18 Sep Race Report: Winward Racing WINS at Laguna Seca
A weekend for the record books concluded Saturday evening at Weathertech Raceway Laguna Seca. For the very first time in team history, Winward Racing visited the top of the podium in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge series during the two-hour Monterey SportsCar Challenge in Salinas, California with the No. 33 Mobil1 Mercedes-AMG GT4. Additionally, the No. 57 IBERIABANK Mercedes-AMG GT4 finished the race with a season-high eighth-place finish.
“It’s awesome. We’ve had a really difficult season. Kind of everything in the book has been thrown at us…so it’s awesome to bring it home for the guys. Even though we are out of the championship now, we’re out here fighting for wins, which is just as exciting in my opinion…it makes it all worth it,” said Russell Ward.
Winward Racing began its journey in the Michelin Pilot Challenge series at the beginning of the 2018 season. After grabbing a career-high finish at Lime Rock Park last year with Bryce Ward and Indy Dontje behind the wheel, the team grew hungry and put its eyes on the ultimate prize — the top spot on the podium with the first-place trophy in hand. On Saturday, September 14, Winward Racing became a series-winning team with Russell Ward and Dominik Baumann co-piloting the car. Baumann filled in for Indy Dontje who was racing at Hockenheimring over the weekend and could not make it stateside.
After running consistently fast times in all practices, the No. 33 and No. 57 machines were ready to tackle the beast at Weathertech Raceway Laguna Seca. Russell Ward and Bryce Ward, who co-piloted the No. 57 alongside Christian Hohenadel, took to the track for qualifying and landed top-ten starting positions — sixth and tenth respectively.
The success didn’t end there. Throughout the race, the team and its pit crew maximized on pit road, made the perfect strategy calls, and brought both cars home without a scratch. To top off the weekend, both of the Winward Racing GT4s recorded season-high finishes.
“This is our first IMSA win, so this is a thank you to everyone who has supported us — especially my family and the full-time guys at the shop. Josh, Mark, and Kevin, those guys work hard to get us out on the race track…they deserve this win,” Russell Ward said. “I also want to thank IBERIABANK and their guests for joining us at the track this weekend. It was an honor to have them with us and for them to experience our first win.”
Winward Racing couldn’t have made history this weekend without the dedication of our partners including Mobil1, IBERIABANK, KW Suspension, and Techemet.
Next up, Winward Racing heads back over to the East Coast for the two-hour FOX Factory 120 at Road Atlanta on Friday, October 11 at 1:25 p.m. EDT. The race will be broadcasted live on IMSA.tv and tape-delayed on NBC Sports Network on Friday, October 18 at 7:00 p.m. EDT.