Braselton, Ga. (15 October 2018) – Rebel Rock Racing saw its day cut short at Road Atlanta this weekend after the No. #71 Rebel Rock Racing/Urban Grid Solar/MVP Capital Camaro GT4.R was caught up in several incidents not of its making during the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge (CTSC) Fox Factory 120 on Friday.
The team, which returned to IMSA action at VIR under the direction of new team owner Frank DePew and scored a podium finish in its debut, had the Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R ready for two hours of intense CTSCC action.
IMSA veteran pilots Robin Liddell and Andrew Davis shared the driving duties, having earned significant success competing in multiple generations of Camaros (GT.R, Z/28.R and GT4.R) together. The race held special meaning for Davis, who hails from nearby Athens, Ga. Davis qualified the car in eighth position in the Grand Sport (GS) class and took the green flag to start the race.
Davis quickly realized that he had a good race car, and steadily worked his way up through the field in the early going, taking advantage of mistakes by the leaders and making strategic passes. Up to third by Lap 23, Davis ran afoul of the spinning No. 82 BMW, who did not see the Camaro and hit it hard directly in front of the right rear wheel which bent the suspension. Nursing the wounded car, now requiring 90 degrees of steering input to go straight, David headed to pit lane on Lap 27 so the team could take a look at the damage and make the change to Liddell.
Returning to the fray in 15th position after pitting in 3rd, due to the extended pit stop, and looking to make up lost ground the race instead only offered new setbacks as Liddell was tagged in two separate incidents. On Lap 54, he headed into the pit lane with a smoking left front tire after getting spun out in the chicane, and the decision was made to retire. But for the new team, there were plenty of positives to take from its debut races.
“I’m super proud of the Rebel Rock guys,” said Davis. “We had a really good car for the long run so the first few laps were just about managing the gaps, as we were all nose-to-tail. We were in P4 toward the end of my stint but two cars spun ahead of me, and while I avoided the first one spinning across my bow, the other car didn’t see me and smashed into the right side of the car. Robin (Liddell) got in shortly after but it turned into bumper cars from there on out. Frank (DePew), Robin, Joe Hall, everyone has done a great job and I appreciate that they put me in the car. These guys work so hard and work so well together. We’re just looking forward to next year – hopefully I’ll be back in there and we can fight for a championship.”
“It was a frustrating race,” said Liddell. “We had a decent race car, with the changes we’ve made and all the hard work the team has done to get it to this point, led by Joe Hall. Andrew (Davis) got hit early on, and James Clay apologized and said he never saw him, so it was just an accident. We were nursing a sick car after that and ended up back in the field and caught up in other peoples’ messes. The car still lacks straight line speed so it’s hard to get around people and you fall back into the clutches, especially with a sick race car. After the second incident, I saw the smoke off the left front tire and Frank decided we should retire.”
The race marked the final IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge event of the 2018 season, as the series will return in 2019 as the Michelin Pilot Challenge. A Michelin test will be held at Road Atlanta on Monday as teams will get their first look at the new tire configuration.
“There are many positives from the races we’ve done,” said Liddell, “but many unknowns as well, since we’re going to the Michelin tire now. We’ll do the test Monday and wait to see what tire the series will give us. We’ll see what they give us and make decisions from there on where we go.”
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