Performance Tech Perseveres Through Mud-Ohio

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Performance Tech Motorsports showcased pace in the IMSA Prototype Challenge race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course persevering through uncontrollable incidences and harsh track conditions.
 
Drivers of the No. 7 Sobel Westex/Hotels.com/SHR LMP3 Blake Mount and Max Hanratty started the one hour and 45-minute race from 14th and recovered from a lengthy pit stop to finish ninth overall. During Mount’s stint he received contact, Mount skillfully kept the No. 7 on the racing line and quickly returned to pace before finishing his stint. Hanratty was slow to join the field after belting issues kept him in pit lane longer than expected. He recovered from the drop of position by turning consistent laps stint start to finish.
 
Dean Baker showcased his improved racecraft during the race. Starting 15th in the No. 19 Kerr Industries Ligier JS LMP3, he quickly moved up the field to the ninth position. Baker used a culmination of the many lessons he learned over the course of the weekend thanks to the ever-changing track weather conditions. However, early in the race contact from a fellow competitor spun Baker and while he miraculously avoided sinking in the mud, he received a flat tire from the event. Kyle Masson joined the field after the driver change and set to work as any former champion would, picking off competitors lap by lap. He advanced up to the 12th position before the checkered flag waved. 
 
Cameron Cassels and James French of the No. 75 NorCan Electric began the race 6th overall with Cassels behind the wheel first. The race seemingly ran smoothly while Cassels fought with the car to run a dry racing line on a wet track. French took over for Cassels without issue in pit lane, but while French took some of his first laps, a problem arose with the LMP3. The crew was unable to repair the mechanical issue within the remaining time and had no choice but to take the No. 75 behind the wall and retire the entry early.
 
Performance Tech Motorsports next IMSA Prototype Challenge race is at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Bowmanville, Ontario. The Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix is the development series only race north of the border in Canada. The weekend takes place July 5-7 as part of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship weekend. For schedule, details visit http://imsa.com.  
 
Brent O’Neill, Performance Tech Motorsports Team Principal
“Today didn’t go as well as we expected, but I think it was a good weekend overall,” O’Neill said. “It’s a shame what happened to Cameron and James. In these sprint races, it just isn’t always possible to fix whatever issue may arise. Blake and Max did a great job today; I think had we got them out of pitlane sooner they would have had a shot at the podium. 
 
“Dean did a really great job today. He took everything he learned and put it into the race. He really impressed me. Kyle, of course, was solid, similar situation, had they not had the flat tire I think they would have had a shot at the podium. Sometimes things just happen outside of our control, but we had the pace, and we had good cars. We just need a little luck next time.”
 
 
Blake Mount, Driver of the No. 7 Sobel Westex / Hotels.com / SHR LMP3
“I felt really confident in the car this weekend,” Mount said. “Max and I are really comfortable in our relationship as co-drivers now so setting up the car was much easier. Getting used to the car to get the most out of it as well as myself has been a primary goal and I think we nailed it this weekend. Overall, I think I personally had a strong weekend. I was able to keep the car clean and not lose positions on the restart. 
 
“It was a really tough weekend for everyone due to the changing conditions as well as the competitors out there who aren’t driving clean. I brought the car home in tenth, but due to uncontrollable circumstances, we had a slow pit stop which shuffled us to the back of the field. Max was able to drive all the way back to ninth, so I can’t be disappointed at all. I really want to thank Sobel Westex, Hotels.dom and SHR for supporting us this weekend, overall I think it went great.”
 
Max Hanratty, Driver of the No. 7 Sobel Westex / Hotels.com / SHR LMP3
“I think Blake and I are at the point where we have a strong relationship as co-drivers,” Hanratty said. “I have a bit more experience than Blake, so I’m able to help him out and give him pointers. We’re both doing a good job of finding middle ground in our driving styles to set up the car, and I think it’s only going to get better as the year goes on. 
 
“I love the LMP3 platform, these cars are fun at any track but especially this one. This weekend was really a gamble with set up due to the weather, and I think we could have been a little bolder with ours. We struggled with the front of the car, but we’re going to go dissect everything and understand what we need to do moving forward. I’m hoping we get some testing in before Mosport, but I’m really looking forward to seeing what more we can do.”
 
Dean Baker, Driver of the No. 19 Kerr Industries LMP3
“The conditions were so different throughout the weekend,” Baker said. “With every session changing so much it was a great opportunity to learn more about the car and its handling. It was fun but also challenging. The conditions during the cold were just cold and slippery, but it was still exciting. After a disappointing qualifying yesterday due to lapped traffic I was able to make up a few positions on the start. We were running well when I got spun from behind which caused a flat tire. Kyle hopped in and did a great job moving us back up to twelfth, so overall today was not bad.”
 
Kyle Masson, Driver of the No. 19 Kerr Industries LMP3
“The car really handled well in the slippery conditions today,” Masson said. “When I got in we made a good call to keep the old tires on so they were already warm. This was a big bonus because I didn’t have to worry about taking the time to heat up the tires from scratch. I was able to get up to speed much faster than everyone else and get laps back from the flat tire in Deans stint. It wasn’t out luck today, but we did what we could. We could have been top six or better had those issues not occurred. I think as a team, in general, we had what it took to podium, and we can use that moving forward.”
 
Cameron Cassels, Driver of the No. 75 NorCan Electric LMP3 
“The car felt great, and I had good confidence this weekend,” Cassels said. “At Sebring, I wasn’t happy with myself, so I really tried to dig deep headed into this weekend and hit the ground running. We didn’t have consistent conditions through any of the practices, so it was rough to set up the car. That being said I felt comfortable on track today. 
 
“It was super low grip, but we were still running a dry line, so it was super challenging and fun for everyone out there. The car felt great overall, and we had a good car for the end. Unfortunately, we had to retire early. Moving forward I think it’s safe to say the championship is out of view, but James and I are in a comfortable place with the car and am looking forward to Mosport.”
 
James French, Driver of the No. 75 NorCan Electric LMP3
 
“We fought the whole weekend to get dry track time,” French said. “That being said I think we did a great job getting the car set up and sorted. My laps were limited and unfortunately we had a mechanical issue that caused us to retire but had we been able to continue I think we would have been in the battle at the end. Unfortunately it’s a tough day for the championship since there are only six races. Moving up will be hard but we’ll keep pushing and trying our best.”