Satisfying day for Kuno Wittmer and Mark Wilkins in IMSA Michelin Challenge
NEW TEAM, NEW START FOR WITTMER DRIVING FOR AWA RACING AS MARK WILKINS GETS NEW TEAMMATE AT BRYAN HERTA AUTOSPORT
“Feels good to be back at the Roar knowing the year is set as nowadays it is very difficult to get a full time drive and I feel very fortunate AWA Racing and Orey Fidani gave me the chance to run with them this year for the full season of IMSA Michelin Challenge,” mentioned Kuno when we chatted with him following the end of first practice day.
Kuno had a very brief test back in October at CTMP to get to experience AWA Racing. But today was the first time he really had a chance to get comfortable. “The team is solid and I am very impressed. The professionalism is evident. Today, we had no issues with the car at all. The team made notes and addressed the feedback I gave them about the car’s behaviour right away and we already have improved the car’s handling throughout the two practices,” continued Kuno.
For both sessions, Orey Fidani drove the McLaren 570 S in the beginning and the later part of the session while Kuno drove the middle portion of it. “My teammate Orey is improving as well,” said Kuno. “And it is great for him! It is actually one of my roles with the team in being a driver coach to Orey and one that I put a lot of focus on.”
For Mark Wilkins, defending Michelin Challenge TCR champion, this season will see a new partnership with Harry Gottsacker who drove with Mason Filippi last year in the #21 Hyundai Veloster N TCR: “I’m super stocked and happy to have Harry as a teammate as he was with Mason last year and had a great season with a win at Road America and finishing second to us in the championship,” Mark said.
As we were watching practice thing place, we realized Mark had seat time in both #21 and #98 car in the morning session. We asked Mark what this was about as well as to find out how he felt to be back at Daytona: “Today was good! Off-season is short! It sure doesn’t feel like we had an off-season,” laughed Mark. “It was very exciting to be back in the car today and I always love coming to Daytona and the energy is just great. I have been racing for a lot of years now but those first few laps are always cool. Michael(Lewis, Mark’s teammate from last season, NDLR) and I ran the two cars this morning each taking turns as we wanted to evaluate the performance of the cars. These are two brand new cars so we ran some set-up changes and we actually learned a lot in doing that. Following that, Gabby Chaves and Ryan Norman took to the wheel as they are to drive the third Hyundai Veloster N TCR for Bryan Herta Autosport w/ Curb Agajanian come Rolex 24 weekend for the Michelin Challenge race,” concluded Mark.
Saturday has two practice sessions set to take place at 9:15am and 5:10pm.
Image: Patrice Marchessault/PMstills Photography