Bowmanville, ON – The 2011 Grand Prix of Mosport went off with hardly a hitch for the Muscle Milk Lola-Aston Martin of Lucas Luhr and Klaus Graf. The team was fastest all weekend—fastest in practice, fastest in qualifying (they started the race on pole) and fastest by 5:50 p.m. on Sunday, when the checkered flag waved.
The team’s second win in four races this year did not unfurl completely without a hitch, however; they led comfortably until the 33rd lap, after Luhr missed the chance to pit, eventually allowing Chris Dyson to take the lead in his Lola-Mazda. After a lap spent jockeying for position, team Muscle Milk regained the lead on lap 74 and never looked back.
The win was a type of double for Team Muscle Milk; they also added more points on their quest for the Michelin Green-X Challenge. The teams that complete the race while using the fewest tires and fuel earn points—fuel savings came in the form of a switch to E85 fuel for the Muscle Milk car.
Bad luck befell BMW Team RLL at Mosport, ending their impressive run of three straight GT-Class victories to start the season. Two penalties, both resulting from contact that was deemed “illegal” forced the BMW team to forfeit two separate class leads, giving the #4 Corvette of Dane Jan Magnussen and Brit Oliver Gavin the eventual victory.
“The slower GT cars and GTC cars together with the LMPC coming by you…the track really does seem to be a really big issue there because any tiny slip you’re off the track and you’re going to go off quick,” Gavin, 38, said after the race. “And you’re hard into the wall here, which is going to be a race-ending moment. So you’ve really got to be completely focused, there’s no moment to rest here.”
Gavin and Magnussen attributed the victory to their team’s strong pit stop strategy and the Corvette’s speed–imperative on a fast track like Mosport.
“In the end, I think Jan and I felt that this was the most balanced car we ever had here,” he said. “We weren’t necessarily the fastest car in qualifying (they started 6th on the grid), but we executed very well.
“The team did a phenomenal job…any small problem that was developing we nipped it in the bud. We kept people under pressure, we never let up and we kept ourselves in the right spot.”
In LMPC class, CORE Autosport had a red letter day, with their Oreca FLM09 cars finishing first and second in class and fourth and fifth overall. That’s the team’s 2nd win this year, and first one-two finish.
“Racing in this series is all about being smart right now,” Jeannette said after the race. “It’s really difficult; there’s so many different classes and closing speeds, especially around a place like this where you come up on (slower cars) so quickly through turn two that sometimes, they won’t see you at all.”
It wasn’t an easy race for the team to watch; Jeannette said that during the race, he actually wanted to turn off the in-car feed, it was so nerve-racking.
“Our team finished one-two,” Jeannette, 29, said. “The CORE Autosport guys are a new team, and they’re proving every race that they belong here and we’re a force to be reckoned with now.
“Watch out in the future, because we’re just learning more and more every weekend.”
Jeannette may have been nervous watching teammate Gonzalez take to the track, but any feelings of nervousness turned to happiness he felt were mirrored by frustration to elation for the guys that took turns behind the wheel of the GTC Class-winning TRG Racing #66 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup.
After surrendering the class lead to Dion von Moltke and Mike Piera two weeks ago on the last lap at Lime Rock Park in Conneticut, drivers Spencer Pumpelly and Duncan Ende found themselves on the winning side of a last-lap battle this week.
“I think this in the first race I’ve ever won twice,” Pumpelly, 36, said. “We drove through all those cars; passed the 68, and then the 23 and I’m thinking ‘OK, we got it’ and the next thing you know, I’m backwards. I got to see the GTC pack going by me again and I figured that was it, once again, a really good effort was going to turn into a miss,” he added, referring to being spun by Müller’s BMW with around 30 minutes remaining in the race.
“But the guys on the radio just kept saying ‘come on—we can do this, we can do this’ and these guys gave me such a good car from the get-go. It was just an awesome piece,” he said.
The action picks up again in two weeks’ time (Aug. 5-6) in Lexington, OH at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.