DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. April 29, 2015 – After posting their third consecutive podium in as many races, Visit Florida Racing is looking for a victory at the famed Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on May 3. The Daytona Beach based Chevrolet Corvette Daytona Prototype team has put the rest of the competition on notice after their third place effort in the Tequila Patrón Sports Car Showcase in Long Beach.
The NO. 90 VISITFLORIDA.COM Corvette DP is the lone entry in the prototype class to have finished on the podium in each of the first three events of the 2015 IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship. The team now sits second in the championship standings, trailing the Action Express Racing NO. 5 Corvette DP by only three points as the series makes the second and final stop on the west coast swing.
Michael Valiante made a daring pass on defending series champion Christian Fittipaldi on the opening lap of the Patrón Showcase, positioning the NO. 90 in third position on a track where passing is extremely difficult. Co-driver Richard Westbrook took the wheel just past halfway and turned lap times as fast, or faster than the leaders, and brought the car home on the podium.
While the team is in an excellent position to contend for the 2015 championship, driver Michael Valiante knows the team must stay on top of their game to continue the title march.
“We’ve had three solid runs,” said Valiante. “Daytona and Sebring were not without their struggles, but the team was able to persevere and we came out on the podium each time. Long Beach went well, we were able to advance from our starting position which is something not many teams were able to do. We have to keep getting faster and keep fighting and the wins will come.”
Valiante’s co-driver Richard Westbrook knows the team is in a much better position a this point in the season than they were one-year ago, however, he is always mindful that the competition will improve throughout the season, and his team must do the same.
“You can never sit back and be comfortable,” said Westbrook. “We’re in a great position right now, but we have to continue improving and finding additional speed in our Chevrolet Corvette DP. The second we take our eyes off the challenge of getting better, the competition is going to blow past us.
“We all know the task at hand going to Laguna Seca. It’s a tough track but one that we qualified extremely well for last year and we hope to do the same again this year.”
While Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca offers a few more passing opportunities than the streets of Long Beach, teams must still qualify well to consider themselves contenders for the victory.
“Track position is going to be important everywhere this season,” said team owner Troy Flis. “The competition is so close, lap times are hundredths of a second apart throughout these races so getting a strong starting position is going to be vital for success. Our team is off to a strong start right now, and we want to maintain that momentum at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.”
The Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix will feature a new format this season. In 2014, there were two, two-hour events. This season, the race will feature all four classes of competition (GTD, PC, GTLM, P) on the track at the same time for one, two-hour and forty-minute race.
The IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship competitors are on track Friday, May 1 at 11:30 a.m. PT for the first of three practice sessions in preparation for the Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix. Qualifying for the prototype class will take place Saturday, May 2 at 5:30 p.m. PT.
Visit Florida Racing