Prototype Challenge Barber Motorsports Park Saturday Notebook
Saturday, April 22, 2017

Race two for the IMSA Prototype Challenge Presented by Mazda series was held today at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala. Colin Thompson led the field to the green flag in his No. 14 Kelly-Moss Road and Race Norma M30 based on lap times set in yesterday’s qualifying round.

Thompson was trailed by a pair of Ligier JS P3s piloted by Andres Gutierrez in the No. 12 Performance Tech Motorsports car, and yesterday’s winner, Kenton Koch in his P1 Motorsports No. 8, respectively. The top three LMP3 contenders stayed in lockstep at the front of the field until a full-course yellow was called on Lap 15, but not before yesterday’s winner, Koch, slipped by Gutierrez to take the second-place position.

Later, on Lap 22, Thompson’s car briefly stepped out of line allowing Koch and Gutierrez to advance, with Gutierrez getting by Koch shortly thereafter. That momentary bobble would prove costly to the race-leading Thompson. He was unable to make up lost positions before another yellow came out almost immediately, which remained out until the end of the race. Thompson ultimately finished third, giving up the race win to Gutierrez, followed by Koch in second.

Thompson did set the fastest lap for the race, which is a new course record for the LMP3 category at 1 minute, 21.755 seconds.

In the Mazda Prototype Challenge (MPC) class, Race 1 winner Kyle Masson led his category to the Green Flag in his No. 18 Performance Tech Motorsports/NeuroSpine Institute Élan DP02 machine. Masson held firmly onto the lead throughout the race, while Tazio Ottis worked his way up to second in class from a fourth-place start in his No. 72 JDC Motorsports entry. Jon Brownson kept his pace consistent and maintained his third-place starting spot to finish third in the No. 34 Eurosport Racing/WestRidge Development car.

Masson also lowered the lap time for the MPC class lap record to 1:22.754 during the race.

The Masters' classmen were solid contenders in both classes today with top LMP3 Masters honors going to Lonnie Pechnik in his No. 17 P1 Motorsports entry. Naj Husain in the No. 3 Extreme Speed Motorsports/Cloudistics car and Rob Hodes in the K2R Motorsports No. 51 followed in second and third places in class, respectively. All three drivers were piloting Ligier JS P3 chassis.

Brownson also earned the top step of the podium in MPC Masters competition today, with fellow Eurosport driver Michal Chlumecky taking the second spot in the No. 31. Stuart Rettie took the third-place finish in his No. 21 ODU Motorsports entry for Lion Rampant Group.

Up next for the IMSA Prototype Challenge Presented by Mazda series are Rounds 5 and 6, which will take place June 29 to July 2 at Watkins Glen International in Watkins Glen, N.Y. as part of the Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen weekend.

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.