Race Weekend Central

Kuno Wittmer, Indy Dontje Fastest in Michelin Pilot Challenge VIR Practices

Friday (Aug. 23) saw IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge teams take to the 3.27-mile VIRginia International Raceway for two practice sessions ahead of Saturday’s Virginia Is For Racing Lovers Grand Prix.  Compass Racing’s Kuno Wittmer was fastest overall with a lap at 103.873 mph.

Practice No. 1

Wittmer’s quick lap of the day came on his final lap in the session.  It was a quarter of a second faster than the Aston Martin of Automatic Racing’s Tom Long.  Motorsports In Action’s Corey Fergus was third fastest in his McLaren, followed by Spencer Pumpelly and Robby Foley.  Pumpelly is driving an Audi R8 LMS GT4 for Moorespeed, a team that started out the season in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s GT Daytona class.  Following a crash for Will Hardeman at Watkins Glen in June, the team decided to skip the rest of the season in GTD.

Park Place Motorsports’ Trent Hindman was sixth fastest in the VOLT Racing Porsche, followed by Winward Racing/HTP Motorsport’s Indy Dontje in the fastest of the Mercedes.  Stephen Cameron Racing’s Greg Liefooghe was eighth fastest in his BMW, followed by the similar BMW of Mike Skeen.  Murillo Racing’s Eric Foss was 10th.  The top 19 cars were within one second of Wittmer’s quick time.

In TCR, Gabby Chaves was fastest in the opening session with a lap at 100.999 mph.  The former Harding Racing competitor in INDYCAR is making his TCR debut this weekend with JDC-Miller MotorSports.

Chaves’ lap was just two-hundredths of a second faster than Bryan Herta Autosport’s Michael Lewis in the No. 98 Hyundai Veloster N TCR.  Stephen Simpson was third in the second JDC-Miller MotorSports Audi.  James Vance was fourth in the No. 23 Fast MD Racing Audi, while Tom O’Gorman was fifth in his LA Honda World Racing Honda Civic Type-R TCR.


Practice No. 2

In the afternoon practice session, Dontje put his Mobil 1-sponsored Mercedes on top of the speed charts with a lap at 103.596 mph.  Dontje’s lap was a quarter of a second faster than the similar Mercedes of Foss.  Liefooghe was third quickest, followed by Wittmer and Rebel Rock Racing’s Robin Liddell in his Chevrolet.  Kohr Motorsports’ Kyle Marcelli was sixth quickest, best of the Ford Mustang GT4s.  Foley was seventh quickest, then Fergus, Long and Skeen.

The TCR class saw Bryan Herta Autosport’s Mason Filippi top the chart with a lap at 100.554 mph in his Hyundai.  Filippi’s lap was three-sevenths of a second faster than Fast MD Racing’s Nick Galante.  Lewis was third fastest in the second Hyundai, followed by Roadshagger Racing’s Jon Morley.  Simpson was fifth quickest.


Qualifying for the Virginia Is For Racing Lovers Grand Prix is scheduled for 7:15 p.m. Friday evening.  We will have a recap of the session here at Frontstretch.

About the author

Phil Allaway has three primary roles at Frontstretch. He's the manager of the site's FREE e-mail newsletter that publishes Monday-Friday and occasionally on weekends. He keeps TV broadcasters honest with weekly editions of Couch Potato Tuesday and serves as the site's Sports Car racing editor.

Outside of Frontstretch, Phil is the press officer for Lebanon Valley Speedway in West Lebanon, N.Y. He covers all the action on the high-banked dirt track from regular DIRTcar Modified racing to occasional visits from touring series such as the Super DIRTcar Series.

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