There were ten race weekends during the 2012 Grand-Am Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge season. As in the past, the schedule kicked off in January at Daytona International Speedway, which was followed by an event at Barber Motorsports Park in March. A second event in Florida was conducted at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Round four took place at New Jersey Motorsports Park and was followed by race weekends at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Road America and Watkins Glen International. Then the Grand American Road Racing Association would make their first visit to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. In early September, the series would make their only west coast stop for the penultimate round at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. The finale was held at Lime Rock Park with the Grand Sport and Street Tuner classes competing in separate races.

The cars in the series are relatively unchanged from their road-going counterparts – modifications are mandated mainly for safety – roll cages, window nets, etc. They also used spec DOT-approved tires produced by Continental. Based on performance potential, the cars were divided into one of two groups:

  • Grand Sport (GS): The quicker of the two classes - the group features the larger displacement engines as well as smaller four-cylinder motors with forced induction systems. The power-plants produce between 350 and 405-horsepower. Minimum weights range between 2,900 – 3,300-pounds, which is dependent on the motor configuration and displacement. This class includes cars such as the BMW M3, Ford Mustang Boss 302 R, Chevrolet Camaro GS.R, Aston Martin Vantage, Porsche 997 and Porsche Cayman.
  • Street Tuner (ST): The smaller displacement cars compete in this class in which engines typically produce between 170 and 240-horsepower. Popular vehicles found in this group are the Volkswagen GTI, Mazda Speed 3, Mazda MX-5, Honda Civic Si, BMW 328i, Ford Focus and Mini Cooper S.

Watkins Glen was race-seven of the ten-round 2012 Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge series. Drivers would compete on the eleven-turn 3.40-mile road course for two-hour, thirty-minutes in the Continental Tire 150 at The Glen.

The pole-sitter, Tonis Kasements driving the Multimatic Motorsports Aston Martin Vantage leads the field of twenty-seven Grand Sport competitors into corner one on the first lap at Watkins Glen International. Following Kasements are the Chevrolet Camaros of second and fourth fastest qualifiers – Matt Bell and Eric Curran.
Matt Plumb and Nick Longhi entered round seven at Watkins Glen with three Grand Sport victories to their credit. Longhi started from the eighth position on the grid in the Rum Bum sponsored Porsche 997. Plumb put the Porsche in the lead on lap-43 with forty-five minutes remaining in the event. He was able to withstand a challenge from the CKS Autosport Chevrolet Camaro to score the team’s second consecutive win.
Multimatic Motorsports entered two Aston Martin Vantages. The quicker of the two cars, No. 55, was driven by Scott Maxwell and Tonis Kasemets. This was the first season for the Aston Martin in the Continental Tire Sportscar Series. And, while proving to be quick, it wasn’t always reliable. At Watkins Glen, Kasements put the car on the pole but the duo fell out of contention and finished eighteenth in Grand Sport.
Rolex Grand Touring competitor, Sylvain Tremblay returned to his roots as a guest driver in one of the Freedom Autosport Mazda MX-5s. Despite not participating in any of the practice sessions, Tremblay captured the Street Tuner pole-position. Driving the MX-5 with him was Mike Collins. The pair was unable to maintain the pace of the class leaders and finished sixteenth in the Street Tuner category.
The Street Tuner start and the first competitor into corner one for the Continental Tire 150 at The Glen is the Freedom Autosport Mazda MX-5 driven by Sylvain Tremblay. To Tremblay’s right is the i-Moto Mazda Speed 3 shared by Pierre Kleinubing and Tom Dyer. On his left side is the RSR Honda Civic Si which started on the outside of the front row.
Michael Valiante and his teammate, Chad Gilsinger got off to a good start. Valiante was the quickest in the practice sessions driving the HART prepared Honda Civic Si. Gilsinger was responsible for the qualifying and was the fourth fastest in Street Tuner. Valiante drove the final stint and moved into the class lead on lap-33 and led the remaining twenty-six-circuits to score the team’s second victory of the season.
Sharing the No. 31 i-Moto Mazda Speed 3 was Tom Dyer and former World Challenge Champion, Pierre Kleinubing. They started third in the Street Tuner class and finished second - just 0.719-seconds behind the winning Honda Civic. Their results were particularly important for Kleinubing as it moved him to first in the standings. He entered Watkins Glen one-point out of the lead and left with a twenty-point advantage.
It appeared that the season was finally coming together for BimmerWorld drivers, James Clay and John Capestro-DuBets. At the beginning of the year, they were having difficulty delivering decent results – they were the first retirement in race two at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In the previous round at Road America, they finished third in class. And, at Watkins Glen, they earned the final spot of the Street Tuner podium.
Lawson Aschenbach topped the time sheets in the last practice session driving the CKS Autosport Chevrolet Camaro GS.R. Sharing the Camaro with Aschenbach was Eric Curran. Curran performed the qualifying duties and was fourth quickest overall and in the Grand Sport class. The duo did not lead any laps but Aschenbach chased the race winning Rum Bum Porsche a fell short of a victory by just 0.318-seconds.
David Empringham and John Farano entered round seven with the class point’s lead. The drivers of the BGB Motorsports prepared Porsche Carrera were gridded twentieth out of thirty entrants in the Grand Sport category. The pair moved up the race order and were third at the checkered flag. However, their results dropped them to second in the standings – just one-point behind Plumb and Longhi.

1GSPlumb / LonghiPorsche 99759-
2GSCurran / AschenbachChevrolet Camaro GS.R59-
3GSFarano / EmpringhamPorsche Carrera59-
4GSEdwards / BellChevrolet Camaro GS.R59-
5GSSellers / BodenBMW M359-
6GSCarter / PlumbBMW M359-
7GSSchaldach / BellChevrolet Camaro GS.R59-
8GSAuberlen / Dalla LanaBMW M359-
9GSWilden / RandallFord Mustang Boss 302 R59-
10GSSaid / MarsalBMW M359-
11GSStout / BufordPorsche Carrera59-
12GSSpaude / AquilanteSubaru WRX-STI59-
13GSBlackstock / FalguerasFord Mustang Boss 302 R59-
14GSSandridge / DumoulinPorsche Carrera59-
15GSAtterbury / RichardsonChevrolet Camaro GS.R59-
16GSRandall / RandallFord Mustang Boss 302 R59-
17STValiante / GilsingerHonda Civic Si59-
18STKleinubing / DyerMazda Speed 359-
19STClay / Capestro-DuBetsBMW 328i59-
20STJeannette / GueFord Focus59-
21STNovich / BurrowsHonda Civic Si59-
22STEllis / BocchinoMazda Speed 359-
23STKozarov / TallmanNissan Altima Coupe59-
24STLiefooghe / LevineBMW 328i59-
25STNorenberg / HurleyVolkswagen GTI59-
26STWhitis / LongMazda MX-559-
27STMcCumbee / SainiMazda MX-559-
28STBaum / FriedmanPorsche Boxster59-
29STNixon / GleasonMazda Speed 359-
30STSeafuse / MancusoFord Focus59-
31STRogers / ThomasBMW 328i59-
32GSSandberg / McClamontChevrolet Camaro GS.R59-
33STCollins / TremblayMazda MX-559-
34STEich / SchmittHonda Civic Si59-
35STCattaneo / ColbornHonda Civic Si59-
36STHarris / KanavasBMW 128i58-
37GSKasemets / MaxwellAston Martin Vantage57-
38GSPutman / EspenlaubBMW M357-
39STPicut / MusacchioPorsche Boxster57-
40GSGaw / DryburghAston Martin Vantage56-
41STCheng / AltbergVolkswagen GTI55-
42GSJohnson / Roush, Jr.Ford Mustang Boss 302 R53-
43GSBupp / BuppFord Mustang Boss 302 R50-
44STCombs / MosingBMW 330i47-
45STStraus / MillerMazda MX-547-
46GSJones / LevineFord Mustang43-
47STWeisberg / WeisbergPorsche Boxter42-
48GSVon Kluge / JamesFord Mustang Boss 302 R40-
49STO'Doski / CarbonellMazda MX-538-
50GSZacharias / SkeenNissan 370Z37-
51STBrown / FrombergBMW 328i36-
52GSMartin / MichaelianFord Mustang Boss 302 R33-
53GSYarosz / BuffomanteFord Mustang Boss 302 R31-
54STKuitwaard / ThileniusHonda Civic Si28-
55STJonsson / LallyKia Forte Koup28-
56STEversley / MasonHonda Civic Si24-
57STGimple / PuskarMini Cooper S22-
58STBorcheller / LaMarraBMW 128i20Accident
59STFergus / TrinklerHonda Civic Si20Accident
60STRandall SmalleyMini Cooper S17Accident
61STNick LeveroneMazda MX-510-
62GSJim JonsinPorsche Carrera1-

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