Moorespeed Leads and Contends for Victory in IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge Debut in Audi R8 LMS at VIRginia International Raceway

Moorespeed Leads and Contends for Victory in IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge Debut in Audi R8 LMS at VIRginia International Raceway

25.08.2019: Rob Ferriol Leads Four Laps Saturday and Joins Co-Driver Spencer Pumpelly in a Compeitive Run Before a Late Rain Shower Left Moorespeed Just Short of Ultimate Goal

Rob Ferriol Leads Four Laps Saturday and Joins Co-Driver Spencer Pumpelly in a Compeitive Run Before a Late Rain Shower Left Moorespeed Just Short of Ultimate Goal

 
Moorespeed made a successful IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge GS class debut Saturday at VIRginia International Raceway (VIR) with co-drivers Rob Ferriol and Spencer Pumpelly, leading four laps and running seventh with 11 minutes to go before a late rain shower took away a chance to battle for a top-five and possibly higher finish in the closing laps.



“It would have been nice to come out with a win,” Moorespeed President David Moore. “We told everybody that we just wanted to finish in contention but, honestly, we knew that we were closer than that with our GTD program, and we took a lot that we learned from that and applied it to the Audi R8 GT4. Rob had only been in the car a short time and he was driving really well, and Spencer is a great driver. It sucks the way it ended but, at the same time, I think we showed everyone that we’re a contender no matter what we race. If we show up, we’re going to race to be competitive.”



Pumpelly had the No. 18 Moorespeed/GridRival Audi R8 LMS GT4 in seventh place in the closing minutes of the race. With a steady rain falling, another competitor spun in front of the No. 18 just after a green flag restart, causing Pumpelly to spin. Pumpelly quickly continued but another full course caution just minutes later kept him from gaining some positions back before the checkered flag. The Moorespeed Audi was ultimately scored in 13th place, a finish that doesn’t represent the strong showing by the Moorespeed team and drivers in their first start with the GS car.



“We wish we would have finished in the top 10 because we had the car, but unfortunately there at the end with the restarts we got shuffled back,” Ferriol said. “I’m extremely pleased with the Audi, the series, the race and the Moorespeed team. I’ve never driven in the wet before on slick tires, so there were a lot of firsts. David and our team engineer John Horton did a great job of putting this program together so quickly and having that car ready to go. We got in the car for the first practice and it was immediately up to speed. It was perfect out of the box and that’s a tribute to the Moorespeed guys.”




Ferriol, who had won an IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama race earlier in the day for Moorespeed, started at the rear of the GS field after Friday’s qualifying was cancelled for weather. When the majority of the GS field pitted for Michelin rain tires when the first rain shower came 10 minutes into the race, Ferriol stayed out on slicks and moved to the lead.



Ferriol fell in the order shortly after the restart but skillfully maintained control on the rain-soaked track. As the track dried, he began climbing back to the front, pitting with 47 minutes to go from eighth place to hand the car off to Pumpelly.




 Falling to 11th after the team's only pit stop of the race, Pumpelly soon raced back into the top-10. He took advantage of a full course caution for debris with 25 minutes to go and moved to seventh after the restart. While the pair of late cautions ultimately took away a finish the team worked hard to earn, Pumpelly joined his Moorespeed teammates in feeling good about the solid GS debut.



“The Moorespeed guys prepped a really good car,” Pumpelly said. “You don’t really come out of the box and have good pit stops, good strategy, good team synergy, but we had all of that today. The team and their preparation was phenomenal. Rob, for the little amount of time he had in this car before the race, to hop in this thing in really tough conditions, he did a fantastic job. There’s a lot of positives to take away from the day and I’m really proud of all the guys.”



With a successful debut in the books, Moorespeed and Ferriol quickly shift their focus to a repeat IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup win in Sunday’s second and final race of the weekend scheduled for 9:45 a.m. EDT. The race can be seen live on IMSA.tv. The Michelin Pilot Challenge race from VIR will be aired on NBC Sports Network on Friday, August 30 at 10 p.m. EDT.

 


Reece White- photos Moorespeed

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/moorespeed-audi-r8-lms-victory-imsa-mpc-vir---196129.html

25.08.2019 / MaP

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