Strong start for Stevenson Motorsports at Sebring

Matt Bell and Andy Lally posted the fourth quickest time of the session with a lap time of 2:16.616-seconds. Andrew Davis and a co-driver Robin Liddell will start just behind in fifth.

Stevenson Motorsports got off to a strong start in the team’s IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge debut at Sebring International Raceway during Thursday’s 15-minute qualifying session at the fabled road course.

Matt Bell, who shares the No. 9 Camaro Z/28.R with Andy Lally, will start the 2.5-hour Sebring 200 from outside the second row after posting the fourth quickest time of the session with a lap time of 2:16.616-seconds.

#9 Stevenson Motorsports Camaro Z/28.R: Matt Bell, Andy Lally
#9 Stevenson Motorsports Camaro Z/28.R: Matt Bell, Andy Lally

Photo by: Eric Gilbert

“Our strategy was to do a pretty short run in qualifying,” said Bell of the session. “We have to use the same tires for the start of the race that we use in qualifying. For these tires on this track, they are probably already well degraded with this heat cycle on them. The Camaro is great. We haven't had too much time just tuning. We're still developing the car for the most part. We still have a lot of stuff that we're just checking off the list as far as getting it all to work as we expect it to work. The last couple sessions are the only time we've spent hunting down performance. But every time we make a change the car is better so that's the direction you want to go. We're in a great place for the race. As long as we keep it clean, we're in a great place both cars.”

Teammate Andrew Davis will start just behind in fifth having wheeled the No. 6 Camaro Z/28.R to a quick time of 2:16.628-seconds. Davis will open the race before handing the Camaro machine over to co-driver Robin Liddell.

“It was a good run!” said an enthused Davis. “Every time we've taken the car out, we've made it go faster, making improvements. We’re really trying to focus on having the No. 6 Stevenson Camaro good on the long runs. It's easy to try to attack the one-lap run but because the tire degradation is so severe here at Sebring, we really have to think long term. So we're trying to get the balance to where we can run all the way through the stint and have a good car at the end of the race. We may end up with a car that isn't ideal, it might not be the fastest on a single lap but we know that it's for the greater good and will be consistent for the long run. We're making good progress and I'm loving being back with Stevenson Motorsports and driving the Z/28.R.”

Stevenson Motorsports debuted the new Camaro Z/28.R at Daytona and will look to build momentum as the team continues to learn the intracracies of the new machinery with the team targeting two positive results in the second round of the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge championship.

“There's a new rule that started at Daytona in the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge Series that the cars must start the race on their qualifying tires,” said Team Manager Mike Johnson. “What we've found all through testing and all through practice, is that almost every car has had a pretty similar, huge downgrade in tire performance after the first few laps. We're finding a two to three second change in our lap times over the course of 10 laps. We felt we had times for both Camaros that would keep us in the top-five and that's what we needed. Some of the other cars ran a few more laps and we'll see where they go off in race conditions.”

Stevenson Motorsports

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About this article
Series IMSA
Article type Qualifying report
Tags andrew davis, andy lally, matt bell, robin liddell, sebring 200, stevenson motorsports

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