LAKEVILLE, Conn. (July 27, 2015) – Mantella Autosport’s Kyle Marcelli and Martin Barkey wielded the No. 80 MBRP Inc. Camaro Z/28.R to a sixth-place finish overall July 25 at Lime Rock Park.
The IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge race featured few yellow flags and short cautions, a rarity on the 1.5-mile, technical course. The short track provided the teams with little room for error; one lap could be completed in less than a minute, with speeds over 100 mph.
Barkey spent most of his race dueling with the No. 99 Aston Martin of Rob Ecklin Jr. and former teammate Brett Sandberg in the Grand Sport class. Barkey and Ecklin parried back and forth, stealing position from one another, through the majority of Barkey’s one-hour stint.
Due to the lack of cautions, Barkey was forced to pit for a driver change and fuel under green flag racing.
“I had a great time battling the 99 Aston,” Barkey said. “Rob and I traded places for most of the entire stint. It was nice, clean racing between classes, the GS cars and ST (Street Tuner) cars, with no issues, which made for an overall good race.
“The Continental Tires held up fine. We ended up with a car with too much understeer overall, so had to drive accordingly. The Camaro handled this track well. It is heavy and it is tall, yet we were able to run a good, clean, respectable race. The Mantella Autosport team is top-shelf; they prepared a great car for us today.”
Marcelli took over for Barkey after the one-hour mark of the two-hour event. He exited the pits 20 seconds behind the leader, but a late caution came out with 15-minutes left in the race to level the playing field.
Marcelli contended for the lead in the GS class but was unable to get around the Ford Shelby cars, which dominated the second half of the race. Marcelli dealt with understeer through his stint, making the Camaro more difficult to drive in the corners.
“Overall, it was a clean, well-driven and well-executed race for us,” Marcelli said. “The Mantella Autosport team was at the top of their game all weekend. Martin did a super job in the opening stint. He drove smart and showed confidence.
“My stint was a bit lonely for the first 45 minutes, being that our pit stop was under green flag racing. The caution was our best chance to move forward. However I just didn’t have anything for the leaders. I tried many different lines and driving techniques, but ultimately it was not enough. We ended the day with good points and will continue to push forward during the balance of the season.”
The No. 8 Gulf Oil Camaro Z/28.R of Anthony Mantella and Mark Wilkins finished 11th in the GS class after contact early in the race from an ST car caused damage.
The No. 8 returned to the garage for repairs after the collision. The diligent work of the Mantella Autosport crew returned the No. 8, Mantella and Wilkins back to the race. But with very few cautions, the No. 8 car re-entered 38 laps down from the lead and was unable to make up the lost position.
Lead Engineer Andrew Wojteczko was proud to see his drivers shine through the adversity faced. Wojteczko focused on the points championship and where his drivers stood after Lime Rock Park. Mantella stands sixth in the driver championship while Marcelli and Barkey stand seventh and Wilkins stands ninth after missing Watkins Glen due to a conflicting race.
“Martin ran a great race,” Wojteczko said. “He was able to give me the hour stint I needed to keep us on the lead lap. It’s exciting to see a significant progression in performance compared to last year’s pace. The yellow flag did bunch everyone up for Kyle, but the understeer didn’t allow him to bring the fight at the end. The guys executed the steps really well, I’m proud of all the guys.”