Pombo, LaMarra Take Honda To Victory at Watkins Glen

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Mat Pombo survived a late-race brush with the Watkins Glen International Raceway tire barrier and combined with co-driver Mike LaMarra to claim the TCR class win in the four-hour MICHELIN Pilot Challenge endurance race in their Honda Civic Type R TCR.

With rain falling on the 3.4-mile Watkins Glen road course, Pombo slid the L.A. Honda World Civic Type R TCR into the tire wall, narrowly avoiding another competitor, who had made contact in the same place just seconds earlier.  Fortunately, Pombo was able to reverse out of the tires and remain on the lead lap as the caution flag waved for multiple incidents on course.

On the restart, and still on dry weather “slick” tires, Pombo continued to struggle, until the rain stopped and the circuit began to rapidly dry.  In the closing laps, dry tires made the difference and Pombo made a strong move around Hyundai Veloster N TCR of Mark Wilkins – running on rain tires – and quickly pulled away to a commanding win.

Meanwhile, LA Honda World teammates Tom O’Gorman and Shelby Blackstock, who entered the weekend as the TCR points leaders after a pair of wins this year, appeared headed for their own podium finish, but ran out of fuel in the final yards to the finish, and had to settle for fifth.

The Honda Civic Type R TCR made its North American racing debut in 2018, with Ryan Eversley claiming the Pirelli World Challenge TCR Drivers’ Championship for RealTime Racing.  Developed by Honda partner JAS Motorsport, the Civic Type R TCR is offered as a race-ready package through Honda Performance Development, Inc.


Next weekend, IMSA MICHELIN Pilot Challenge race travels to Canadian Tire Motorsports Park, outside Toronto, for the July 7 Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix, Presented by Acura.


Mat Pombo (driver, #73 LA Honda World Honda Civic Type R TCR): “I wrecked today and still won, so you know somebody’s looking out for you when that happens!  It caught me off guard on that last turn. It was just a lot of rain. I saw it in front of me and slowed down way more than I had before, but there just wasn’t any grip. The hardest part wasn’t the hit, it was actually trying to find reverse. Once I got going and we didn’t lose a lap, I knew we’d been in good shape. Today was more about everyone else than it was about me, to be honest.”