In typical VIRginia International Raceway fashion, the weekend featured extreme weather and unprecedented events leaving the drivers with minimum track time before the one hour and 45-minute race. An accident in an earlier session caused the IMSA Prototype Challenge qualifying to be canceled giving the series no choice but to base starting positions off of car points.
Team Principal Brent O’Neill was proud of his team for overcoming each challenge that was thrown its’ way.
"VIR is always a crazy weekend across the board," O’Neill said. "The rain really messed with our track time but the drivers did a great job of looking over data and watching old in-car footage to make sure they were up to speed when they got to the race. The guys gave it their all even with a few bumps along the way and brought the cars home clean. Next up is the second to last race so we’ve got to really dial it in during the next month to grab as many championship points as possible."
The debut of the No. 19 CSCI Construction Ligier LMP3 shook up the field this weekend as Dan Goldburg made a charge for the championship lead aided by his co-driver Rasmus Lindh. Goldburg sat fourth in points headed into the weekend but unfortunately had to start last due to the lack of championship points for the No. 19. Godlburg had a fantastic stint moving up six positions before handing the car over to Lindh.
Eager to get back on track and pick up where Goldburg left off Lindh made the mistake of speeding in pitlane earning himself a drive-through penalty. Upon rejoining the field he made quick work of making up for lost time, advancing into ninth position where he would finish.
Cameron Cassels had a stellar weekend in the No. 75 VB Enviro Care Ligier LMP3 starting from sixth, racing amidst the lead pack for the entirety of his stint. His immense experience at VIRginia International Raceway in a Porsche Cayman GT4, a Lamborghini Huracan and a Ligier LMP3 Cassels showcased racecraft levels above his competitors.
Teammate Max Hanratty took the reins with one hour remaining and immediately began pushing with the same relentless force as Cassels. He piloted the No. 75 to the checkered flag in 10th place.
Jon Branam made an impressive IMSA Prototype Challenge debut, joining Cassels in the fight at the head of the pack for his whole stint. Running clean, consistent laps he handed the car over to teammate Blake Mount in pristine condition. Mount battled to the finish in the No. 6 Motel 6 Ligier LMP3 while facing a sudden ailment. He crossed the finish line 11th overall.
Performance Tech Motorsports Ligier LMP3 entrants next head to Mid-Ohio Sportscar Course, September 25-27. The weekend will serve as the penultimate event in the six-race season. The series currently plans to allow fans at the Mid-Ohio Sportscar Course in limited areas and capacities. For ticket sales and schedule, details visit https://www.imsa.com/events/acura-sports-car-challenge-at-mid-ohio/.
Rasmus Lindh, Driver of the No. 19 CSCI Construction Ligier LMP3
"This was not our weekend," Lindh said. "We had to start last due to the qualifying being canceled. I actually only had 4 laps before the race so it took me a few laps to settle into a good pace. I think I’m still working to be the best driver for this car so I can find more speed and save more fuel. Thank you to Performance Tech Motorsports and Dan Goldburg for this opportunity and the hard work this weakened."
Dan Goldburg, Driver of the No. 19 CSCI Construction Ligier LMP3
"Wow, we had a lot of challenges this weekend," Goldburg said. "First off I want to thank CSCI for stepping up to keep Ramsus and me together for this event. We knew coming into this weekend we were handicapped because neither of us had been to VIR and we had no testing ahead of time. Then there was the rain, qualifying being canceled, starting at the back and each only having a total of three laps on a damp track before the green dropped. Definitely, a new experience to start a race with barely any time on track ahead of time."
"My main goal was to keep the car clean and keep it on the lead lap, secondary was to extract what speed I could. My stint went okay. I had accidents in front of me, Norma’s to pass, oil on the track and so much more. I was happy to make some clean passes and turn the car over at mid-pack to Rasmus. We had an unlucky moment when the pit speed limiter was inadvertently tapped off and we got a drive-thru penalty. Without that, we surely would have finished much better. Very unfortunate, but Ramsus drove great. We were the second fastest Ligier and made no mistakes. We finished ninth which was not what we hoped but now we have experience at VIR for the future. I’m very happy to continue this season with Rasmus and continue to refine our program."
Cameron Cassels, Driver of the No. 75 VB Enviro Care Ligier LMP3
"The gang at Performance Tech worked their butts off to maximize the limited track time we had this weekend," Cassels said. "We were just a bit off this weekend. Looking forward, we will look to getting some test days to climb back up the grid. Even though we were not happy with our finishing position, we will be able to use the data from this race to improve for Mid-Ohio. And we’re loading up three race cars with absolutely no damage! Sometimes a little adversity just drives you harder."
Max Hanratty, Driver of the No. 75 VB Enviro Care Ligier LMP3
"The weekend wasn’t ideal for us, but when put in a tough situation you have to be realistic with your expectations," Hanratty said. "Due to some bad weather, red flags in practice, and qualifying being canceled we were put in a tough spot and had to put our focus on making the most out of the situation. That being said I think we made all the right calls as a team and had flawless pit stops once again, we just simply had a lack of track time and data and that showed in our performance as a team. Looking forward to shifting our focus to the next one and using this as a learning experience."
Jon Branam, Driver of the No. 6 Motel 6 Ligier LMP3
"I loved driving the LMP3 car," Branam said. "My first laps in the dry were actually at the start of the race so I knew it was going to be a challenge to perform well. Knowing that I was driving for one of the top teams in the paddock definitely helped my confidence in getting up to pace quickly. I think IPC format is a great way to transition drivers into a semi pro series. It truly was a lot of fun! I think my biggest moment this weekend was keeping the Performance Tech Motel 6 car clean and towards the sharp end of the field."
Blake Mount, Driver of the No. 6 Motel 6 Ligier LMP3
"The weekend as a whole was quite hectic," Mount said. "With the combination of lack of practice laps, and my hiatus from the race track I really struggled to find pace during the race. I have to give all credit to Jon Branam for a stellar first stint, he did an incredible job keeping the car clean as well as managing the fuel. I feel that Jon and I did a good job as new teammates and meshed well together. He is a great person and I hope to work with him again in the future. At the end of the day, I have broken the eight month hiatus and have my eyes set in Mid-Ohio. I want to thank Motel 6 for their undying and seemingly unconditional support of myself and this program, I know we didn’t get the result we wanted this weekend but we will continue to work hard for that podium spot."
"My biggest accomplishment was being able to push past all of the distractions and focus on myself as well as my drive this weekend. Even though I didn’t get down to the pace I knew I had in me, I have to be happy with keeping the car clean and relative close to my teammates on race pace. Especially considering prior to the race we had no testing, and then roughly ten or so laps for practice total."