Tire Gamble Backfires for Honda TCR Teams at Road America

  • Mixed weather conditions jumble field at Road America
  • Championship contender Ryan Eversley and co-driver Scott Smithson lead the Honda charge

All three Honda Civic Type R TCR teams rolled the dice on the weather in today’s IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge race, with less-than-ideal results.

Starting third in the #84 Atlanta Speedwerks entry on wet-weather tires, Brian Henderson worked his way up to the second position in the opening laps of the race, holding the position until pitting under a yellow flag just before halfway in the two-hour event.

Handing over to co-driver Robert Noaker, the team elected to put slick tires on the Type R TCR, noting the lightning rainfall in the area. However, within minutes of re-joining the race, the rainfall began to worsen, forcing the team back down pit lane for wet weather tires. The #84 would cross the line in 10th place.

The sister Atlanta Speedwerks #94 Honda Civic Type R TCR of Ryan Eversley and Scott Smithson started in the tenth position in the hands of Smithson. The Utah-based driver made an excellent strategic move to pit mere moments before a yellow flag came out. When co-driver Eversley cycled through, he found himself restarting in the second position thanks to Smithson’s quick reflexes.

However, Eversley was also on slick tires and soon found himself falling down the order. The championship-contender would go on to finish 9th. A silver lining for Eversley, however, saw the #94 finish ahead of his championship-rival #77.

The VGMC Racing Honda Civic Type R TCR also switched to slick tires during the team’s first stop, forcing the #88 back down pit lane for wets.

An ensuing drive-through penalty for improperly attired crew further marred a potential result for the Victor Gonzalez and Karl Wittmer piloted car. The pair finished the race in the 12th position.

Road America 120 Race Results

  • 9th TCR - #94 Ryan Eversley and Scott SMithson, Atlanta Speedwerks Honda Civic Type R TCR
  • 10th TCR - #84 Robert Noaker and Brian Henderson, Atlanta Speedwerks Honda Civic Type R TCR
  • 12th TCR - #88 Victor Gonzalez and Karl Wittmer, VGMC Racing Honda Civic Type R TCR – Not running

Scott Smithson (#94 Atlanta Speedwerks Honda Civic Type R TCR), started from pit lane, finished eighth: “At [the previous race at] Lime Rock, I ended up crashing and I broke a rib, so this weekend has been a struggle. I’ve been really sore. But, the wet has been good for me because I didn’t have to use as much curb, making it a lot less bumpy. It didn’t affect my race as much! It was a huge bummer that we made the wrong tire choice, because based on his pace later in the race, if he would have gone out on wets, Ryan probably would have brought home the win for the team.”

Ryan Eversley (#94 Atlanta Speedwerks Honda Civic Type R TCR), started from pit lane, finished eighth: “Tough day for us at Road America. After showing strong pace in both practice sessions we were confident of a possible podium finish this weekend. Unfortunately, we chose the wrong type of tires and went with slicks when we should’ve picked rains so we lost a lot of time in the middle stint because it was so slippery. Once we stopped and put rains on we were the fastest car on track pretty much all the way to the checker. Frustrating day but the #77 did the same thing and we ended up finishing a few spots ahead of them so we managed a few points towards the championship. I’m really happy with our Civic Type-R, it proved to be very fast in really difficult conditions and I had a lot of fun coming back through the field.”

The MICHELIN Pilot Challenge heads to WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca for the WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca 120.

HPD has three ready-to-race Civic models for touring car competition. The line starts with the affordable and reliable Civic Si TCA race car, then leads to the Civic Type R TC racer that puts legendary Type R performance on track, and culminates with the no-compromise, championship-winning Civic Type R TCR race car. Our unparalleled trackside support at every level from HPD engineers is a unique benefit that no other manufacturer can offer. Find out more about these cars and our touring programs at: https://hpd.honda.com/Motorsports/Touring

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