May 25, 2019
Acura Sports Car Challenge — Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course
May 3-5, 2019
The perfect storm. That’s what the Legistics/Racing to End Alzheimer’s/FastMD/Speed Syndicate team ran up against earlier this month.
A dicey forecast
The most obvious challenge was the actual weather. With intermittent rain in the forecast throughout the weekend, every team on the track was forced to gamble on the timing and impact of the wet/dry conditions. From choosing the appropriate tires to gauging how fast to take the next turn, every decision was complicated by the unpredictable nature of those capricious spring showers.
A major challenge
Coming into qualifying, the #23 team was already on edge. Forced to replace a motor during the practice sessions, the risks and uncertainty of such a major last-minute change were top-of-mind for everyone involved. Driver Nick Galante headed onto the track for the 15-minute qualifying session just as a light rain began to fall. With track conditions already deteriorating, Galante couldn’t afford to hold back. Navigating heavy traffic, he put his head down and his doubts aside to qualify a respectable 4th in a grid of 15 cars.
The final blow
At the start of the race, Galante was shuffled back a couple of spots due to heavy traffic and light contact up ahead. Coming around turn two on the second lap, one of the GS cars hit a puddle and slid, slamming into the #23 and pushing it off the track. Galante was able to avoid hitting the wall, but the car picked up grass and debris, blocking the radiator. The engine temp instantly began to rise, forcing Galante to pit to address the problem. Once back on the track, Galante battled hard to close the big gap left by the unfortunate mishap.
At the halfway point of the race, driver James Vance took over. With fresh tires and a full tank of fuel, Vance set a scorching pace, picking off competitors and running some of the fastest times of the weekend. But as another light shower slicked the track, the motor once again began to show the effects of the rough earlier off. With the temperature rising precipitously, the car went into “limp” mode, and the team had no choice but to pull onto the infield and retire from the race.
For the first time this season, the #23 Audi RS3 took to the track sporting livery honoring those whose lives have been affected by Alzheimer’s disease. For the remainder of the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge, donors will have the opportunity to add the names of their loved ones to the #23, a moving and unique tribute facilitated by the Racing to End Alzheimer’s Foundation.
Redemption – and crucial points – will be at stake in the next race of the 2019 IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge on June 27-30 at Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen in Watkins Glen, NY.
Watch the full Mid-Ohio race here.
You can see the Watkins Glen race on NBCSN Thursday, July 11, 2019 – 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM EDT
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