RS1 Throws Hat in Continental Tire Challenge GS Title Ring with Machavern, Murcott
Thursday, August 3, 2017

A pair of 20-somethings are eagerly taking the Grand Sport (GS) class by storm this year in the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge.

Dillon Machavern and Dylan Murcott, piloting the No. 28 RS1 Porsche Cayman GT4 MR, have been a major component to RS1’s successful first season in GS competition. However, this isn’t the first time the duo has been paired together in sports car racing.

“In 2014, we raced a (BMW) 128i in [Street Tuner] with Mitchum Motorsports and that’s where we were introduced,” Machavern explained. “I knew him a little bit from SCCA Miata racing, like we had crossed paths before, but I hadn’t really known him that well until we were at Mitchum and co-drivers there. We worked really well together so when this opportunity came up, we were all in for it because we’re very similar with how we like the car and stuff like that.”

It was Murcott who reached out to Machavern about the opportunity to co-drive at RS1 and, according to Machavern, it was RS1’s championship-winning resume that drew him in. The team’s success so far this season has already drawn in another sponsor as well, YouRulz, which added its name to the car at Watkins Glen.

It was the next race at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park where Machavern and Murcott recorded their best Continental Tire Challenge finishes to date, a second-place result which was repeated the following race at Lime Rock Park.

The momentum has carried the No. 28 into third place in the GS driver championship standings, just five points out of the lead.

“We knew we were going to be a strong pairing and we had a good car,” Machavern said. “I’m not sure we knew we would be this close to the championship lead at this point in the season because GS is so competitive this year, especially with the new GT4 platform. But we definitely came into the season pretty confident.”

Heading into the final four races of the season, though, Machavern says the message has stayed the same.

“Obviously, the main goal is to win the championship, but short term, just be consistent. If you can’t win races, just get as many points as you possibly can and try to keep clean and solid finishing positions so we can stay in the championship hunt as the season winds down.”

The Road America 120 is schedule for Saturday, August 5 at 5:30 p.m. ET and can be watched live on IMSA.com with IMSA Radio commentary.

MINI Basking in Successful Continental Tire Challenge Season

It’s hard to find a manufacturer in the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge Street Tuner (ST) more pleased with the 2017 season so far than MINI.

After finishing fifth the manufacturers’ championship last year, MINI currently sits in second place just 17 points behind the defending class champion, Porsche. Headed into Road America, MINI brings a contingent of three cars vying to represent the team on the podium.

“Everyone wants to finish as high as possible,” says Mike LaMarra, who pilots the No. 37 MINI JCW with co-driver James Vance. “If we can sneak out a win or a few more podiums for the (No.) 37 car, we’d certainly like that. But I think as one of the team players, we’d like to position MINI, as a manufacturer, as high as possible because they do so much for us.”

The MINI JCW Team also features co-drivers Derek Jones and Mat Pombo in the No. 73, and a few rotating drivers in the No. 52, including Pombo’s brother Mark Pombo, Nate Norenberg and Jay Salinsky.

“The thing that’s been awesome about MINI has been the MINI owners and the fans,” said Mat Pombo, who sits third in the driver championship standings with Jones after recording wins at the BMW Endurance Challenge at Daytona and the Continental Tire 120 at The Glen.

“Every weekend we have huge MINI corrals and fans that honestly have never even seen a race,” Pombo continued. “But through the buzz at the corporate level of MINI and the MINI dealerships and local MINI owner clubs, we’re getting a lot of people out to the races who are just excited to see a car like theirs on the racetrack. That really energizes us. I haven’t ever really seen that in racing.”

For Jones and Pombo, two championship points behind the second-place No. 17 RS1 Porsche Cayman, and 23 points behind the class-leading No. 56 Murillo Racing Porsche Cayman, Road America could prove to be a turning point heading into the final four races of the season.

“From my standpoint, it’s about wins for us,” said Mat Pombo. “We just have to go out and win the races that we can. We have to capitalize on our opportunities. The tracks we have circled, we just have to go out and do what we’re capable of doing. The team has proven that they’re capable and can do it and us as drivers, I know we’re confident we can do it.

“We just can control what we do and get the results we expect and hopefully that will be good enough. We’ve got to show up, go through the motions and really not do anything different than what we’ve been doing. We try not to think about the championship even though it’s there. We just do what we have to do and we’ll close the gap if that happens.”

MINI brings its unified front and loyal fan base to the Road America 12 this weekend. While each car may have its own strategies and goals heading into this weekend’s race, there remains an underlying theme for MINI JCW.

“I think there’s a lot of excitement around the MINI and the MINI brand,” said LaMarra. “We’re excited to have the finishes we’ve been having. It seems as though the team has really figured the car out after a few years of development and we’re starting to have some success, so we’re seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

“Not that it’s over, but we’re starting to see the hard work the team has been putting in, especially this season but also in previous seasons, start to pay off.”

Partners