The finale of the 2023 IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge took place at the Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta this past weekend, and Tyler Maxson was ready to end his season racing the #91 Van Der Steur Racing Hyundai Elantra N TCR. Competing alongside Bryan Ortiz, the duo set their sights on a podium finish during the final race, The Fox Factory 120.
The race weekend began on Wednesday for the only on-track session that the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge had for the day. Maxson and Ortiz hit the track hard during practice one and finished the day second fastest in the TCR class.
“We kicked off Wednesday strong at the front of the TCR class,” expressed Tyler Maxson. “We knew going into this weekend that we would be fast, and the ultimate goal was to stand on the podium for the final race of the 2023 season.”
Thursday was once again a one-session day for the Michelin Pilot drivers, with practice two beginning early in the afternoon. Maxson and Ortiz once again piloted the #91 TCR to third in their class as the checkered flag waved on their second day at Road Atlanta. With only qualifying and the two-hour race on the horizon, the 2023 season was almost complete.
The final day was Friday with two on-track sessions to end the season strong. Kicking off the day by qualifying, Maxson and Ortiz clocked the third fastest lap of the session and would take the green flag from the second row for the TCR class in the third position.
Maxson added, “We knew that we only had two hours left in the season and two hours to secure one final podium position.”
Friday also marked a special day for Tyler Maxson because not only was it the finale that he has been working towards all season, but Friday was also his 19th birthday.
Just after noon, the green flag waved for the final time in the 2023 season, and the field went racing between some yellow flags and contact with other cars. Maxson and Ortiz kept the battle all the way to the final caution period when the race ultimately came to an end. Crossing the finish line in the second position to end their season, Maxson completed his weekend goal and sent the 2023 year into the past on a high note.
Maxson added, “Not sure what 2024 has in store just yet, but we have a lot of irons in the fire. We were able to work earn several podiums this season, and hopefully, that can show some of the IMSA teams that we are ready to compete in the next level.”
Photo Credit: IMSA