VICI RACING - ROAD AMERICA RACE REPORT Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin - At a quarter past eight this evening the ...
VICI RACING - ROAD AMERICA RACE REPORT
Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin - At a quarter past eight this evening the #18 VICI Racing Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, driven by Nicky and Francesco Pastorelli and Marc Basseng took the chequered flag in the rapidly gathering gloom at Road America to record a satisfying 8th place finish in the Generac 500 as fireworks lit up the Wisconsin sky. The team is confident that it has made another step forward with the tire development program, and is pleased with the race pace that was turned in, and to continue an inaugural year in the ALMS that has seen the VICI Racing cars classified amongst the finishers in every race they have started.
Race day started had with the hour-long Warm-Up session (11:00-12:00 AM). Francesco who has had little time in the car this week ran 5 laps which Technical Director Roland Wall scheduled to check race set up. The Dutch youngster ran an out lap, followed by 2:20.573, 2:19.301 and a 2:18.823 before an in-lap. The team then practiced pit stops and driver changes.
Following the pre-race festivities, which included a low and noisy flypast by a pair of USAF fighter jets, the Generac 500 got underway slightly later than planned a 4:13 PM. Francesco Pastorelli was elected to start the race and he made a clean getaway as the green flag was waved to signify the start of four hours of tough racing. Just like at Mid Ohio, Francesco's stint was hit by a string of full course cautions. After 11 minutes (at 4:27 PM) the track went to a full course yellow after an Acura tangled with a Doran Ford as the P1 car way lapping it through the Carousel and unfortunately track position at the time saw the #18 car dropping a lap on the GT2 lead.
The race went to green 10 minutes later, but just 8 minutes later the other Doran Ford went off into the gravel at the Carousel bringing out the yellows once again (4:49 PM, 33 mins). That caution period lasted 18 minutes, but just a minute later (5:08 PM, 52 mins) the third caution period broke up the gathering momentum abruptly. That one lasted until 5:13 PM, which signified exactly one quarter distance. All the yellows had interrupted Francesco's running, but a final quarter of an hour of his stint saw him lapping consistently, and the 21-year-old Dutchman brought the car in at 5:34 PM (1 hr 18 mins) in 10th place for the first scheduled stop of the afternoon, handing over to brother Nicky who returned to the race with fuel and four new tires.
Nicky's stint was uninterrupted by any yellow flags and the 25-year-old former Official F1 test driver ran for one hour, returning to the pits on lap 50 (6:34 PM, 2hr 18 mins) to hand over to Marc as the shadows started to length, one place better in 9th, and having posted a best lap of 2:11.645 (110.70 mph) after a steady stint that saw him lapping consistently in the 2:11s and 2:12s.
With the Kumhos performing well, Marc returned to the track with four new tires and fuel. After the incident-free stint for Nicky, after 20 mins on track for the German the circuit went to full course yellow again, this time as a result of a P1 class Lola going off the course at Canada Corner (6:55 PM, 2 hr 39 mins). At the same time the #73 Tafel Ferrari pitted, promoting the #18 car to 8th place. The track went back to green conditions just under 20 mins later (7:13 PM, 2 hr 57 mins) and at 7:24 PM (3 hr 8 mins) Marc returned to the pits for the last scheduled stop, handing the #18 car to Nicky (fuel and four tires) for the final run to the flag, just over three quarters of an hour later. Marc posted his fastest lap, the quickest of the #18 car during the 4 hr race, on lap 58, a 2:10.833 (111.38 mph).
However the action on track was still hotting up and on Nicky's out lap (7:27 PM, 3hr 11 mins) the yellows were waving furiously once again, and another 13 mins passed before racing picked up once again. Two mins later (7:42 PM, 3 hr 24 mins) and mechanical failure on a P1 class Acura brought out the flags. The Road America course went green with just 21 mins remaining, but this wouldn't be the last full course caution, one more waving of the yellows was called for before a final dash to the flag saw Nicky Pastorelli cross the finish line at a quarter past eight (local time) in a satisfying 8th place after 91 laps and four hours.
Roland Wall, Technical Director, VICI Racing: "Our race pace was quick, we had a very good set up with the car, and I'm pleased with how today has gone. The tire durability has improved further and we can now double stint them which is good. I'm satisfied with what we learnt today and all the crew worked hard and well. Everybody has stepped forward once again, and Kumho are putting a lot of effort into giving us new compounds to try. The drivers all drove fast and consistent stints and handled the RSR well; and I would also like to congratulate Farnbacher-Loles on an excellent and well deserved win."
Tim Bumps, Team Manager, VICI Racing: "I'm very pleased with this week, we finished a race again, and our consistency in reaching the finish line has been superb this year, we have been classified in every race we have started. The crew did a superb job, and the new members who only joined a few days ago were excellent, they slotted straight in and played their part well; everyone has done an outstanding job. The new transporter is another positive step forward and has optimized our working environment in the paddock. We now look forward to getting to our new temporary base at Luxury Motors in Chicago and to begin preparing for the next round at Mosport."
Nicky Pastorelli (Holland): "I enjoyed it out on track, we were able to run a good pace and the tires performed well during the race. There was a lot of traffic out there but it's a good circuit and it's nice to race here my only previous visit was for a ChampCar test two years ago. For sure we made another step forward and with each race we are going in the right direction which is good, although we have a lot of work in front of us to get the tires onto a winning pace; but I'm confident as everyone is pulling in the right direction."
Marc Basseng (Germany): "It's been a promising and exciting first week with the team and I have enjoyed working with Ron, Roland, Tim and all the crew. It's taken a bit of adjustment time to get used to the RSR on Kumhos, a tire I haven't driven on before. But it came together for me by the start of the race and we had a very good set up. I had satisfying race, the race set up was good, and I was able to dial into the tires and run consistent lap times as I got used to them. Road America is a great track, very good for the driver, so I'm happy to have now raced here. I'm pleased with how it's gone and so I'm looking forward with playing my part in moving the tire program forward."
Francesco Pastorelli (Holland): "My race was interrupted by the three yellow flags; it felt like Mid-Ohio all over again as all the dramas on track happened during my stint. The tires felt pretty good and I was able to make a good pace and keep out of trouble. With only a few laps yesterday and in warm up this morning it was good to get some time in the cockpit."
It's been a busy build up to today's Generac 500 for the VICI Racing, with three races spread over four weeks this month, and more so as all the circuits are located considerably north of the team's Miami, Florida-based workshops. This week ALMS has been in rural Wisconsin, and today's race is set to be followed by visits to Mosport (Ontario, Canada) on 24th August and Belle Isle (Detroit) on 30th August. For this trio of distant races the team has set up a temporary hub in Chicago, located within the state-of-the- art facilities of LuxuryMotors.com. As the world largest e-commerce automobile retailer, LuxuryMotors.com strives to provide customers with the best selection of new and pre-owned luxury cars through a unique and convenient online buying experience.
The week in fact started very early for VICI Racing personnel as a major coordinated logistical effort was called for to ship components of the workshop infrastructure up to Chicago to allow for the seamless operation of the team over the coming weeks. This week for the first time we are also pleased to have in service the first of our brand new state-of-the art trailer units that have been fitted out to our specific requirements. It's a demanding inaugural year for the team in ALMS, but each piece of the jigsaw is slotting into place on schedule.