Tuesday, April 19, 2016 – Fresno, CA – After two podium-finishes for PR1 Motorsports at the first two rounds of the WeatherTech Sportscar Championship, the team and drivers Tom Kimber-Smith and Robert Alon were hopeful to continue their streak on the streets of Long Beach at the BUBBA Sports Car Grand Prix of Long Beach. Both Alon and Kimber-Smith displayed impressive times throughout the weekend, and it appeared that the third podium in three races was within reach. Unfortunately, on a restart, Kimber-Smith was sandwiched by two GTLM cars damaging the front splitter and forcing him to make an unplanned pit stop and dashing any hope of fighting for a podium finish.
“I’m really disappointed with the result from the weekend. The PR1 guys gave us a great car, and we had good pace from the start of the weekend, so to come away with a sixth place finish is rather disappointing,” said Kimber-Smith.
“Robert had a really good opening stint. He lost time at the start of the race because the cars in front of him didn’t pack up, but he maintained the gap and his pace was really good. We had an awesome pit stop, and I think we were about three seconds faster than anyone else, so we gained some time there. When I got back on track I could actually see the top three cars in front of me.”
Before Kimber-Smith could make his way into the fight for the top three positions the CORE Autosport PC car was hit and spun by a GTLM car causing a full course yellow.
“Unfortunately, on the restart coming into the hairpin both of the BMWs sandwiched me, with one on either side. It ripped the splitter, so we had to come in for a quick pit stop to repair that. The car was really quick though. On pace, we were there with the leaders, so I think it would have been an interesting fight if I could have caught up with them. I’m disappointed with the sixth place points, but we still have a long way to go in the season and hopefully we will have a better result at Laguna.”
Kimber-Smith’s co-driver, Alon, showed impressive pace from the start of the weekend at his street race debut.
“The weekend started out great. We learned a lot in the first practice session, and I was able to get comfortable with the track before qualifying later in the day,” explained Alon.
“The start of the race was a little frustrating because the car in front of me left a ten second gap to the next car, so by the time I got by the guys in front of me, there wasn’t much time left to make any more progress before the pit stop. But Tom did a great job and was really quick. It’s just unfortunate that he had nowhere to go on the restart when he was hit.”
“You never want to have a sixth place finish, but at least this one was early in the season, and now we can regroup over the next week and a half and be ready to put our heads down at Laguna and hopefully come away with a better result.”
The next round of the WeatherTech Sportscar Championship will be April 29 – May 1 at the Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix Powered by Mazda at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.