GM Racing spotlight - Stevenson Motorsports

Stevenson Motorsports On A Roll With Pontiac GXP.R Wins at Mexico City and VIR have Stevenson in Contention Detroit, Mich., May 8, 2008 -- Stevenson Motorsport is on a roll with their new Pontiac GXP.R. Drivers Andrew Davis and Robin...

Stevenson Motorsports On A Roll With Pontiac GXP.R
Wins at Mexico City and VIR have Stevenson in Contention

Detroit, Mich., May 8, 2008 -- Stevenson Motorsport is on a roll with their new Pontiac GXP.R. Drivers Andrew Davis and Robin Liddell have posted impressive wins at Mexico City and Virginia International Raceway (VIR). The team will try to make it a hat-trick in round five of the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 to be run at Laguna Seca Raceway May 17.

A disappointing start to the season had the team from North Carolina finishing ninth at the Rolex 24 in January. Crash damage relegated the red, white and blue GXP.R to the paddock sending them down 20 laps. In the second round at Homestead-Miami Speedway a power steering seal failed and the team once again suffered a disappointing 24th place finish.

Bouncing back on the strength of quality car preparation, fast driving and excellent strategy the well rounded Stevenson team is moving up the GT points standings. Once mired toward the bottom, Liddell and Davis are now third in the points.

"There was no magic formula really," Liddell said. "I know it is cliche to say, but it really was a team effort. We had been quite competitive in the first couple of races, but you still need some luck to break through and the key factors in the last two races have been good strategy and pit work. That gives us the confidence to run to the strengths, which that strategy has brought us. By that I mean that in Mexico we knew that the fuel would be tight, but we didn't panic. We just kept in close communication with the pits-Mike (Johnson, team manager), Kyle Milaly (team engineer) and Greg Jones (data analyst) and made sure that we conserved fuel and managed a gap to the second placed car. In the last ten laps we were pushing hard but by that time we were where we needed to be, we only had to keep it neat and tidy. In VIR it was a little different, but essentially the same, as we knew we had fuel to the end and during the last caution we took over the lead whilst others were in the pits for fuel and tires. My job was just to keep my tires underneath me and survive until the end, which we did.

Liddell provides his prediction for the remaining 10 race schedule.

I would like to think that we can continue to have more success such as that which we have enjoyed in the last two races, but realistically speaking I know how tough it is to win races, so I would predict that we will continue to challenge for race wins and try to finish on the podium at each race, and hopefully at the end of the season we will be where we want to be in terms of championship points.

Andrew Davis has qualified the Stevenson GXP.R on the front row at Homestead-Miami Speedway and at Virginia International Raceway.

"The great thing about our two recent victories at Stevenson Motorsports is that the entire team can take credit for the results," Davis said. "We have proven that the combination of great race strategy, flawless pit stops, and clean driving will indeed reward us with podium finishes. Each member of this team has been working so hard to accomplish these goals. It feels great for all that work to pay off so early in the season. I have spent the last several seasons competing against the Pontiac GXP.R in the Rolex Series. Chasing the GXP.R around the track in a Porsche gives you a good idea of the strengths of the car. However, I must say that it was even more impressive once I was able to get behind the wheel. Pratt & Miller and GM have designed a phenomenal race car, and it is easy to see why the car has been so successful when you take a closer look at it. The attention to detail is amazing in regards to every aspect of the car. It is ultra adjustable, so it is possible to adapt to any type of track or condition. I find the drivability of the GXP.R, in terms of stability under heavy braking and cornering loads, to be an advantage over our competition. There is quite a bit more movement in the chassis of the Pontiac over the Porsche, but this "softness" seems to lend to a more compliant platform and ultimately more stability. Although we do not have anything for the competition in terms of straight line speed, the overall balance of the Pontiac allows us to maximize tire wear during long runs. The other cars are forced to use up their tires while trying to play catch-up nearing the end of the race."

Davis gives his prognostication on the rest of the Rolex season.

"Obviously, the confidence boost of two victories for Stevenson Motorsports is huge. One of the great things about this team is that winning has only made us hungrier for more results. Everyone is very pumped up, and eager to work even harder to remain on top. As the team continues to improve, I expect the Bryan Mark Financial Pontiac GXP.R to be up front for the remainder of the season. The latest results have breathed new life into our chase for the championship, so the focus will be to keep Stevenson Motorsports and Pontiac on the top step of that podium."

For team manager Mike Johnson he knows that the wins are combination of team and strategy with a little bit of luck thrown in for good measure.

We tried some different strategies at Mexico City and VIR which obviously paid off, but we still had a little luck in both finishes," Johnson said. "At Mexico City, we got extremely lucky when we missed the spinning Crown Royal Daytona Prototype, and at VIR we got the last yellow just when we needed it. It also helped that the faster cars struggled to catch us in traffic. I like to think we have luck and skill on our side at the moment."

"Now we are faced with the difficult challenge of maintaining this run of success. After a few wins, second place is not good enough - no matter how we get there - and it will inevitably be a disappointment. My jobs as team manager is to accept that we likely won't win next weekend, but the skill is to keep the morale of the team strong, and understand we still have a long way to go. We now feel the pressure and have to work even harder to maintain this level of performance. We are still a relatively new and young team, but we have two out of four with this new car and now third in the points, with hopefully our "bad" race out of the way. Who knows, with a little more good luck for the No. 57, and maybe some bad luck for the others, we might still have a chance at this thing."

-credit: sm/gm racing

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Robin Liddell , Andrew Davis , Mike Johnson
Teams Stevenson Motorsports