The No. 46 Mercedes-AMG GT4 led the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge field to victory lane at Lime Rock Park on Saturday.
Team TGM repeated its 2018 IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge race win with an impressive encore at Lime Rock Park on Saturday.
The team took a decidedly different path to this year’s win, however.
In 2018, co-drivers Owen Trinkler and Hugh Plumb delivered the first victory for the team and owner Ted Giovanis in the No. 46 Mercedes-AMG GT4 at Lime Rock. The win came after a string of top-10 finishes in each race before the event.
This time around, the No. 46 team had yet to score a top-10 result halfway through the season. It was a disappointing start, especially as Trinkler and Plumb looked to defend their 2018 Grand Sport (GS) class title.
Trinkler kicked off the weekend in perfect style on Friday, earning his third Motul Pole Award of the year to start the two-hour race from the No. 1 spot and that’s where they wound up with the help of a timely caution and lapped traffic.
“Really it’s all about the Team TGM guys,” said Plumb. “It’s the team. I do a very small part of this. I was given a car by Owen Trinkler, the best in the business, and really just had to go out and do my job. My hat’s off to all the TCR guys. All of them stand on the gas and they’re absolute professionals. It really went our way today. I’m so happy for Mercedes, obviously Ted Giovanis, everything he provides to us, and the Michelin tire, what a great tire through and through.”
It was a narrow victory – just .377 seconds – over the No. 39 Carbahn Motorsports Audi R8 GT4 of Jeff Westphal. After a restart with 45 minutes remaining in the two-hour race, Westphal found himself seven seconds behind Plumb with several lapped cars between them.
“It’s just the strategy Joe Varde, the engineer, did over this weekend,” Trinkler added. “We worked on long run pace. I’m just so happy for my guys. We’ve struggled a lot this year and we kept fighting together as a team. In those moments, things might kind of start separating, but we got stronger during that period and it shows now. We’re going to be a contender for the rest of the season. I knew that going in we had the keys to win and it’s good to come back to a place where we got two in a row.”
Although he was able to close the gap on Plumb, Westphal had to defend his own position against Eric Foss in the No. 56 Murillo Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4. The podium would remain as is, with Westphal sharing driving duties with Tyler McQuarrie and Foss co-driving with Jeff Mosing.
With the runner-up result, Westphal and McQuarrie, who won at Sebring International Raceway in March, jumped into the GS championship lead with four races remaining. They’re just three points, 170-167, ahead of Devin Jones and James Clay in the No. 82 BimmerWorld Racing BMW M4 GT4, who finished fourth.
The NBCSN broadcast of the Lime Rock Park 120 will air on Friday, July 26 at 6 p.m. ET.
The IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge travels next to Road America on Aug. 2-4 for the seventh round of the season. The Road America 120 goes green on Saturday, Aug. 3 at 4:05 p.m. ET and can be streamed live on IMSA.tv with IMSA Radio commentary.
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