Martin Jensen and Ryan Ellis in their Insight Racing 128i won the Street Tuner class in Saturday’s Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge race at Homestead Miami Speedway, while Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas finished second overall and second in the Daytona Prototype class in Sunday’s rain-shortened Rolex Series race.
Insight Racing’s Martin Jensen had driven the team’s Grand Sport M3 in the first two CTSCC races of the season at Daytona and Barber. Insight parked the M3 for the Homestead race, and switched Jensen to the team’s 128i, where he replaced Tyler McQuarrie. He shared the 128 with Ryan Ellis, who had won ST at Homestead in 2011 in a VW GTI.
Ellis motored into the lead just before the 30 minute-mark in the 2 ½-hour CTSCC race and ran in the top three until he handed off to Jensen. Jensen soon retook the class lead, battling with Pierre Kleinubing in the Mazda Speed 3 that he shared with Jason Clunie. Jensen took the win, keeping Kleinubing behind him for all but a few laps. It was a difficult race for the BimmerWorld team; both Jon Capestro-Dubets and David Levine (the class points co-leader with teammate Greg Liefooghe going into the race) retired very early, and Seth Thomas parked the team’s third 328i just past the halfway point.
The overall and Grand Sport win went to Matt Plumb and Nick Longhi in their Rum Bum Porsche Carrera; it was their second straight win in the Porsche after the team switched from its BMW M3. The best finishing BMW in the class was the fourth place Turner Motorsports M3 driven by Bill Auberlen and Paul Dalla Lana. Auberlen was running third until he was passed by Subaru WRX-STI racer Andew Aquilante just one lap from the end of the race.
The Rolex Series race at Homestead was run in a downpour from the drop of the green flag. Saturday qualifying had been rained out, so the cars started in points order, putting Pruett and Rojas fourth on the grid. The windshield wiper on the duo’s Ganassi Racing Riley-BMW broke early in the race, reducing visibility to near zero in traffic. The team pitted the car for a driver change under a yellow thrown for intense rain about 35 minutes into the race. Pruett moved up to second about twenty minutes into his stint. He and race leader Ricky Taylor in the SunTrust Corvette DP that he shared with Max Angelelli stayed on the track when other front runners pitted under another yellow. The two cars stayed out and the yellow stayed out; they finished first and second as Grand-Am called the race less than two hours into what had been planned as a 2 ¾ hour enduro. The second-place finish moved Rojas and Pruett into the Daytona Prototype drivers’ points lead. They had finished sixth at Daytona (where they co-drove with Joey Hand and Graham Rahal) and third at Barber Motorsports Park.
Turner Motorsport’s #94 M3, driven by Paul Dalla Lana,Bill Auberlen,and Billy Johnson finished fifth in the GT class, while the team’s #93 M3, shared by the same drivers, finished tenth. The class win went to Jeff Segal and Emil Assentato in their Ferrari 458 Italia. It was the first class win in the Ferrari for Segal and Assentato; the duo had won the class title in 2010 in a Mazda RX-8.
The Sportsman Showcase series, Grand-Am’s class for B-Spec cars, opened its season in the rain at Homestead. A Mazda 2 piloted by Ernie Francis won the race, while the Mini of Robbie Davis finished second.
Grand-Am competition resumes on May 12-13 at New Jersey Motorsports Park.—Brian S. Morgan, motorsports editor, bmwcca.orgBack to News