Double Podium Weekend For Performance Tech At GP3R

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

DEERFIELD BEACH, Fla. (Aug. 16, 2016) – Driver Kyle Masson gave Performance Tech Motorsports the boost the team was looking for by placing on podium in Rounds 8 and 9 this past weekend at the Grand Prix de Trois Rivières.
Masson took home a second and third place finish on the 1.52-mile street course, the only street course on the schedule this season. Round 8 made for his best finish of the season with a second place finish. To date Masson has collected four podium finishes.

Masson qualified fourth in his No. 18 Lites 1 Mazda Prototype for the Mazda Prototype Lites Presented by Cooper Tires weekend. Teammate Misha Goikhberg qualified close behind in sixth.

In Round 8 Masson took advantage of rough racing between JDC Motorsports teammates and cruised to a second place finish. That came after a spirited drive and battle with Maxwell Hanratty. Masson overtook Hanratty on the first lap in the wet 30-minute sprint. For a majority of his race . With 10-minutes left in the race Austin Versteeg spun after contact with his teammate Clark Toppe leaving Masson to inherit second place and the goal of tracking Toppe down. Masson cut the gap to 3.521 seconds but time ran out before he could make a move for first.

Masson’s teammate Goikhberg took home a fourth place finish, showing how talent and experience make the best companions. The points were a warm welcome to a team in the fight for a team points championship, Performance Tech currently sits in second.

Acting wise beyond his years, Masson proved just how far he’s come in one season in Round 9. A damaged No. 7 of JDC Motorsports led the field at the start of the 45-minute race. The damage resulted in a slow start to Round 9 which scattered the back of the field as cars fought for new position. In the chaos Masson found himself stuck behind the limping No. 7.

Masson immediately began fighting his way back to the front of the field. He steered clear of damage by making his way to the runoff on the narrow track after a spin in Turn 6. The save allow him to continue on. He bid his time turning lap after calculated lap. Soon the front of the field hit lap traffic, slowing their pace. This allowed Masson to reel in the leaders.

Fifteen minutes from the checkered flag a full course caution came out bringing the field back together. At this time Masson was in fourth place. On the restart Masson went two-wide with Michael Wheldon in Turn 2 for third place. He held on to the position for the finish. 

Goikhberg took home a seventh place finish. However, as most will agree, points are points. Goikhberg also offered up sage words for Masson throughout the weekend adding to his worth. His next race will be back in his No. 85 Prototype Challenge Car at Circuit of the Americas with JDC Motorsports.

"I really enjoyed racing this course. I liked it enough to where it made driving easier," Masson said. "I definitely think street courses and especially street course in the rain suit me. I'm getting quicker and more comfortable as I go on in the season. This was the only weekend of the year I've turned faster laps than Clark and Austin at JDC. In the rain, Race One, I was .4 seconds quicker. I had a comfortable drive in second place.

"Race Two, I had a rough first lap. I was stuck behind Austin and ended up 38-seconds behind the leader. I tried to make a pass on him in Turn 6, I just made a mistake- it was driver error. I went too deep into the corner on cold tires. The car didn't slow down as much as I thought. I basically spent 30 minutes catching up until the yellow flag came out. All those passes allowed me to make the pass for podium. I want to say thank you to the team and to the fans there. I've never been to a race like that before. It poured rain and they were still there. It was an amazing event."

Team Principal Brent O’Neill was impressed with Masson’s performance and expressed appreciate for Goihkberg’s added experience.

“Kyle did an awesome job especially for never having raced on a street course before,” O’Neill said. “He handled the tight confides well and is showing that he’s really coming into his own as driver and learning to make smart decisions. In the second race when Austin didn’t take off at the start he ended up bunched with the field and nearly 40-seconds behind. But he made smart decisions to get back to the front. Having Mikhail (Goikhberg) with us and him being a former champion was a huge help to Kyle in the war room. I think it helped Kyle’s confidence that the car was good.

“Going across the border can be difficult in racing so not everyone is always excited when we go but this was a really cool event, we enjoyed being there. You have to take your hat off to Randy (Hembrey, Senior Series Manager) for putting it together. I think more people would come next year if they saw how good this event was this year. It was a great weekend, Kyle and Mikhail did a great job and IMSA put on a great event.”

Performance Tech’s next Mazda Prototype Lites Presented by Cooper Tires is September 9- 11 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Salinas, California. The weekend is part of a Mazda-only weekend at the famous raceway. Fans can catch USF200, Pro Mazda, and Indy Lights as well as the Prototype Lites series. View for event details.