- Massive amounts of rain result in shortened Rolex Series race, but Continental rain tires provide excellent traction for Sun Trust team who captures win.
- Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge Series puts rain and slick tires to use as Rum Bum gets two in a row and Insight Racing wins in ST.
Continental Tire brought their newest dry compound to Homestead-Miami hoping to get some race laps in while Mother Nature had other ideas. Heavy rain dampened the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge Series (CTSCCS), Rolex Series and Sportsman Showcase Series at Homestead-Miami Speedway over the weekend. All teams put the Continental rain tires to the test as they took to the track and reported great things about the handling of the tires in such treacherous conditions. Overall a successful, but soggy weekend for Continental Tire.
Saturday's CTSCCS race started under rainy conditions that had both the GS and ST team's start on Continental rain tires. The Rum Bum race team qualified on the pole but a technical infraction sent them to the back for the start which didn't preclude them from taking home win number two of the year in the GS class. Nick Longhi piloted the No. 13 Porsche from back to front in the rain with virtually no issues before handing off driving duties to Matt Plumb who only drove on dry tires. On the ST side, it was Insight Racing who captured their first win of the season with Martin Jensen and Ryan Ellis behind the wheel of the No. 18 BMW. Both classes moved to dry tires about an hour into the 2.5-hour race with drivers raving about both the wet and dry tires.
"The rain tires worked fantastic for me obviously,"said Longhi following the race. "It started to dry out and I was still able to keep the pace up. And it was really, really remarkable that as the race track was getting dryer they (the tires) were really holding up well. They did not drop off the way that I thought they would, they were really good."
Plumb chimed in, "As far as the dry tires are concerned, the great thing about these tires is that they're super consistent. So that's just one of the variables that you don't have to constantly be thinking about as a driver. It just makes my job a whole lot easier."
At the end of the media session, Longhi also added, "If you follow Formula 1 they aren't saying that right now," in regards to the tire performance.
Torrential rain hit the Homestead area on Sunday as the Rolex Series prepared to do battle for the third time in 2012. The 2.75-mile race started on time but heavy periods of rain and spinning cars mired the race in cautions for more than half the time. With just under an hour to go, GRAND-AM made the call to cut the race short due to heavy rains and treacherous conditions. The Sun Trust team of Ricky Taylor and Max Angelelli emerged overall victors and DP winners while Jeff Segal and Emil Assentato chalked up a win in the GT class for the No. 69 Ferrari team. Due to the rain, teams were only able to race on Continental's rain tires which received great marks during the post-race press conference.
"The rain tires has been always really good,"said race winner Angelelli. "More or less we knew we could do the entire race with one set, so there was no point for changing tires. Not necessary."
David Donohue, half of the No. 5 Action Express Racing team who finished third in DP stated, "The Continental tires were fantastic in the rain, so that wasn't an issue." Donohue continued, "And that's the one thing everyone was worried about going into this race if it was all dry and saving tires and so forth, and it ended up being a non-issue."
The Sportsman Showcase Series took to the track for their debut for 20 laps in heavy rain. There was plenty of passing and action but when the checkered flag fell, Ernie Francis Sr. was able to lock up the win as his son and car owner, Ernie Jr., looked on. Seems as though Junior is still too young to race in the class but look for him in the coming years as Senior will then take over ownership duties.
The GRAND-AM Series travels to New Jersey Motorsports Park May 11-13 for the next round of action. Speed will carry the Rolex Series race LIVE on May 13 at 1:00 p.m. ET while the CTSCCS will air tape-delayed on May 26 at 2:00 p.m. ET.