LA Honda World Racing’s #73 Honda Civic FK7 Type R TCR showed strong performance and exceptional speed in the 2022 inaugural race at the Daytona International Raceway.
The #73 qualified P15 after 2 days of poor weather conditions that never showed the car’s full potential. The team re-grouped and used the race day’s 30-minute testing session to reset the car and prepare it for dry conditions. The #73 turned fast laps equaling times of the top 5 which encouraged drivers Mike LaMarra and Ryan Eversley. Credit to race engineer Alex Barroso who prepared the setup with JAS race engineer Alessandro Marcato which quickly confirmed the cars potential to win.
Mike LaMarra quickly gained 5 race positions at the start of the race moving ahead of the pack within the first 5 turns. LaMarra continued to gain an additional 2 more positions utilizing his driving, pit strategy and maximizing cautions before handing the race car over to veteran Ryan Eversley near the 2-hour mark. LaMarra’s driving and team strategy had the #73 Honda Civic TCR in P5 entering the pit and driver transition.
At 2 hours 5 minutes, and under caution, LaMarra put the car on the marks and jumped out. Race team manager Daniel Martin and his LA Honda World team went to work and conducted a text book pro pit stop, loading in a full fuel fill and 4 tire change while the driver exchange occurred.
Eversley sprinted out of the pit, caught the leaders, quickly gained P3, and settled in behind the Hyundai and Alfa Romeo entrants. Managing fuel economy and tire degradation, Eversley was in striking distance of the leaders and staying on plan to sprint for the finish.
At the 3.5 hour mark, Eversley entered in for the final fuel and tire change which went off as planned. Unfortunately though, the #73 would not stay powered under multiple re-fire attempts. Eversley nursed the car back to the garage where the team frantically got the engine to stay alive and re-enter the race 1 lap down. After two laps, the #73 would not stay cool and the team had to retire the car and end the day.
The LA Honda World Racing team was gutted from the incident, especially after the race pace showed a podium finish was in hand. Although the end result was not the intent of the mission, many wins behind the scenes were achieved.
This was the first time Team Manager Daniel Martin, Team Engineer Alex Barroso, JAS Engineer Alessandro Marcato, Team Director Trevor Thomas, Team Fueler Caesar Mijares, Team Tire Changer Adan Anaya, Team Lead Technician Carlos Schrunder, Team Fire Lead Ivan Gomez, Team Fuel Vent Isaac Lopez, and Team Tire/Logistics Manager John Dininger worked together. Their performance was phenomenal and impressive not only to LA Honda World Team Principal, Mario Biundo, but to that of HPD, IMSA and other race team peers.
This was also the first time pro-drivers Mike LaMarra and Ryan Eversley teamed up together after competing against each other for over 10 years. The veteran duo immediately were in sync, and if not for the mechanical retirement, the podium was theirs.
On to the next race…see you on track.