shears and Nunez are prepared for the high amount of concentration and resilience it will take as they drive into the night to the checkered flag.
"It would be great to end with a win if not a podium," Nunez said. "I'm really excited to go back to Petit, I have a lot of history there. It's the first place I ever had a weekend sweep, running at the top across the board. I prefer endurance races and I think it's one of my strong suits so it'll be a fun weekend. I think it will be a nice cap to the year having just Charlie and I run the race, kind of a testament to our year together as teammates."
Team Principal Brent O'Neill is confident in both drivers' ability to produce a well-deserved win.
"We are pretty confident going into Petit," O'Neill said. "The car at VIR was really good and we had two quick guys in the car. When you are racing hard sometimes things happen. We will not change our game plan for Petit we will be aggressive right from the start. Petit is 10-hours but we will look at it as a 10-hour sprint race. Tristan and Charlie have done a great job all year long in the car for us so we're looking forward to Road Atlanta."
The end of a race season is always bitter sweet, and Shears finds himself reminiscing all while looking ahead. The teams Texan-native is thrilled to be competing in the Petit Le Mans and expects good results at their last race, but at the same time hates to see the end of the season come.
"I am extremely excited about Petit LeMans," exclaimed Shears. "A year ago I had no idea that I would be racing in the PC car, let alone the races that I have been in and to able to say that I was fortunate enough to compete in the Petit LeMans. It's been a great year, I hate to see it come to an end but what a way to end it. Tristan and I will be running the race pretty much as a two driver team, it's going to be demanding but we are ready for it. Performance Tech has given us a fast car and we both know the track well enough, I feel confident that we will have a good showing."
Petit Le Mans action will ensue on Wednesday, Oct. 16 at 1:45 p.m. ET with open testing. The green flag will drop at 10 a.m. ET on Saturday, Oct. 19. The race will be broadcast with an hour delay on Fox Sports 2 at 11 a.m. ET with an encore presentation on Fox Sports 1 Sunday, Oct. 20 at 4 p.m. ET.
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The Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Powered by Mazda drivers are coming off of a short hiatus, feeling refreshed for Road Atlanta.
The refreshed feeling may soon be replaced with a sense of urgency as the team heads into the weekend leading the Prototype Lites points championship by just one point. The team will hope to gain last minute momentum by sweeping the L1 podium with the likes of Ryan Booth, Daniel Goldburg and newcomer Matt McMurry. McMurry comes to the team from the Cooper Tires USF 2000 Series, a division of open wheel racing and rung on the ladder to IndyCar. He last drove with Performance Tech back in August at Road America. The 15-year-old has hopes to one day be the youngest driver in the 24-Hour of Le Mans, currently held by then 17-year-old Ricardo Rodriguez who moved on to drive in Formula 1. McMurry looks forward to joining the sports car community and working to achieve his ambition.
"Road Atlanta is the first place I drove a car in competition two years ago when I was 13," McMurry said. "I've raced there a number of times since in Formula Skip Barber. I can't wait to try it in a much higher downforce car. It's a downforce-friendly track. I drove the DP02 Lites car first at Road America with Performance Tech in August, and I loved the challenge of carrying more speed through the corners."
Driver Danny Mancini will also be in the hunt for a top spot on podium in the Masters Championship. Mancini won the L1 Maters Championship in Race Two at Circuit of the Americas, marking his first win of the season. He is currently running in second for the L1 Masters Class points standings.