SEBRING, FL (18 March 2019) – Despite an early incident that spoiled a promising run for Frank DePew and Robin Liddell on Saturday, Rebel Rock Racing was pleased with the continued team form during the Alan Jay Automotive Network 120 at Sebring International Raceway event weekend.
After an impressive team effort to effect repairs on the No. 71 Urban Grid Solar/MVP Capital Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R, DePew and Liddell rebounded to run competitive laps on the way to a 24th place finish in the two-hour event, Round 2 of the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge.
“It was a shame we had an early off,” said Liddell. “We’ve done most of our winter testing at Sebring and the car felt really good this weekend. Frank had some contact with another car in Turn 16 which broke the left-front lower control arm. He sensibly drove the car back to the paddock, the boys repaired it and we were able to get back out there and finish the race, albeit 10 laps down.”
In the opening segment of the race, DePew was holding his own, picking up a couple of positions before being taken out on lap eight, resulting in a lengthy trip to the paddock. After returning to the race, Depew finished his stint before turning the car over to Liddell.
While they were able to maintain a steady pace, they were not going to be able to make up any of the lost 10 laps.
“I was following an Audi for several laps,” DePew said. “He was fast on the straightaways. Coming through Turn 15 I was right on his tail. He bobbled a little bit, so I went to the inside coming into 16, and he cut down on me and hit my front wheel with the front of his car. The resulting damage took us out for quite a few laps.
“After the incident, the car was not handling quite right,” DePew added. “Not undriveable but something felt a little awry after the team had replaced the whole left-front suspension.”
Despite the final race result, the team came away buoyed by the progress.
“We were pretty happy with how the weekend was going up to that point and the boys did a super job to get the car repaired quickly and sent back out there to finish the race,” said Liddell, who doubles in the role of team manager in addition to driving. “Everyone on this team has been working really hard and we’ve really started to gel as a group. It’s just unfortunate we got caught up in an incident.”
Coming off only his second IMSA start, DePew is looking for continued improvement in the upcoming events.
“This is a tough track, so I’m happy with the car and happy with the crew, happy with Rebel Rock Racing, Urban Grid and MVP Capital,” said the Richmond driver. “Now we’re looking forward to the next one. Mid-Ohio should be fun.”
Next up for the Michelin Pilot Challenge will be the Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on May 3-5.