MOTORSPORTS IN ACTION CLAIMS A PODIUM FINISH AT VIR

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Motorsports In Action(MIA) claimed a second place finish at the VIRginia International Raceway (VIR)during the Biscuitville Grand Prix in the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challengeon Saturday. 

Columbus’ Corey Fergus and Montréal’s Jesse Lazare co-drove the #69 McLaren Pfaff | Vero | Jetcraft | US Led | ATC Trailersto a second-place finish during the 2-hour endurance race taking place at VIR, 3.27 miles, 17 turns permanent track. 

The Canadian team qualified 8th on Friday evening, missing the pole position by only 0.433 tenths of a second. As the field was extremely tight, MIA was even more eager for a podium finish, and possibly a victory. 

As the rain became part of the equation, the team geared up different scenarios as the forecast was changing every hour. The race started out as a dry race, but the track became wet in some places, making it interesting for team’s tactics.

MIA had the perfect strategy, with Corey Fergus taking the green flag on slick tires, and not pitting when it started to rain. The track was very slippery, and a few drivers choose to pit for wet tires, allowing the McLaren to gain positions. 

It was the right strategy as it only rained a few laps. However, the track was very wet, and Corey Fergus managed the car perfectly, never taking unnecessary risks but gaining momentum every lap. Corey had a great battle with the leader, Andrew Davis, and eventually took the lead after an impressive pass in the famous “roller coaster” corner. 

From there on, Corey was unstoppable. Clocking flying laps one after the other, he gave back the car on the 24thlap, still in 1stplace. The pit stop was once again very fast, with MIA’s crew refueling the car, changing tires, and the drivers switching place. Jesse Lazare was able to come back on the track in 3rdplace, as Corey had previously created a great gap with the rest of the field. 

The remainder of the race was on a partly wet track. Jesse had to manage his tires and fuel consumption, all the while keeping an eye on Robin Liddell in the Camaro which was right behind him. But the McLaren underlined its strong performance under the rain and in harsh conditions, the car never failing once, allowing Jesse to grab the lead with a gap of over 1 minute on the third car.

However, a with a few minutes left to the race, the #69 machine had to come in the pits for a quick splash and go. The Camaro came in the pits at the same time, but MIA’s crew did an outstanding job, allowing the car to leave the pits before its primary competitor. In the meantime, the third car on the track had time catch up with Jesse. Back in second place on the track, Jesse was closing in on the Mercedes of Oliver Trinkler, but with a lap to go, it became clear that the tires were done and that it was more important to protect the second place rather than go for the win and taking pointless risks. 

Motorsports In Action is proud to offer McLaren its first podium finish of the season in this series. It hasn’t been an easy 2018 campaign for the #69 McLaren, but since the adjustments in the Balance of Performance (BoP), the British car is back in its old shape and ready to finish the season on a high note at Laguna Seca in September, and Petit Le Mans in October. 

Quotes

Eric Kerub, Team Owner: “What a great feeling to be back where we belong! For sure we had to get everything right to be rewarded with this podium but it feels good that we can now fight with our competitors. I’m so proud of everyone on the team as we left nothing on the table at VIR so this second place will always be remembered and cherished. Realistically though, we still have some work to do for some extra pace as we were getting passed by competitors that were laps down. Had it been for position, we may have had a different result. We are looking forward to Laguna Seca and will make sure to field the best possible car for our terrific drivers.” 

Corey Fergus, driver of the #69 McLaren: “What a day for the whole Motorsports In Action team, and for Jesse and I! It was a very exciting race from the drop of the green flag up until the checkered flag. Right at the beginning of the race, we had very iffy conditions that we got to work through in my stint, which made things a little more exciting than they should have been. But I stayed calm, patient, and let others make mistakes and we capitalized on it. Jesse took over and did a great job in his stint. We finally got our first podium and I couldn’t be happier about the outcome of the race and the job of the crew and the car. Both Jesse and I have wanted this for a long time and we feel we should have gotten it by now but it’s finally here and it feels great.” 

Jesse Lazare, driver of the #69 McLaren: “Corey did an excellent first stint. He started off on a dry track, but it started raining and we made the risky move of staying out on dry tires. Corey just kept it on the track, and when everybody else came in the pits, we just gained so much track time. So, Corey ended up taking the lead and giving me the car in 1stplace. When I got in it started to rain a little bit also but we kept it on the track again. It was like a Déjà Vu from the first stint. Unfortunately, we missed the Mercedes going in early so they wouldn’t have to take fuel at the end of the race, they did a backward strategy that really worked out for them. But I’ll take second any day - it’s the best finish of the year and I’m really looking forward to the next one because we are going for the win.” 

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