6thGear Racing made its first visit to Mid Ohio Sports Car Course August 7-8 weekend, running once again with the big-budget teams in the IMSA Patron GT3 Challenge. 6thGear's ItalForm Porsche posted the 5th fastest time in early practice before...
6thGear Racing made its first visit to Mid Ohio Sports Car Course August 7-8 weekend, running once again with the big-budget teams in the IMSA Patron GT3 Challenge.
6thGear's ItalForm Porsche posted the 5th fastest time in early practice before tagging the wall in a spin.b^0x001cThat set us behind in finding the setup for this track," according to driver Marco Cirone of Toronto.
Qualifying for the weekend's first race -- round 9 of the GT3 Challenge - saw a number of competitors moving forward in speed. Coming off repairs and hung up in traffic, Marco was unable to get a clean lap, and the team would grid 10th for Saturday's race.
"I used too much tire for qualifying," explains Marco. "I did the entire qualifying session trying to find a clean lap, and never found it. I knew that would put me in trouble in the ensuing race, because in this series, you're required to start on the tires you've qualified with."
Though Marco would set 4th-fastest lap in the race, a spate of caution periods impeded opportunities to move up the order. Ultimately, the well-used Yokohama tires gave up in the race's latter half, and a late-race trip through the grass saw the team salvage 8th in-class.
Sunday's race 10 provided a grippy new set of Yokohama ADVAN ENV-R1's, and a 2nd-row start thanks to the previous race's fast-lap performance. Marco held off a challenge from AASCO Motorsports' Amedeo Quiros, but ultimately lost his position at the end of the straight. "Quiros' car looked really dialled in," reports Cirone. "You could tell we were still a bit behind on the setup for this weekend." Despite losing the jump on a re-start to Chris Cumming's World Speed Motorsports entry, the 6thGear Porsche would ultimately finish 5th overall, thanks to an off-course excursion by Alex Job Racing's Michael Schein.
Marco sums up the experience: "Mid Ohio's a beautiful track, I love this track. I was hoping we'd do better, but we just didn't have the track time to find a setup. Of course, we also don't have much of a testing budget."
The team heads to Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin next week for IMSA's visit to Road America, home of the continent's longest straightaway. "I haven't been to Road America," admits Marco, "so I'm going early to get some seat time and a bit of coaching. With a field this competitive, you can't afford not to."
"This series is so competitive, it's practically a miracle that we've been able to do this well on such a small budget. Our performance in New Jersey is my proudest achievement in racing, ever, even though we've won in other series. The quality of competition here is so great. Hopefully next year we'll afford to compete again next year."
-source: 6thGear racing