In a close battle for the top spot in the Rolex Series GT point standings, Stevenson entered the Laguna Seca event just three points shy of the lead.
Monterey, Calif. – The GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series staged the penultimate round of its championship at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on Sunday, and Stevenson Motorsports targeted a run that would earn them a sixth podium of the year as the group sets its sights on the GRAND-AM championship title.
Unfortunately, despite a great effort that saw the No. 57 Chevrolet Camaro GT.R start from the pole and set the fastest lap of the race with a time of 1:28.506-seconds, the team was left looking for more when a series of unfortunate setbacks saw drivers John Edwards and Robin Liddell finish seventh. “We’ve won a lot of races this year in the pits and we didn’t do it today,” said team manager Mike Johnson.
“We had two costly errors in the pits which were not necessarily our fault or mistake, but just some big problems and kind of came out of nowhere.
Good job to Andy Lally and the No. 44 guys – their win today puts them in a pretty good spot for the final race. Lime Rock is a good track for us, so it’s definitely not over, but we’ve got to go there hoping to win and seeing if we can make anything happen.”
Edwards opened the race from the pole position and ran at the point through his entire opening stint. Stevenson Motorsports took advantage of the first full course caution to bring the No. 57 Camaro to pit lane for routine service and a driver change. But an issue with the clutch saw Liddell unable to make the launch out of the pit box and once restarted, the car had lost several positions with Liddell returning to the track fifth in line.
“Because of the issues with the clutch and then a fueling issue on the second stop, we sadly didn’t maximize the result today,” said Liddell. “It inevitably wasn’t going to be a win or a podium anyway, so coming out of here with seventh is not great, obviously—I think we might have been fourth or fifth and that’s the best we could have done, but clearly those extra few points at this point in the season could make all the difference.”
Despite the issues on pit lane, Liddell wheeled the No. 57 Camaro to the fastest race lap during the second half of the race and brought the team home a seventh place finish.
“The car was very fast as long as you drove underneath it, but it was a very fine line to drive underneath it,” said Edwards who finished second in the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge event earlier in the day. “So I think it was a struggle for Robin when he got in traffic and had to start moving his line around and adjusting for traffic.
You could see the lap times slow down quite a bit there as the tires got a little abused, but then as he got new tires and was by himself, he set the fastest lap of the race out of the whole field. It was okay for me because I was by myself, it was okay for Robin when he was by himself, but as soon as he got in traffic it was race over.
It’s about the opposite of what we really wanted for the GT race today. We lost a lot of ground in the championship to where now we need both cars ahead of us (in the championship) to have issues and finish at the back in Lime Rock. But at the end of the day, we’ve had a great season so far and we still want to go after the win at Lime Rock—a place where we’ve been strong before.”
Stevenson Motorsports now sits 13 points adrift of the leader and will battle for the championship title at Lime Rock Park in three weeks’ time as GRAND-AM stages the final race of the year September 28-29.