Wet and dry, Michelin takes Mid-Ohio
Lucas Luhr handled the dry conditions and took the lead at mid-race and co-driver Klaus Graf put the win away for the Aston Martin team in the wet at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Challenge.
After stalking the race leading Dyson Mazda for the first half, Luhr made his move to the inside of turn one on a restart midway through the two hour: 45-minute race. He pulled out to a 20-second advantage before handing off to Graf for the final 55 minutes. The race was red flagged due to standing water with 10 minutes remaining.
“We have to give a very big thanks to Michelin, we had the right tires for the dry and the wet,” said Graf. “We worked very hard and Lucas made a great pass on the restart to give us the lead. It started to sprinkle early in my stint but wasn’t a problem until the bigger rains came and the conditions became very difficult. Having the lead when the conditions got bad let us control the race,” said Graf.
The margin of victory over was 69.720 seconds over the second place Dyson Mazda of Chris Dyson and Guy Smith.
The victory was especially satisfying for Graf and the Muscle Milk team. Team co-owner Greg Pickett was injured in a massive crash during testing here last year. A healthy Pickett remains as the third driver for the longer races and helped call the winning strategy for the Benicia, Calif. based squad. “It was very satisfying to come back here and win, especially in a difficult race that tested our preparation and our experience,” said Graf.
Posting a 1-2 in the Le Mans Prototype Challenge (LMP-C) class and taking third and fourth place overall was the Dublin, Ohio-based Intersport Racing with 21 year old Canadian driver Kyle Marcelli and veteran Tomi Drissi followed by team owners Jon and Clint Field.
“We had the pole at the last race, Mosport, so we came here with confidence and put our heads down and worked hard,” said Marcelli. “It was difficult when the rains came since we don’t have traction control like the GT Challenge cars, but we could still get a better launch out of the corners.”
The Genoa Racing LMPC driven by David Cheng and Javier Echeverria took third in class and fifth overall. Michelin is the exclusive tire provider to the single specification class.
Porsche’s Wolf Henzler and Bryan Sellers took advantage of the chaotic late-race heavy rains to claim a first victory for Walker Racing. Finishing second was the Michelin technical partner Corvette Racing driven by Oliver Gavin and Jan Magnussen.
“We congratulate the Muscle Milk Aston Martin team on an important win and the Intersport Team on a great 1-2 finish today,” said Silvia Mammone, manager motorsports Michelin North America. “Our Michelin GT class technical partners from Porsche, Corvette, and Ferrari dominated the race, but the rains and contact turned things upside down. We want to congratulate Derrick Walker and the Falken Porsche team on their first win.”