ASC S11 R9 Recap
14 MAR 2022
Autobahn Sportscar Challenge | Season 11 | Round 9
LMP2/GT3 Multiclass Event | Twin Ring Motegi
Billy Smith II took his second win in a row and third win of the season tonight in the Prototype Class with the Autobahn Sportscar Challenge at Twin Ring Motegi ahead of Robert Tinsey and Joshua Wolf. Ryan Washeleski took his first win of the season in the GT Pro Class ahead of Ross Booth and Bradlee Haley with Ryan Robertson leading the GT AM Class across the line for the fourth time this season ahead of Trent Brown and Robert Kast. Smith talked with us about the final moments of the event when he took the lead away from Jeffrey Ooms, “[Ooms] kept having a bunch of bad luck with traffic it seemed like. I was able to negotiate a little bit better it seemed and keep him within shouting distance, and it seemed like he had a little bit of unfortunate luck with one of the GT cars and got some damage there and it played into my hands.”
Jeffrey Ooms led the field to the green in the Prototype class to start off the night’s action and quickly built up a strong lead over the opening laps ahead of Billy Smith and Robert Tinsey. Bradlee Haley held the lead over Ross Booth in the GT Pro Class with Ryan Robertson leading the GT AM Class. The field quickly settled into a groove over the first 10 minutes of the 60-minute event around the tight corners of Twin Ring Motegi with most drivers choosing patience over aggression through the first half.
As the Prototypes spread out with several seconds between each driver up front, the GT Pro drivers stayed tightly stacked together in the battle for the lead with Bradlee Haley ahead of Ross Booth, Collin Weatherholt, and Ryan Washeleski keeping the pressure high for Haley to not make any mistakes. Ryan Robertson was able to run away with the GT AM Class lead over 5 seconds ahead of Robert Kast in 2nd place. Many drivers were trying a strategy change this round as pit stops began a minute before the 30-minute mark in the race, where previously drivers would save fuel to run longer before stopping, to potentially advance positions as others stop later on.
Going into the second half, Smith was able to stay closer to Ooms and gain on him closing the gap to within 2 seconds on occasion showing a very strong pace as Tinsey ran 8 seconds behind him. Ooms, Smith and Tinsey all chose to pit at the 35-minute mark giving the lead to Daniel Neice and Carter Kundinger who stayed out for another lap before going in themselves. Washeleski jumped to 2nd place in the GT Pro Class as Haley came out of the pits just quickly enough to retain the lead with Washeleski putting pressure on him and taking the lead away soon thereafter with Ross Booth going 3 wide and securing 2nd with Haley dropping back to 3rd with 18 minutes to go.
As the drivers entered the final 10 minutes of the race, Smith stayed within reach of Ooms running about 2 seconds behind. Tinsey held onto 3rd running 16 seconds behind Smith, but 14 seconds ahead of Joshua Wolf in 4th place. Ryan Robertson continued to hold a commanding lead in the GT AM Class running over 5 seconds ahead of Robert Kast in 2nd place. Washeleski, Booth, Haley, and Weatherholt all ran single file close together pressuring for the GT Pro Class lead. Ooms fell off the pace with suspension damage causing him to go wide through a corner giving Smith the opportunity to take away the lead with only 8 minutes remaining. Tinsey and Wolf each moved up a position, 2nd and 3rd respectively, when Ooms was forced off track as his LMP2 became more and more undrivable.
In the final laps Washeleski was able to break away with the GT Pro Class lead as Booth and Haley fell back and Robertson maintained an almost 6 second lead over Brown in the GT AM Class running conservatively. Smith in the Prototype Class was able to run away with the lead crossing the line with more than a 20 second lead over Tinsey. “If we continue like this then we’ll be in good shape here in a few weeks.”, Smith commented regarding his chances at the season championship.
Billy Smith further extends his lead in the point standings with 175 points, now 22 points ahead of Carter Kundinger in the Prototype Class. Ross Booth holds onto the lead in the GT Pro Class at 314 points with Bradlee Haley, 35 points behind, taking 2nd place away from Paul Gibson. Ryan Robertson pulled ahead in the lead after tonight’s win now at 172 points. Trent Brown moved up to 2nd place ahead of Kevin O’Keefe and trails 25 points behind Robertson. Satellite Racing, consisting of Robert Tinsey, Ryan Washeleski, and Ryan Robertson, still leads in the team point standings by 23 points with a total of 194.3 points. The ASC now moves to Hungaroring for the next round on March 28th and you can catch all of the action live at 9:05PM ET only on the Virtual Grip Network!