26 Mar Race Report: Sebring International Raceway
On Friday, March 15, Winward Racing and its two entries — the No. 33 and No. 57 Mercedes-AMG machines — took to Sebring International Raceway, a retired World War airport in Sebring, Florida, for the 2-hour Alan Jay Network 120 in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge Series.
Throughout the weekend, both cars posted fast speeds on the practice boards. The No. 33, piloted by Indy Dontje and Russell Ward, ended up on the top of the speed charts during Practice 3, the final practice of the weekend before qualifying. Christian Hohenadel and Bryce Ward, drivers of the No. 57 Mercedes-AMG, ended up eighth on the board heading into qualifying.
Sebring International Raceway is well-known for its aggressive and bumpy track surface. Unfortunately, during final practice, the No. 33 fell victim to this and was not able to qualify and did not start the race.
The No. 57
Throughout Hohenadel’s command of the wheel, he began to reel in the leaders but reported issues under braking. An onboard diagnosis process was conducted to determine the problem, and later on the No. 57 entered pit lane for a pit stop where the team attempted to reset the brake issue. However, the issue was not repairable during the stop.
Christian did a fantastic job maintaining position for the rest of the race while being disadvantaged without a functioning ABS. Hohenadel laid down the fifth-fastest overall lap of the race while suffering from ABS gremlins. He was also the fastest driver in Sector 3 of the track but was only able to maintain fifth and sixth in the other two sections without ABS.
“The Mercedes-AMG GT4 was quite good and my teammate Bryce did a fantastic job after the start,” Hohenadel said. “I jumped into the car, and it felt great. We had a couple of great laps there, but then I struggled a little bit with an ABS issue. It was a little bit unpredictable, but at least we brought the car back in one piece. It was one of the hardest races I have had so far, but we finished, collected points and it is a long season. We finished without a scratch on the car, and I am looking forward to the next race.”
Not only did Hohenadel and Ward bring home a ninth-place finish, but also the No. 57 was the second highest finishing AMG in the field. The ninth-place finish enabled the team to bring home 22 championship points once the weekend concluded.
The Alan Jay Network 120 from Sebring International Raceway will be tape-delayed on NBC Sports Network and can be viewed on March 28 at 3 p.m. EST.
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