Another Track Record & Championship leaders!
The LA Honda World Racing team enjoyed a strong weekend at Sebring International Raceway, including leaving with one of the two LAHWR driver pairings leading the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge TCR class after just two races this season.
The No. 73 Honda World team of William Tally and Mike LaMarra overcame a braking issues during their qualifying effort on Wednesday which forced them to start at the back of the pack for the start. The duo were able take their race engineers command to pit early and take advantage of cautions. This allowed a progressions to the front which allowed them to earn an outstanding fourth-place finish in Thursday’s Alan Jay Automotive Network 120.
Although they missed a podium finish, their collection of valuable points was enough to put Tally and LaMarra into the top spot of the TCR class standings.
“It was a challenging day, but the crew did a great job and Will did a great job,” LaMarra said. “We’re very happy with the car and we hope to keep this momentum going. I think we’re first in the points at the moment, so we’re pretty excited.”
Added Tally, “Very excited for the way the crew pulled together and shows how good this team is. Mike did a great job to keep us closer to the front, and the crew made a great call and we were able to take advantage of it. Can’t complain at all with this result.”
Tally and LaMarra’s efforts kept spirits high for the overall LA Honda World Racing operation, which saw a great start from their teammates in the No. 37, Ryan Eversley and Mat Pombo.
After starting on the pole for the second consecutive race with a track record (broke the old mark by nearly two seconds), the No. 37 Honda Civic FK7 TCR was involved in contact with a soon to be lapped car on Lap 28. The unnecessary block of the leader was exceptionally disappointing and avoidable. A broken suspension arm from the contact prematurely ended its day with a disappointing 11th-place finish.
The DNF was the second consecutive race that the No. 37 started from the pole but then ran into trouble not born by the team.
“Frustrated would be an understatement,” Eversley said. “We had the fastest car in Sebring and my Bro-Driver, Mat Pombo, was doing an awesome job in the opening stint before contact with a lapped car ended our race.”
Eversley and Pombo weren’t the only drivers to experience misfortune, as more than half of the 15-car field – eight cars, to be precise – were unable to finish the event on the challenging 3.74-mile road course.
But even with the disappointing mishap and early exit, there was plenty of good things during the weekend.
“Still plenty of things to smile about,” Eversley said. “I love our team and I’m thankful for LA Honda World team owner Mario Biundo for giving us everything we need to win and Honda Racing HPD and JAS Motorsport for developing one of the best race cars I’ll ever drive. I’m excited to drive our new FL5 Honda Civic Type R at the next race at WeatherTech Raceway!”
Here’s a quick recap of how both LA Honda World Racing Teams did during the weekend:
* No. 73 (Tally and LaMarra): Suffered brake failure in Wednesday’s qualifying, earning the 14th position in the 15-car field with a time of 2:17.295 and a speed of 98.067 mph. However, the team made some major adjustments prior to Thursday’s main event and the hard work showed as the pair were able to finish fourth in the event. And as an added bonus, Tally and LaMarra move into No. 1 in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge TCR class standings. … In Wednesday’s first practice, the pair was fifth-fastest at 2:13.697 at 100.706 mph. … The duo did not take the track in Wednesday’s second practice session.
* No. 37 (Eversley and Pombo): Earned the pole, breaking the track record by nearly two seconds, with an effort of 2 minutes, 11.796 seconds (at a top speed of 102.158 mph). … After taking the green flag first in Thursday’s main event and appearing to have the class of the field, the team unfortunately suffered misfortune when it was involved in a wreck with a lapped car on Lap 28 and being forced to retire prematurely in the 41-lap event, finishing 11th in the 15-car field. … During the first practice session earlier Wednesday, Eversley and Pombo were second-fastest (2:12.787 at 101.396 mph). … While their teammates did not take to the track in the second practice, Eversley and Pombo ultimately wound up being fifth-fastest with a 2:47.035 effort at 80.606 mph.
The LA Honda World Racing Team – as well as the rest of the regular competitors on the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge series – will now enjoy a nearly two-month vacation of sorts from competition, as the next race isn’t until the May 12-14 Motul Course De Monterey Powered by Hyundai weekend at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca on the Monterey, California peninsula.
However, the LA Honda World Racing Team will be busy competing in the SRO/TC Series in its first of several appearances in the series this season, March 30 – April 2, at Sonoma Raceway in California.
Part of the Honda Performance Development program, L.A. Honda World Racing is the official race team of L.A. Honda World, a factory-authorized Honda dealership in the Los Angeles suburb of Downey, CA.
About L.A. Honda World Racing
L.A. Honda World Racing is an in-house professional racing team based in Southern California and participates in the SRO / TC America and IMSA racing series exclusively racing touring cars built by Honda Performance Development. They are also a factory authorized Honda dealer for American Honda Motor Co. www.lahondaworldracing.com
About Honda Performance Development
Honda Performance Development, Inc. (HPD), has a rich heritage creating, manufacturing, and supporting Honda Racing and Acura Motorsports customers since 1993. From pinnacle racing in INDYCAR and IMSA Sports Cars to commercial racing programs, HPD powers the dreams of professional and amateur racers from age 4 to 40+. HPD is a wholly owned subsidiary of American Honda Motor Co., Inc. and leads all of Honda and Acura's high-performance racing programs in North America. HPD specializes in the design and development of powertrain, chassis, electronics, and performance parts, as well as technical and race support. HPD offers parts and race support to Honda and Acura amateur and professional motorsports racers and is continually expanding its palette of racing programs that make Honda racing products available to all racing styles, from karting and Quarter Midgets to the highest levels of pro racing. For more information, visit www.hpd.honda.com