The 2018 edition of the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge consisted of ten events (Daytona, Sebring, Mid-Ohio, Watkins Glen, Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (CTMP), Lime Rock, Road America, Virginia International Raceway, Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and Road Atlanta) for showroom stock cars. Most races were 2-hours in length. The cars were relatively unchanged from their road going versions – modifications were mandated primarily for safety – roll cages, window nets, etc. They were also required to use tires provided by series sponsor Continental.

Based on performance potential, the cars are divided into one of three groups – Grand Sport, Touring Car or Street Tuner:

  • Grand Sport (GS): This category underwent some changes in 2017. The new rules accepted cars prepared to the SRO (Stephane Ratel Organisation) GT4 technical requirements. The quickest of the three groups, this class includes cars such as the Ford Mustang GT4, BMW M4 GT4, Mercedes-AMG, Audi R8 and Porsche Cayman GT4 MR. Vehicles competing in this group produce between 400 - 500 horsepower and are capable of speeds over 175-mph.

  • Touring Car (TCR): TCR is a global touring car category which was added to the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge series in 2018. Cars competing in this category include the Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR and Audi RS3 LMS TCR. They will produce between 300 – 350-horsepower.

  • Street Tuner (ST): This class is for smaller sedans and sports cars with four or six-cylinder engines. Vehicles racing in this group include the BMW 328i, Porsche Cayman, Mazda MX-5 and MINI JCW. The cars in Street Tuner produce between 220 – 280-horsepower.

Close, competitive racing with cars that fans could relate to contributed to the popularity of the series. It also provided an environment for automotive manufacturers to test and showcase their products.

Round four of the 2018 Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge took place at Watkins Glen International as a support event for the Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen. Thirty-eight entries would compete in the second four-hour race of the year around the eleven-turn, 3.337-mile road course.

The Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge competitors enter Watkins Glen’s final turn for the start of round four. Starting on the pole is the AWA Racing Ford Mustang GT4 shared by Martin Barkey and Brett Sandberg. On the outside of the front row is another Mustang entered by Multimatic Motorsports and driven by Patrick Gallagher and Chad McCumbee. Thirty-eight cars would start the season’s second four-hour race.
Scoring their second TCR victory of the season – the first was a Daytona International Speedway - and the fourth for Compass Racing were Tom Long and Britt Casey, Jr. The duo started eighteenth overall and second in class driving the No. 77 Audi RS3 LMS TCR. They chased the Audi for much of the race but Long was able to make a pass in traffic and led for the remainder of the contest.
Patrick Gallagher and Chad McCumbee started on the outside of the front row in the Multimatic Motorsports prepared Ford Mustang GT4. The pair was looking for redemption at Watkins Glen International as they had finished shy of first place at Mid-Ohio by just 0.286-seconds. When the race leading AWA Mustang had an incident the pair inherited the lead and took the overall victory by a margin of 7.938-seconds.
The new Street Tuner point’s leader, Mark Pombo drove the No. 52 MINI JCW. Pombo’s teammate was Colin Mullan who was sixth in the standings – Mullan did not enter the first two rounds. They started the race second in class and were in contention during the event. Issues with the Bodymotion Porsche Cayman and BimmerWorld BMW 328i allowed them to inherit the lead and win in the final hour.
A red flag during the Grand Sport qualifying session meant the drivers had just five minutes to record a fast lap. Topping the field was the AWA Ford Mustang GT4 driven by Brett Sandberg – this was his first Continental Tire Challenge pole. Sharing the Mustang with Sandberg was Martin Barkey. The team led the first thirty-seven-laps but contact with another car dropped them down the order, they finished fifteenth in class.
To date, all the TCR pole-positions have been won by Compass Racing entries. At Watkins Glen International this honour went to Pierre Kleinubing, driver of the No. 75 Audi RS3 LMS. Co-driving the Audi with Kleinubing was Roy Block. Unfortunately, Kleinubing hit another car on the first lap and damaged the Audi which required an extended pit-stop. The pair finished thirtieth overall and seventh in class.
The overall and Grand Sport class podium at Watkins Glen International. To the left are the runner-up’s James Clay and Tyler Cooke from the BimmerWorld Racing team. And, on the right, grabbing their third podium of the season, are the third-place finishers – Kyle Marcelli and Nate Stacy. In the center, are the victors – scoring their first win of the season are Patrick Gallagher and Chad McCumbee.
Winners of the last two rounds (Sebring and Mid-Ohio), Kyle Marcelli and Nate Stacy started the race seventh in Grand Sport. During the race, the drivers of the Roush Performance / KohR Motorsports Ford Mustang GT4 were able to maintain contact with the leaders. The pair was one of many teams to benefit from the Barkey/Sandberg incident and finished third overall and in Grand Sport.
The BimmerWorld Racing prepared BMW 328i driven by Devin Jones recorded the quickest time during the Street Tuner qualifying session. Sharing the driving duties with Jones was Nick Galante. They won the season opener at Daytona International Speedway and were second in the Street Tuner points chase. The pair was in the lead for much of the race, however, an issue during a pit-stop dropped them to second.
Gridded third overall and in the Grand Sport class was the Ramsey Racing prepared Mercedes-AMG. Co-driving the Mercedes were Alexandre Premat and team principal, Mark Ramsey. They had reason to be optimistic as their best result to date was a fifteenth place in the season opener at Daytona International Speedway. The pair was unable to match the pace of the leaders, however, they managed to finish tenth.
The Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge TCR podium at Watkins Glen International. In the center of the rostrum from Compass Racing are the winners, Tom Long and Britt Casey, Jr. On the left side are the runner-ups also from Compass Racing and class point’s leaders, Kuno Wittmer and Rodrigo Sales. Completing the podium and earning their first top-three finish of the season are Michael Johnson and Stephen Simpson.
Trailing the TCR class winners to the checkered flag was the Compass Racing entry driven by Kuno Wittmer and Rodrigo Sales. Wittmer and Sales had class victories at Sebring and Mid-Ohio driving the No. 74 Audi RS3 LMS. Combined with a second at the season opener, they were the TCR point’s leaders by six markers.
Last season there were eight Porsche Caymans entered at Watkins Glen International but this year there was just one. The Bodymotion Racing prepared Cayman was raced by Jason Rabe and Max Faulkner. The pair started thirty-fifth overall and third in Street Tuner. They were leading the class during the final hour but Faulkner was penalized for excessive speed in the pit-lane. As a result, the duo finished third in Street Tuner.
Second overall and in the Grand Sport class gave the BimmerWorld team their third podium of the season. Tyler Cooke and James Clay also finished second at Daytona and grabbed a third at Mid-Ohio. Their performance at Watkins Glen International moved them into the points lead with Spencer Pumpelly and Dillon Machavern. Pumpelly and Machavern finished seventh at Watkins Glen.
The JDC-Miller Motorsports team entered the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge series two years ago and at Watkins Glen International, they recorded their first podium finish. Drivers, Stephen Simpson and Michael Johnson, were gridded thirty-first overall and eighth in TCR. A steady pace moved the No. 54 Audi RS3 LMS up the race order. At the conclusion of the event, they were third in class and fifteenth overall.
The Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge Street Tuner podium at Watkins Glen International. On the left are second place finishers Nick Galante and Devin Jones and at the right are Jason Rabe and Max Faulkner. In the center, are the winners and MINI JCW Team drivers, Mark Pombo and Colin Mullan. For the point’s leader, Pombo this was his second victory of the season. And, for the 16-year-old Mullan, this was his first win.

1GSC. McCumbee / P. GallagherFord Mustang GT4106-
2GSJ. Clay / T. CookeBMW M4 GT4106-
3GSN. Stacy / K. MarcelliFord Mustang GT4106-
4GST. McQuarrie / J. WestphalAudi R8106-
5GSH. Plumb / O. TrinklerMercedes-AMG106-
6GSA. Balogh / G. LiefoogheMercedes-AMG106-
7GSD. Machavern / S. PumpellyPorsche Cayman GT4 MR106-
8GSJ. Mossing / E. FossMercedes-AMG106-
9GSS. Maxwell / T. MajeskiFord Mustang GT4106-
10GSM. Ramsey / A. PrematMercedes-AMG106-
11GSR. Ecklin Jr. / B. KiddAston Martin Vantage106-
12GSR. Ward / D. FaulknerMercedes-AMG106-
13TCRB. Casey Jr / T. LongAudi RS3 LMS TCR106-
14TCRR. Sales / K. WittmerAudi RS3 LMS TCR106-
15TCRM. Johnson / S. SimpsonAudi RS3 LMS TCR106-
16TCRT. O'Gorman / K. KochAudi RS3 LMS TCR106-
17GSA. Brynjolfsson / T. HindmanFord Mustang GT4106-
18GSE. Lux / A. CarterAston Martin Vantage106-
19TCRT. Rumburg / L. Rumburg / B. OrtizVolkswagen Golf GTI TCR105-
20GSM. Barkey / B. SandbergFord Mustang GT4104-
21GSJ. Lazare / C. FergusMcLaren GT4104-
22STM. Pombo / C. MullanMINI JCW101-
23STN. Galante / D. JonesBMW 328i101-
24STM. Faulkner / J. RabePorsche Cayman101-
25STM. Pombo / M. LaMarraMINI JCW98-
26GSJ. Robillard / S. McAleerPorsche Cayman GT4 MR90-
27GSP. Holton / M. PlumbMcLaren GT487-
28GSJ. Cox / D. MurryPorsche Cayman GT4 MR81-
29TCRL. Carpentier / K. O'RourkeAudi RS3 LMS TCR76-
30TCRP. Kleinubing / R. BlockAudi RS3 LMS TCR76-
31TCRD. Istook / M. TaylorAudi RS3 LMS TCR76-
32GSJ. Roush Jr / A. LallyFord Mustang GT470-
33STD. Jones / N. NorenbergMINI JCW62-
34STJ. Riley / AJ RileyMazda MX-562-
35GST. Probert / J. PiscitellMercedes-AMG57-
36GSB. Ward / I. DontjeMercedes-AMG30-
37GSA. Straus / R. Abdolvahabi / N. LonghiAston Martin Vantage0Accident
38GST. Grahovec / M. Travis / J. HartBMW M4 GT40Accident
39GST. Giovanis / G. CosmoMercedes-AMG0Did Not Start

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