With 17 points separating them from the championship leaders, Tom Kimber-Smith and Robert Alon are hoping for a big points haul at Road America this weekend.
Three races remain in the 2016 IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship Prototype Challenge category, meaning this round is a crucial one in terms of the standings.
“Our main goals for the weekend are to finish the race with the car in one piece and maintain, or better, our standings in the point’s championship,” said Kimber-Smith.
“We’ve got a lot of great energy coming off of the last race Lime Rock and I’m really looking forward to hitting the track on Friday.”
The PR/1 Mathiasen team-mates finished second at Lime Rock, but once again fell behind title rivals Alex Popow and Renger van der Zande in the #8 Starworks Motorsport machine.
Despite finishing on the podium in six out of eight races, Kimber-Smith and Alon have found difficulty in pulling back the points deficit. Of the eight races contested, PR/1 Mathiasen has beaten Starworks on just three occasions, the last time being at Laguna Seca in May. And, with the points scoring system reading 35-32-30-28-26, the odds of breaching a large gap are always against the chasing team.
Nevertheless, the team is confident that it can turn its championship situation around, starting at Road America on Sunday.
“Road America is a circuit with a lot of 90 degree corners which all vary in speed, so it’s very challenging, but those are the types of tracks I really enjoy driving,” explained Kimber-Smith.
“I’m really looking forward to going back to Road America this weekend. Last year we didn’t have a great race or result, however, we are going back there after coming off a strong race at Lime Rock.”
This weekend sees all four classes return to competition following the Prototype category’s hiatus at Lime Rock. That means traffic will be even more of an issue, with the PC teams in particular having to look both behind and in front whilst negotiating the field.
“The track has so many long straights and fast, sweeping corners,” said Alon. “You might think you can take a break on the straightaways, but you’re always watching your mirrors or dealing with traffic.”
“It was a blast to drive in the lites car here, but I’m really looking forward to feeling the difference in the PC car with all of the added downforce and speed. I’ve been running a lot of laps of Road America on the simulator, so I know it’s going to be a lot faster than the lites car, but I can’t wait to get out there on Friday and push as hard as we can through the weekend.”
Round nine of the IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship gets underway at 15:05 local time on Sunday, August 7.