- Team's first time competing in an 8-Hour endurance race and the trio came away with a satisfying and well-earned finish
Indianapolis, IN - ST Racing was thrilled to participate in the highly-competitive Intercontinental GT Challenge Indianapolis 8-Hour race this past Sunday. The #438 BMW M4 GT4 machine was piloted by Canadian drivers Samantha Tan and Nick Wittmer, and American Jon Miller. This was their first time competing in an 8-Hour endurance race and the trio came away with a very satisfying and well-earned 2nd place finish.
"The race was awesome and all three of us nailed it," said Nick Wittmer. "Great 2nd place. Feels like a first!"
On Saturday, Tan, Wittmer and Miller kicked off their Intercontinental GT Challenge campaign with a 6th place during Friday's practice session (1:31.631). The trio then competed in three quick qualifying rounds. Jon Miller went first and scored the 3rd time in class (1:32.088), while Samantha Tan reeled off the 7th lap time (1:33.131). Nick Wittmer was last to qualify setting the 6th time (1:31.603), which allowed the team to start 4th on the GT4 grid.
Sunday - Race
The predicted rain came right on cue as the American flag was waved to give the start of the 8-Hour race at 10:00 am EDT. Jon Miller started the race on slick tires showcasing his incredible talent, when it comes to racing in the rain. However, 20 minutes into the race, the team opted for rain tires when a caution flag came out.
An hour later, Miller handed the car over to Nick Wittmer. The Montreal-native charged up the field to 2nd place in GT4 class, then brilliantly took over the lead.
With less than 6 hours remaining in the race, Samantha Tan jumped into the car. She had a stellar stint, staying in second place for a few laps behind the BMW of BimmerWorld. The Canadian driver took the lead twice, on Laps 73 and 100. Tan came into pits for a full-service stop during a full-course caution. She had a great re-start, fighting with her fellow competitors for track position.
"I hopped in during the 3rd hour right after Nick," explained Tan after the race. "It was still wet on track, so I was out on Nick's rain tires. It started drying up a bit, and a full-course yellow came out, so I made the decision to put on slicks. I exited pit lane in front of most of the field. I had to catch up to the safety car and had Ben (Crew Chief) yelling on the radio that I needed to pick up the pace. I felt like I was in Formula Drift with the way I had to warm up my tires and catch up to the safety car with the pack behind me. After we went green, I was improving a second per lap and ended up running for an hour and 45 minutes with good pace. That was my first ever double stint! I handed the car off to Jon and Nick, who, with a collaborative effort, finished the last 4 hours."
When Jon Miller hopped back into the car, he quickly made his way up the field to 4th place in class. With about three hours remaining on the clock, it was Nick Wittmer's turn to drive the #438 GPI Biotech BMW. Wittmer was exciting to watch as he battled with the #2 GMG Racing Porsche 718 Cayman GT4. Wittmer bumped the Porsche, passed him, but he quickly gave back the position. Both cars continued the race without any damage.
"That was just a racing incident” said Wittmer. “I gave back the position to not get a penalty."
Miller jumped back in the BMW, taking over from Wittmer and pursued the #2 car. He was able to pass the Porsche and remained in 2nd place for the remainder of his stint.
"My last stint was a fun one” said Miller. I was battling with the #2 Porsche for position. It was an hour-long battle with Robin Liddell, he made one little mistake, and I pounced and took the position. But he wasn't about to give up and he stayed in my mirror the whole time."
Miller added: "The M4 GT4 was great to race around this famous venue. The team absolutely clicked today, and the result is thanks to them. What an unbelievable year and a fantastic way to close out 2020, especially when we weren't sure we would be racing at all. We're already looking forward to the next set of challenges in 2021.”
Nick Wittmer was set to finish the race under pressure from the #2 Porsche following closely. He firmly hung on to 2nd place, right behind BimmerWorld's Bill Auberlen until the checker flag flew.
ST Racing’s BMW M4 GT4 finished the 8-hour endurance in 2nd place, with all three drivers performing their on-track duties perfectly. However, the crew’s efforts in the pits were also notable as they executed flawless pit stops.
Samantha Tan concluded by saying "We finished P2, just 6.5 seconds off first. I'm ecstatic with this result, especially as this was our first 8-hour race, and I'm extremely thankful to my team, who put in so much work to give us a solid, reliable BMW M4. This was an amazing way to end the season with my incredible team!"