Stevenson Motorsports had to settle for 15th place at the inaugural Grand-Am of the Americas following contact with another GT car.
The team were upbeat heading in to the race after a strong qualifying saw John Edwards place the car in fourth on the grid, despite suffering from food poisoning all weekend and only running three practice laps around the new circuit prior to the qualifying session.
After a thorough pre-race preparation, the team took the decision to change the engine, having found debris in the oil filter, and forfeited their second row starting position.
Edwards gained five positions on the first lap alone and was up to fourth after 40 minutes, showing the #57 Camaro had the speed of a true contender. Unfortunately, contact with another GT car forced Edwards into the pits to repair the damage, undoing all of his hard work.
“It’s always frustrating to put in all the time and money into a weekend and just get punted by someone in your race,” said Edwards. “It was especially brutal for me because I spent the whole weekend sick, skipped practice, and my whole purpose of doing all that, resting and drinking fluids was to get ready for the race. We had a good car – the best it’s been all weekend. I don’t think we had the pace to really win the race, but I think we could have—especially with the way the race went at the end—we could have had a podium, or at least a top-five to salvage some good points.”
Robin Liddell took the wheel after the repairs and showed the car still had pace within it, running lap times similar to the race leaders. The time spent in the pits, however, meant that the #57 car had dropped five laps off the pace and Liddell could do no better than 15th place.
“It’s a disappointing day,” said Team Manager Mike Johnson. “Robin was able to run with the leaders. We obviously don’t have the speed as a lot of the cars out there but had we been in front at the end I think we would definitely have been in the top-five which would have been a much better result than 15th. It’s not the way to start a season, but hopefully our luck will turn around at Barber.”