After a string of bad luck that seemed to last for months, Motorsports In Action (MIA) finally took home its first Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge victory in the FOX Factory 120 at Road Atlanta Friday.
The race brought to a close the 2017 Continental Tire Challenge season, as well as MIA’s inaugural season in the series. For co-drivers Chris Green and Jesse Lazare, the race couldn’t have gone any better.
“Honestly, when I got in the car I knew it was the perfect opportunity, it was the perfect sprint stint,” said Lazare. “I had the car to go to the end – the fuel, the tires. The team did a perfect job. Chris did an outstanding job bringing me the car completely straight, like brand new. I was keeping every tire on out there and I was maintaining my gap and this is just a taste of what Motorsports In Action can do.”
The team didn’t have the smoothest of starts to the weekend, though, as Lazare in the No. 69 McLaren GT4 was involved in a heavy incident during a test session on Wednesday. The damage was so severe that the crew worked overnight to set up the back-up car for Green and Lazare.
This type of luck has been quick to find MIA a handful of times this season. At Circuit of The Americas in May, the No. 69 was forced to withdraw minutes before the green flag due to a part failure and subsequent conflagration. At Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in July, a podium finish was nullified after the car did not pass post-race technical inspection. Most recently, at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca two weeks ago, the car was running in the top-three until it was spun by a competitor with minutes remaining.
“Paul was pretty quick right off the bat and I knew I had a car to keep up with him,” said Green. “He benefitted a bit from traffic, but it didn’t really bother us too much. I knew as soon as I got out of the car, Jesse would be able to bring this thing home. I can’t say enough about these guys. Motorsport In Action, McLaren, Pfaff, everybody’s done such an incredible job and Jesse just drove the wheels off of it today to bring it home for finally our first win.”
Green qualified the No. 69 outside the front row, next to polesitter Paul Holton in the No. 76 C360R McLaren GT4. Holton showed strength throughout the first half of his stint, but mechanical issues brought the car to pit lane just before the halfway point. Holton and co-driver Matt Plumb finished 13th.
Following up its win at Mazda Raceway, Al Carter and Steven Phillips in the No. 99 Automatic Racing Aston Martin Vantage finished second while Matthew Keegan and Nico Rondet rounded out the podium in the No. 77 C360R McLaren GT4.
After bringing a solid championship lead to Road Atlanta this weekend, youngsters Dillon Machavern and Dylan Murcott brought home the GS championship for RS1 in the No. 28 Porsche Cayman GT4 MR. This is RS1’s first season competing in GS and second consecutive Continental Tire Challenge championship, after winning the Street Tuner class championship with Nick Galante and Spencer Pumpelly last year.
Machavern and Murcott will be recognized Friday evening at the Continental Tire Challenge banquet at the Chateau Elan Winery and Resort in Braselton, Ga.