Pole and a Podium For Multimatic In Texas

Pole and a Podium For Multimatic In Texas

AUSTIN, Texas (September 18th, 2015) – Circuit of the Americas (COTA) has been good to Multimatic Motorsports as the team’s Boss302Rs owned the front row in 2014 and then followed-up with another pole and podium for the new Shelby GT350R-C in 2015. Although not quite capable of stealing the win from the #6 Stevenson Camaro, the #15 Multimatic Mustang finished on the rear bumper of the championship leading car, showing superior pace towards the end of the race but ultimately running out of time to capitalize on it.

After spending the weeks between VIR and COTA once again rebuilding the #15 Shelby after its practice wreck in Virginia, it was a testament to Sean Mason’s team that it rolled-off the trailer fast and Scott Maxwell claimed his third – and the team’s fourth – pole of the season. Young Austin Cindric battled a brake feel issue into qualifying but pushed through it to end up seventh on the hugely competitive Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge (CTSC) GS grid. Once again, there were at least eight cars capable of winning the race and the championship battle was still in the balance with the #6 Stevenson Camaro and #13 Rum Bum Porsche close in points.

Maxwell hung onto the lead as the hungry pack went five-wide up into the famous corner one, with Cindric doing a stellar job in the middle of the mayhem to stay out of trouble and slot onto the back of the fast guys. This group rapidly pulled away from the rest of the field with the Camaro-Porsche battle becoming intense as Maxwell fought an understeer balance and opted to drop back to let the motivated championship leaders get on with it. Both Cindric and Maxwell continued to run in the lead pack while conserving their cars in the extremely hot conditions.

For those who think one can't get air off COTA's kerbs...The leading cars started to head for the pits to make green flag stops as the 45-minute drive time limit went past, with Maxwell ultimately cycling back into the lead until a caution spoilt the team’s strategy of pushing for a long first stint. The two Multimatic cars executed perfect full service stops, complete with driver changes, at the one hour mark of the two and a half hour race. Billy Johnson and Jade Buford ending up at the tail end of the GS field due to the unfortunate timing of the yellow. Twelve laps later Johnson was in again with the majority of the leaders when another yellow flew. #158 race engineer Rob Taylor rolled the dice as he calculated, correctly, that a five lap yellow period (normal) would get his car to the end without a stop and so the team split the strategy and left Buford out to take the lead of the race. But the control tower called lights out on the pace car one circuit early, to compensate for the excessively long caution laps, and Taylor immediately knew that he was going to come up shy. The #15 stop was spectacular as Johnson entered the pit lane in P7 and left in P4, smoking all but the two Stevenson Camaros in the process due to perfect execution and a slighter shorter fuel fill courtesy of having come in later than the competition the first time round. With Buford on older tires than the manic pack behind, he put on a master class in defensive race driving which allowed Johnson to get between the Camaros and when the #158 finally ran out of grip, the #15 went through on the bumper of the #6 championship leader (made easier for the former than latter). Unfortunately the always fast Nissans woke-up as the final hour turned into a tire preservation contest. Ultimately Johnson won the game and dropped the 370Zs, and started reeling in Robin Liddell’s Z28. Although the differential in speed became as much as a second per lap with the Shelby GT350R-C looking visibly faster in the twisty sections of the track, Johnson ultimately ran out of time and finished 1.3 seconds back of the championship leader.

Highlights of the weekend were as follows:

  • D1509COTA48203SAAMaxwell took his third podium of the season with the #15 GT350R-C after both he and the car had a rough time at VIR a few weeks before. A great comeback for both.
  • Jade Buford led the race during the middle stages and put on an outstanding display of clean defensive driving under extreme pressure from the competition who were all on fresher tires.
  • Billy Johnson was the master of tire and car conservation in the last hour and left himself enough of both to challenge the leader at the end. Unfortunately the defensive phase of his stint ended just a little late as the Nissans hung on fiercely despite their obvious tire degradation and the #15 came up a lap short of going after the win.

Multimatic Motorsports Team Principal, Larry Holt, commented: “After two very tough race weekends at Road America and VIR it was nice to load two pristine cars onto the trailer with no bruises or mechanical issues. A win would have been the perfect outcome but we really didn’t want to mess with the championship battle and the track and ambient temperatures made all-out racing impossible. Billy showed the entire field how to conserve a car in those conditions and if the Nissans had faded a few laps earlier we might have had a chance at the win. I can’t praise Jade enough for the drive he gave us after Rob left him out in front of the pack on fresh rubber, the battle he had with the #6 was epic and Robin told me after the race it was an awesome scuffle. All in all, I will take the result and move on to Road Atlanta where we won last year, the Shelby should be good down there.”

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Sean Mason
Multimatic Motorsports
+1 905-470-0025