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No. 39 CarBahn with Peregrine Lamborghini Is Closing Fast in GTD Title Battle

With Consecutive Podium Finishes, Jeff Westphal and Robert Megennis Have Quietly Moved into Championship Contention

By Godwin Kelly

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – You know how the side mirrors of some passenger cars come with a warning that “objects are closer than they appear?”

This same notice could apply to the No. 39 CarBahn with Peregrine Racing Lamborghini Huracán GT3, which competes in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s GT Daytona (GTD) class.

A few races ago, following a car-destroying crash at Watkins Glen International, the team’s title hopes seemed to be hauled away on the wrecker that dragged the crumpled No. 39 back to the garage area.

Now armed with a new car (actually an older chassis with much less wear and tear), this Lambo team is within striking range of the GTD championship.

Drivers Jeff Westphal and Robert Megennis have scored back-to-back podium finishes, including a last-lap pass by Westphal at Lime Rock Park that earned a third-place finish. They finished second in their last outing at Road America.

This short flurry of success has pushed the team to fourth place in the standings – just 98 points behind the series leader – and with two races left on the schedule, they are very much in the championship hunt.

Megennis credits his co-driver’s steering-wheel skills for the comeback. Westphal has become the GTD closer.

“Our catch phrase for the last few races has been ‘in Westphal we trust,’” Megennis said. “He always finds a way to make it happen.”

Westphal defers to the team, which switched from Audi to Lamborghini this season. He says it has been a team effort all the way, stretching back to the Roar Before the Rolex 24 At Daytona in January.

“Literally the first wheel we turned was at the Roar Before the (Rolex) 24,” he said. “That was a complete shakedown for us, so we were behind on that, but we ended up running the car at the front of the field for a few hours.”

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The team started slow, picked up some momentum, then watched its car get completely trashed at The Glen.

“Unfortunately, I was invited into a nasty wreck by two drivers who were playing bumper cars,” Westphal said of the incident.

The silver lining to this story has been the replacement car, which is much more responsive to chassis adjustments, thus increasing the speed and dropping lap times.

“At Lime Rock, we realized we had a car that acted to every click of compression we gave to it,” Westphal said. “We had a car that reacted to every half millimeter of ride height.”

“I wouldn’t say the crash at Watkins Glen was a blessing in disguise, but the car we’re running now seems to have an edge over the car we had at The Glen,” Megennis added.

With the trophy in sight, this team and drivers are gearing up for battle and looking for a victory. They hope to ride this wave of momentum to what was once an unlikely championship.

“The team has never changed its approach of always giving 100 percent,” Westphal said. “We have focus. Everyone is putting their heart and soul into this program. Top to bottom, front to back, everyone wants to win. That’s why we’re all doing this. There’s a passion there.”

And that fire is being stoked with a hand-me-down Lamborghini looking more and more like the tree in “A Charlie Brown Christmas” that transformed from twig to showpiece.

“Now that we have a machine that’s responding to what we’re asking it to do, we’re seeing a tiny bit of performance gain doing that,” Westphal said. “So that combined with a little bit of luck and strategy has given us some good results over the last few races.

“At the end of the day, the way I look at it, we need to leave nothing on the table. We need to leave everything we have out there on the racetrack for every race. You have no regrets if you drive that way. How the championship ends up is how the championship ends up. At least we did everything we could.”