DAYTONA, FL (January 26th, 2013) – Multimatic Motorsports left The World Center of Racing with a solid haul of championship points and a high level of confidence that its 2013, four car Aston assault has all the ingredients required for a successful season. Even though the fourth car only arrived in Orlando, from England, late on Tuesday night, the team was at full strength from first practice on Wednesday, with everything running smoothly and more importantly quickly, out of the box. Despite still carrying the disproportionately high balance of performance ballast, the Multimatic Astons topped the time sheets all the way through to the truncated qualifying session where young gun Jade Buford put the #55 Vantage V8 on the pole.
The opening race of the 2013 Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge, held on the high banks of the 3.56 mile Daytona road course configuration, was a typically intense affair with plenty of “rubbing” and enough caution periods to challenge the most experienced tactician. Multimatic took full advantage of its four car stable and ran alternative “pairs” strategies which covered all possible outcomes. The Multimatic Astons led large portions of the race with the #55 of Buford and #71 of Mike Marsal running nose to tail at the front of the field for a period after their two sister cars had made early stops. With the first rounds of pit stops completed it was David Empringham in the #15 Aston that was able to take control of the race up until the #61 Roush Mustang of Billy Johnson went steaming past on the backstretch on lap 34. But despite the straight line speed advantage of the Mustang, Johnson couldn’t make it stick in the infield road course section and the two traded the lead up until the second round of stops. With the race settling into its final 45 minutes, with all pit stops complete, the team suffered two setbacks in quick succession with the #71 of Tonis Kasemets picking up a drive through penalty for a pit lane speeding infraction and the #55 of Scott Maxwell being pushed into the tire wall at the bus stop with half an hour left in the race.
Neither driver had a hope of recovering from these delays due to the highly competitive nature of the racing and so finished 11th and 12th respectively despite some outstanding driving from Maxwell that saw him consistently making three passes per lap. In the closing laps the racing got even more intense at the front between Johnson, Empringham and Matt Plumb in the Rum Bum Porsche. Ultimately the ballast weight on the Astons took its toll and superior braking, handling and driving couldn’t overcome the speed deficiency on the banking and the #15 crossed the line an excellent third with Nick Mancuso in the #16 right behind in fourth after holding off a late race charge by a couple of aggressive Camaros. Highlights of the weekend were as follows:
Multimatic Motorsports Team Principal, Larry Holt, commented: “I am very happy with our performance these last days; more from the standpoint of how the team executed than the outright result. This is the first time Sean Mason has had to deal with four cars in a single class but the engineers, mechanics and drivers just came together in a truly impressive way. The Astons were immaculately prepared, the race strategy was perfectly executed and other than one of the eight pit stops having a small jack problem, the team’s performance in the lane was flawless. John and Dave just did what they always do – drove fast and smart and ended on the podium – which is how they won the 2012 championship. I am really impressed with how Nick and Frankie performed and they totally earned that fourth place. The old boys suffered a couple of setbacks but that is all that kept them from the podium as both Tonis and Scotty displayed great pace. Finally, I can’t help but be proud of the fact that it was Multimatic, once again, upholding Aston Martin’s reputation at the front as Mücke and Turner were never a factor in the TRG entry.”
The second race of the season is the GRAND-AM of The Americas presented by GAINSCO and TOTAL. It will be held on Saturday, March 02, 2013 at 3:00 PM at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, TX.
Sean Mason or Vesa Mikkola