Teammates share Podium celebrations at COTA
There’s an old saying that good things come to those who wait, and that couldn’t be truer for the three LA Honda World Racing (LAHWR) teams in this past weekend’s SRO/TC America event at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.
LAHWR came into the weekend scored atop the TCA team standings, while Spencer Bucknum was ranked No. 1 among all TCA drivers, and Kyle Loh was No. 3 in TCX, just 11 points out of first place and only one point out of second place.
After taking longer than expected to master the COTA circuit in practice and qualifying, Race 1 on Saturday proved to be a solid outing for all three drivers. Bucknum finished P3 and grabbed the only podium spot but more opportunity was lurking in Sunday’s race.
In the TCA class in Race 2, Bucknum finished with a runner-up showing in the No. 5 Honda Civic Si FE1, while team owner Mario Biundo, in the No. 7 Honda Civic Si, joined Bucknum on the podium with his first podium of his career and hard earned third-place finish.
Loh, who has been one of the top drivers in the TCX class in the season’s first two events (Sonoma and New Orleans), bounced back in the No. 73 Honda Civic Type-R TCX to finish with a third-place podium finish in Sunday’s 40-minute timed Race 2.
This was the first time all 3 LA Honda World Racing Drivers made the podium together. More likely to come.
"This has been our most difficult event so far, and I’m very proud of the progress we made after our early struggles,” Loh said. “It is a huge honor to finish on the Sunday podium while representing the neurodivergent community by hosting GTWC’s first ever Sensory Safe Pit Walk here at Austin, TX!
“Thank you so much to the L.A. Honda World Racing team & Honda Racing HPD for their incredible support as always, and to Forza Mario, Mike LaMarra and Uncle Ryan for their invaluable mentorship throughout the season!"
When things kicked off Saturday, it seemed that as most of the team’s drivers qualified, so too was the way they finished in Race 1 later the same day.
In the TCA class, Bucknum qualified third (2:35.354), and then finished on the podium with a third place showing in Race 1 (best lap of 2:33.568).
Biundo, who came into the weekend ranked sixth in the TCA class driver standings. qualified fifth Saturday morning in the No. 07 Honda Civic Si (2:36.148)
Biundo was looking at a much higher finish than the P7 he earned. He ran into trouble on the last lap of Saturday’s Race 1 when his car struck a turtle curb, causing suspension failure that pushed him back from what likely would have been a P4 finish.
The LA Honda World Racing team was confident it could repair the suspension damage to Biundo’s car and have him ready to go for Sunday’s Race 2, and indeed it did, with a great bounce-back to complement Biundo’s performance in Friday’s Practice 1, when he was the quickest driver in TCA.
Biundo was elated when he exited the car Sunday on his way to the podium “I am so proud of our team, everyone is highly valued and they contribute in such an authentic way. We all have something very special and it shows. I have been inching my way to the front every race and I can now tell you, it is a lot more fun when you are up on the podium. The sincerest of thanks to Ryan Eversley who has taught me how to race, not drive. Without him, Mike LaMarra and the entire team at Honda World, I’d be watching from pit lane or being a back marker.”
In the TCX class, Loh, who has been one of the team’s best performers thus far this season, qualified seventh (2:27.443) in the No. 73 Honda Civic Type-R TCX. Loh, who came into the weekend ranked third in the TCX driver standings, just 11 points behind series leader Colin Garrett, but only one point out of second place, also had problems getting up to speed in Friday’s two practice sessions.
When Race 1 was in the books, Loh showed some strong signs of competition, and was eyeing a potential podium finish, but ultimately wound up fifth in the 17-lap event (best lap of 2:23.982).
Spencer Bucknum was thrilled to be sharing the podium celebrations with his teammates “For a weekend that had somewhat of a rocky start, this sure is a great way to end it! Was able to grab 2 podium finishes and extend my points lead! Huge congratulations to Mario Biundo on his first ever podium finish! None of this would be possible without you and it was a pleasure to share your first podium with you! Congrats to my teammate Kyle for locking in another podium finish in the TCX class!
Bucknum went on to acknowledge the teams IMSA driver, “Thank you to Ryan Eversley for the remote coaching this weekend and to HDP and the whole LA Honda World team!”
The SRO/TC America Series has now completed six races of the 14-race schedule. The schedule rolls through the midpoint of the season with Rounds 7 and 8 at Virginia International Raceway June 16-18.
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