VIRginia International Raceway Thursday Notebook
Thursday, August 16, 2018
Rebel Rock Racing Forging A New Path With Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R
The Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R is back in the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge.
Rebel Rock Racing – a longtime Porsche team – will campaign the No. 71 Camaro GT4.R for longtime co-drivers Robin Liddell and Andrew Davis this weekend at VIR. The team is under new ownership from Frank Depew who is preparing an anticipated two-car effort in 2019.
The team shook down the car, which is rolling on Forgeline one-piece forged monoblock GS1R wheels wrapped in Continental Tires, during a promoter test day at the track Thursday.
“Frank has a very clear vision of what he would like Rebel Rock to become as an organization, and as a result the team has gone through quite a transformation since we last raced,” said Liddell. “It is tremendously exciting to be going back to VIR for what is a debut of sorts. Having Andrew (Davis) as my co-driver will give us the chance to get up to speed very quickly. The IMSA Continental Tire (Challenge) is incredibly competitive, but we’ve been working to put the right people in the right place, and we know the Camaro is quite capable.”
Simpson Looks To Pull Off Trifecta In Debut IMSA Prototype Challenge Presented by Mazda Start
Stephen Simpson is looking to pull off a rare trifecta this weekend as the versatile South African is set to make his debut start in the IMSA Prototype Challenge Presented by Mazda at VIR, co-driving with points leader Kris Wright in the No. 30 Extreme Speed Motorsports Ligier JS P3.
Already with wins in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in the No. 99 GAINSCO “Red Dragon” ORECA LMP2 at Watkins Glen and the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge at Lime Rock Park in the No. 54 JDC-Miller Audi RS3 LMS alongside Michael Johnson, Simpson will look to make it wins in three different IMSA-sanctioned series this season, albeit in a car his has little experience in.
“You know it’s funny, I actually drove the car that I’m driving this weekend last year when it was brand new, and I shook it down,” he said. “I’ve driven it about three laps and that’s the most I’ve been in an LMP3 car. I’ve been following the series and it looks like it’s going from strength to strength which is fantastic. There’s a lot of good drivers here. I’m looking forward to getting in the car and helping Kris maintain his lead in the championship.”
Wright enters the weekend up 13 points, 127-114, over Forty7 Motorsports driver Austin McCusker with just the VIR race and Road Atlanta on Friday, Oct. 12 remaining.
TPC Racing Burns Midnight Oil to Return No. 69 Porsche to GT3 Cup Challenge USA Competition at VIR
Two weeks ago at Road America, the No. 69 TPC Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup machine driven by Dan Hardee was heavily damaged in a crash during the first of the weekend’s two 45-minute races on Saturday. The crash occurred in The Kink, among the fastest sections on the racetrack, and while Hardee escaped injury the car needed a new tub.
As a result, Hardee and the No. 69 did not partake in the second race of the weekend at Road America. But thanks to a new tub from Porsche and lots of hard work from the TPC Racing crew, the car was back on the racetrack in time for Thursday’s promoter test sessions at VIRginia International Raceway.
“It really goes down to the guys back at the shop,” said TPC Racing Team Manager Harris Levitas. “We were already here doing a test on Monday when the tub arrived to TPC Racing and those guys worked all night from Monday to Tuesday and then Wednesday, late afternoon, the car arrived to VIR. This morning, Thursday, we finished a couple little bits on it and we were able to get the drivers out (in testing).
“We had Spencer Pumpelly shake the car down, the one and only guy we trust to do that. It was perfect right off the truck. The guys did a great setup before they put it on the trailer to bring it in, and now it’s just up to Dan and keep it clean and run a good race.”
The Road America weekend was the first visit to the four-mile Wisconsin circuit for Hardee. The Vero Beach, Florida-based driver’s previous racing experience has mostly come at racetracks in his home state, such as Daytona International Speedway and Sebring International Raceway. Hardee turned his first laps at VIR in testing Thursday.
“Just the grounds, the manicuring and everything, they’re gorgeous,” he said. “It’s really nice to actually be able to put all of my training and everything and get seat time here. 
“I’ve done a little bit of simulator training, but man, going through the Esses in a simulator versus when you’re in a GT3 Cup car? Nothing in common.”
Holbrook Meets Gov. Northam Ahead of Weekend at VIR
The day before the Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America teams were set to begin their weekend with a promoter test day at VIRginia International Raceway, Shea Holbrook, driver of the No. 67 PPM, Lamborghini Beverly Hills took a trip to meet with Virginia Governor Ralph Northam at the Governor’s Mansion to promote the race weekend.
Governor Northam will be the Grand Marshal of the Michelin GT Challenge on Sunday but has more than just a passing interest in cars.
“This guy loves his cars” tweeted Holbrook following the meeting. 
“It’s always fun to shift the gear and sit on the driver’s side, Thanks @SheaRacing for the pointers-looking forward to my duties as Grand Marshal @VirNow this weekend!” Governor Northam replied to Holbrook’s post. 
Governor Northam will get a chance to see Holbrook in action as round eight of the Lamborghini Super Trofeo 2018 season will take place just prior to the Michelin GT Challenge Sunday morning.