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Watkins Glen, N.Y. (June 27, 2015) – The No. 8 and No. 80 of Mantella Autosport finished in the top 10 Saturday in the Continental Tire 150 at Watkins Glen International despite racing in heavy rain.

Full wet setup and ready to race. Based on the radar there was no question this was going to be a wet race.

Full wet setup and ready to race. Based on the radar there was no question this was going to be a wet race.

The No. 8 Gulf Oil Camaro Z/28.R of Anthony Mantella and Sasha Anis finished eighth after starting 10th while the No. 80 MBRP Inc. Camaro Z/28.R of Martin Barkey and Kyle Marcelli finished ninth after starting 12th, both in the Grand Sport class.

Only two practice sessions and then qualifying meant the pre event testing was more valuable than ever.

Only two practice sessions and then qualifying meant the pre event testing was more valuable than ever.

Round 4 of the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge took place under challenging conditions, with constant rainfall that induced spins and wall contact by many cars.

The rain and chaos limited green-flag racing. There was only one green lap in the last our of the two-hour, 30-minute race. A red flag was thrown with 30 minutes left in the race, as cars were parked for 17 minutes in the pit. The red flag was followed with a 13-minute caution period to the checkered flag.

Staged for qualifying

Staged for qualifying

Both the No. 8 and No. 80 Camaro Z/28.R ran clean races with fast pace, avoiding all on-track incidents.

Barkey was held up behind another GS-class car and was pushed deep in the field behind cars in the Street Tuner class. He maneuvered through the ST traffic, regaining position near the top of the GS class quickly.

The rain didn't let up at any point during the 2.5 hour race, ultimately leading to IMSA intervening and shutting down the fun.

The rain didn’t let up at any point during the 2.5 hour race, ultimately leading to IMSA intervening and shutting down the fun.

“It is fun racing here at Watkins Glen at any time,” Barkey said. “I really enjoyed my time in the Camaro Z/28.R. Unfortunately in the class split, there was a GS car that wouldn’t advance and kept me back.

“It’s a little disappointing to see a race like that where we showed good pace. Both Kyle and Sasha had some of the quickest pace out there toward the end. It would have been an exciting finish.”

Running the rain line. Out wide and off of the concrete.

Running the rain line. Out wide and off of the concrete.

Team Owner Mantella was proud of the hard work and dedication Mantella Autosport showed over the weekend. Mantella’s personal hard work shined under heavy cloud cover as he skillfully maneuvered the wet 11-turn, 3.4-mile circuit and traffic.

“It was a great race,” Mantella said. “Our Camaro Z/28.R was awesome. I’d never raced it at the this track in the rain, and after 10 laps I felt invincible in the car and could really go flat out of the apexes to catch the other cars. The team did a great job.

The team has a few Andrew's, in order from left to right, Andrew Hall, Andrew Wojteczko, Andrew Stittle

The team has a few Andrew’s, in order from left to right, Andrew Hall, Andrew Wojteczko, Andrew Stittle

“I would have liked to see a green flag at the end. It was disappointing, yet another decision surrounding this event that set us back, starting with the BoP adjustment before the race. We eat, sleep, drink and love this sport: All we want is a chance to show our true capabilities on a properly balanced playing field. But in the end, Chevy finished on top, and that’s all that matters.”

Lead Engineer Andrew Wojteckzo echoed Mantella’s thoughts on the team’s work ethic but was disappointed his drivers and crew didn’t receive more time to show their capabilities.

Kyle Marcelli showing a well known Porsche how it's done in the rain.

Kyle Marcelli showing a well known Porsche how it’s done in the rain.

“I’m happy with the two top-10 finishes,” Wojteckzo said. “Unfortunately, the eighth- and ninth-place finishes doesn’t really reflect what we had today. The setup for the rain was spot-on, and the drivers did an awesome job. We could see it in the lap times, and we had some of the fastest cars on track.

“We were hoping for an opportunity to show that. I guess mixed emotions. It was incredibly frustrating to watching the time tick down toward the end and just realizing we weren’t going to get the opportunity.”

It was a challenge keeping anything dry.

It was a challenge keeping anything dry.

No. 80 co-driver Marcelli and No. 8 co-driver Anis received the least amount of green-flag racing. They participated in the second half of the race, which included long, continuous caution periods.

“In a nutshell, I was frustrated with how the last 40 minutes ran under yellow,” Marcelli said. “For us, we’re a Pro-Am lineup, and our chance to race up front comes in the last hour of the race. Our starting driver’s job is to hand off the car in good condition, on the lead lap and in decent position. Then we try to race our way to the front in the end. Having run the last 40 minutes under yellow, we just didn’t receive the opportunity to do that.

Anthony Mantella ready to run a clean race despite challenging conditions.

Anthony Mantella ready to run a clean race despite challenging conditions.

“Our pace was really good. I understand that just prior the yellow both the 8 car and the 80 car were two of the quicker cars on track, running in the (2:) 25’s in the wet. The car was really good; I had a lot of fun. Frustrated with how the end of the race played out, though.”

Anis shared similar sentiments.

“From where we were starting from, we wanted to make up some positions,” Anis said. “The yellows didn’t come at the right time for us for us to kind of attack. The end of the race, the last 30 minutes would have been a great time to attack, and IMSA just decided to not let us race those last 30 minutes. We didn’t get to see where we would end up, but I guess the car’s in one piece so we can look at it that way.”

Mantella Autosport hosted tech talks with Corvette and Camaro fans were well received.

Mantella Autosport hosted tech talks with Corvette and Camaro fans were well received.

Mantella Autosport’s next race will be at its home track of Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Bowmanville, Ontario. The Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge weekend will take place July 9-12.

Catch the TV coverage on Fox Sports 1 April 5th 9:00AM to 11:00AM Eastern Time. Or stream on IMSA.COM

Catch the TV coverage on Fox Sports 1 April 5th 9:00AM to 11:00AM Eastern Time. Or stream on IMSA.COM

SEBRING, Fla. (March 20, 2015) – Mantella Autosport placed both its No. 8 and No. 80 Camaro Z/28.R cars in the top 10 of Round 2 of the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge on Friday at Sebring International Raceway.

The No. 80 of Kyle Marcelli and Martin Barkey finished fourth in the Microsoft Visual Studio 150 while the No. 8 of Anthony Mantella and Mark Wilkins finished seventh in the Grand Sport class.

 

Final setup checks on the pad.

Final setup checks on the pad.

At Sebring, Mantella Autosport Lead Engineer Andrew Wojteczko was hopeful the team’s call for two tires on the No. 8 would lead to a better result but was happy to collect the points from the 7th place finish.

“It’s an improvement coming from Daytona,” Wojteczko said. “Still good points there, but this is the direction we want to be going, and we keep trying to improve from here. I’m thrilled with everybody on the team; the guys really did a great job.

“Penalty-free, and that’s the key to succeeding in this series, no doubt.

Finding speed through data analysis and driver coaching

Finding speed through data analysis and driver coaching

“Setup on the 8 car, we just didn’t have it at the end. With our strategy, I was hoping to see a yellow in that last run, and it just didn’t work out. We did a short fuel and two tires trying to gain a bunch of track position, and it worked. But we really needed a yellow to make that car work to the end. But two top-10’s. Great for points, and I am really proud of the whole team.”

Moving up through the pack

Moving up through the pack

The No. 80 of Marcelli and Barkey, engineered by Sasha Anis, ran strong throughout the two-hour, 30-minute race. The car lost ground once when Barkey was pushed off track to avoid an incident.

“I had one little bobble coming into (Turn) 13,” Barkey said. “I was between a GS and an ST car, one of them found the left side of my car, and I just went off into the grass. I couldn’t save it, so I wanted to keep it one piece, let it run off the track and found the exit road back on. I lost one position in class, so not a big deal but not what we wanted. I lost some time but saved the car. Kyle and Sasha did a great job with the race. I’m really happy with our result.”

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Marcelli took the wheel from Barkey halfway through the race and entered in the 10th position. Marcelli led a steady charge to the front, but as the clock wound down he was forced to back off from third place to conserve fuel. But with a large-enough gap between his Camaro Z/28.R and the fifth-place car, he had a smooth ride to the finish line.

Ready for battle

Ready for battle

“It sure would have been nice to have Team Chevy a one-two-three (finish),” Marcelli said. “A one, two and a four is, I guess, second-best. I’m very pleased with Mantella Autosport. I’m very pleased with our Camaro Z/28.R. We’ve done a lot of testing here. And we’ve done a lot of testing on an old tire and a new tire, so we were really, really confident going into this race.

Hustling turn one

Hustling turn one

“Providing everything went well, I thought we were going to have a shot at a result, and it kind of worked out that way. I got in the car I think P9 or P10, and our strategy worked out actually quite well, and I had fresher tires than everyone in front of me. So I had to take advantage of that.

“When the race went green, we were really aggressive and made five spots on the first two laps. That got us to about P4, and then we just kind of held that position. For the last half an hour, we were on fuel conservation mode. We weren’t sure we were going to make it to the end, so I had a nice 10-second gap to the fifth-place car, and we just kind of went on cruise mode.”

Pit stop practice under way.

Pit stop practice under way.

The No. 8 of Mantella and Wilkins, like their teammates, had a strong start. But they had to fight to hold position at the end, with track temperatures soaring higher than 100 degrees and only two new tires. And Wilkins battled in the last minutes of the race, climbing up the running order while sliding around the slick, hot track.

“When I went out, we gambled a little on tires,” Wilkins said. “We took two instead of four to try to get some track position back. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the call we needed, but that was the call Andrew and I made together.

“We thought it would get us to where we needed to be, and we thought maybe we could hold them off. But it’s a hot day and we ran out of tires, and we just tried to hang on best we could to get good points. Anthony had a great stint; he did an awesome job. He ran right up near the front and had great pace, and just hat’s off to him.”

perfect placement

perfect placement

Team owner and driver Mantella started the race 11th and took the No. 8 Camaro Z/28.R straight to the front of the pack. Diligently weaving through traffic, Mantella spent most of his time at the front of the field, even leading the GS class.

Though the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge event was not an endurance race, the bumpy, 17-turn, 3.74-mile circuit is often tough enough on the car and driver to make it feel like one. Mantella felt energized about the performance of his entire team.

“This was definitely my strongest performance of the year, although it’s only the second race,” Mantella said. “My fitness is really good. If they gave me some new tires, I feel like I literally could have done a second stint. The car was great; the guys did an excellent job. Mark drove a great race, and Andrew did an incredible job, as well. Of course, congratulations are in order for Martin, Kyle and Sasha.”

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Mantella Autosport competes next in the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge on May 2 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, California.

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For more information on Mantella Autosport, visit mantellaautosport.com and follow the team socially on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

For Immediate Release:

Team’s first race with pair of Chevrolet Camaro Z28.Rs brings top-ten finish

Check out the Daytona 2015 race broadcast here

Staged up front for Qualifying

Staged up front for Qualifying

January 27, 2015 (Toronto, Ontario) – Friday afternoon’s BMW Performance 200 at Daytona International Speedway, the kickoff to the 2015 Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge, saw the pair of Mantella Autosport Chevrolet Camaro Z28.Rs in competition for the first time.

Team member Andrew Stittle waits in anticipation for the green flag to drop

Team member Andrew Stittle waits in anticipation for the green flag to drop

After two hours and thirty minutes of racing, the no. 8 Mantella Autosport Chevrolet Camaro Z28.R would finish the race in ninth position in the GS class, with the no. 80 Mantella Autosport / MBRP Chevrolet Camaro Z28.R finishing in 12th position.

The MA Z28R's received lots of attention on the popular Fan Walk

The MA Z28R’s received lots of attention on the popular Fan Walk

The no. 8 Mantella Autosport Chevrolet Camaro Z28.R of Anthony Mantella and Mark Wilkins qualified in 14th position. In the opening lap, Mantella passed several cars but also made minor contact with another car that caused damage to the front of the Camaro. The team elected to keep Mantella on track despite the damage, and repaired it during the car’s first pit stop.

It is clear reinforcements are required to prevent the front bumper from failing after contact.

It is clear reinforcements are required to prevent the front bumper from failing after contact.

With a long green flag period at the end of the race, Wilkins – who replaced Mantella during the second stop – ran well within the top-ten during his stint but was slowed on the final lap as his Camaro ran low on fuel, and crossed the finish line in ninth position.

At speed on the banking, bringing home a 9th place finish on fumes.

At speed on the banking, bringing home a 9th place finish on fumes.

“We are beyond fortunate to have a top-ten finish,” said Mantella. “After months of intense preparation and anticipation, I was excited to finally take the green flag at Daytona. I quickly passed a handful of cars in the first lap only to have the front grill and valence break apart because of a small contact. The damage had an immediate effect on my ability to see the track. My engineer Andrew – a strategy genius – determined the best strategy was to keep me on the track until it made sense to pit for repairs.

“Mark Wilkins continues to inspire and impress me with his masterful driving and I could not possibly be any luckier than to have this man as my co-driver, coach and friend. Wilkins’ tremendous skill carried the Z28.R through the second portion of the race into eighth position almost finishing there until the car had to coast on fumes through the line, placing ninth. My entire team is dedicated to having a successful season and we all work incredibly hard to reach our goals. I am looking forward to Sebring. The Z28.R will perform very well on that track.”

Pre race discussions. Cautiously optimistic, these races can be cruel.

Pre race discussions. Cautiously optimistic, these races can be cruel.

Wilkins was happy with the result in Mantella Autosport’s first race with the Chevrolet Camaro Z28.R

“Anthony drove a strong first stint and kept focused after early contact dislodged the front grill and required repair,” said Wilkins. “I drove hard in an attempt to get back up front, and a top-ten finish is a positive start to the season. We will work hard to come out of the box with a quick car at Sebring where I think the track will be better suited to the car.”

The no. 80 Mantella Autosport / MBRP Chevrolet Camaro Z28.R of Martin Barkey and Kyle Marcelli started the race in 19th position. Barkey, in his second season in the series, advanced up to eighth position during the opening stint of the race before handing the car over to Marcelli. After taking the car over, Marcelli ran in tenth position before the final pit stop under full course caution. During the stop, his car made contact with a tire left in his pit stall and he was assessed a drive-through penalty.

Martin drove an awesome first stint moving up to P8 overall.

Martin drove an awesome first stint moving up to P8 overall.

“Daytona was an opportunity to see just how capable our team really is,” said Barkey. “Our Mantella Autosport / MBRP Chevrolet Camaro Z28 is fast, the team is dedicated, and Kyle and I are capable of running up front. Unfortunately a simple mistake in the pits cost us a much better finish than twelfth. We will now focus on performing our best at Sebring.”

The hand off to Kyle Marcelli, fortunately the door still opened, barely.

The hand off to Kyle Marcelli, fortunately the door still opened after side contact, barely.

The penalty, assessed when the race returned to green flag conditions, put Marcelli’s car more than 30 seconds behind the race leaders. Despite running a pace similar to the leaders, with no cautions in the final 45 minutes, Marcelli was unable to make up additional track position and finished in twelfth position.

Rubbing is often racing in the CTSCC, the fans got a great show and the cars will be back to pristine for Sebring.

Rubbing is often racing in the CTSCC, the fans got a great show and the cars will be back to pristine for Sebring.

“Unfortunately, we did not have the result that we wanted to start the season with,” said Marcelli. “As we know, at this level of competition, we need to make no mistakes to win. My co-driver Martin Barkey drove a great first stint and it was exciting to watch him battle for position. After taking the wheel of the car at the 45-minute mark, I was pleased with our pace and our position in the top-ten. We know the Chevrolet Camaro Z28.R is a good race car and Mantella Autosport is a good team. Expect us on the podium shortly.”

The next Continental Tire Challenge race will be on Friday, March 20 at Sebring International Raceway.

About Mantella Autosport

Mantella Autosport is an all-Canadian team composed of dedicated individuals with experience at the highest levels of motorsport united to achieve continued success, competing in the 2015 Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge series with two Chevrolet Camaro Z28.R race cars. Mantella Autosport’s partners include General Motors, Gulf Oil, MBRP Performance Exhaust and Spyder. For more information, visit www.mantellaautosport.com.

Media Contact

Efrain Olivares
(818) 254-7196
efrain@shiftgroup.net

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For Immediate Release:

Mantella and Wilkins team in no. 8 Mantella Autosport Chevrolet Camaro Z28.R while Barkey and Marcelli will drive no. 80 Mantella Autosport / MBRP Chevrolet Camaro Z28.R

January 20, 2015 (Toronto, Ontario) – Entering its second season in the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge, Mantella Autosport features two new cars and two new drivers.

Mantella Autosport will field a pair of ground-pounding Chevrolet Camaro Z28.Rs driven by a quartet of Canadian drivers in the 2015 Continental Tires season. Team owner Anthony Mantella and Mark Wilkins will drive the no. 8 Mantella Autosport / Gulf Chevrolet Camaro Z28.R, while newcomers Martin Barkey and Kyle Marcelli will drive the no. 80 Mantella Autosport / MBRP Chevrolet Camaro Z28.R. MBRP is a leading manufacturer in high performance exhaust systems for today’s most popular import and domestic vehicles, ATV’s and snowmobiles.

An all Canadian driver lineup and crew

An all Canadian driver lineup and crew

At the Roar Before the 24, Mantella and Wilkins drove their Camaro to the ninth position in the combined practice times. The two drove together throughout the 2014 Continental Tire Challenge season.

“As team owner I can’t express how I feel about going to Daytona – it’s impossible!” said Mantella. “We’ve got fast Z28.Rs, an awesome engineering team, tireless crew and two pro drivers that would be competitive anywhere in the world in any series. It really is a dream to have Mark and Kyle as our pro drivers, words to describe the respect I have for each of them escape me. These gentlemen both prove to Martin and I that with proper focus, dedication and a never-ending will to win, championships are possible.”

Wilkins, a noted endurance racing specialist, has won at the Rolex 24 at Daytona, 12 Hours of Sebring and Petit Le Mans.

The banks of Daytona are much steeper than photos lead you to believe.

The banks of Daytona are much steeper than photos lead you to believe.

“The Mantella Autosport crew has had an exceptionally busy off-season preparing the two Chevrolet Camaro Z28.Rs,” said Wilkins. “The Roar was a great opportunity for us to put some miles on the cars and get to work on setup for the race weekend. We ran through a series of changes and I feel we made some great progress heading into the race this weekend. We constantly developed and learned a lot last year, and we look forward to continuing the progress with our stunning Chevrolet Camaro Z28.R. I’m also very excited to have the opportunity to work with Kyle and Martin this season. It’s always nice to have a team car to work with and I’m confident this will really elevate the whole program in 2015!”

Newcomers to the team Barkey and Marcelli also drove together throughout the 2014 Continental Tire Challenge, scoring a best finish of third at Virginia International Raceway.

“The 2015 race season is here, and I can’t wait to get started at Daytona,” said Barkey. “With a good Roar Before the 24 behind us, I can say the Mantella Autosport team has our no. 80 Mantella Autosport / MBRP Chevrolet Camaro Z28.R ready to race. The car is a beast, yet easy to drive. Daytona is not the best track for this car, yet I feel we will still be competitive there. The team is dedicated, from ownership to engineers, drivers to crew. Everyone is 100% willing to do what it takes to bring a professional team to the line every time. It’s going to be a great year.”

Up to speed in the Daytona infield.

Up to speed in the Daytona infield.

Marcelli is a multi-time race winner in the American Le Mans Series, and has extensive experience in prototypes as well as GT-class machinery.

“This is a big-time program for Mantella Autosport to take on, and I think there are many people watching and evaluating,” said Marcelli. “That being said, I have complete faith and confidence in Mantella Autosport that we will succeed in this year’s Continental Tire Challenge. We have a wonderful group of individuals – ownership, engineering, mechanics, drivers, and all of our sponsors and supporters. Collectively, we are all driven with a goal of winning races and showcasing the utmost professionalism on and off the track.”

The BMW Performance 200 will be streamed live on IMSA.com on Friday, January 23 at 2:00 PM ET.

About Mantella Autosport

Mantella Autosport is an all-Canadian team composed of dedicated individuals with experience at the highest levels of motorsport united to achieve continued success, competing in the 2015 Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge series with two Chevrolet Camaro Z28.R race cars. Mantella Autosport’s partners include General Motors, Gulf Oil, MBRP Performance Exhaust and Spyder. For more information, visit www.mantellaautosport.com.

Media Contact

Efrain Olivares
(818) 254-7196
efrain@shiftgroup.net

1 Comment