Prototype Challenge Barber Motorsports Park Friday Notebook
Friday, April 21, 2017

The first of two 45-minute races for the IMSA Prototype Challenge Presented by Mazda series was held today at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala. It was the debut race for the series at the park-like 2.38-mile facility.

Kenton Koch, from Glendora, Calif., led the field to the green flag for the 45-minute session in his No. 8 P1 Motorsports Ligier JS P3 entry. The 2015 series Champion punctuated his return to the series by posting the fastest LMP3 class lap time in yesterday’s practice session, along with capturing the overall pole in this morning’s qualifying round. Koch capped off a strong two-day performance with a flag-to-flag win today, leading all 28 laps of the 45-minute event.

Koch was followed in class by Andres Gutierrez in the No. 12 Performance Tech Motorsports Ligier JS P3, with third place going to the No. 87 of Robert La Rocca in the HP-Tech Motorsport/3Dimensional Services Ligier JS P3.

In the MPC class, Kyle Masson continues to prove that while young, he is always in contention. Masson won both races at Sebring, led his class in practice yesterday and took the pole in his No. 18 Performance Tech Motorsports/NeuroSpine Institute Mazda-powered DP02 which has allowed him to firmly grasp the points lead.

Masson only briefly gave up the lead today to Kris Wright in the No. 7 JDC Motorsports car, but took it back three laps later for the remainder of the event. Wright ended up seventh in class.

Michal Chlumecky in the No. 31 Eurosport Racing entry and Tazio Ottis in the JDC Motorsports No. 72 rounded out the overall MPC podium in second and third place, respectively.

In Masters competition – veteran drivers 45 years and older – P1 Motorsports saw Lonnie Pechnik take the win in LMP3 Masters in the No. 17 car. Naj Husain in the No. 3 Extreme Speed Motorsports/Cloudistics grabbed second place, with the No. 51 of Rob Hodes rounding out the podium in third for K2R Motorsports. All three drivers were piloting Ligier JS P3 chassis.

Chlumecky not only finished second overall in MPC today, but also took top Masters honors in class. Stuart Rettie took his No. 21 ODU Motorsports entry up to second place for Lion Rampant Group, followed closely by Gary Gibson’s No. 13 Team Perfect Pedal machine.

All 24 entries took both the green and checkered flags today, with the fastest laps in class posted up by Koch at 1 minute, 22.146 seconds and Masson with a lap of 1:23.470 in the session. Both have established the circuit records in class in LMP3 and MPC.

Qualifying Results

After a one-hour delay for track repairs, the IMSA Prototype Challenge Presented by Mazda series lined up for a 20-minute qualification to determine starting positions for the first of two 45-minute races at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala.

Yesterday’s practice sessions saw fastest laps posted by Kenton Koch in the LMP3 class, in his P1 Motorsports No. 8 Ligier JS P3, with Kyle Masson setting the pace in the MPC field in the Performance Tech Motorsports/NeuroSpine Institute No. 18 car. Both drivers finished atop the time sheets in their respective classes in today’s qualifying round, securing pole positions in class for the first of two 45-minute races this weekend.

Koch’s quickest lap around the 2.38-mile circuit came in at 1 minute, 20.551 seconds improving from yesterday by exactly one-tenth of a second. Andres Gutierrez followed in second, running a lap at 1:21.208 in the Performance Tech Motorsports No. 12 Ligier JS P3.

Masson also improved upon his practice times by over two-tenths of a second with a fastest lap of 1:22.329 during the session. Masson’s time was sixth overall in the Mazda-powered Élan DP02. Kris Wright, in the JDC Motorsports No. 7, trailed by a quarter second.

The top qualifier in the LM P3 Masters category was Lonnie Pechnik for P1 Motorsports in the No. 17 Ligier JS P3. His lap of 1:22.014 was also good enough for fifth overall in the field.

Event Details

Race two will take place Saturday at 12:00 p.m. and will stream live from 11:50 to 12:45 p.m. CDT on IMSA.TV.

Delayed television coverage of the IMSA Prototype Challenge Races at Barber Motorsports Park will be provided on May 4, 2017 on Fox Sports 2 (FS2). The broadcast will also be available on YouTube 24 hours after it airs on television.

For more information on all IMSA competition - or to access IMSA Radio, which will have live streaming of both races - visit IMSA.com.  

For more information about the IMSA Prototype Challenge Presented by Mazda series, visit www.imsa.com, follow hashtags #IMSAPC and #MRT24 @IMSA on Twitter or IMSA on Facebook.

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