Andy Pilgrim and Randy Pobst finish their K-PAX/3R Racing Volvo S60s 4th and 8th in Round 4 of the SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge GT Championships at Mosport Park in Ontario Canada, part of the Victoria Day Speedfest Weekend.
Andy Pilgrim, of Boca Raton Florida, started his #8 K-PAX/3R Racing Volvo S60 in 3rd and after a slower than expected start fell to 5th where he spent most of the race. Actually both Pilgrim and team mate Randy Pobst had slower starts than anticipated as the K-PAX Volvos lost the battle of cubic inches and raw horsepower on the start.
Randy Pobst, of Gainesville Georgia, started his #1 K-PAX/3R Racing Volvo S60-R on the front row due to the inversion of the top five qualifiers and after losing the drag race to race winner Jason Daskalos’ V-10 powered Dodge Viper and getting passed by Davis’ Mustang on the back straight settled into the 3rd position for the first half of the race.
“Neither one of us got a very good start,” said Pilgrim. “We both bogged down; nothing Randy and I could do about it; something in the engine management system. It was unfortunate because I got passed by a bunch of cars on the start.”
“The start of the race didn’t go very well,” agreed Randy Pobst. “We both tried to spin the tires but we weren’t able to. That allowed the Viper [race winner Jason Daskalos] to get ahead of me and then the Mustang [2nd place finisher Brandon Davis] got by me at the end of the back straight.”
The air temperatures in Ontario were unseasonably cold as a strong wind blew beneath and almost cloudless sky as the SPEED GT field ran exceptionally fast and that pace was maintained during the race as Randy Pobst, in 3rd, and Andy Pilgrim in the 5th spot were part of a 6 car lead pack that broke away from the rest of the field.
Daskalos and his Viper led Davis, Pobst, Tony Rivera (Porsche 911 GT3), Pilgrim and Eric Curran (Chevy Corvette) as the front six packed into a tight group but as one might expect with a such a diverse group of race cars each car held a differing advantage and for Pobst while he was held up in certain parts of the track he couldn’t match the cubic horsepower of the Viper and Mustang to get past.
“We were a little bit quicker than they were but there was no way to get around them because they just left us on the straights,” said Pobst. “I was trying to wear them down and I could see that my car was better later in the race than the two guys in front of me.”
For Andy Pilgrim the tight pack of cars was more of a curse because the dirty air from the pack of cars made his car unstable.
“We had a reasonable car that was fast but over-steery fast so my K-PAX Volvo S60 was really strong on my own in clean air but when I got around traffic I just lost the rear,” said Pilgrim who seemed to favor gapping himself enough to get clean air as long as he could keep Curran’s Corvette behind him. “That was part of the problem I just couldn’t run in a line with those guys because the car was so balanced on a delicate edge that when I got behind those guys I would either lose the rear or slide too much. Then when I was in a gap the car was fine.
“It is difficult being in a line of cars like that because you tend to run up on people but the worst part is the effect on the aero. The car was tail happy. I wanted it fast and loose but it was too much and when I got around other cars and the dirty air it was much too much. Mosport is definitely the place to get sudden aero changes is not a good thing especially when you are going through turns like 2 and 4. I had some big slides out there and I am lucky I didn’t spin out a couple of times, very lucky.”
To demonstrate this Pilgrim set the fastest race lap of 1:24.805 during one of his open-air experiences but once he caught up to the lead 4 cars he was forced to back off.
“Yes, it was a good finish,” concluded Pilgrim of his 4th place finish that moved him up into the 3rd position in the Championship Points chase.
Randy Pobst meanwhile was trying everything he could to solve Davis and his Mustang but in the second half of the race an engine management problem suddenly came up forcing Pobst to back out of the throttle and nurse his car home for an 8ht place finish.
“I could only use a quarter of the throttle,” said Pobst. “At least I was able to bring it along to finish. The #1 K-PAX Volvo has been snake bit so far this season. Nothing that the crew is doing wrong it is just that little things keep happening.”
“Bad finish to a good start but I was just so pleased to be in the race at all,” said Randy Pobst. “The credit goes to a marathon effort by the K-PAX/3R Racing team. They were working literally night and day to get the bugs out of our new Volvo S60-R. Paul DeLeo and Will Moody just put in a massive effort. I am glad these 3R Guys are paid by the week because after the past couple of weeks they would be millionaires if they were paid by the hour!
“They got the transmission sorted out because that worked flawlessly in the race and despite the lack of any real setup time my Volvo was working really, really well during the race. So while I am disappointed in my finish I have to be thankful to the 3R guys that I was in this race at all!”
After four Rounds of the SCCA SPEED World Challenge GT Drivers’ Championships Andy Pilgrim is in 3rd place with 368 points. Brandon Davis and Tony Rivera have 415 and 371 respectively in 1st and 2nd position. The twice defending GT Drivers’ Champion Randy Pobst is 7th with 266.
The K-PAX/3R Racing team has Volvo 3rd in the Manufacturers’ Championship Presented by Racer Magazine with 15 points. Porsche leads with 26 with Ford in 2nd with 23.
Next up for the K-PAX/3R Racing Volvos of Randy Pobst and Andy Pilgrim will be Round Five of the SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge GT Championships on July 3-5 2009 as part of the 2009 Camping World Grand Prix at Watkins Glen International Raceway in Watkins Glen New York. More information about the SCCA SPEED World Challenge Championships can be found at www.World-Challenge.com.
For more information about the K-PAX/3R Racing Volvo S60s go to our website at www.kpaxracing.com.