The Unitronic No.17 Audi RS 3 LMS battled adversity in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge Virginia is for Racing Lovers 120 at VIRginia International Raceway this past weekend. IndyCar driver Gabby Chaves kicked off the weekend with a commanding start, putting down the fastest lap in the first practice session, showing strong pace. South African sportscar debutant Julian Van der Watt took the seat in second practice, laying down a handful of strong laps but an issue forced an early end to the session. The crew at JDC-Miller MotorSports quickly diagnosed the issue to be fuel pump related and repaired it for what was supposed to be a third practice session right into qualifying.
Unfortunately, heavy rain and thunderstorms forced Practice 3 and Qualifying to be cancelled, for the Michelin Pilot Challenge TCR and GS fields, robbing the No. 17 Audi TCR from not only having a chance to qualify, but also not providing the team with the ability to validate a complete resolution to the issues experienced in the Practice 2. As a result of the weather, IMSA determined the starting grid for Saturday's Michelin Pilot Challenge Race by other means via championship season points, ultimately forcing the No. 17 to start from the back, due to only participating in a partial season. With that, Van der Watt and Chaves knew that they had their work cut out for them, but were up to the challenge.
Van der Watt started the No. 17 Audi, and on the formation lap, the fuel pump issues returned, forcing the team to head back to the paddock to diagnose and make a quick repair. The JDC-Miller MotorSports crew made quick work of it and had Van der Watt back out with 1 hour and 25-minutes remaining in the race. Van der Watt handed over to Chaves with 40 minutes remaining.
“I thoroughly enjoyed my weekend driving the Unitronic Audi RS 3 LMS TCR. The performance of the car was at the top end of the field and we had high hopes of a top 3 finish which was very possible. We had great long run pace and the tire degradation was exactly where it needed to be. Unfortunately luck was not on our side. After qualifying and practice 3 was cancelled due to weather we had to start last on championship points as the car had only done a partial season. Gabby and myself were up for the challenge of making it to the front of the field but luck ran out again when our fuel pump broke on the warm-up lap. I want to say a huge thank you to the team for all the effort they put in over the weekend. Also to unitronic for the support they provided. I am looking forward to Laguna Seca and I'll be pushing harder to achieve a great result.” says Van der Watt.
Chaves threw down some impressive laps with the varying wet and dry conditions, but there was too much of a deficit to make up, ultimately finishing in 12th position. “ I loved being back in a race car again, and even more so with familiar faces. We started of so strong setting the fastest lap of the weekend in only my 5th or 6th lap ever in a TCR car. The pace of the car was so strong all weekend it’s very disappointing and frustrating to not be able to take the green on the lead lap and show our potential. I’d like to thank everyone within JDC-Miller MotorSport and Out There Brands for putting this together and I hope we can do it again soon!” said Chaves.
The Unitronic No.17 Audi RS 3 LMS will be finishing out the season with WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in September and Motul Petit LeMans at Road Atlanta in October.
UNITRONIC® engineers industry-leading aftermarket performance enhancing software and hardware for Audi®, Volkswagen®, Seat®, and Skoda® cars worldwide. Best known for its performance software engine and transmission calibrations, Unitronic enhances vehicle performance while maintaining complete OEM-like reliability and drivability. Unitronic’s UniCONNECT+ Programming and Diagnostic Interface empowers Unitronic Clients to safely reprogram their engine and transmission control modules from the comfort of home, anywhere in the world. Learn more about Unitronic's competitive advantage at www.getunitronic.com.
About Out There Brands
OUT THERE BRANDS was founded by professional racing driver Michael Taylor, filling the void focusing on offering extremely personalized branding services to the motorsports industry, specializing in custom made paddock displays and motorsports apparel. Alongside these services, Out There Brands provides first-class hospitality and event management. Learn more about getting your brand out there at www.outtherebrands.com
About JDC-MILLER MOTORSPORTS
JDC-MILLER MOTORSPORTS is a world-class multiple championship winning sportscar racing team, with a total of 18 championships, 60 wins, 57 pole positions, and 195 podiums, most of which coming by way of their Prototype class programs running in the IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship. Highlights include an Overall Win at the Six Hours at Watkins Glen in 2018, 2017 Winner Extreme Spirit Award, and 2017 Winner Jim Trueman Award, providing the team an automatic entry into the 2018 24 Hours of LeMans. Learn more at www.jdcmotorsport.com
*Unitronic is not affiliated with any vehicle manufacturers. All Manufacturer and vehicle names and trademarks are used in this web site are for identification purposes only. All trademarks and trade dress such as Audi ®, Volkswagen ®, VW ®, Seat ®, Skoda ®, Porsche ®, GTI ®, Golf ®,Golf R ®, Golf City ®, Alltrack ®, SportWagen ®, Cupra ®, Scirocco ®, Jetta ®, GLI ®, R32 ®, Rabbit ®, Passat ®, Passat CC ®, Tiguan ®, Beetle ®, New Beetle ®, EOS ®, Touareg ®, Phaeton ® DSG ®, S Tronic ®, TSI ®, TFSI ®, VR6 ®, A1 ®, A3 ®, S3 ®, RS3 ®, Q3 ® , A4 ®, S4 ®, RS4 ®, A5 ®, S5 ®,RS5 ® Q5 ®, SQ5 ®, A6 ®, S6 ®, RS6 ®, Q7 ®, SQ7 ®, A7 ®, S7 ®,RS7 ® A8 ®, S8 ®, R8 ®, TT ®, TTS ®, TTRS ®, Boxster ®, 911 ®, 996 ®, 997 ®, 991 ®, Panamera ®, Macan ®, 918 Spyder ®, Cayenne ®, Cayman ® are registered trademarks of Volkswagen AG, Audi AG, and Porsche AG.