Barber Motorsports Park (2.38-mile road course) Birmingham, Alabama
Weather: Sunny, mild, 78 degrees F
Peter Cunningham Earns Pair of Top-10 Finishes for Acura TLX GT at Barber
- Gains positions on late-race restarts Saturday and Sunday
- Saturday’s eighth-place run a season-best for Cunningham
- Ryan Eversley runs in top 10 for most of weekend’s events
- RealTime Racing Acura TLX GT has finished in top 10 in each of last six races
Late-race restarts can prove a blessing or a curse in the highly-competitive Pirelli World Challenge series, and the Acura TLX GT drivers from RealTime Racing experienced both outcomes during this weekend’s MOMO Grand Prix at Barber Motorsports Park.
Team owner and seven-time PWC champion Peter Cunningham gained three spots during a pair of late restarts on Saturday to finish a season-high eighth, then followed that by snaring three positions on Sunday’s restart with seven minutes to go, taking his third consecutive top-10 result with a ninth-place finish.
“With the way the yellow turned out [in Sunday’s race], we knew it was either an opportunity to move forward or get passed,” Cunningham said. “I’m pleased that we made it out on the other side and were able to pick up a few positions in that short run at the end. I didn’t quite have the pace at the beginning. I got passed by a couple cars, but had a good start and kind of fell into line. Toward the end of the green-flag run, the cars ahead of me weren’t getting smaller, they were getting bigger.”
His teammate Ryan Eversley did not fare as well, suffering trouble at the end of the race on both days that put a damper on what were otherwise very strong runs for the series rookie. Eversley ran seventh for most of the race both Saturday and Sunday, but Saturday’s restart with three minutes left saw him pushed into the gravel, leaving him to finish 14th. Sunday’s final restart resulted in a loss of five spots, dropping him from seventh to 12th, but unofficially, Eversley held on to fourth in the point standings.
“We’re still struggling on restarts. I was able to get enough of a gap between me and the car ahead, that when I went back to power, I was about to either run into the back of him or go green without any problems, and that’s exactly what happened,” reported Eversley. “I slid wide coming onto the front straightaway [at the end of Saturday’s race], which I’d done five or six times already, and it finally got the best of me. Going into Turn One, one of the Audis got into my right rear a little bit and slid me off the road. I lost five or six spots right there, and couldn’t get enough done on the last lap. Unfortunate to have contact, but it was my fault in the first place for going off the road to begin with.”
The RealTime Racing team had its best qualifying session of the young season at Barber, as Eversley started fifth while Cunningham claimed the 12th spot. Both cars had advanced to the top 10 by the halfway point of Saturday’s race and looked to be set to earn a second consecutive dual top-10 result before the final restart.
Sunday’s grid was set on the fastest lap times from Saturday’s race, putting Eversley in the 13th position, while Cunningham started 16th. As he did twice on the season-opening weekend at Circuit of the Americas, Eversley had a picture-perfect start, making up five spots on the initial trip around the 2.38-mile Barber road course. Cunningham picked his way up the ladder as well, moving to 12th before the final restart of Sunday’s race, where he vaulted into ninth.
After back-to-back race weekends that saw the team travel from its Wisconsin base to California and then to Alabama, the series takes two weeks off before heading north of the border to Canadian Tire Motorsports Park in Bowmanville, Ontario for Rounds 8 and 9 of the 2015 campaign.
Developed from the production Acura TLX by HPD and RealTime Racing, the Acura TLX GT features HPD chassis and aerodynamic performance parts approved for Pirelli World Challenge competition. It is powered by a direct-injected, twin-turbocharged V6 engine, developed by HPD from the production TLX , and will utilize all-wheel drive, as found in Acura’s SH-AWD system.
Video recaps from this weekend’s Honda racing activities in Alabama, including Verizon IndyCar, and Acura Pirelli World Challenge efforts, are being posted on the “Honda Racing/HPD” YouTube channel. Produced by the Carolinas Production Group, the video packages can be found in the 2015 HPD Trackside Video Playlist at: https://www.youtube.com/HondaRacingHPDTV
Race Results Saturday:
|1||JD Davison||Always Evolving Racing||Nissan GT-R||29 Laps|
|2||Nick Catsburg||Blancpain Racing||Lamborghini Gallardo||- 0.928 sec|
|3||Mike Skeen||DeVilbiss Racing||Audi R8||- 1.935|
|8||Peter Cunningham||RealTime Racing||Acura TLX GT||- 4.796|
|14||Ryan Eversley||RealTime Racing||Acura TLX GT||- 7.618|
Race Results Sunday:
|1||Kevin Estre||K-PAX Racing||McLaren 650S||29 Laps|
|2||Robert Thorne||K-PAX Racing||McLaren 650S||– 4.271 sec|
|3||Ryan Dalziel||EFFORT Racing||Porsche 911 GT3||- 5.297|
|9||Peter Cunningham||RealTime Racing||Acura TLX GT||– 12.666|
|12||Ryan Eversley||RealTime Racing||Acura TLX GT||- 14.430|
Peter Cunningham (owner/driver, #42 RealTime Racing Acura TLX GT; finished 8th Saturday, 9th on Sunday): “I think these guys deserve a couple days off. I’m not sure if they’ll get them or not, but at least we can be home with our families for three weeks before the next race. It’ll be good to get to Mosport, because we haven’t been there in a few years, and it’s a daunting and wonderful pace.”
Ryan Eversley (driver, #43 RealTime Racing Acura TLX GT; finished 14th Saturday, 12th on Sunday): “I’m really happy with the way we performed Sunday compared to Saturday. We made some good changes to the car. We definitely had a seventh-place car, but that’s probably all we have until they give us the boost back. Not really our track, but we’ll get better and hopefully when we come back next year we’ll have more aero and experience with the chassis. It’s a positive weekend, but we didn’t get what we deserved.”