Alton, VA – It was a mixed nuts weekend for ST Racing. Nick Wittmer scored a podium finish for ST Racing in the first PWC race of the weekend at Virginia International Raceway. But, the second race was another story.
Both ST Racing drivers, Samantha Tan and Nick Wittmer worked hard during the first weekend of the season and both agreed that driving their new car, the BMW M235iR was an absolute pleasure. ST Racing is a new Team, with a great crew, led by well-known Team Manager Ben Distaulo.
For Samantha Tan, the weekend started a little late, as she missed the first test session on Friday due to academic commitments at University of California Irvine. And, even though, she had been up since 4:00 am to fly to Virginia and get to the track on Friday, she still managed to do well in practice.
Tan’s teammate, Nick Wittmer, drove both ST Racing cars during the shakedown on Friday morning, to help prepare both cars for the afternoon practice.
Saturday’s qualifying for Race 1 was tough as the session was shortened with a red flag, and drivers could have used a few more laps to improve their lap times. After starting 7th in Race 1, Nick Wittmer captured 3rd place, earning a first podium finish for ST Racing. A huge crash around half-way through the race caused a red flag, and by the time the re-start happened, there wasn’t enough time for Tan to fight her way up the field. She finished in 21st position and admitted that when she saw the crash, it rattled her.
Race 2 on Sunday was an eventful race for both ST Racing drivers. Just a little more than half-way through the race, Nick Wittmer took the lead, and a few laps later, he was taken out by a competitor who turned into him at the end of the back straight. Wittmer rolled the car at 200mph. Thankfully, Wittmer was not injured, but he was definitely not happy. Samantha Tan also had her share of woes, as a competitor drove her off the track at Turn 2. A full-course yellow came out, and the race was checkered early under caution.
Samantha Tan (#38) “The start of Race 2 went really well, but I got hit in the back three times, and it threw me off, mentally. We had a double-yellow right at the start, so we got a re-start. But, at that point, I thought my wing had gone through the back window. So, I lost a couple of positions. But, I persevered and started to pass people. I was battling with another BMW, I think #36, and then he hit a TCB in Turn 1, so I went to the inside to pass, but he drove me right off the track. There was another double-yellow at that point, and so, we ended the race under yellow.”
Nick Wittmer (#91) “I had the race (Race 2) under my belt. Then while passing a back marker in same class as me, he braked really early into Turn 14. I moved left to avoid him, but he turned into me. I clipped his rear left with my front right and my car flipped at 200 mph. Luckily I’m ok, but not the car. I still need to thank the Team for all their hard work, and of course our sponsor, GPI, for always being there for us.”
ST Racing will be announcing a new sponsor in the next few days and everyone on the team looks forward to the next two races at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park on May 20th and 21st.
About ST Racing:
ST Racing was officially launched last October (2016). A Team of experienced guys was put together for this year’s 2017 Pirelli World Challenge season. Both ST Racing drivers, Samantha Tan and Nick Wittmer are driving a new car, the BMW M235iR in the TC class. Kenneth Tan is the Team Principal, Ben Distaulo the team manager, and Alex Dupré, team engineer. Pierre Savoy is back on board as driver coach for Samantha Tan.
About the Pirelli World Challenge
The Pirelli World Challenge is a North American auto racing series that is managed by WC Vision. The World Challenge series was born in 1990, and celebrated its 25th anniversary season in 2014. The series consists of seven driver classifications and six classes of vehicles: Grand Touring (GT), GT Cup (new for 2015 – for Porsche 991 Cup cars), GTS, Touring Car (TC), “Touring Car B-spec” (TCB) since 2012, and “Touring Car A” (TCA), new in 2014. In 2014, a new GTA driver classification was established for professional drivers that do not make their living primarily from racing. In 2016, the SprintX class was established: a two-driver, 60-minute sprint event with GT and GTS cars, for a total of eight classes. The purpose of the Pirelli World Challenge® Championships is to provide teams, manufacturers and aftermarket suppliers a competitive production-based race series in which to prove their products.