Alton Va. (23 August 2020) – A weekend of ups and downs had an unfortunate and early end for Stoner Car Care driver Ben Waddell in Sunday’s Virginia Is For Racing Lovers Grand Prix – Round Four of the 2020 IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge season.
Returning to the No. 47 Forty7 Motorsports Stoner Car Care Hyundai Veloster N TCR alongside co-driver Alex Papadopulos, Waddell arrived at Virginia International Raceway (VIR) prepared for a strong weekend.
A rare three-day IMPC weekend schedule consisted of two practice sessions on Friday and Saturday where Waddell quickly got to work in the Hyundai. But the rainy Friday made for difficult practice conditions and a red flag during Saturday’s session limited track time for the Colorado native as he and Papadopulos worked to find a setup to get them back on the IMSA podium.
Early Sunday morning began with TCR qualifying, with Papadopulos tasked with qualifying duties for the 15-minute session. The No. 47 Hyundai scored 11th for the two-hour race.
Papadopulos took the green flag for the driving duo on Sunday afternoon and quickly moved up to fifth on the opening lap. Forced to complete a manual restart to recalibrate the boost on the back straight, Papadopulos returned to full speed when a perfectly timed yellow flag helped pack up the field.
Under the full course caution Waddell took over the controls for the No. 47 Hyundai on Lap 22, returning on track eighth. Taking the restart, Waddell was on pace to clock the team’s fastest lap of the weekend while gaining track position.
But that forward progress was halted after three quick laps, as the No. 47 Hyundai suffered a momentary loss of braking as Waddell prepared for turn one. The high-speed corner entry is one that requires a significant slowdown. But with the issue, Waddell had too much momentum to clear the corner as he slid through the still-wet grass to make light contact with the tire barrier, ending the day early for the promising American racer.
“Overall it was a very positive learning weekend for our Forty7 Motorsports team,” said Waddell. “It was an unfortunate end to the weekend, but we made set up changes that gave us an excellent car. I’m pretty sure we had the speed to capture another podium for the No. 47 Stoner Car Care crew, but it wasn’t meant to be today.
We have a quick turn around and will head to Road Atlanta knowing what we need to do to get us to the front.”
Ben Waddell will return to the No. 47 Forty7 Motorsports Stoner Car Care Hyundai Veloster N TCR at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta for the four-hour IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge race Sunday, September 6th.