No. 57 Stevenson Motorsports Camaro GT.R Repeats as Montreal GT Winner
MONTREAL, Quebec (August 18, 2012) – Robin Liddell and John Edwards took the No. 57 Stevenson Motorsports Camaro GT.R to GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series Grand Touring (GT) Victory Lane today in the Montreal 200 at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, making it back-to-back wins for the team at the Montreal, Quebec, Canada track.
Starting from the pole, Edwards took the green flag and settled into a solid pace at the front of the GT class. After a smooth driver exchange, Liddell held the point comfortably despite losing radio contact with the team and resorting to old fashioned pit board communication for a brief period until he was able to restore the radio.
But in the closing laps, the second place car made a final charge for the win. However, in typical style, Liddell continued his smooth maneuvering around the 2.709-mile, 15-turn road course to the checkered flag, and win by .569 seconds. It is the second victory of the season for the No. 57 Stevenson Motorsports Camaro GT.R team, and the fourth career Montreal victory for Liddell.
“Congratulations to Robin Liddell and John Edwards on the hard-fought win for the No. 57 Stevenson Motorsports Camaro GT.R in GT,” said Jim Lutz, Chevrolet Racing Program Manager, GRAND-AM Road Racing. “Both drove a very smart race, saving the tires and the equipment until the end. Overcoming radio issues and a strong challenge on the closing laps, it was a great points day for the team.”
“Mentally, it was quite tough,” said Liddell. “With the Ferrari challenging at the end, we gave it everything we had, especially those last 10 laps. The rear tires were going off a bit, so when I had a gap, I looked after them as much as I could and saved them for the end. It was pretty nail-biting because he was running me down. But once again, Stevenson Motorsports and the Chevy Camaro come away with the win here. We’ve got such a good record here.
“I wasn’t aware of the radio issue at first; then I realized I had knocked the ear plugs out. I fumbled around, got them back in after I saw the sign board and knew they wanted to do something. I got the ear plugs back in, got back in radio communication and pitted when they told me come down. It was a good call on the team’s part getting that stop done in that window to the end.”
“Even when everything goes right, I hate sitting on the pit box at the end of the race,” said Edwards. “Because the pressure is on, but I can’t do anything about it. When I’m in the car, I’m a lot calmer and I see things coming up. But when I’m on the pit box, watching the Ferrari closing down. Fortunately when the radio issue happened, they went out with a sign board and got Robin back in and got it repaired. Near the end, we were good on fuel, no issues there, but it was a nail biter!”
With the victory, Stevenson Motorsports in now just one point out of second place in the team points. Liddell is in the same scenario in the driver standings. In addition, the win closed the gap from first to second for Chevrolet in the GT Manufacturers’ Championship standings.
In Daytona Prototype (DP), Jon Fogarty and Alex Gurney brought home the runner-up finishing position in the No. 99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Corvette DP. Starting from the pole, the pair was going for a second consecutive win at the Canadian venue. After losing valuable track position after a longer than usual stop for the driver change, Gurney fought his way back through the field, and with a fuel-only gamble on the final stop, the team was able to celebrate on the podium.
Finishing a close third place in DP was the No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP piloted by David Donohue and local favorite Paul Tracy.
Lutz concluded by saying: “The No. 99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Corvette DP and the No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP waged a great battle for the second and third podium positions in DP during the final laps of the race. With track position very critical, the lack of cautions didn’t allow for the field to get bunched up so our Corvette DP teams could battle for the win, but it was a good points gathering day, and a solid day for Chevrolet in the battle for the Rolex DP engine manufacturers’ championship battle.”
The No. 9 Action Express Racing Corvette DP finished fourth, and the No. 10 SunTrust Racing Corvette DP finished fifth in the two-hour, 66-lap race. The No. 90 Spirit of Daytona Corvette DP suffered damage in a multi-car first-lap incident that resulted in a ninth place in-class finish.
GRAND-AM moves next to Laguna Seca Raceway, Salinas, California for the Continental Tire Sports Car Festival on September 7-9, 2012.
OTHER CHEVROLET DRIVER QUOTES:
GURNEY: “It was a tough race for sure. A lot of guys had a really good pace. We were a little off sequence there. Had a little trouble in the pits with the driver change and came out fifth. On the next stop, we changed our strategy and left the tires on, and in the end, it worked out. It is great to be on the podium here after a tough beginning to the day.”
FOGARTY: “We’ve taken a little bit of a different approach to find the tire around here than a lot of the other competitors. We are slowest on the straights and faster everywhere else. This track poses a unique situation. The heavy braking areas can be aided by downforce, but the downforce detracts on the long straights. We emphasize the braking zone instead of the straights, and it seems to be working here – we’ve won here before doing that.”
DONOHUE: “Action Express did a great job today. We chose to get some new Continentals there near the end. I think it was the right decision, but the other guys were able to cycle out ahead of us. Paul (Tracy) did a great job at the start. We got all bunched up in that start, and there was some contact. The guys were able to put the car back together, so we made something out of nothing.
TRACY: “David (Donohue) did a fantastic job. It’s been a long time for me to be in a competitive situation, and finish on the podium. It was a bit of a rough start. There was a lot of action at the beginning. A car spun in front of us. I was able to hang on and keep the car in good contention. Then David just drove like a pirate today with the knife between his teeth. He was just going for it, so that was just cool.”