INDIANAPOLIS, IN (14 October, 2022)- STR38 Motorsports completed a demanding competitive debut in both the GT4 America and TC America season finales this past weekend at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. A hard-earned class podium in GT4 America and outright pole position in TC America demonstrated the competitive chops of the Orange County-based STR38 Motorsports.
Kenneth Tan, team principal: “STR38 Motorsports hit the ground running in its first ever campaign in the racing capital of the world. That is huge! I had no doubt in my mind that Jon Miller and Marc Bucsa were going to put a competitive package together and I cannot wait to see what they will achieve in the coming year especially in our new G82 M4 GT4s. Thank you to all the STR38 crew for achieving a great first race weekend.”
Samantha Tan, co-owner: “It was a very successful debut weekend for STR38 Motorsports! Chris Walsh had a pole position with our M2CS R in TC America and had strong pace throughout the race. Robert Mau and Ramana Lagemann also had their first podium in our M4 GT4 in the Am class! We’re proud to continue the same excellence, team synergy, and success at STR with this new operation and we look forward to next season! Preparation starts now.”
Making their SRO series debut, Ramana Lagemann and Robert Mau partnered together in the #38 STR38 Motorsports BMW M4 GT4. Lagemann, the former Subaru Rally Team USA factory driver and Mau, IMSA Prototype Challenge contender quickly got up to speed during the free practice sessions and slotted the #38 entry consistently into the top five in GT4 Am. A strong qualifying lap from Ramana – a 1m 31.711s proved the third quickest of the Am runners during qualifying, netting STR38 a spot on the seventh row of the grid.
A clean start by Ramana coupled with congestion in the mid-pack meant the #38 BMW made up three places in the by the end of lap one, moving up into the overall top 10 and 2nd in-class. By pushing the mandatory, mid-race pit window to the maximum, the #38 BMW M4 GT4 even led race one outright. A slow stop and an ensuing penalty owed to first race jitters, put the #38 out of the top runners at the finish. Former navy officer, Robert Mau brought home 8th in-class at the checkered flag.
Fortunes improved on Sunday morning, with a clean start for Mau from the 15th row of the grid after a chaotic first corner for the overall leaders. The #38 BMW vaulted from 29th to 18th overall, and from 10th in-class to 5th, after the opening lap.
Battling as high as 14th, Mau brought the #38 M4 in for its mandatory stop after a storming 25-minute run. A drama-free pit stop from the STR38 crew brought Ramana Lagemann back to the race in 15th place overall. A blistering charge saw Ramana pick off seven further cars and move into 2nd in-class. The race was neutralized under the safety car in the closing stages. Lagemann’s quick reactions to avoid a spinning car on the restart, meant losing a position and dropping to 3rd in-class at the checker. STR38 Motorsports was nevertheless credited with P9 overall – 20 places up on its grid spot – and an Am-class podium.
Ramana Lagemann, driver (#38, GT4): “This being our first time in the series, we had a lot to learn, but we were hopeful to be competitive when race day came around. Race 1 was a bit of a disappointment with a flubbed pit stop and ensuing drive-through penalty, but we learned from the experience and set our sights on the second race of the weekend. I’m thrilled to say that Race 2 went better than we could have hoped for. Rob did an awesome job, starting at the back of the pack and cutting through traffic to put us in 4th by the driver change. I tried to put my head down and focus on putting in clean laps. We were able to run as high as 2nd, but two safety car periods hampered our progress. In the final restart we got caught in a melee and were bumped down to 3rd. Overall I’m thrilled with the result! Being on the podium at Indianapolis is very special, but I’m even more happy with how our team executed in such a competitive field. All credit to the mechanics for their tireless prep, adjustments, and special thanks to our engineer Christian Zielke and team principal Jon Miller for being constantly committed to providing us with the support we needed to keep learning and get faster.”
Robert Mau, driver (#38, GT4): “I couldn’t have asked for a better weekend of racing. the STR38 team was full of seasoned professionals and provided a perfectly prepped car. Driving the M4 GT4 for the first time on a track I’d never been to was such a challenge. Ramana and I put our heads down and pounded away at the lap times to get competitive and Christian, our race engineer coached, tuned and tweaked every nuance to get us to the front. Starting the race in 27th on Sunday put us in the mindset to go out and have fun. I can’t believe we finished on the podium thanks to a little luck and some really quick laps. The racing capital of the world lived up to its hype. Standing on the podium at Indy and spraying champagne is one of the greatest feelings in racing. A special thanks to Jon Miller for the opportunity to represent the team and the whole STR38 crew that is first class all the way.”
Chris Walsh, an active-duty Air Force Special Tactics Officer, in his first TC America outing of the season, made a sensational start to the weekend with pole position aboard the #38 BMW M2 CS Racing. Chris notched the quickest lap – a 1m 35.526s – more than three-tenths faster than his nearest rival, the reigning series champion.
Leading the field, Chris pulled a two-second gap before a full course yellow on lap 2 stacked the TCX field up. Chris withstood enormous pressure on the restart to maintain his lead, with an enormous late braking effort around the outside of T1 to keep the position. Chris’ race for the win was cut short by a drive-through penalty handed down after minor contact in T1 while fighting for the lead.
While disappointed, Chris put his head down and set the fourth fastest lap of the race, earning him a 2nd row start for race two. Chris secured a hard-earned top five finish on Sunday, as the top 5 were glued together throughout the 40-minute event.
Chris Walsh, driver (#38): “I had an incredible time racing with STR38 Motorsports at the final SRO event of the weekend. We had incredible pace and the car was great, the crew and team did a phenomenal job giving me a competitive machine. I was very happy to capture my first pole position at this legendary track on my first visit here! Unfortunately, a penalty on Friday kept us off the podium and in Sunday’s race I got held up heavily in the turn 1 incident, I was able to battle back into a close battle with the top 5 running within a second of each other but only managed a P5 overall for today. I think we showed we are a team to be reckoned with and I am very eager to be back next year and contend for a championship. I’d like to thank my supports at Combat Control Foundation, Operation vetnow, Cobramotorsports and StepOne motorsports. Finally I’d like to thank Samantha Tan and Jon Miller for giving me the opportunity to represent the team this weekend.”
Jon Miller, STR38 Motorsports team manager: “Coming into the series at the season finale with new drivers and a new structure, there were many unknowns. I truly believe that the results we achieved were thanks to the experience of our drivers and crew, coming together to adapt and gel quickly to form something greater than the sum of our parts. The camaraderie and chemistry on the team allowed us to solve problems and find performance very quickly. I’m very proud of that and we look forward to continuing with the same formula as we move forward.”
Report from Service Presse