VIR: SAMAX Motorsport race report

SAMAX Motorsport collected a top-five GT finish in the Rolex Sports Car Series race at Virginia International Raceway. Ian James had a fast start in the No. 17 SAMAX Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car, moving from third to second at the green flag. He held...

SAMAX Motorsport collected a top-five GT finish in the Rolex Sports Car Series race at Virginia International Raceway. Ian James had a fast start in the No. 17 SAMAX Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car, moving from third to second at the green flag. He held second until he pitted for a driver change to Rob Bell, who returned to the track third in class. He took the class lead about halfway through the two-hour 45-minute race, but dropped back to third as he tried to balance the car. A late fuel stop left the pair fifth.

Their teammates Greg Wilkins and Dave Lacey weren't as fortunate in the No. 71 SAMAX/ Doncaster Racing Porsche. Wilkins started 14th in class and moved up to 10th, despite losing a lap during the first caution because of his position relative to the safety car. Dave Lacey drove the second stint, holding 10th place until he was bumped into another car, cracking the right-front radiator. The crew replaced the radiator, but a coolant leak was still evident, so the car was retired 28 minutes before the race finish.

Rob Bell (No. 17): "There was a lot of dust on the track and the track was pretty 'green'. I knew it was going to be hard work, so I just settled down and got on it. I made good progress, got up through the field, but as the field stretched out, I started to struggle to get the balance of the car right. We pitted again at the end and got new tires and I caught up. I felt like I could do something! I went for a move and went off onto the dirt. I tried it -- and I would probably do the same again."

Ian James (No. 17): "First race with SAMAX this weekend, I was thrown into the deep end a little bit. I think we got the car a lot better than it's been so far this year and we were truly competitive. We ran second for most of the first couple of hours of the race. We threw the dice a little bit on strategy and dropped back to fifth, but we caught back up at the end and Rob was having a go. Overall, it was a fun weekend."

Greg Wilkins (No. 71): "I got by a couple of guys at the start and then passed a couple more, then I got passed by one of the Corvettes. I think overall in the lap I was quicker, but he had more horsepower on the straightaway, so I couldn't take advantage of where I was quicker. On balance, the car was really good and the crew did a great job trying to get the rad back together after it got knocked. Dave got bumped into another car and it was just enough to break a little plastic piece on the rad. That was the end of it. It's very disappointing."

-samax-

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Ian James , Rob Bell , Dave Lacey , Greg Wilkins