Austin, Texas. (September 21, 2015) – Mantella Autosport’s Kyle Marcelli and Martin Barkey brought the No. 80 MBRP Inc. Camaro Z/28.R to a sixth-place finish overall in September 18th’s race and marked the return of the #8 Gulf Liveried Camaro Z/28.R of Anthony Mantella and Mark Wilkins to IMSA CTSCC competition at the Circuit of the Americas.

Two MA team cars back in action at COTA.

Two MA team cars back in action at COTA.

The lack of a promoter test day limited the potential to make multiple setup changes. Following practice 1 it was immediately clear that despite being an extremely smooth surface, tire degradation in the texas heat was severe at the 3575lb IMSA mandated base weight (plus fuel/driver) and a setup change was made on both the #8 and #80 Camaro for practice #2.

Sawmill Creative getting the great shots as usual

Sawmill Creative getting the great shots as usual

“COTA proved to be a challenging race in many ways. As always the competition in the CTSCC was very strong with all teams, drivers and cars bringing their best performance. The heat introduced another element of challenge as the 100 degree plus temperatures took a toll on us drivers. My co-driver Martin Barkey drove one of his best qualifying performances to date and executed a clean race stint.

Martin Barkey starting P9 after a well executed qualification.

Martin Barkey starting P9 after a well executed qualification.

My double race stint was exciting and challenging. We made our way to P4 before getting spun in turn 13 which dropped us back to P11. Ultimately, that ruined our chances of a podium. We had to fight hard with multiple cars that have more straight line speed to work our way back to P5, and unfortunately pushed too hard and wore out our rear tires. With the heat and lack of rear tire grip, it was difficult to manage the pace we needed in the closing laps. We lost one position to finish P6.

I’m very proud of Mantella Autosport. The guys worked hard to fix some gearbox issues we were having before qualifying. They once again prepared a reliable, quick race car for Martin and I to compete with. I’m looking for to Road Atlanta and with a little luck spraying some champagne.” Said Kyle Marcelli.

Kyle Marcelli aced the first restart to gain two positions.

Kyle Marcelli aced the first restart to gain two positions.

Co Driver Martin Barkey felt “It was a roller coaster race to say the least. After battling slick track conditions during practice sessions we found a good set up for the race that would allow us to be competitive.The entire race found both Kyle and I battling for position. Pushing hard yet trying to keep keep tires on the car seemed to be the job at hand. Kyle Marcelli ran a super strong race working his way up to P4 before being spun by a competitor.I think we had a chance to once again fight for a podium, finishing P6 just seems to be coming up short. We are hoping for a good clean race at Atlanta. with a little luck on our side we might just net the podium position we are capable of.

Mantella Autosport crew executed exceptionally well in the pit.

Mantella Autosport crew executed exceptionally well in the pit.

“It was great to be back in the 8 car and back on track with the Mantella Autosport guys. It was a tough weekend. Unfortunately, we had to retire the car due to an issue with the cooling system and subsequent overheating.  I felt we had a very well balanced car and many thanks to Andrew Hall for his engineering expertise. Anthony drove a strong first stint and had a great start. Thanks to the Mantella Autosport crew who are working hard to get the Z28R prepped for the final race of the season at Road Atlanta. I love this track and can’t wait to end the season on a high note.” Said Mark Wilkins. Unfortunately a ruptured coolant hose ultimately lead to the demise of the LS7 power plant prior to the 2.5 hour mark, though still scoring points for completing greater than 70% of the race.

4 tires and fuel for Mark Wilkins.

4 tires and fuel for Mark Wilkins.

Team Owner Anthony Mantella stated “It was great to have the whole team together in Texas.  Coming to COTA was really just practice to get us back in shape after two missed races. Mark and I really like Road Atlanta And we would love to podium there. With a freshened car we’ll be ready to compete then move on to a different series and hopefully not have to endure the BOP problems associated with IMSA CTSCC racing.

Anthony Mantella focused and ready to race despite extremely hot conditions. Regular training helps cope with the extreme temperatures.

Anthony Mantella focused and ready to race despite extremely hot conditions. Regular training helps cope with the extreme temperatures.

The team now prepares at the legendary T1 Race Development location in Dallas Texas (home of the T1r 2165WHP Nissan GTR) prior to sending the rig to Road Atlanta for the final race of the year October 2nd 2015. Be sure to catch the COTA race broadcast on Fox Sports or at IMSA.com in the days to come. Be sure to keep up to date by following the Mantella Autosport Facebook and Instagram pages.

The immediately recognizable COTA tower. A great place to take in the race action from.

The immediately recognizable COTA tower. A great place to take in the race action from.