A SMALL TORONTO BASED TEAM SUCCESSFULLY PLAYING IN THE BIG LEAGUE
When Pfaff Motorsport unloaded their Porsche GT3 R for the Rolex 24 at Daytona with their plaid look, people were obviously attracted to this “different” livery. A new team to the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship coming off a great season in the what was known as the Pirelli World Challenge renamed Blancpain GT World Challenge America. But who were they, Really?
A Canadian based team, a one car effort, two of the drivers originating from Canada. Were they to be competitive in what is said to be the top GT Championship of North America?
From the first race of the season, they have gone through their learning curves as they have had high and lows having to deal with gremlins with the car at times and unfortunate incidents along the way but also showing great pace and consistency as well.
They have just come off a couple of great races missing out on a podium finish several times already one of them being Mid-Ohio. They have kept their head down and kept working hard overcoming adversities and it all paid off this past weekend at Lime Rock.
“Everything really came together for us this weekend,” team manager Steve Bortolotti
For this event, regular Pfaff Motorsports driver Zach Robichon was joined by Dennis Olsen who has shared the drive on occasion this year on the longer races with Robichon and Hargrove.
“A weekend that began with little expectation finished with one of the greatest final-lap battles in IMSA racing history, as Pfaff Motorsports captured their first victory of the 2019 IMSA WeatherTech GTD championship at Lime Rock Park by just 0.010 of a second,” Pfaff Motorsports press release mentions. Indeed, that was a heck of a last lap!
Canadian Racers News was not able to attend the race and the broadcast not available on IMSA.tv for Canadian viewers we were closely watching the timing & scoring of the event. With minutes to go and seeing the gap within a tenth of a second, everything was possible. And then, the pass was made, Pfaff Motorsports was first with a very small lead. We finally saw the last lap on a post from IMSA following the end of the race and that was extraordinary to see Dennis Olsen defending his lead with a rear tire going down drastically.
“With two laps to go, I started feeling a strange vibration in the rear and I wasn’t sure what was going on,” Olsen said. “On the last lap I could feel rubber coming off the tire and decided then that there was no way I was letting anyone past – I just needed to defend until the start/finish line. Even with the issues, the tire held on – I was getting hit and it was a hard battle, but it was totally worth it in the end.”
Consistency on track and decisive moves when necessary combine with efficient pit stop strategy was key to maintaining the pace on this short Lime Rock Park track as any little mistake would prove costly.
“First and foremost, we need to tip our hat to the team, because they did an incredible job all weekend,” Robichon said. “This came down to some incredible pit stops and great teamwork, which has kind of been the story all season. From my side, it was about putting in good lap times and saving fuel. We were able to gain a position on the BMW which was great, and I wanted to make sure Dennis had a good car for his stint, and he did an amazing job right through to the end. When we crossed the finish line, it really felt like redemption for all of the hard work that everyone has put into this season. Seeing the smiles on everyone’s face is incredible, so I’m just happy for the whole team.”
To get a win in highly disputed IMSA WeatherTech Championship’s GTD class all the pieces of the puzzle need to fit perfectly together and they finally did for the Pfaff Motorsports team.
“Everything really came together for us this weekend,” team manager Steve Bortolotti added. “We feel like we’ve been there all season, but our race today was another example of just how well this team performs. Massive credit goes to Andrew Wojteczko for great strategy calls, and our chief engineer Andrew Marangoni for a perfect long-run setup – and I’m definitely proud of the team for that final pit stop, which was huge in gaining a position for us. To go down to the end like that on the final lap wasn’t easy to watch, but I couldn’t be happier for the team – this one is all the credit to them.”
With four rounds to go, Pfaff Motorsports sits in seventh place in the teams championship 12 points away from second place. Current championship leaders Meyer Shank Racing w/ Curb-Agajanian Acura NSX #86 is ahead by 30 points over second place Turner Motorsport #96 BMW.
To have won in their first season in IMSA WeatherTech is quite an achievement on its own. We can only wish them another one of those trophies before the end of the season.
And by the way, keep the plaid look eh! IMSA fans know who you are now!
Image: Pfaff Motorsports / Lenssen Photo
Photographer & Editor
Photographer & Editor