BLOG: Pirelli World Challenge by Ashley Van Dyke
Our USA correspondent, Ashley Van Dyke reports on the double top 10 finishes at the newly re-vamped Circuit of The Americas for JCR Motorsports' Audi R8 LMS in the Pirelli World Challenge.
Jeff Courtney and the No. 99 Kenda/RecStuff.com Audi R8 LMS rolled into the newly built Circuit of The Americas feeling confident coming off a very successful test just a few weeks prior to the event. Thursday allowed for more testing and Courtney was showing great pace heading into the Pirelli World Challenge race weekend, which was a scorcher – with temperatures reaching the high 90’s. And on Friday afternoon Courtney qualified the car P10 on the starting grid for Round 4.
"The car was great and I think we could have qualified near the front of the field had I not had a slight bobble on my best flyer lap," stated Courtney. "The lap times are so close from the session that less than half a second splits us from P3."
Courtney had a well-executed standing start in Round 4 and was able to get a pass in before the first red flag caution came out. When the field came to take the restart, Courtney started to experience overheating issues with the No. 99 Kenda/RecStuff.com Audi R8 LMS that would continue throughout Saturday’s race.
"The crew did a good job keeping my head in the race as it was very frustrating having to short-shift and find clean air to keep the car at a temperature that would allow us to finish the race," said Courtney.
The No. 99 Kenda/RecStuff.com Audi R8 LMS was able to withstand the 50 minute sprint race, despite overheating issues, and score a Top 10 finish.
The crew worked hard to make changes and best cool the car for Sunday’s race. Another strong start allowed for Courtney to jump from P14 to P11 by Turn 1.
"We had a great car again on Sunday," said Courtney. "For the first part of the race we were able to push hard up to P7. Unfortunately, we started experiencing overheating issues again and from that point forward it was just a matter of trying to hold our position."
Courtney finished P7 in Round 5. Watch the Pirelli World Challenge Live Stream from Rounds 4 & 5 here, www.world-challengetv.com.
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