Honda News Article - Honda Civic Type R TCRs Finish 1-2 in Daytona Debut
Jan 25, 2019 - DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.
- Honda Civic Type R claims TCR class victory in MICHELIN Pilot Challenge debut
- LA Honda World Racing finish 1-2 at Daytona International Speedway
- Tom O'Gorman and Shelby Blackstock take the win, teammates Mat Pombo and Mike LaMarra finish second
LA Honda World Racing claimed a 1-2 finish in a thrilling debut for the IMSA MICHELIN Pilot Challenge series Friday at Daytona International Speedway. Tom O'Gorman, 2018 Pirelli World Challenge TCA champion, and Indy Lights veteran Shelby Blackstock combined to edge teammates Mike LaMarra and Mat Pombo by just 1.605 seconds on the challenging Daytona road course.
Three teams brought a total of five Honda Civic Type R TCR entries this weekend to the opening round of the re-branded MICHELIN Pilot Challenge, with the Atlanta Speedwerks Honda of Brian Henderson claiming the TCR class pole on Thursday, in the car he shared with Todd Lamb.
Starting fifth, Blackstock steadily worked his way through the other class front runners to assume the lead at the end of the first hour of racing. Making his IMSA debut, O'Gorman continued to run with the leaders as multiple cautions repeatedly bunched the field. The third LA Honda World Racing entry of Max Faulkner and Colin Mullan also ran with the leaders during the second half of the race, but suffered a cut tire soon after its final pit stop, forcing Mullan to stop the car on course.
The event came down to an 11-minute sprint following the ninth and final caution period. O'Gorman quickly moved ahead of the class-leading Audi, followed by teammate Pombo as the two Hondas pulled away in the battle to the checkered flag.
The Honda Civic Type R TCR made its North American racing debut in 2018, with Ryan Eversley claiming the Pirelli World Challenge TCR Drivers' Championship with RealTime Racing. Developed by Honda partner JAS Motorsport in Italy, the Civic Type R TCR is offered in race-ready condition through Honda Performance Development.
The 2019 MICHELIN Pilot Challenge continues on Friday, March 15, with the second round in the 10-race championship at Sebring International Raceway.
Tom O'Gorman (#37 La Honda World Racing Honda Civic Type R TCR) Started fifth, finished first: "I've been racing with Honda for a long time - starting 12 years ago - so it's great to step up to TCR and get the first win. I got chills when I saw the Daytona Speedway come over the horizon, because I never raced here before. The hardest part was to stay out of trouble, keep your wits about you, and keep the car underneath you, because these guys were racing so hard. If you'd have told me yesterday that we would be standing here [in victory circle], I wouldn't have believed you. Now, we're in victory lane. It's an exciting day."
John Whiteman (Manager, Commercial Motorsports Honda Performance Development): "We are very excited and pleased that the Honda Civic Type R TCR grabbed the top two spots today at the inaugural Michelin Pilot Challenge. The car's performance and reliability, which both contributed to last year's success in sprint racing, were key in today's four-hour endurance race victory at Daytona. Congratulations to Tom O'Gorman, Shelby Blackstock, LAP Motorsports and L.A. Honda World on the amazing finish!"