GRAND-AM rolls into history on Continental tires at COTA
They say everything is bigger in Texas and the GRAND-AM race at Circuit of the Americas (COTA) in Austin, TX was no different. From big air, to big wins, and big crowds, the door-to-door action was one for the history books. The long-time tandum of Jon Fogarty and Alex Gurney became the inaugural Rolex Series winners in the No. 99 Gainsco Corvette after double stinting on a set of Continental tires.
“The last stop we didn’t take tires and we did quite well, we were still pretty racey,” said Gurney following the race. “We still need to learn how to make them last better than the other guys did. The other guys were still quite quick at the end and we were struggling quite a bit, especially off the slow corners. But all-in-all, the Continental’s were really great.”
The performance and technology of the Continental tires once again proved outstanding, as the Daytona Prototype (DP) teams put on a race of epic proportion with confidence. Even Scott Pruett’s big air jump in the No. 01 TELMEX BMW over the rumble strips couldn’t keep him from coming back through the field for a third-place podium finish behind the No. 2 Starworks Ford of Ryan Dalziel. The technology and longevity of the tires enabled several teams to double stint, gaining them valuable track position and allowing them to race door-to-door for position. Ultimately, a spectacular show for the throngs of fans in attendance.
The Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge Series (CTSCCS) provided plenty of action throughout the 2.5-hour race. For the first time in two years Paul Dalla Lana and Bill Auberlen took the checkered flag together in the No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M3 for the Grand Sport (GS) win. The pair praised their Continental tires and Dalla Lana stated in a post-race press conference, “Continental Tires have been fantastic and really consistent over a stint and that’s been no different here.”
Immediately following their CTSCCS win, Dalla Lana and Auberlen got out their brooms and managed to sweep both the GS and Grand Touring (GT) class wins. Only the second time a team has done that in the history of GRAND-AM.
On the heels of Chad McCumbee’s Street Tuner (ST) pole award, CJ Wilson Racing capped off the weekend with a huge win. On just one set of Continental tires, the CJ Wilson Racing duo of Marc Miller and Steven McAleer claimed the team’s first CTSCCS win in the No. 5 Mazda MX-5. Now that’s confidence!
It was the BGB Motorsports Porsche Cayman GX.R taking the win in the GX class with drivers Dr. Jim Norman, Jeff Mosing and Spencer Pumpelly.
The GRAND-AM Series returns to the track on April 6 when all five classes battle again at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, AL.