It was a return trip to the famed Lime Rock Park for Tyler Maxson and Bryan Ortiz this past weekend for the next round of the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge program. Topping the time sheets in the first practice, the Van Der Steur Racing team duo ended the weekend with a fourth-place finish as they raced hard in the top-five over the course of the weekend.
Qualifying saw the #91 Van Der Steur Racing Hyundai Elantra N TCR entry complete six laps and secure the third position and inside row two starting spot heading into the Lime Rock 100 on the Connecticut road course. Having both practice sessions and qualifying on Friday left little room for error before Saturday’s Lime Rock 100.
“Having one day to familiarize yourself with the circuit and the behavior of the car can create challenges. You want to push the car but also don’t want to cause any damage or lose time working on the car before qualifying,” Tyler Maxson explained to give us a better understanding of his mindset on Friday. “Setting that fast lap in practice one showed us that the speed was there.”
As the green flag flew for the Lime Rock 100, Ortiz started off strongly battling at the front of the field. Showing great pace in the shorter runs, the Maxson-Ortiz entry struggled with long run pace which ultimately affected the finishing result. Forced to pit earlier than anticipated, the #91 had to utilize a different strategy to see if they could miraculously pull off the win.
Maxson continued, “After our early pit stop, we were hoping for a caution to slow the pace, but it never came. It was the first all-green flag race of the year and the only time that we had really hoped for a yellow flag to give us a shot.”
After the driver change, Maxson fought through some tough battles and in the end secured a fourth-place position, just missing out on the podium for the Hyundai program.
Maxson added, “Although we missed out on the podium this weekend, we are happy to have finished with a good result after the heartbreaking end at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park a few weeks ago. We have improved throughout the season and are consistently battling for podium results each race. We will come back even stronger again at Road America.”