The Rebel Rock Racing team had a lot on their plate this past week at Sebring International Raceway for the second round of the 2016 Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge (CTSC) Series season with the addition of a third entry for team partners Jim Jonsin and Frank DePew, as well as the debut of the ‘Rock the Grid’ concert series. The #6 Rock the Grid Porsche 997 entry in the Grand Sport (GS) class served as an extended shake down for the car, but continually picked up pace as the drivers became more comfortable with the car as the week progressed.
The #7 Street Tuner (ST) class Porsche Cayman of Sam Adams and Ian James would mark the series and professional racing debut of Adams. Behind the instruction of his co-driver and assistance of the team, Adams would make great strides throughout. Adams would qualify in the 15th position in class, and would be the starting driver for the race. Their teammates in the #8 Urban Grid Cayman, Elliott Skeer and Robin Liddell, would pick up where they left off at Daytona. In the first two practices the #8 was in the Top10 in both sessions. Come qualifying Skeer would follow up his Pole Position at Daytona with a second place effort in Sebring, a mere four hundredths of a second off pole.
However an infraction would see the #8 start the race from the rear of the field, but the team had confidence in their drivers to make their way through the field to get back towards the front. At the drop of the green flag, both Skeer and Adams would start their respective marches forward in the ST field. Before long Adams had his car up to seventh in class with Skeer hot in pursuit just behind.
Near the end of his stint Adams would radio in a power issue, and two turns later had to pull off track. Although their day was over, Sam’s debut was a success. He made his professional debut, and ran solidly inside the Top-10 for much of his stint against a very strong field. “I really enjoyed my time with the team. I feel like I learned a lot about the car during the race, and can’t wait to build off that and get back with the Rebel Rock Racing team this season. I want to thank the Rebel Rock Racing team for all their hard work and giving me the opportunity, as well as Ian James for his insights for how to improve my times, he’s a true pro in and out of the racecar.”
Although having to start 25th for the race after qualifying second, Skeer would make his way up to third in class before coming in to pit and hand the car over to Liddell. As temperatures around the circuit began to climb, grip became more of an issue as the race progressed. Having a lug nut issue during the pit stop would mean Liddell would reenter the fray in the ninth position, and would fight through the obstacles to bring their car home in the 14th finishing position.
“From the first practice session to the final stint of the race, it was a rollercoaster of a weekend. The whole Rebel Rock team did a fantastic job overcoming all of the issues, and gave us a solid race car. It’s a shame that Robin had the technical issues during his stint, I really feel that we had the potential for a podium at Sebring. In the end, the whole team made major gains and I can’t wait for Laguna!” states Skeer.
Knowing what could have been for the team, Liddell states, “It was a disappointing race result for us after such a strong qualifying performance. Having to start at the back of the field, I thought Elliott drove superbly to get the car near the front by the end of his stint. I struggled with handling a bit throughout my stint, so was not able to progress like I would have liked.
“The likely cause being the higher track temperatures as the race progressed; we also had a fuel pickup issue towards the end, and decided to play it safe to come in for a splash of fuel. The whole Rebel Rock Racing team did a super job throughout the weekend, so after our third place finish at Daytona, we are really looking forward to the next one at Laguna, and putting all the pieces together there. Although we didn’t get to celebrate on the podium, at least the team got to enjoy the Rock the Grid concert organized by our team founder Jim Jonsin!”
Much like the race itself, the Rock the Grid had a few hurdles to overcome to achieve a fantastic end result. Performer Alys Ffion would be involved in an auto accident in her native Australia as she readied to come to the States for the concert, and was unable to attend. The team wishes Alys a speedy recovery.
The show did go on, much to the enjoyment of thousands of race and music fans at Sebring. The “Rock the Grid” concert series is the vision of Grammy Award winning music producer and Rebel Rock Racing founder Jim Jonsin. Multi-platinum recording artist B.o.B. headlined the concert that also featured Rebel Rock artists Leroy Sanchez, Brad Tallman and even BabyBash dropped in to entertain the fans.
After the first two rounds of the CTSC series, Elliott Skeer and Robin Liddell and the Rebel Rock Racing team are in fifth place in the Drivers’ and Team Championship standings respectfully. The Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge Series Sebring 150 can be viewed via tape delayed broadcast on Fox Sports 1 on March 27th, 2016 at 12:30 p.m. EST.