Starworks Motorsports Wins Second Consecutive Detroit Grand Prix
Saturday at the Chevrolet Sports Car Classic presented by the Metro Detroit Chevy Dealers, Starworks Motorsports earned their first win of the season for the No. 8 ORECA FLM09 with drivers Alex Popow and Renger van der Zande. The successful run marked the second consecutive win at the Detroit Grand Prix for the Florida based team. Not only did the duo land on the top step in the PC class, but Popow and van der Zande also finished third overall behind two DP cars in the top class.
Following a competitive qualifying session the day before, the No. 8 car earned a third place starting position. Popow showed a strong, clean start, climbing up to second by the time the first full course caution came out on lap nine. Popow kept the car in second for the entirety of his stint, achieving the required minimum drive time of 35 minutes. As the team called Popow in to pit for a full service stop, a full course caution came out, closing the pits and delaying the stop, instantly changing the team’s strategy for the final stint.
Popow pitted from first and Renger took over the car with a full tank of fuel and fresh tires, rejoining in third as the field went back to green. From there, the rest of the race was between van der Zande and race leader Colin Braun, six seconds ahead. The race brought another caution with 30 minutes to go, allowing the field to pack up. The field went back to green, and van der Zande put on a dominating performance, setting the fastest laps of the race, running six tenths faster than Colin Braun in first. He applied heavy pressure as the two worked their way through traffic. With less than five laps to go, Braun gave in to the pressure, going wide a spinning on course. Although he continued, the spin was just what van der Zande needed to overtake and charge to the checker flag.
The win awarded Starworks Motorsports a three point lead in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship PC class title. The series next competes at the Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen at Watkins Glen International in New York. The race is also the third round in the Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup, an endurance championship within the IMSA championship. For more information, visit imsa.com.
Peter Baron // Team Owner
I’m really excited to get the win today. We’ve had good cars, we just haven’t had any luck. I think we had a strong opening by Alex to get us in a good position. We got a little bit caught out by the yellow flag that came during our pit window. Renger was amazing today. We were fastest by six tenths of a second. He caught Colin, then pressured him for ten laps until he made a mistake. That’s what gave us the win. It was a great weekend for the 8 car. Everyone on the team performed flawlessly and I’m really happy to finally get the win monkey off our backs this season.
Finally! We were 4th, 3rd, 2nd, and then 2nd again. Now finally we’re at the end of the ladder. We have to fight to try to keep it and to win more races. I know the team and we as drivers can win races. We haven’t been able to put it all together, but we now have that monkey off our backs. We’re leading the championship by three points, and we’re going to keep fighting for the championship. That’s what we’re here for, and we’re hoping we don’t have any more bad luck.
Renger van der Zande
Man, what a race. I thought we lost it with that yellow flag coming off at the wrong point. I knew it was going to be a hard fight, and certainly didn’t think we were going to win after that. I chased the leaders down, first to P3, then to P2. When I was behind Colin, I overtook one of the Mazdas. When I made that pass, I was just chasing down Colin, who was maybe six seconds ahead. We did the fastest lap we’ve done here. I gave it my all. I just didn’t want to be second again. In the end, Colin went wide and spun off, and after that it was controlling the race. It was a nice one, and a very sweet one.