Austin, Texas (5 May 2017) – Following a crash in the previous IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship round of Long Beach, VISIT FLORIDA Racing arrived to Circuit of the Americas on Friday with a brand new racecar.
In the short break between races, the VISIT FLORIDA Racing team members worked long hours to build a new No. 90 VISIT FLORIDA Gibson-powered Riley in time for the COTA event. A shakedown test scheduled ahead of the race weekend was rained out so the first practice session saw the car take to a racetrack for the very first time.
“I have to thank the VISIT FLORIDA guys,” said VISIT FLORIDA Racing team owner Troy Flis. “Our test got rained out so we came here with a brand new car that had never been on a racetrack before and started testing with the first session. Our guys did a great job on that – building a new car, getting it out here and having no issues and getting it on track. We just have to keep working on it. We’re still struggling for a bunch of speed. And that’s just where we’re at right now. We’ll keep pushing hard and see if we can make it better.”
After two practice sessions on Thursday and a third practice Friday morning, Marc Goossens, who shares the No. 90 VISIT FLORIDA Gibson-Riley with Renger van der Zande, took to the track for the 15 minute qualifying session.
Goossens will start eighth on the grid for Saturday’s 2 hour and 40 minute Advance Auto Parts Sports Car Showdown and despite a lack of speed compared to the front runners, he was pleased with the progress the team has made through the COTA event.
“There are some areas where we’re struggling to find grip,” offered Goossens following his qualifying run. “We’ve thrown everything at it – changing everything – and we haven’t been able to find the grip there. Our biggest issue is the speed. We’re lacking speed on the straightaways and it’s crucial around here. We are just a sitting duck at the moment. Nevertheless we keep working. We throw big changes at the car so we can at least learn something about the car. We know we don’t have the car to put on the front row right now, so we’re looking at it as test sessions – just trying to gather data and work well with the engineers and all of our partners to make it better. It’s a steep learning process that we have to go through but the VISIT FLORIDA guys did an awesome job in getting this car out here – running it without any issues. This team is professional and knows what they’re doing. They had limited time to get a new car going this weekend and they did. The car is running perfectly fine right now, we just need to find speed.”
The Advance Auto Parts Sports Car Showdown will go green Saturday at 1:35 PM local (2:35 PM ET). Listen to LIVE coverage on www.radiolemans.com. FS1 will televise the event Saturday at 7:00 PM ET.