Victory for Starworks at Six Hrs of The Glen
June 30, 2015: Starworks Motorsport picked up their second consecutive Prototype Challenge race victory in the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen, 26-27 June, 2015, on the back of winning at the Chevrolet Sports Car Classic presented by Metro Detroit Chevy Dealers last month. The #8 Starworks Motorsport Oreca Chevrolet FLM09 has now won the most races of any car in any class since the start of the new TUDOR United Sportscar Championship in 2014.
Dutch racing ace and Starworks regular Renger van der Zande was joined by team veteran Alex Popow and California-born Mike Hedlund as regular co-driver Mirco Schultis was not available for the fifth PC round in New York. It was Renger’s fifth career TUSC victory and Alex Popow’s ninth win across TUSC, American Le Mans and GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series’, and the first for Mike Hedlund, who is currently competing in the Pirelli World Challenge.
The Starworks Motorsport team was fast straight out of the trailer at Watkins Glen International with even its dry set up translating well to the wet when the rain came. Renger was the fastest PC driver in practice two on Friday and with Qualifying cancelled on Saturday due to wet conditions the grid positions for Sunday’s race were set by Championship points.
After setting the quickest class time in the wet warm up on Sunday morning, it was down to Mike Hedland to commence the six-hour enduro in the #8 Martini liveried challenger from P6 on the grid.
Peter Baron, Team Owner, Starworks Motorsport:
“Mike did a perfect job in very trick conditions. A light rain was falling at the start and he managed his best on slick tires. He hung in there while many others were having problems and so once the track dried out, about 30 minutes in, he was on it for the next hour. Alex got in under yellow and kept the momentum going, running in P2 the whole time. It was exactly what we needed. Renger’s finishing stints will be talked about for some time. He was in a class of his own out there in about the worst rain and trying conditions you could get. He never put a wheel wrong and brought it home with the win and 4th overall.”
“This was a great momentum builder for us,” continued Peter. “Our car has been fast the last few events and we now have two wins in a row. We are only five points out of the Championship lead and feel we have a shot at the title. To say we are excited to get to CTMP is an understatement. It was a shame Mirco could not be with us at The Glen and we are grateful to him and Mishumotors for giving us the chance to push on while we wait for his return at Mosport. ”
Mike Hedlund, #8 Starworks Motorsport:
“We unloaded a fast car and every time we went out on track it was better, wet, dry or mixed, it was fantastic! I was a little nervous at the start because between the time we decided to start on slicks and the time they rolled us out of pit lane the rain had started to get heavier. It ended up being the correct call, although the first stint was perilous! We started the race from P6 and I think we made it up to P2 by the end of the first lap. I couldn’t keep up with Conor Daly and settled in to push as hard as I could without any risk of going off or getting hit while trying to save fuel. Once the car was up front we were able to manage the rest of the race. Our pit stops and strategy calls were perfect and Renger was brilliant toward the end once it became a boat race! Thanks to all our crew guys and girls, Peter Baron, Mirco Schultis, Renger van der Zande and Alex Popow for having me along at The Glen.”
Starworks Motorsport is now third in both the TUSC Prototype Challenge Team Championship (152 points) and North American Endurance Cup (with one round remaining). Renger van der Zande is fifth in the Prototype Challenge Drivers’ Championship on 126 points. The next round of the TUSC is the Mobil 1 Sportscar Grand Prix presented by Hawk Performance, 10-12 July, at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, Bowmanville, ON.