#88: Archangel Motorsports, Aston Martin Vantage GT4, GS: Todd Coleman, Aaron Telitz

Dramatic Win for Archangel as Aston Takes Four of Top Five

Telitz Coaxes 54 Laps Out of Last Tank of Fuel to Hang on for Victory


By John Oreovicz & Mark Robinson


Race Results


LEXINGTON, Ohio – They watched and they waited, convinced Aaron Telitz would need to stop for fuel in the closing stages of the O’Reilly Auto Parts Four Hours of Mid-Ohio on Sunday afternoon.


Instead, Telitz continued at barely abated pace around Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, leading the Grand Sport (GS) class during Round 4 of the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge season, in the No. 88 Archangel Motorsports Aston Martin Vantage GT4, confident in the information team manager Mike Johnson was reporting from the pits.


Telitz finally slowed to save fuel in the last couple laps, allowing Matt Plumb in the No. 46 Team TGM Aston Martin Vantage GT4 to slice into his 16-second lead. But Telitz and the Archangel car he shared with Todd Coleman crossed the line 4.533 seconds to the good in a 1-2 finish for Aston Martin after 152 laps of racing around the 2.258-mile road course. The British manufacturer won for the first time this season and claimed four of the top five spots.


As one of only two four-hour endurance events on the Michelin Pilot Challenge calendar, fuel strategy played a critical role in the race. It’s generally accepted that GS entries can run roughly an hour on a tank of fuel, so the drama level rose sharply when it appeared the No. 88 Archangel Aston would try to complete the final 80 minutes without stopping.


Team TGM was the first of the leaders to commit to a strategy that would guarantee making the finish, pitting Plumb with 49 minutes remaining. That left the No. 88 Aston and the No. 34 JMF Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT GT4 as the last cars attempting to achieve an extended final stint.


“Definitely the (Nos.) 34 and the 88 are (hoping) for a caution or they have something figured out on the fuel save that the rest of us don’t,” said Paul Holton, who-co-drove the No. 46 Aston Martin with incoming GS championship points leader Plumb. “Could they make it? Maybe.”


Telitz continued at what looked like a torrid pace, lapping in the 1-minute, 27-second bracket around the 13-turn road course. He finally slacked off in the final five minutes but still had enough fuel to complete the final 54 race laps plus a victory lap on the single tank. It was the first victory in Michelin Pilot Challenge competition for Archangel Motorsports.


“What an amazing job by this Archangel team,” said Telitz. “Mike Johnson running the strategy, Todd running such a clean first stint. We knew this race was going to come down to strategy at the end, so it was all about saving fuel for us – basically the whole race. We knew what we could do; we practiced it a lot in practice, and it paid off big here. Amazing!”


Coleman said he and the team fully believed Telitz would make it to the finish. “Actually, I stopped praying for a yellow with about 20 laps to go, because I thought, ‘We’re seeing this all the way to the end.’


“You wouldn’t believe the fuel preservation target he was given, and he was still running (1:27 laps). Unbelievable!” he added.


It was generally a clean race that featured eight GS class leaders and only three full-course cautions.


Daniel Morad and Bryce Ward finished third in the No. 57 Winward Racing Mercedes-AMG GT GT4, while Scott Blind and JP Southern got the best of a furious scrap for fourth place in the No. 45 Ruckus Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT4.


Plumb, who has competed with multiple co-drivers this year, continues to lead the GS class standings with a 130-point advantage over Robin Liddell and Frank Depew, who recovered from an early spin to finish fifth Sunday in the No. 71 Rebel Rock Racing Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT4 Evo. Morad and Ward are another 10 points back.

Brown, Dupont Race to First Series Victory in TCR Nail-Biter


#76: Bryan Herta Autosport with Curb Agajanian, Hyundai Elantra N TCR, TCR: Preston Brown, Denis Dupont

The Touring Car (TCR) class featured just as much fuel-saving drama as the GS race, with Preston Brown and Denis Dupont both gaining their first Michelin Pilot Challenge win in nail-biting fashion in the No. 76 Bryan Herta Autosport with Curb-Agajanian Hyundai Elantra N TCR.


Dupont stopped with the rest of the TCR leaders for a full tank of fuel during the final full-course caution with just over 80 minutes remaining. When racing resumed 10 minutes later, the No. 76 crew was running second and planning to go the distance without stopping.


“As soon as he left pit lane after that last yellow,” team engineer Aaron Phifer explained, “I said we’ll go to fuel save and see what we can do. I just gave him a crazy (fuel-saving) number to hit, and he was hitting it.”


But one by one, the other TCR contenders began stopping for late splashes of fuel. Dupont inherited the lead with 28 minutes to go when Tim Lewis pulled the No. 5 KMW Motorsports with TMR Engineering Alfa Romeo Giulietta Veloce TCR in for a splash. That changed the thinking in the No. 76 Hyundai camp.


“Everybody behind us stopped so it gave us the cushion (to bring Dupont in for the splash of fuel),” Phifer added. “My crew was amazing all day, got us so many spots on pit lane. They did a perfect fuel splash at the end for three seconds, and I told him, ‘Drive it like you stole it for the last four laps.’ He’s the most underrated driver in this paddock and he deserves it.”


Dupont did just that. He returned after the splash-and-go with the lead and pulled away to win by 4.197 seconds over Lewis, William Tally and the No. 5 Alfa Romeo. The No. 17 Unitronic/JDC-Miller MotorSports Audi RS3 LMS TCR, with drivers Chris Miller and Mikey Taylor, finished third – ending their three-race win streak to start the 2024 season.


“The whole race was super tactical,” Dupont, the 34-year-old Belgian, said. “We fuel saved a lot from the beginning because it was difficult to pass. At the end it was just a fuel-save race and I think we really sized it better than the rest and (were able to) take the lead, stay in the front and then stick to a splash. … Then you have to race at the end, but we thought we had the pace to stay at the front, so we did.”


It’s the third solid result in four races for Brown and Dupont, who finished second in the season opener at Daytona International Speedway and fourth last month at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. They moved into second in the TCR standings after four races, 170 points behind Taylor, Miller and the No. 17 Audi. Hyundai became the second TCR manufacturer to win in 2024 and closed the deficit to Audi to 40 points.


“It’s been a wonderful beginning to the season with Bryan Herta Autosport,” Brown commented. “Denis and I have been racing off and on together for three years so this is pretty awesome.”


The Michelin Pilot Challenge returns to action June 21-22 with The Esses 120 at Watkins Glen.