DEERFIELD BEACH, Fla. (Oct. 3, 2016) – Performance Tech Motorsports ended the 2016 Weather Tech SportsCar Championship on podium at Road Atlanta for the 19th annual Petit Le Mans Presented by Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort.
Performance Tech and the duo of James French and Kyle Marcelli with the help of Kenton Koch earned six podiums of the possible eleven this year. Nine finishes in total were top-five finishes, this has been one of the team’s most consistent seasons to date. The team also finished second in the Team Points Championship with Starworks Motorsport and PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports tying for first.
As French pulled into pit lane after the 10-hour battle fireworks colored the sky above. The No. 38 NeuroSpine Institute Prototype Challenge completed the race and finished second; a drastic difference from the year before when the team was unable to compete due to an on track incident early in the weekend.
French, Marcelli and Koch ran at the front of the PC field a majority of the race. Koch qualified and began the race fourth. From the start Koch took over third and continued to climb and battle from there. Koch also fought for the Tequila Patron North American Endurance Championship title in the PC class, however, the second place finish left him one point away from victory on that stage. Overall, his success in 2016 couldn’t be over shadowed by the minor detail.
“I finished the year with two P2’s, a P1, a fourth place and a Rolex,” Koch said. “It’s cool to be on podium but we just needed the win to win the endurance championship. We were as close as we could come and I think we all drove well but we just didn’t have the pace to take the win. I can’t complain though it’s great to have second place, we did the best we could. Kyle and James did a really great job and this is one of the best finishes for Performance Tech at Road Atlanta. I’m happy to be a part of that.”
Marcelli picked up the odd shifts throughout the race to ensure both silver rated drivers, a driver rating based on various accomplishments in the driver’s career, completed their full drive time of three hours each. Marcelli battled through his stint in both first and second place. He maneuvered through traffic keeping the No. 38 clean of damage. Though his stint was spent at the front of the field it didn’t take away pressure from what was at stake, the team’s last chance for a win. The motivation led to Marcelli laying down the fastest lap of the PC class with a 1:16.655.
“I think all in all today was a good day for Performance Tech,” Marcelli said. “All the drivers ran mistake free. I think that’s the key to a race like this. It was interesting because there wasn’t a whole lot of cautions in the race maybe two or three, and one of those was due to the track surface. The track did a great job repairing that, I was surprised it held up but it did. It was a pretty short day for me, I only did about two and half hours in the car. But it felt good and I had fast lap of the race. We ended up second and fighting for the win at the end so it was exciting.”
French’s stints were completed both in the day and at night. He had the honor of bringing the car across the finish line. An honor new to French as throughout the season he had customarily qualified and started the race. After trying his hand at finishing rather than qualifying at Circuit of the Americas French proved to be tough enough to go against the bigger names in the PC field. Team Principal Brent O’Neill had confidence in French to do it again at Petit Le Mans. French did not disappoint.
“I feel like this is a pretty good wrap to this season,” French said. “We tied our best finish of P2 which we first got in Watkins Glen with the same lineup. Obviously, a great lineup of drivers, everything went swimmingly and our strategy worked in our favor. I just didn’t have it for Kimber-Smith in the end. He was just way better in traffic and I had some really frustrating brakes. From what it sounded like we were able to match the pace, we had an excellent car it just didn’t fall into place. But we can’t complain about P2. I can’t thank everyone enough at Performance Tech, it’s time to celebrate.”
O’Neill looked back at what his team accomplished over the season and agreed a podium at Road Atlanta was a great topping to finish out the 2016 season.
“After 10-hours to be second, that’s not a bad deal,” O’Neill said. “We had to come in for a splash of fuel at the end if it weren’t for that it may have been a closer finish. Overall, it was a pretty good event. We were in the fight the whole race. It wasn’t like PR1 was any slouch team, they never broke pace. It was a true fight for 10 hours. It was a fight to the end. It was actually really cool and we all had a great time. Each of the guys did really well today, no one made a mistake. We look forward to next year.”
The team will also look forward to taking home the first Continental Ture Extreme Spirit award for the PC class at the Weather Tech SportsCar Championship Night of Champions banquet. For updates from the team follow Performance Tech on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. For more information visit performancetechmotorsports.com.
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