Caledon Ontario, May 7th 2014

Mantella Autosport continues to build speed at Laguna Seca

The 3rd round of the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge at Laguna Seca was an emotional roller coaster for the Mantella Autosport team. The team had some highs and some tough lows throughout their week in Monterey CA.

Fast at Laguna, photo courtesy Jake Media

Fast at Laguna, photo courtesy Jake Media

Early in the test sessions, the Mantella team struggled with an intermittent low power condition on the Spyder/Gulf Oil Aston Martin Vantage GT4. “These small technical issues are distracting to our focus on getting a fast race setup for this track.” said team owner and driver Anthony Mantella “I have to tip my hat to my team, they resolved the problem and set up a great race car for this technical track.”

Mantella, who had never driven Laguna Seca before, started the Saturday race in 16th and drove with determination, moving all the way up to 10th during his stint in thecar. “I guess all those hours in the simulator paid off” said Mantella. “Again, I have to hand it to Andrew and the team. The race set up for the car was awesome and allowed me to focus on my driving.”   Wojteczko said “Anthony achieved great track position for the hand off to Mark Wilkins, a job well done.”

Up to P2 in the race before penalty

Up to P2 in the race before penalty

Wilkins continued the charge up the field and moved up to P2 in time for the second and final pit stop. Shortly after a well-executed stop for fuel and 4 tires, IMSA officials notified the team of a penalty to be served. Mark did not see the red light at pit exit and had driven out of a closed pit lane, the penalty was stop plus 60 seconds.

The driver change has to be perfect to not be the limiting factor

The driver change has to be perfect to not be the holdup in a stop

Mark came back in to serve the penalty yet managed to stay on the lead lap. While conserving tires and fuel, the full course yellow needed to rejoin the pack finally came, and we were back within site of the leaders. Once again, Mark worked his way up through the field one position at a time. A testament to his skill, sound tire strategy and a great car set up.   The team was cautiously optimistic, watching their car work, yet, knowing time was not on their side.

high intensity in the closing moments

high intensity in the closing moments

Then, with three laps remaining, contact in corner 3 while challenging for 7th position left the car stuck in the gravel trap.

“A tough result to swallow at Laguna but certainly plenty of positive takeaways” said Mark Wilkins “Anthony drove a great opening stint and handed me an excellent car. It was great to run up front and challenge for the lead and then have to battle through the field after the penalty. I pushed very hard to get back up front and the team did a fantastic job with the pit stops to get me there. Unfortunately, late race contact took us out of the race. That’s racing! We’ll get them next time.”

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“The team performed very well all week. I have no doubt we had podium potential this race, but we have to avoid penalties”. Said Team Engineer Andrew Wojteczko.   “It was very encouraging to see the team recover from the penalty and move back up into the top 8 before contact ended our day. The damage to the car is minimal and we will be ready to challenge for the podium at Lime Rock”.

“We are a new team and I suppose new teams must pay their dues!” Said team owner Anthony Mantella. This is a very tough, competitive series with a lot of great cars and drivers. “We continue to get better and build speed every race. I am proud of every member of this team and I can’t wait for Lime Rock. Thanks to Jacques Dallaire and Jake media for the photos seen here.

Chris Ruigrok ready to rock the tire change

Chris Ruigrok ready to rock the tire change

Tyler Givogue, focused

Tyler Givogue, focused

Pre race excitement

Pre race excitement

Mantella Autosport is an 8 man, all Canadian, race team based out of Caledon Ontario.  For 2014 they are campaigning an Aston Martin Vantage GT4 factory race car in the IMSA Continental Tire Sportscar Challenge.  The televised 12 race schedule will see the team travel to premier race tracks in North America on their mission to win the 2014 Championship. For more information on the team and drivers check out MantellaAutosport.com and follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

Anthony Mantella – Team owner and driver. 2014 marks his inaugural season in Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge. In 2013 Anthony finished 3rd overall in the Masters Class in the Porsche GT3 Cup Canada Platinum. In 2012 Anthony finished 6th overall in the same class.

Mark Wilkins – Driver. Winner of the 2014 Rolex 24 Hrs of Daytona, PC class, 3rd – 2013 Pirelli World Challenge GTS championship, 3rd – 2013 GT Rolex 24, 1st -2012 Petit Le Mans in the PC class. 1st – 2010 Sebring 12 hour Winner PC class, 1st -2010 Laguna 6 hour PC class. Mark’s skill behind the wheel coupled with his car set up and driver coaching abilities makes him an incredible asset to the Mantella Autosport Team.

For more information on Sponsorship Opportunities and Track Experiences contact Lance Webb at LWebb@Spyder.com

 

The race had a record high  7 full course cautions, and saw multiple cars on their roofs

The race had a record high 7 full course cautions, and saw multiple cars on their roofs