Second Place Finish for the Stevenson Motorsports Camaro GT4.R at VIRginia International Raceway
Alton, Virginia (26 August 2017) - The No. 57 Stevenson Motorsports Camaro GT4.R was on pace all weekend long as the team visited its home track with the annual visit to VIRginia International Raceway. Drivers Matt Bell and Robin Liddell posted top three times through the weekend’s practice sessions, with Bell securing a spot on the front row for Saturday’s Biscuitville Grand Prix at VIRginia International Raceway. Bell took the green and slotted into second at the start as the pole-sitting No. 59 Mustang used its top speed to excellent effect despite the constant pressure from Bell for the lead. “It’s great to see that we are running up front for the majority of the race,” Bell said. “The car was really good. We capitalized on what we thought the car could do and made the most out of what we had. We are still a little bit outpaced, especially on top speed which showed against the Mustang. Overall the car was running really great and I am happy with the performance that we got out of it today.” The two hour race saw Bell take to the pits on Lap 25 as the team kept in mind tire wear, track position, and fuel needs for the big GS Class machines. Those calculations were on point, as the team was able to gain the lead following a full course caution that saw the No. 57 Stevenson Motorsports Camaro out front following that stop to install Robin Liddell as well as fresh Continental tires and fuel.
Another yellow flag interrupted the flow of the race, with a second yellow coming on Lap 34. During the lead up to the restart with 22 minutes remaining, Liddell found himself the target of the championship leading No. 28 machine as he was hit from behind while still behind the safety car. The impact gave the Camaro extensive rear damage and hampered his chance to fight for the win as the rear bumper hung by threads along with sustaining exhaust damage. Despite the odds being against him, Liddell kept in the fight and closed out the race in second. “I got hit pretty hard coming back down the hill for the restart,” said Liddell. “We sustained some damage to the back and the exhaust sounded a bit different so I think we lost a bit of horsepower. It was a really good race and great opening stint by Matt (Bell). It was pretty tricky with the pickup and the amount of seal out there. I am happy with a second-place finish and the whole team worked really hard to get us here.” Team Strategist Mike Johnson called a perfect strategy throughout the race but was disappointed to have sustained damage at such a critical point in the race. “The good news is that we aren’t here fighting for a championship, we are fighting for wins,” said Johnson. “Robin (Liddell) drove to win today. It’s unfortunate when something like that happens because you have 28 cars going for a championship. At the end of the day we had a really good race with the 59 Mustang and we made some good strategy moves to get us up front.” The next round of the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Championship will be at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on September 21st-24th.