C360R Continues to Move with the Times
Thursday, November 16, 2017

In just one year, C360R has experienced a sweeping transition in the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge.

While the team has consistently and successfully competed in the series for more than a decade, the manufacturers, drivers and car counts have varied over time – but nothing like the last 12 months.

In 2017, the Toronto-based team, which formerly ran under the moniker Compass360, rejuvenated its effort in the GS class. The year prior, Paul Holton and Pierre Kleinubing had piloted the team’s lone Ford Shelby GT350R-C to three podium results in 10 races.

This year, C360R switched marques and fielded a pair of new McLaren GT4s, pairing Holton with past Continental Tire Challenge champion Matt Plumb and naming Nico Rondet and Mat Keegan as the second full-time driver lineup. Together, the team landed on the podium seven times, including a 1-2 sweep at Circuit of The Americas in May that delivered McLaren’s first victory in the series.

There are even more changes on the horizon for the team next year. Team Owner Karl Thomson announced the decision in August to move the team’s ST program up the ladder to the new-for-2018 TCR class, fielding a pair of new Audi RS 3 LMS race cars.

ST drivers Kleinubing and Roy Block – the latter of whom completed his first full season of IMSA competition this year – are slated to return in one of the team’s cars after recording one win and two additional podiums in the last three races of 2017 in the C360R Audi S3. The second driver lineup is scheduled to be announced in the coming days.

C360R is doubling down on its relationship with Audi – the team received its second car at Road Atlanta in October – and will bring some experience to TCR.

“We were one of the first teams to take delivery of the new Audi RS 3 LMS, with an eye to competing with two of them this coming season in IMSA,” Thomson said. “As a lead-up to that, we ran it last season in World Challenge, albeit in a somewhat detuned specification. This gave our team an opportunity to get a feel for the car and to figure out what works and what doesn’t, and gives us a lot of confidence going into IMSA TCR.”

Thomson hopes the success that Holton found with the Audi – winning the 2017 World Challenge TC class championship – can translate to the rest of the team next year in IMSA.

“Our TC championship win laid the ground-work for our IMSA program in 2018,” said Thomson. “The Audi is a lovely car out of the box, and I know we won’t be the only team running these cars, but I hope we have a leg-up on everyone else, particularly in the early part of the season. The competition in the Continental Tire Challenge is so intense; all of the squads bring a real quality effort, so it’ll be a hard-fought championship, just like always.”

So, with a total of four new cars in just over a year, will C360R be able to add to its success? The team is currently tied for fifth on the all-time series win list, and added its name this year to the list of teams winning in multiple Continental Tire Challenge classes. It has won at seven of the 10 tracks on next year’s schedule.

“2018 marks our 15th season in CTSC, making us the longest consecutive-running team in the paddock, and we don’t take our success for granted,” Thomson said. “Every year we try to put together the best driver, car and crew combination we can, and we are looking forward to next season!”

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