Visit Florida Racing Scores Podium in Canada


Third consecutive podium as Florida squad makes Canadian debut

5d7616c2-b119-4005-86c0-23f609d78d14Bowmanville, Ontario (13 July 2014) – For the third consecutive race, Visit Florida Racing was back on the IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship podium as Michael Valiante and Richard Westbrook finished second with the No. 90 Visit Florida Corvette DP at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park on Sunday. The two hour, forty-five minute race featured a three-class battle that ran at a flat out pace, with the event going from green to checkered flag without a single caution period.

The duo won the previous round of IMSA action in the Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen to follow up a second place finish at Detroit, and have raced into the heat of the championship battle with three consecutive podium outings with the Corvette DP.

“It was a good day, all in all,” said team owner Troy Flis. “For a team that has never been here, and two drivers that had so little experience here, I’m pleased with it. We wanted a podium and hopefully we can keep being on the podium and win a couple more races. This was good for the championship as well so we’ll just look to keep this up again in a couple of weeks at Indianapolis.”

Starting from third on the grid, Valiante raced into second place and held strong as the No. 42 P2 machine zoomed off into the distance. Valiante continued to lead the rest of the pack through his second stint before turning the car over to Westbrook with an hour and 15 minutes to go in the race.

“It was a double stint for me, but it was fine,” said Valiante. “We had a bit of a gear selection issue at the beginning so I had to slow things down a little bit and eventually it was fine but we lost some time and at one point a position because of that. After that, I just settled in to run a decent pace.”

A balky driver change cost the team time and track position, but Westbrook was soon on his way.

“Something happened on the belts with Richard’s driver change and we lost about 15 seconds,” said Valiante. “I’m not sure if we could have challenged the 42 car because they had so much pace. Overall, another great weekend and good for the points. The team did a great job again. Onto the next one!”

With some 30 seconds to make up to the leader, “Westy” put his head down and reeled off lap after lap of quick times, moving ahead of the championship-leading No. 10 entry before making the most of his opportunities in traffic to slice the overall lead down to just seven seconds in the closing moments of the race. The pressure seemed to awaken the leader, who responded by easily re-growing the gap to a comfortable margin at the finish, with the Visit Florida Corvette DP coming home second to earn some champagne and critical championship points north of the border.

“It is a good day for us,” said Westbrook. “We’ll take second. It was nice to put the No. 42 (Nissan Morgan – race winner) under some pressure. You never know. He had a quite comfortable spot but I wanted to put some sort of pressure because with all the traffic, you never know what a little bit of pressure can do. It wasn’t ours today, but it was really enjoyable racing. My first time at Mosport, and I actually loved it. Hopefully we can continue to have these kinds of weekends.”

The team will be back in IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship action at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for Round 8 of the 2014 championship battle on July 25.