- Mike LaMarra, William Tally move into points lead with P4 finish at Sebring
- Mat Pombo scores pole for Honda at IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge event
- Two Honda Civics taken out in incident with lapped car
Mike LaMarra and William Tally led the way for the Honda contingent in the Alan Jay Automotive Network 120 aboard their #73 LA Honda World Honda Civic Type R TCR—scoring a fourth-place finish in the second race of the 2023 IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge season.
The pair rolled off 14th in the hands of Tally, and utilized methodical driving and a strategic pit stop during an early caution period to hand the car over to LaMarra. The early stop put the pair in contention for a strong result just after the halfway point of the two-hour contest. LaMarra would work his way forward in the second half of the race, passing for fourth place on the final lap. The result, coupled with their second-place finish at January's season opener in Daytona has catapulted the #73 LA Honda World drivers to first place in the championship.
Both #73 Honda Civic Type R TCR drivers cited avoiding incidents as the biggest reason for their good result. Unfortunately, their LA Honda World stablemates would not be as lucky. Starting from pole, Mat Pombo led eight laps before being taken out following contact with a lap-down car just past the race midpoint. His co-driver, Ryan Eversely, would not get the chance to drive their #37 Honda Civic during the race.
The incident that befell the #37 also took the #89 HART Honda Civic Type R TCR out of the race, when contact with the same lap-down #10 machine ended their day. Steve Eich ran as high as second before the contact took himself and co-driver Chad Gilsinger out.
Last year's Sebring winners, the #99 VGRT pair of Victor Gonzalez and Karl Wittmer looked set for a podium finish before a late-race problem forced them behind the wall. The duo started last aboard their Honda Civic Type R TCR and were running in the third position with inside of 10 minutes left in the race before an electrical issue ended their day.
Race Results Alan Jay Automotive 120
- 4th TCR - #73 William Tally and Mike LaMarra, LA Honda World Honda Civic Type R TCR
- 9th TCR - #99 Victor Gonzalez and Karl Wittmer, VGRT Racing Honda Civic Type R TCR – Not running
- 11th TCR - #37 Ryan Eversley and Mat Pombo, LA Honda World Honda Civic Type R TCR – Not running
- 12th tTCR - #89 Chad Gilsinger and Steve Eich, HART Racing Honda Civic Type R TCR – Not running
- William Tally (#73 LA Honda World Honda Civic Type R TCR) finished 4th: "No doubt it feels good! A lot of it is down to the crew's good pit call, and them staying up late [the night prior to the race] working hard to fix our brakes. We lost our brakes in qualifying [on Thursday], so we only got one lap in and started at the back. They made a great call with that short fuel fill and that put us in good track position that I was able to hang on to. It's a really good feeling, and we're leading the points! Mike [LaMarra] is driving great and he's really stepped up to the finishing role—I can't tell you how impressed I've been with him."
- Mike LaMarra (#73 LA Honda World Honda Civic Type R TCR) finished 4th: "It feels fantastic to start the season with two great results. We're trying to play the long game, take what's there if it's there and otherwise just keep ourselves clean. Today, that made a big difference. It was kind of crazy out there. There were a lot of cautions, which isn't the way you want to race. But, we were able to take advantage of it. We got a short fill, which allowed us to have a quicker pit stop, and that gained us some positions and that was really good. It was a great day despite the challenges."
The IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge series next heads to central California, for the Laguna Seca 120, on Saturday, May 13 at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, CA.
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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