IMSA Sebring Friday Notebook

SEBRING, Fla. – The IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge Sebring 150 was a tough battle at the sharp end of the field, with the top eight Grand Sport cars consisting of six Porsches and a pair of Ford Mustang interlopers, all finishing on the lead lap of the 61-lap, two-hour and 30-minute race.

And there was even an interloper among the Porsches – the No. 13 Rum Bum Porsche is a 911, while the other five were new Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsports.

Coming out on top was the No. 12 Porsche Cayman GT4 – the first win for the car in open competition. That car, the Bodymotion entry, was driven by Trent Hindman and Cameron Cassels to a 13.484-second victory over the polesitting No. 15 Multimatic Ford Shelby GT350R-C Mustang of Scott Maxwelll and Billy Johnson. Third was that No. 13 Rum Bum Porsche, driven by brothers Hugh and Matt Plumb.

“Never in a million years did I think we could pull off a win in the first race for our new Clubsport," said Hindman, who passed Matt Plumb for the lead exiting Turn 17 with 27 minutes remaining before pulling away to score his fourth career triumph. “We have to keep our foot on the gas and hopefully we can keep this result going forward."

For Rum Bum Racing, it was the second consecutive third place finish at Sebring.

“My hat’s off to Matt – he had his hands absolutely full there at the end surrounded by horsepower and performance that we didn’t quite have today," said Hugh Plumb, of his brother’s final stint. “We’re super happy with third, points wise it’s a huge day. We just have to keep plugging along and focus forward on the next one at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca."

Fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth were Porsche Cayman GT4s.

In the Street Tuner class, the No. 44 CRG Honda Civic Si of Owen Trinkler and Sarah Cattaneo took the class win with a ninth-overall finish, ending up ahead of another Civic Si, the No. 93 HART entry of Michael Valiante and Chad Gilsinger. Third was the No. 84 Bimmerworld BMW 328i of James Clay and Tyler Cooke, who had to charge up through the field from last place due to a penalty from a post-qualifying engine change.

Thirty-five cars started the race, and six were listed as officially out at the end. There was one caution flag.

The Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge returns to action April 29-30 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

SEBRING HALL OF FAME INDUCTS SIX: A diverse but deserving roster of racing personalities were inducted into the Sebring Hall of Fame on Friday. Endurance racing legend Tom Kristensen heads the list, which also includes Sam Posey, 1975 Sebring winner, broadcaster, artist and writer; Dick Smothers, two-time class winner (1969 and 1971) and internationally appreciated entertainer; Alex Job Racing, ten-time Sebring-winning team headed by Job and his wife Holly; Tres Stephenson, President of Sebring Raceway for over three decades; and former Tampa Tribune Sports Editor Tom McEwen, who grew up about 30 miles from Sebring and met his wife at the track.

The inductees were honored at a luncheon at Chateau Elan Hotel & Conference Center, the resort hotel located on race track property. It was hosted by Derek Bell, former champion driver and a Hall of Fame member himself.

“The 2016 class of inductees represents some of the most important names in Sebring history," stated Wayne Estes, president and general manager of Sebring International Raceway. “The drivers, team owner, promoter and journalist to be inducted are a diverse group that have all earned the honor of induction into the prestigious Sebring Hall of Fame."

In addition, Sebring International Raceway officially named Turn 3 of the legendary 3.74-mile circuit in honor of all-time winner Kristensen. The announcement of “Kristensen Corner" was made by IMSA President Scott Atherton at the Hall of Fame luncheon. Kristensen becomes the first driver in more than 20 years to have a portion of the track named after him.

BUBBA BURGER SIGNS ON: IMSA officials announced a multi-year partnership making BUBBA burger the “Official Burger" of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and a Proud Partner of IMSA. The partnership also will feature a variety of events with promotions and product coupons throughout the WeatherTech Championship season.

“BUBBA burger is known for their high quality and convenience and clearly has many fans, which we believe can be – or already are – fans of sports car racing," said IMSA Vice President, Marketing David Pettit. “This is an enthusiastic new partner for IMSA and the WeatherTech Championship in a unique, but fitting, category. It also brings another non-endemic, category-leading, premium brand into the ranks of Official Partners of IMSA.

IMSA FANS WILL SEE DOUBLE AT MAZDA RACEWAY LAGUNA SECA: The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship will return to dual races in the Continental Monterey Grand Prix powered by Mazda on Sunday, May 1 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

With an anticipated entry in excess of 40 cars across the four WeatherTech Championship classes, the series again will contest a pair of two-hour races. The first race will feature the Prototype and GT Le Mans classes and will be televised live on FS1. The Prototype Challenge and GT Daytona classes will be in the spotlight for the second race, with live television coverage on FS2.

“The Continental Monterey Grand Prix powered by Mazda lends itself to the unique format of dual events for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship," said IMSA President Scott Atherton. “This format is attractive for a number of reasons. It provides an opportunity for competitors in each of our classes to earn more time in the spotlight, offers the outstanding fans at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca considerably more racing action, and enables us to take advantage of two terrific, live television windows."

SUNDAY VICTORY BRUNCH: Fans of Saturday’s Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring are invited to attend the Victory Brunch on Sunday, located at the Chateau Elan Hotel, & Conference Center overlooking the famous Hairpin Turn.

For $20 fans can enjoy brunch and meet the winning drivers. In addition, the winning cars from all four classes will be on display outside the hotel. Doors open in the Le Mans Ballroom at 9:30 am and the brunch continues until 11:30 am. “Question & Answer" sessions take place from 10 am – 11:30 am, hosted by Shea Adam from IMSA Radio. By Steven Cole Smith

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