Sixth place Rolex GT debut for Ross Thompson at Laguna Seca Ventura, California (May 08, 2006) -- Ross Thompson and David Empringham gave Pacific Coast Motorsports' ...
Sixth place Rolex GT debut for Ross Thompson at Laguna Seca
Ventura, California (May 08, 2006) -- Ross Thompson and David Empringham gave Pacific Coast Motorsports' #98 Ironclad/Wine Country Motor Sports Pontiac GTO.R a top-six debut in the GT class of yesterday's 'U.S. Sports Car Invitational' at the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, Round 7 of the 2006 Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series.
The team's long-awaited GT appearance started promisingly with the #98 car leading the class times round the 2.238-mile permanent road course in Friday afternoon practice. Canada's David Empringham took the wheel for Saturday's 30-minute qualifying race looking to capitalize on the pace already demonstrated by the team's Pontiac GTO.R but an opening lap spin provided a temporary set-back, the reigning Grand-Am Cup Champion finishing the 20-lap sprint in 11th place.
Yesterday's 2-hour 45-minute 'U.S. Sports Car Invitational' started with Ross Thompson in control and the Ohio-racer quickly steered the #98 car into the top-ten running order. Once there he successfully worked his way up to fifth place by lap 29. Thompson remained in control for the majority of the race, one which was disjointed courtesy of no fewer than seven full course caution periods. With forty minutes remaining, and under the safety of yet another caution period, the team finally made its driver change with Empringham replacing Thompson in the hot seat. The Canadian brought the #98 Ironclad/Wine Country Motor Sports Pontiac GTO.R home in sixth place at the checkered.
PCM Team Director Tyler Tadevic:
"I'm ecstatic with the performance of the team and drivers. To score a top-six finish first time out with just two days of testing is pretty productive! While we raced well I know we're capable of a lot more but this was acceptable for a first attempt! Our performance here bodes well for the next race at Phoenix where Ross will be partnered with Boris Said."
"Overall I think it was a good weekend. You always think you can win in a one-off race but the reality is there was a lot of learning to be done with both team and drivers being new to the car. We definitely improved over the course of the weekend and I had a great car to finish the race with."
"The car was awesome on long runs on old tires but there were so many cautions which really prevented us from maximizing our set-up. The team did a great job; I'm proud of everyone and grateful for the opportunity to race alongside and learn from a team-mate like Dave Empringham."
Round 7 of the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series heads to Phoenix, Arizona with the 'GAINSCO Grand Prix' hosted at the Phoenix International Raceway this weekend, 11-13 May. Further details can be found online at: www.grandamerican.com