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Michelin Raceway Notebook: Machavern, Pombo Takes Pilot Challenge Poles

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Zilisch wins MX-5 cup race; Thompson wins the Porsche Carrera Cup; Kasemets claims that the prototype test pole

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John Oreovich and Mark Robinson

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Qualifying Results

BRAZELTON, Georgia – The Fox Factory 120 is not only the final race of the 2022 IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge season, but also the last entry in the current generation BMW M4 GT4 and Honda Civic FK7 TCR race car series.

But these “older” cars showed great speed on Thursday in qualifying at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.

Dillon McHavern took home the Motul Pole Award in the Grand Sport (GS) class in the No. 95 BMW Turner Motorsport, which he shares with Bill Auberlain, and Mat Pombo was fastest in qualifying in the Touring Car (TCR) class with a record lap in the No. 73 Honda LA World Racing Honda.

McAverne had to get down to business quickly in a 15-minute GS qualifying session shortened by the red flag. Despite only running six laps, he posted a best of 1 minute 26.348 seconds (105.896 mph), beating Tom Dyer in the No. 93 CarBahn in the Peregrine Racing Porsche 718 GT4 RS Clubsport by 0.224 seconds.

“Fortunately we were able to clear the track a bit because we knew we probably only had one lap to do it,” said McHavern. “We had some heat in the tires, so you had to be absolutely sure that I would hit the target on the first lap.

“Something like a swan song for this M4, but the old car is still quite fast and I’m happy to put it on pole,” he added. “This car was great for us, but we are looking forward to the next generation and still hope to end the story of the old car with a win.”

Championship leader Alan Brynjolfsson moved up to third on the GS grid on his final lap, completing 2.54 miles of 12-turn Michelin Raceway in 1:26.802 for No. 7 Volt Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT4. Brynjolfsson and Trent Hindman have a 160-point lead over Erik Voss, who will finish sixth in the number 56 Murillo Racing Mercedes-AMG GT GT4 race qualified by Jeff Mosing.

At TCR, Georgia native Pombo used his extensive local knowledge to set a new TCR track benchmark of 1:27.803 seconds (104.141 mph). That time was faster than all but seven of the larger, more powerful GS entries.

Harry Gottsucker was second in 1:28.141 in Bryan Herta Autosport race number 98 in a Hyundai Elantra N TCR Curb-Agajanian driven by Parker Chase. The No. 33 Hyundai BHA driven by Mark Wilkins and Robert Wickens finished in third place.

“Ryan[Eversley, co-driver]has about 25 years of experience at this circuit and we will try to use that to our advantage,” Pombo said. “This is my home track and I have set many records here over the years so I have high hopes.

“A lot of guys are chasing points, but not us. We are trying our best to win, take no prisoners. We hope to end this Honda Civic’s story with a bang.”

The fight for the TCR championship draws closer, with defending champions Taylor Hagler and Michael Lewis (No. 1 BHA Hyundai Elantra) having a 100-point lead over Roy Block and Tim Lewis (No. 5 KMW Motorsports with TMR Engineering Alfa Romeo Giulietta Veloce TCR). ). Hagler qualified the No. 1 Hyundai fifth on the last lap, five positions ahead of Block.

“It was her best qualifying, very close to the lead and tenths of a second behind really experienced teammates, and it gives us a great chance for tomorrow,” commented Lewis. “It’s going to be a pretty tight race but we’re approaching it like we don’t have a points lead. Those 100 points mean nothing because a lot can happen. This series can be a pretty crazy race after race.”

The Fox Factory 120 runs begin at 1:10 pm ET on Friday, September 30th. Live coverage is available on Peacock and IMSA Radio.

Zilisch wins the Mazda MX-5 Cup championship

Race 1 Preliminary Results

Connor Zilisz led a three-car battle for the checkered flag to win Thursday’s Idemitsu Mazda MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich Tires and shorten the championship race as only Friday’s season finale remains.

Driving No. 72 Hixon Motor Sports, Zilisz finished 0.123 seconds ahead of his teammate Celine Rolland in the No. 87 Mazda, with Tyler Gonzalez (No. 51 Copeland Motorsports) finishing third. The victory brought Zilis, new to the series, closer to championship leader Jared Thomas (96th in JTR Motorsports Engineering) by 40 points, who finished fifth in the race. Reigning series champion Gresham Wagner (5th in Spark Performance) ran into mechanical problems, finished last in a group of 24 cars, and likely won’t be a repeat.

Friday’s season-ending 45-minute race starts at 9:50 am and is streamed live on

Thompson continues to pressure van Berlo with Porsche Carrera Cup win

Race 1 results

Parker Thompson won the Porsche Carrera Cup North America represented by Thursday’s Cayman Islands race at Michelin Raceway and reduced the gap to just five points behind Pro class leader Kay van Berlo in Friday’s 40-minute final. Thompson, in the No. 9 JDX Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, overtook van Berlo (No. 3 Kelly Moss) by 0.548 seconds.

Porsche Junior driver Lauren Heinrich, who just finished third in the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup championship, has made his North American debut. Taking pole position in the No. 12 Porsche 311RS Motorsport, Heinrich led the first 14 laps before sliding off course and crashing into the tire barrier of turn one, ending the race.

Thursday’s other class winners were Efrin Castro (No. 65 Kelly Moss) in Pro-Am and John Getz (No. 57 Wright Motorsports) in Am.

Kasemets wins pole position in IMSA Prototype Challenge Final

Qualifying Results

Points leader Tonis Kasemets will lead the IMSA Prototype Challenge field to the green flag in the final race of the 2022 season after taking pole position in qualifying on Thursday.

Kasemets posted a best lap of 1:16.326 (119.801 mph) in the No. 60 Wulver Racing Ligier JS P320. Kasemets’ lap was 0.403 seconds better than Memo Gidley in the No. 23 AL Autosport with the JDC Duqueine D08.

Kasemets must finish in 10th place or better on Friday to win the championship. The 90-minute race is broadcast at 8:00 am on Peacock and


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