The Ganassi Riley-BMW of Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas was very competitive at the New Jersey Motorsports Park Rolex Series race, but it crashed out with about an hour remaining in the 2 ¾-hour enduro. Turner Motorsport’s M3 finished fourth in the GT class.
BMW’s fortunes were better in the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge Series race, where three BMWs finished on the podium.
The Ganassi-Riley BMW of Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas looked strong at NJMP; lap times were competitive, and the team seemed to be back on its winning form. Memo Rojas quickly moved into second from his fourth place starting position, but he fell back to fourth momentarily after making contact with Jon Fogarty in the Gainsco Corvette DP. He quickly recovered, and took the lead from Ricky Taylor’s SunTrust Corvette DP just past the fifty minute mark.
He pitted soon after taking the lead, and handed off to Pruett. Pruett ran in the lead pack with Max Angelelli, in for Taylor, and Alex Gurney, in for Fogarty. With just under an hour left in the race, with the three leading cars running nose to tail, Gurney and Pruett came together. Gurney slid across the track in front of the Riley-BMW, and Pruett, trying to avoid Gurney, clipped the Corvette DP, went off the course himself, and retired from the race. The SunTrust car went on to win ahead of the Starworks Riley-Ford of Ryan Dalziel and Enzo Potolicchio.
The Turner Motorsport M3 of Billy Johnson and Paul Dalla Lana ran back in the GT pack in the first half of the race, but came alive later. At the end, with Johnson at the wheel, it placed a season’s best fourth in class. The win went to the Ferrari 458 of Jeff Segal and Emil Assentato.
It was the second win in a row for both the SunTrust prototype and the GT class Ferrari.
The Rolex Series runs again at Belle Isle in Detroit on June 1-2.
BMWs were on the podium in both classes in the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge series race at New Jersey Motorsports Park. In the Grand Sport class 2010 champions Charles Espenlaub and Charles Putman in their Fall-Line M3 finished second behind the winning Subaru WRX-STI of Andrew Aquilante and Brett Spaude. In Street Tuner two BMWs made the podium; BimmerWorld’s Seth Thomas and Dan Rogers finished second in their 328i, and Burton Racing’s Terry Borcheller and Mike LaMarra finished third in their 128i. The ST class win went to Cory Fergus and Owen Trinkler in their RSR Motorsports Honda Civic SI.
Espenlaub led about 30 minutes of the 2 ½-hour race, taking over about 45 minutes before the end. Aquilante took over with about 14 minutes remaining and held on for the win. The Subaru, which had started from the pole, won after recovering from two stop-and-go penalties for pit infractions that had set it well back in the pack.
The Turner Motorsport M3 piloted by Boris Said and Michael Marsal finished fourth behind the CKS Autosport Camaro of Lawson Aschenbach and Eric Curran, a car that had led at the start and was always among the front runners. The Rum Bum Porsche Carrera of Matt Plumb and Nick Longhi, winner at Barber Motorsports Park and Homestead, was given an extra 75 pounds at NJMP. The car qualified sixth and ran as high as third before it pulled off with a mechanical problem on Plumb’s stint.
There were ten lead changes in the Street Tuner class, where seven cars and eight drivers took their turns at the front of the pack. One of the early leaders was the Homestead winning 128i of Ryan Ellis and Martin Jensen. At Homestead Insight Racing owned the car. Since then RRT Racing, which had worked with Insight on the program, has purchased the team. The car exited the race with a fuel leak that led to a small fire.
Thomas and Borcheller were third and fourth behind Trinkler and the Kia of Nic Jonsson when a yellow flag came out with just over ten minutes left. Jonsson jumped the restart when the track went green with four minutes remaining, and was brought in for a stop and go, dropping him to fifteenth in class. Despite the lead changes the winning Civic was strong throughout the race. Fergus led the first five laps, and Trinkler led the final 30 laps. It was Trinkler’s third consecutive win with RSR at NJMP. The other wins came in RSR’s Minis; Trinkler shared the winning car with Randy Smalley in 2010 and with Sarah Cattaneo in 2011.
CTSCC action resumes at Mid-Ohio on June 8-9.—Brian S. Morgan, motorsports editor, bmwcca.orgBack to News