Grand Sport McLaren 570S GT4
- Mathew Keegan
- Nico Rondet
- Paul Holton
- Matt Plumb
C360R's Continental Tire Sportscar Challenge squad celebrated strong finishes for all three of their cars at the series' second round, held at Florida's Sebring International Raceway. Mathew Keegan and Nico Rondet placed third in the GS class in their No.77 AERO Paint / Santo Mezquila / Misahara Jewelry McLaren 570S GT4, whilst Paul Holton and Mathieu Plumb finished fifth in the No.76 AlphaClone / Pfaff McLaren / Race Day Foundation car. Roy Block and Pierre Kleinubing were ninth in the ST class in their APR / Audi Genuine Parts and Tire Center / AERO Paint Audi S3.
It was a strong finish for the team, who suffered adversity at the season-opening round at Daytona in January.
"It's great to be on the podium in just my second Conti race," enthused Keegan. "The Compass Racing guys did a great job all weekend long, and we got the car into its sweet spot here."
Team Principal Karl Thomson was equally pleased. "This is a great result for the entire squad. I'm really pleased for Mat and Nico, who really drove like champions today. It's wonderful to see our new McLarens do so well."The fifth-place result for Holton and Plumb was really better than expected after the No.76 car received a penalty for a pit lane infraction, and was largely due to truly spectaular performances by both drivers.
The strong finishes mean that both duos have moved up in the points standings, with Keegan/Rondet in seventh place and Holton/Plumb in tenth.A top-ten was solid for the No.75, but could have been stronger if not for an electrical issue which hampered the car's performance in the final stages of the race.
"Our pit stop worked perfectly, and was just at the right time," noted Block. "Pierre was making his way to the front of the pack when the car went into limp mode and he had to recycle it. That put him back, and he had to work through the pack a second time. We know what the issue was and it'll be solved for the next race."
Not resting on it's laurels, the team has extensive testing scheduled for the comings month before the third round of the IMSA schedule gets underway at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas on May 4th.
"Although we're pleased with the Sebring results, we've still got work to do with both our McLaren and Audi programs," said Thomson. "Conti is probably the most competitive sportscar series in North America right now, and we're aiming to better our finish here and get on the top step of the box."Photo credits: Sideline Sports Photography.