(Austin, TX) — Taking to the track at 10:00am on Saturday, March 3rd, competitors in Grand-Am’s Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge became the first pro series to race at Austin’s Circuit of the Americas since its debut on the Formula One calendar in the fall of 2012. The facility is indeed world-class, featuring a very technically-challenging track featuring 20 corners that flow through the undulating Texas terrain, culminating with a run down the front straight flanked by stunning grandstands and gorgeous hospitality suites above the team garages.
Compass360 Racing brought four of their Honda Civic Si’s to do battle in the Street Tuner class. Kyle Gimple and Ryan Eversley, who were third in the championship after the season opener in Daytona, helmed the #75 Children’s Tumor Foundation car, while Ray Mason and Adam Burrows shared the #76 Columbus Truck entry. Ryan Winchester filled in for David Thilenius, who is continuing his recovery after a shunt at Daytona, sharing the #77 Pixxcars.com Honda with Aaron Povoledo. Two young karting stand-outs from Vancouver, Adam Isman and Remo Ruscitti, looked to impress in their series debut together in the #73 Ultimate Racing car.
Qualifying saw Winchester lead the C360R charge, qualifying eighth, with Gimple close behind in 11th. Isman and Mason were close together in the mid-pack, in 24th and 25th respectively (out of 34 cars entered). All four starting drivers made clean starts and had good battles throughout their stints, handing off to their co-drivers mid-race. Shortly after the driver change, #76 developed an engine overheating issue, which the crew worked to rectify, getting the car back out in short order. Although Burrows managed to continue at race pace for the next hour, the problem returned with a half hour to go and the car retired from the race.
Ruscitti and Povoledo ran close together throughout the last hour of the race, trading positions as they battled through the field, both managing cars that had fading brake pedals. The final results had them crossing the line in 19th and 20th.
Meanwhile, Eversley battled at the front, unable to match the speed of the front-running Mazda MX-5’s of Miller/McAleer and Whitis/Long, which seemed ideally suited for the Texas track. Holding off a last-lap charge from Jason Saini in yet another MX-5, Eversley brought #75 home in sixth place. Combined with their podium at Daytona, this gives Gimple and Eversley the ST championship points lead.
“This track, while very impressive, isn’t quite right for the gearing of our Hondas,” remarked Eversley. “We didn’t have anything for the Mazdas or the little BMW (of Borcheller/LaMarra), but this is still a great result for Kyle and me and for the Compass squad. After a development year for the new car last season it’s gratifying to see all that work pay off and be back at the front where we belong.”
The race will be broadcast tape-delayed on SPEED, March 9th, 2013 at 4:00pm. For details visit http://grand-am.com.
About Compass 360 Racing: Compass360 Racing (C360R) is the motorsports division of Compass360 Brand Architects, a Toronto-based firm offering marketing expertise to clients in diverse industries across North America. The team, with support from Honda Performance Development (HPD), fields front-running Honda Civic Si’s in Grand-Am’s Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge and the Pirelli World Challenge, winning CTSCC Championships in 2010, 2009, 2007 and 2006. C360R also won WC Touring Car Championships in 2012 and 2011, and the Canadian Touring Car Championship in 2010. For details visit http://C360R.com.
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