M1 GT Racing with Drivers Walt Bowlin and Larry Pegram Claim a Pair of Top Five Finishes at the Opening Weekend of 2016 Pirelli World Challenge Championship
M1 GT Racing impresses all in the first event weekend of the season
In what felt like one of the longest off seasons ever, M1 GT Racing and their Tampa Bay Jaw Surgery / Surgery Centers of America / Spyder supported Audi R8 LMS finally hit the track this past weekend for the first wheel-to-wheel action of 2016. Taking part in the GTA division at the opening round of the Pirelli World Challenge (PWC) event at the famed Circuit of the Americas (COTA) in Austin, Texas, the driving duo of Walt Bowlin and Larry Pegram scored a pair of top five finishes over the two event weekend as each driver would cross the line fourth in their respective race.
“It was a great weekend to kick off our 2016 racing campaign and a good start to a year of work with the Audi Sport customer racing program,” explained M1 GT Racing’s Technical Director Remi Lanteigne. “Having our whole crew in attendance was the perfect start as Guy Cosmo provided his ace coaching skills for both Walt and Larry throughout the weekend.”
The first event on the docket for M1 GT Racing in Texas was not at the Circuit of the Americas, but Audi South Austin as the sleek looking Audi R8 LMS was on display for a promotional effort hosted by the Austin, Texas based dealership. With loads of attendees and the M1 GT car on display, a great evening was had by all and awareness was raised for both the Audi brand and the Pirelli World Challenge program.
At the track, the M1 GT Racing squad continuously improved and impressed throughout the weekend. With a talented driver lineup and one of the most professional looking paddock spaces in the pits, the M1 GT Racing garage drew large crowds throughout the four-day weekend as their streamlined program caught the eyes of spectators and the competition.
On the track, Walt Bowlin would score the team’s first top five result of the season in Saturday’s competition as he improved on his starting position to cross the stripe 24th overall, but more importantly, fourth in the GTA class. Sunday would see two-wheel ace Larry Pegram pilot the M1 GT Racing Audi to an impressive 21st place result overall, and M1 GT Racing’s second fourth place finish of the weekend. Most impressive of all, this was Larry’s first career Pirelli World Challenge event.
“We had a challenging qualifying due to the fact we were splitting the race weekend and both Larry and I did not get more than three hot laps in qualifying,” explained Walt Bowlin. “This obviously put us near the tail of the field and made it more challenging. After the opening laps and a few mishaps by other drivers things settled down and I developed pretty good pace.”
Bowlin continued, “I was challenging for a podium halfway through the race when I carried a little too much speed into turn 17 and the car lost grip and came around on me. Returning directly back to the track, I lost several positions and valuable time.”
“I have to say that our Audi handled very well thanks to Remi our Technical Director and all of the M1 GT Racing crew. We are lacking a little in certain areas but hopefully that will come when the balance of performance changes in the near future. Thanks to Guy Cosmo for his excellent coaching this weekend. I look forward to driving with him in the PWC Sprint X series starting in May. Also a big thanks to Larry Pegram for his fourth place finish in the race two.”
Larry Pegram went on to say, “It was a big learning experience for me in my first race in the M1 GT Racing Audi R8 in the Pirelli World Challenge program. The team did a great job of making me comfortable in the car. I am never satisfied with a fourth place result but really happy we had a good clean weekend and started the build of a solid foundation to start attacking for podiums.”
Lanteigne continued, “I am really proud of the guys. Coming home the first weekend with a pair of top five finishes and able to drive the car back to the hauler is a huge accomplishment. We will now shift our focus to the next event on the schedule.”