No. 555 AIM Autosport Ferrari 458 Italia finishes 13th at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park
A strong opening stint by Bill Sweedler in the no. 555 AIM Autosport Ferrari 458 Italia in AIM Autosport's home race went unrewarded after an incident removed the car from contention in Sunday's Mobil 1 Sportscar Grand Prix at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park in Bowmanville, Ontario.
With AIM Autosport located only an hour from CTMP, a large contingent of family, friends, and VIP's attended Sunday's round of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship. That crowd was able to cheer on a strong start from Sweedler, who advanced several positions after taking the green flag. However, an incident that involved both a faster GT-LeMans car and a lapped GT-Daytona car would cause Sweedler to hit the tire barriers in turn three and ultimately lose two laps.
"The incident was really unfortunate," said Sweedler. "There was a group of cars going into the turn - the no. 4 Corvette, the no. 48 Audi, and an off-pace Audi that was high in turn three. All of a sudden he moved down, the Corvette came in, and I had no choice but to hit him or go off on the inside. Unfortunately, he went around and I went off and into the tire barriers. Our AIM Autosport guys worked really hard on the Ferrari all weekend, and got everything they could out of it."
Once Sweedler turned the car over to Townsend Bell, he would have a relatively trouble free run for the rest of the race. The two hour and forty-five minute contest went without caution, providing no opportunity for the team to make up the lost laps through strategy. Despite having made contact with another car as well as the tire barrier, the no. 555 AIM Autosport Ferrari 458 Italia suffered minimal damage.
"It was always going to be tough to make up two laps, so I just tried to be consistent and stay out of trouble," said Bell. "The Ferrari was stable and consistent like it always is, and the AIM Autosport guys did a great job all weekend and to make the necessary repairs on my pit stop. It's pretty obvious that the Ferraris just didn't have the pace this weekend, and we just hung in there. But, on we go to Indianapolis."
Despite the result, Sweedler and Bell narrowly retained the GT-Daytona drivers' championship lead while AIM Autosport retains the lead in the team championship.
"Unfortunately, we just got caught up in a stack-up of traffic," said Ian Willis, engineer for AIM Autosport. "It was always going to be a bit of a challenge today, but it was impossible to make up the two lost laps without any caution periods. Bill had a very good opening stint and Townsend got all the speed available to the Ferrari this weekend. We're glad to still be leading the championship and we'll push as hard as we can at Indy."
The next round of the TUDOR Championship is the Brickyard Grand Prix on July 24-25 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana.