AUSTIN, Texas (September 19, 2015) – With extreme temperatures on the track and in the cockpits,
Richard Westbrook and Michael Valiante charged their way to a third place finish in the Lone Star Le Mans at Austin’s Circuit of the Americas. The finish extended the team’s lead in the championship to six as the series is set to embark on the season finale at Road Atlanta.
The No. 90 VISITFLORIDA.COM Chevrolet Corvette Daytona Prototype started in the fourth position under the control of Canadian driver Michael Valiante. Valiante quickly reminded everyone why they should always keep an eye on the blue and white liveried Corvette DP darting from the outside line to the inside line, charging his way to third in the opening lap.
Even after a spectacular start and a podium finish, Valiante acknowledged the challenges that faced his team throughout the weekend.
“It was a tough weekend for us,” said Valiante. “We had a number of problems, but there are weekends where you don’t have the pace, but you need to finish. It was a hard race during my first stint, but the team did great and so did Richard. So it’s on to Atlanta and we’ll work on our Visit Florida Racing Corvette DP, anything can happen.”
Despite the sweltering conditions and difficulty running with worn tires, driver Richard Westbrook was complementary of his team and co-driver on what worked out to be an incredible points day.
“I don’t know where to start in the race,” said Westbrook. “Michael drove like a champion today. Just dead set on getting a good points day. We had a good VISITFLORIDA.COM Corvette DP until the tires wore off. We chose not to take tires at the end, so I wasn’t sure if I could hold Oz back or not. I love to race him and would have liked to see that Justin Wilson tribute on the podium, but it wasn’t to be for him. I have so much respect for him. Thanks to Visit Florida and Team Chevy for all of their support, we’ve just got to go finish this off for them.”
Visit Florida Racing team owner Troy Flis was excited after his team scored their sixth podium finish of the 2015 campaign. Flis recognizes they will still have to execute at the highest level at Petit Le Mans, but nevertheless, his team will be in control of the standings by an expanded margin for the 10-hour endurance contest on October 3.
“We did a lot of work this week,” said Flis. “We’re going to keep battling these guys to the end. We recognized that we couldn’t win the championship here this weekend, but we didn’t want to lose it either.
“Our VISITFLORIDA.COM Corvette DP was good so we tried some things, which was good for us as it provided some direction for Road Atlanta. We’ll take it, we wanted podiums and that’s what we’ve said all year. We’re going to go to Atlanta and try to win that one and the championship.”
While the race may not have looked promising in the opening stages for the Daytona Beach based team, the ability to position themselves to capitalize on the opportunities presented netted them a better than expected result. The podium finish moved the No. 90 VISITFLORIDA.COM Corvette DP to a six-point lead in the championship ahead of the now deadlocked Action Express Racing teammates.
The final event for the IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship will kick off on Thursday, October 1 at Road Atlanta in Braselton, GA. The 10-hour Petit Le Mans gets underway at 11 a.m. ET on Saturday, October 3. Visit Florida Racing will look to win their first overall championship after a season characterized with consistency and determination. Westbrook and Valiante will also look at add a third win to their season, making them the winningest duo of the year.