Pirelli World Challenge GTS, KTM XBow GT4 #8, #80, #88

Columbus, OH. (July 30, 2016)

Rolling speed through the rolling hills of Mid-Ohio

Rolling speed through the rolling hills of Mid-Ohio

Mid Ohio brought stormy skies for Race 1, ultimately leading to a postponed race due to severe weather. With the makeup race scheduled for the final round at Laguna Seca, it was on to race 2 of the event with clear skies and perfect conditions.

Martin Barkey's KTM XBow GT4 leads the Ginetta

Martin Barkey’s KTM XBow GT4 leads the Ginetta

A stalled car and contact near the front ultimately resulted in Martin Barkey advancing to P2, and Anthony Mantella forced to come to a near complete stop to avoid the wreckage, now at the back of the pack.

A pushup competition was held, Martin Barkey beat all the lads to take the win

A pushup competition was held, Martin Barkey beat all the lads to take the win. Brandon Yapp shown here gave it his all for a close 2nd place finish.

Mid Ohio is a unique surface, one that takes more time than most for tires to come up to temperature. With back to back full-yellow course scenarios, coupled with the low mass of the KTM, we struggled early in the race to find pace. This resulted in Martin falling back until he was able to get the tires to come in. At that point, Anthony and Martin were the second and third fastest cars on track, but the lost track position was too much to regain, ultimately finishing in P9 and P10.

Keeping it light after the cancellation of Race #1

Keeping it light after the cancellation of Race #1. Trevor McClure, Joe Ferguson, Andrew Wojteczko

The team now prepares for a quick turn around before the truck heads west to Utah Motorsport Campus for a race in the mountains.

Anthony Mantella finished just ahead of Martin Barkey in race 2, setting the 2nd fastest lap of the race on route.

Anthony Mantella finished just ahead of Martin Barkey in race 2, setting the 2nd fastest lap of the race on route.

Be sure to follow along at Mantellaautosport.com, on Facebook @mantellaautosport, on Instagram @mantellaautosport. Photos by Sawmill Creative.

Road America, Back to Back podium events!

Elkhart Lake, WI. (July 20, 2016)

The Mantella Autosport team once again found success in the Pirelli World Challenge GTS championship hunt. The racing at Road America did not disappoint, with frequent position changes and close racing battles throughout the field in both of the 50 minute feature races.

race start

Racing hard to turn 1

Martin Barkey, driver of the #80 MBRP KTM XBow GT4 commented “I came ready to compete, having found the podium at Lime Rock I was looking to carry this momentum into Road America. The Mantella Autosport team prepared a great car and once again I was able to find the 3rd step for race one. Race two consisted of some unfortunate car to car contact forcing a pit stop for repairs, culminating in a P13 finish.”

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KTM XBow vs Lotus Evora, battle of the GT4’s

Martin went on to say “This weekend was also an opportunity to find some personal bests. My best qualifying position to date for race one (P3) and also running second fastest lap in race one to net a P2 starting position for race two.

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P3 in Race 1, Martin Barkey is becoming a regular on the PWC Podium.

Anthony Mantella, driver of the #8 Gulf KTM XBow GT4 didn’t have the qualifying performance he has shown earlier in the season, starting deep in the field he managed to stay out of trouble and place well for Race #2’s start. A hard fought race saw his XBow cross the line P5, a great run up the pack. “I love this car” said Anthony. “It does everything I ask of it, instills confidence, and allows me to race hard. The competition is extremely tight in the GTS class and I’m thrilled to be a part of it.”

Sawmill Creative with the killler photos.

Sawmill Creative with the killler photos.

The team is currently preparing for the next round at Mid Ohio. A new circuit to both drivers, preliminary testing at the track has already paid dividends getting up to speed.

 

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Anthony Mantella leads Lawson Aschenbach in Race #2

Be sure to follow along at Mantellaautosport.com, on Facebook @mantellaautosport, on Instagram @mantellaautosport

What racing is all about

What racing is all about

Photo Credit: Sawmill Creative

Lakeville, CT. (June 4, 2016)

Martin Leads Hugh Plumb in an XBow vs XBow battle

Martin Leads Hugh Plumb in an XBow vs XBow battle

Lime Rock Park is a beautiful racing circuit with recent updates, nestled in the rolling hills and forests of Connecticut. Though the track does face some scheduling challenges due to local bylaws restricting on track activity on select weekdays and Sundays, it is always a pleasure to race at this historic circuit. The track features significant elevation changes, mostly right hand corners and a short overall length (1.5 miles) that breeds close racing and has earned the track the nickname “The Bull Ring”

Starting the event right with some tips from GT driving ace Kyle Marcelli. From left to right, Martin Barkey, Anthony Mantella, Kyle Marcelli, Andrew Wojteczko

Starting the event right with some tips from GT driving ace Kyle Marcelli. Serious business.
From left to right, Martin Barkey, Anthony Mantella, Kyle Marcelli, Andrew Wojteczko

The majority of the promoter test day was rained out, erasing the opportunity to complete valuable setup work. So, straight into race day with not enough time between sessions to make any significant changes. Fortunately we had good KTM XBow GT4’s off the trailer and were ready to challenge the competition.

That's one hard charging Anthony Mantella! Congratulations!!

That’s one hard charging Anthony Mantella! Congratulations!!

“I was excited to compete at Lime rock because I believe the KTM is perfectly suited to this track.” Said Anthony Mantella “Lime Rock is very small and very hard to pass on. The KTM does not have the top speed needed to pass on the straights but it’s very fast in the corners. I was honoured to be presented with the Hard Charger Award for passing six cars on the start of Race #1. I was having a great race until a significant blow by Harry Gottsacker in the #29 Ginetta at the half way mark damaged the car and ended my day.

Turning right

Turning right

With the car repaired and ready for Race #2’s standing start format, Anthony dropped the hammer when the lights went out but didn’t get the launch he was looking for. “Unfortunately with the poor start I lost one position but gained it back being aggressive in corner one. Once again I was racing with the #29 car, this time looking to over take, I had a run on the exit of corner three, I tried to stay on the throttle to pass him and we made contact, ending the race for both of us. Not the result Anthony was after but when his race was done, he came direct to the pit lane to cheer on teammate Martin Barkey.

Holding off a SIN R1 in the MBRP XBow GT4

Holding off a SIN R1 in the MBRP XBow GT4

“You just have to love the BullRing!” exclaimed Martin Barkey. “It’s tight and small with very limited passing so it always delivers good, close racing. Mantella Autosport had the MBRP KTM Xbow GT4 set up just right allowing me to grab a P10 in race one and my first PWC podium, P2 in race two. Racing door to door with these guys is a blast, watching what the competitor’s cars were able to do well while trying to capitalize on what the KTM does well made for some great racing. I look forward to taking this momentum to Road America in June.”

P2 at the chequer, Congratulations Martin Barkey on your first PWC podium!!

P2 at the chequer, Congratulations Martin Barkey on your first PWC podium!!

While it was thrilling to see Martin achieve his first PWC podium and finish the weekend with a great result, our thoughts and prayers are with the DeLaTorre and Palmer families, both drivers sustained critical injuries in the Saturday morning warmup for the Lime Rock Park PWC GT race. Wishing a speedy recovery from everyone at Mantella Autosport.

Be sure to follow along at Mantellaautosport.com, on Facebook @mantellaautosport, on Instagram @mantellaautosport

Photo Credit: Sawmill Creative

 

 

Bowmanville, Ontario. (May 21, 2016)

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Martin Barkey and Anthony Mantella entering the infamous Mosport Turn 2

Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (CTMP, formerly Mosport) hosted the 4th stop of the Pirelli World Challenge Championship, continuing with the double header format that offers fans a great opportunity to experience sports car racing at its best. Mantella Autosport arrived tested and prepared with two fast KTM XBow GT4’s ready to challenge the fierce competition at the teams’ home circuit.

Anthony Mantella started race 1 in P4, here racing to corner 1

Anthony Mantella started race 1 in P4, here racing to corner 1

Anthony Mantella, driver of the #8 Gulf liveried XBow GT4 reflected on the event “I love Mosport. The staff at Mosport are so supportive and friendly they feel like family – they clearly care about this sport we love so much.  Their passion and commitment to our industry is impressive. And, who wouldn’t want to race on a former Formula One track?  I look forward to racing on this circuit every year – it’s a high speed track with amazing blind corners that challenge the drivers. I’m looking forward to next year already!!”

Martin Barkey leads Nate Stacey and his Roush Mustang around Moss Corner

Martin Barkey leads Nate Stacey and his Roush Mustang around Moss Corner

Martin Barkey, driver of the #80 MBRP Performance Exhaust Xbow GT4 commented “Racing at CTMP is always a treat, I love this track and do call it home. The KTM is a good car for CTMP but does struggle with much less top speed when compared to the competition due to the current BOP enforced by the series at this time. I would like to thank everyone that came out to watch and cheer. I appreciate the support from all of my family, friends and fans.

low, light, fast

low, light, fast

The series now heads directly to Lime Rock Park for the 5th round of the championship. Be sure to follow the Mantella Autosport website (www.mantellaautosport.com) facebook and Instagram accounts for all the latest details. Photos and video by Sawmill Creative.

Team Photo

From Left to Right, Andrew Wojteczko, Jacob Barkey, Trevor McClure, Anthony Mantella, Kyle McDougall, Andrew Stittle, Steve, Martin Barkey, Joseph Ferguson, Kevin Stittle, Carl Cason, Corson Panneton

Leeds, Alabama. (April 23, 2016) – Picturesque Barber Motorsport Park hosted the 3rd event of the Pirelli World Challenge GTS season. The facility could easily be mistaken for a country club, with manicured grounds, rolling hills and great atmosphere. Extensive testing and preparation was the theme of the event for Mantella Autosport.

XBow GT4

XBow GT4

Barber Motorsport Park, a new track to team drivers Anthony Mantella and Martin Barkey required seat time to understand its multiple blind entry corners coupled with sweeping elevation changes. Fortunately pre event testing allowed both drivers to learn the circuit and understand how to get the most from their KTM X-Bow GT4’s prior to race day.

Sweeping curves with elevation changes define Barber Motorsport Park

Sweeping curves with elevation changes define Barber Motorsport Park

Qualifying brought a damp, but drying track. Based on weather radar, team engineer Andrew Wojteczko elected to hold the cars for the early stages of the qualifying session, allowing the track to improve and ensuring the drivers had the peak grip of their tires to match the best conditions of the session. This strategy paid off with driver Anthony Mantella earning his best ever qualifying, P5. Teammate Martin Barkey showed great pace but struggled with traffic, finishing the session in P12.

 

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Anthony Mantella, Joe Ferguson, Ready to Race

 

Race 1 brought a mix of challenging conditions, swinging from wet to dry, often with parts of the track completely dry and others with standing water. Driver Anthony Mantella had this to say “Race one was challenging but fun! It has been a while since I’ve been on slicks in the rain. A light car like the X-Bow hydroplane’s very easily but there wasn’t enough water to go to full wet tires. I gave up two positions to finish seventh after a downpour and lightning brought out a red flag to end the race early. Our KTM’s are absolutely spectacular. By far the best race car I’ve driven. This car is so comfortable at speed, the combination of the tight, technical track and our nimble X-Bows are matched very well.” Martin Barkey found “Race one was a blast although we struggled with the wet conditions on stickers the car was fast in the dry sections of the course.”

 

Martin Barkey, ready to strap in

Martin Barkey, ready to strap in

Race 2 brought ideal conditions, clear and sunny skies coupled with a dry race track. Martin Barkey was looking for a great race, a chance to apply the gains made in testing but it wasn’t to be. “Race 2 did not go as planned as I was taken out of the race on the race restart by a competitor on turn 2, sending me into a spin and tagging the wall.” Said Martin Barkey. Unfortunately the resulting damage including a broken wheel meant he was parked for the race. Anthony Mantella raced hard moving up through the field to P8 before a spin dropped him down the order. “Right from the start I was behind the mustang of Jack Roush, it took quite a few laps to get around his defensive driving. I kept the pressure on and let him use up his tires finally getting inside him in 13. After the pass I was hunting down the next opponent, I was pushing hard and lost the rear in corner 12, I just couldn’t catch it! From 8th I went to 20th and fought back to 15th. Lesson learned.”

Anthony Mantella leading the Aston Martin in his KTM XBow GT4

Anthony Mantella leading the Aston Martin in his KTM XBow GT4

The team now prepares to make the most of their home court advantage at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park for rounds 7&8 of the PWC GTS championship. Be sure to follow the Mantella Autosport website (www.mantellaautosport.com) facebook and Instagram accounts for all the latest details.

High banking, High grip

High banking, High grip

March 3rd 2016, Austin, Texas

Race 1 start

Race 1 start, in the mix you’ll find: KTM XBow GT4, Lotus Evora, Aston Martin Vantage, Ginetta G50, Camaro Z28.R, Mustang Boss 302R, Sin R1, Maserati GT4

The Circuit of the Americas hosted the opening round of the 2016 Pirelli World Challenge championship and marked Mantella Autosport’s shift from IMSA endurance racing to the sprint race format followed in PWC. The team took delivery of a trio of fresh XBow GT4’s from Reiter Engineering prior to the first event and worked diligently to have them up to PWC spec and ready for round 1.

Teammates

Teammates

Drivers Anthony Mantella of the #8 Gulf car and Martin Barkey of the #80 MBRP car took advantage of the testing/practice time available and found speed through every session. This showed when it came time to qualify, culminating in a personal best in professional competition for both drivers, P4/P6 respectively. Very impressive for a series debut with new cars.

Martin Barkey on line

Martin Barkey on line

Saturday morning’s race had moments of brilliance including some close racing and competitive pace, but ultimately did not amount to the race either driver was hoping for. An aggressive pass against the 8 car resulted in contact and a spin forcing Anthony Mantella to chase the pack down, ultimately recovering to a respectable P10 position. While the series acted swiftly and assigned an appropriate penalty, it is little consolation when you know you had so much more that day. Martin Barkey struggled with gearbox issues, unable to consistently downshift to 2nd gear when needed.

Anthony Mantella using every inch of track

Anthony Mantella using every inch of track

Now with 4 weeks leading up to round #3 at Barber Motorsport Park, the team will use this precious time to refine the cars, test and be ready to execute.

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The Xbow's drew large crowds all weekend.

The Xbow’s drew large crowds all weekend.

Be sure to follow along on Facebook and Instagram for the latest team updates @mantella autosport

Photography by Sawmill Creative

Toronto, Ontario . (December 14th, 2015) – Mantella Autosport is proud to be the official Canadian importer and distributor for the newly developed KTM XBow GT4. The GT4 derivative of the road going XBow available in Europe is manufactured by Reiter Engineering and homologated to compete in the GT4 category, which in North America includes the Pirelli World Challenge GTS class. This is where Mantella Autosport will operate a 3 car effort, vying for the 2016 Drivers and Manufacturers Championship. 2016 also marks the return of MBRP Inc.’s Martin Barkey with Mantella Autosport Inc.

Testing the Reiter Engineering XBow GT4 in Belgium

Testing the Reiter Engineering XBow GT4 in Belgium

The highly competitive Pirelli World Challenge GTS class will be present at 9 prestigious race events spread over North America and can be seen live on CBS Sports or streamed on world-challengetv.com. Events typically consist of two 50 minute sprint races, with an exciting standing start format. The team is also looking to compete in the 6 hour endurance race at the opening round at COTA and is considering entering the Sprint X races consisting of two drivers sharing the car in a 1 hour race.

The car features a full carbon tub, inboard bellcrank suspension, paddle shift, motorsport ABS among many other exciting features.

The car features a full carbon tub, inboard bellcrank suspension, paddle shift, motorsport ABS, and 2.0T Audi power among many other exciting features. Anthony Mantella is fitted for the first time.

2016 Pirelli World Challenge Schedule  
March 3-6 Circuit of the Americas
March 11-13 Grand Prix of St. Petersburg
April 22-24 Barber Motorsport Park
May 19-22 Canadian Tire Motorsports Park
May 27-28 Lime Rock Park
June 23-26 Road America
July 29-30 Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course
September 16-18 Sonoma Raceway
October Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca

 The team driver lineup consists of Anthony Mantella in the #8 car and Martin Barkey/MBRP Inc. in the #80 car. The team currently has an open seat available in the #88 car for funded drivers. Interested parties can contact team manager Andrew Wojteczko andrew@mantellaautosport.com for further information.

Team owner Anthony Mantella had this to say “I’m excited to bring Mantella Autosport Inc. to the Pirelli World Challenge and back to my roots in sprint format racing. I’m confident with the experience we have gained in professional endurance racing that we can achieve great results. I’m equally excited about the newly formed relationship with Reiter Engineering/KTM and am looking forward to promoting the Xbow GT4 and supporting all Canadian interest in the product, it truly is an amazing machine.

Rolling out for some wet weather testing. Results were positive. Despite being a closed cockpit, fogging was not an issue.

Rolling out for some wet weather testing. Results were positive. Despite being a closed cockpit, fogging was not an issue.

Team driver Martin Barkey, MBRP Inc. commented “It’s the “silly season” for most race car drivers, for me it’s hurry up and wait as I’m fully prepared for the 2016 race season. Big changes are coming as I enter a new race series, order a new race car and turn to sprint racing rather than the endurance race format I have been accustomed to for the last two years. I’m thrilled to be once again driving with Mantella Autosport, the professionals here make this team one of the best in the business. I have no doubt partnering with MA once again will generate great opportunities and great rewards. The KTM X Bow GT4 is my car of choice this year, the engineering is amazing. After several test opportunities, it’s clear it does everything well. It will be an adjustment coming from the GT platforms that I’m accustomed to and I’m excited to get racing.

It's one great looking car, lightweight, easy on brakes and tires. Well suited to sprint and endurance racing.

It’s one great looking car, lightweight, easy on brakes and tires. Well suited to sprint and endurance racing.

Be sure to follow along on facebook, Instagram, and the team website for all the latest details on an exciting 2016 program.

Braselton, Georgia. (October 5th, 2015) – Mantella Autosport’s Kyle Marcelli and Martin Barkey brought the No. 80 MBRP Inc. Camaro Z/28.R to a 3rd place finish overall in October 2nd’s race while the No. 8 Gulf Liveried Camaro Z/28.R of Anthony Mantella and Mark Wilkins finished 5th at the season ending Road Atlanta race. Mantella Autosport is proud to congratulate Chevrolet on winning the Manufacturers Championship.

Camaro Z28.R Train

Camaro Z28.R Train

A mix of conditions during testing and practice allowed the team to prepare for an uncertain weather forecast for race day, honing in on ideal wet and dry setups. Despite a forecast calling for no precipitation during the 2.5 hour race, the actual conditions were anything but. Steady rain that increased in intensity while on the pre-grid forced a difficult tire decision for team engineer and strategist on the #80 car, Andrew Wojteczko. “I was confident based on the forecast that dry tires were the right choice as we went to grid, but the conditions leading up to the start had me doubting that decision. Turns out Ginger and Martin Barkey were having the same concerns and after some quick communication, I made the call to put both cars on wets.” It was a decision that proved to be instrumental to a successful opening stint for both Martin and Anthony, with them running in P3/P4 in the opening laps of the race. “I’m stoked to finish the season out with our teams first podium in CTSCC competition.” Said Andrew Wojteczko. “The team performed really well and did a great job getting the 8 car turned around after the damage following the practice incident. I’m really looking forward to what 2016 may bring, some exciting possibilities in the works.

Engineer Andrew Wojteczko making sure to hit target fuel consumption in the final stint.

Engineer Andrew Wojteczko making sure to hit target fuel consumption in the final stint.

Here’s what Martin had to say “I really enjoy racing at Road Atlanta, the track flows well and really pushes a driver to go 110% at all times. Fast corners and heavy brake zones combined with cold track conditions and rain would seem to be just what we needed to get our first podium of the season. Mantella Autosport prepped a great race car all week, when the rain came at the start of the race it was go time and we were prepared.

I would like to thank the entire Mantella Autosport race team for such a successful 2016 race season. This team always brings their best game to every race event. Thanks as well to Kyle Marcelli my co – driver and driving coach. Without the countless hours of data review and his drive to be the best prepared drivers we simply would not have had the results we did.” Martin Barkey drove a clean first stint bringing in a perfect car for Kyle Marcelli to race to the end.

Tension ran high during the closing moments while fighting to regain P2

Tension ran high during the closing moments while fighting to regain P2

“All year I’ve commented that I feel we have a team, car and drivers capable of racing up front. We have shown our speed on numerous occasions, but today we put it all together and the result reflected that.

The conditions were very challenging, and required everyone to bring their best effort. Mentally it was a demanding race that required every ounce of focus.

I’m proud of Mantella Autosport, they have proven to be a competitive, professional race team. Our race car reliability has been excellent all year thanks to hard work and preparation. For my teammate Martin Barkey, this year he has made big leaps in his development as a race driver. It’s been a pleasure to work with him, and watch his speed and confidence mature. His driving in the first stint of the race was impressive and played a key role in our result.” Said Kyle Marcelli

Kyle Marcelli in P2 leading the Stevenson Motorsport #6 car.

Kyle Marcelli in P2 leading the Stevenson Motorsport #6 car.

Hard earned champagne on the Podium

Hard earned champagne on the Podium

The 8 car also had a great run achieving a top 5 finish. Anthony Mantella drove a great first stint and had the following to say “What a way to close out the season. Martin drove a clean race with myself in tow. Right from the start I was impressed with our pace, racing up near the front. I’ve really come to enjoy racing in the rain. Racing the Continental Series has surely honed our skills as a team and we’re excited for what the future may hold.

Anthony Mantella watches Mark Wilkins close out the season after a spectacular starting drive in the challenging conditions.

Anthony Mantella following a spectacular starting drive, earning the hard charger award, watches on as Mark Wilkins closes out the season.

Mark Wilkins found “Road Atlanta proved to be a week of highs and lows for the 8 car. The Mantella Autosport Crew prepped a great car for Anthony and I and testing went well. Andrew rolled an excellent car off the trailer for us and the Road Atlanta circuit provided all smiles thanks to its awesome flow. Unfortunately, we suffered a setback on Thursday when Anthony was sent into the wall by an ST car that missed his braking zone. Many thanks to Joe, Lionel and the entire Mantella crew for repairing the car and getting it back on track so we could race! Anthony did an awesome job keeping the car up front in very tricky conditions. All in all, a fifth place finish is a good result to end the season with and many congrats to our sister car for a great podium effort! Many thanks to Anthony for the opportunity to race alongside him and to Andrew for running a fantastic program. Super proud of Mantella Autosport!”

8 car back on track and racing hard after post practice repairs.

8 car back on track and racing hard after post practice repairs.

Be sure to follow Mantella Autosport on Facebook and Instagram for the most up to date information on the team and plans for 2016.

It definitely didn't dry up like the forecast said it would.

It definitely didn’t dry up like the forecast said it would.

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.

Alton, Virginia. (August 24, 2015) – Mantella Autosport’s Kyle Marcelli and Martin Barkey brought the No. 80 MBRP Inc. Camaro Z/28.R to a fifth-place finish overall August 24th Virginia International Raceway.

Working the uphill esses

Working the uphill esses

Two hours of track time was made available during the promoter test day Thursday afternoon and it was clear the #80 car rolled off the trailer with setup close to optimal and were able to focus on fine tuning for the race. Long run fuel tests as well as long run tire evaluations proved to be invaluable in both cases.

Fans are always welcome under the Mantella Autosport tent.

Fans are always welcome under the Mantella Autosport tent.

Team owner and driver of the #8 Z28R, Anthony Mantella elected to sit out this round as a result of IMSA’s decision to maintain the balance of performance, despite a clear display at Road America that the Camaro Z28R is unable to compete on pace in its currently mandated handicapped configuration. Despite the #8 car not competing, it was made available to fans and spectators alike to get up close with.

Staged at the front for Practice, ready to rock.

Staged at the front for Practice, ready to rock.

Martin Barkey qualified the #80 Mantella Autosport/MBRP Z28R on the outside of row 4 alongside the #6 Stevenson Z28R, doing a great job achieving his fastest lap time of the event when it counted, and doing it on lap 2. Regulations mandate starting the race on your qualification tires, so getting it done early and saving equipment for race day is important.

Weather conditions were hot and humid leading into the race. Martin Barkey took the green flag and had this to say about his stint: “Another great race weekend has come and gone. I really enjoy VIR, it’s a great track with lots of unique characteristics making it fun to race. The Mantella team prepared the #80 MBRP Chevy Z28R Camaro perfectly, we were strong right out of the box. I think we were better this weekend than the P5 result we received. That said we have two more races in 2016, we plan on making the very most of them.”

Live music and a huge audience made for a great fan walk.

Live music and a huge audience made for a great fan walk.

Martin Barkey ran a flawless stint, pitting under the first yellow for right side tires and a fuel splash, then pitting after meeting drive time for the remaining fuel and tires along with the driver change. Perfect execution by the team got Marcelli out and ready to push towards the front. A caution period with 1:12 minutes remaining bunched the field up and presented an opportunity to install 4 fresh tires and a full fuel load. One lap after the restart the #158 Multimatic Mustang opted to use Marcelli’s #80 MBRP Camaro as a braking berm and sent Marcelli into the grass. Over 10 seconds were needed to recover and saw the lead pack check out. At this point team strategist Andrew Wojteczko changed gears. “Once we lost the track position after contact, I knew if we could stretch to the end on fuel we’d have a chance. I had Kyle monitoring the Liter per lap page and trying to hit our target. It was going to be too tight, without a full yellow procedure we wouldn’t be able to make it to the end. We splashed fuel and left side tires and pushed hard to the end.” It was for the best as that yellow never came and ultimately resulted in both leaders of the race stalled on the track out of fuel.

Andrew Stittle hustling on the rear gun. Perfect execution all day by the crew.

Andrew Stittle hustling on the rear gun. Perfect execution all day by the crew.

“It was an interesting race to say the least. We were a strong car all weekend and felt very confident with our car for the race. We are happy to finish in the top five, but disappointed as we know that we had a podium taken away from us after being punted off track. Martin Barkey continues to improve each time in the car. His confidence and comfort is evident. Mantella Autosport did a superb job from car set up, to pit stops and strategy. I feel that we did the best we could for everything that was in our control. With two races remaining we are targeting a top five in the championship points.” Said Marcelli.

Sawmill Creative with the top notch media.

Sawmill Creative with the top notch media.

“I’m thrilled to see the team continue to perform at such a high level, while I definitely missed being in the seat, watching Kyle get knocked off track and no action being taken by IMSA was another reminder of why I made the decision I did. I will continue to wait and see if the series takes the necessary steps to correct on track behaviour and the imbalance present in vehicle parity.” Team owner, Anthony Mantella.

COTA is up next September 18th, be sure to follow the Mantella Autosport website (www.mantellaautosport.com) facebook and Instagram accounts for all the latest details.