Road America, USA

WeatherTech International Challenge
15 – 18 July 2021

A Summer Racing Festival at the Iconic Road America!

Sunshine (after a damp, overcast start on Thursday), fair temperatures, a return of thousands of cheerful race fans, a busy paddock, and superb racing from start to finish.

If days of sunshine and resort weather weren’t enough, the race weekend served up fantastic cars, great racing and a wonderful atmosphere.

RACE REPORTS

Masters Endurance Legends USA – Race 1
Quadracci Rolls to Win in Incident-Filled Masters Endurance Legends Race

Two mid-race incidents resulted in an extended full-course yellow that saw this afternoon’s Masters Endurance Legends race at the WeatherTech International Challenge with Brian Redman end under yellow, with Joel Quadracci (2013 Oreca 03) inheriting the lead after the intersection of the double-yellow and mandatory pit stops in the 30-minute race jumbled the field.

At the checkered flag, Quadracci was followed by Travis Engen (2005 Audi R8 LMP) and Keith Frieser (2012 Oreca LMP2), with David Porter (2007 Peugeot 908 HDI) and Gregory Thornton (2013 Oreca03 LMP) rounding out the top 5.

Quadracci had qualified fourth; Engen, sixth; Frieser, fifth; Porter, second; and Thornton, 19th.

At the start of the race, Bennett established a small lead over Porter and held that lead through the first six laps of the race, with Quadracci, Engen, and Frieser in hot pursuit. However, on lap 7, after setting the race’s fastest lap on lap 6, Bennett went off course in the Carousel, initiating the yellow.

So much for an end-of-the-day race.

Masters Endurance Legends USA – Race 2
Porter Wins Issue-Free Sunday Endurance Legends Race at Road America

After starting second and finishing fourth in yesterday’s incident-shortened race, David Porter cruised to a well-deserved win in this morning’s Masters Endurance Legends race here at the WeatherTech International Challenge with Brian Redman.

After passing Travis Engen and Keith Frieser on lap 1, Porter (2007 Peugeot 908 HDI) got around pole-sitter Joel Quadracci (2013 Oreca 03) on lap 2 and steamed into a lead he relinquished only briefly during the mandatory pit-stop cycle mid-race.

Frieser (2012 Oreca LMP2) started the race in third, and Engen (2005 Audi R8 LMP) in second. They finished sixth and fourth respectively. Quadracci finished third.

This morning’s win was doubly enjoyable after being caught out by yesterday’s extended caution period during and after the pit-stop cycle, Porter said.

“Yesterday, I had no luck. Today everything worked in our favor,” he said.

In spite of a hot and slippery track, his car was “brilliant, as it always is,” Porter said. “GMT-what a job they do on the car. It ran faultlessly all weekend.”

Slotted between Porter and Quadracci was yesterday’s pole-sitter Craig Bennett (2012 Lola B12/80), who yesterday retired with electrical problems on lap 7 after his car’s undertray rubbed through the starter cable and “finally shorted the car out,” Bennett said.

Starting from 15th today, Bennett climbed through the field to secure his second spot on the podium.

“David’s car is really, really fast, and I didn’t want to cause problems; because, for my car, the track was way too slippery,” Bennett said. “So, I took my time getting through traffic. I settled down to a pace that wasn’t fast enough to gain anything on David.”

Rounding out the top five were Travis Engen (2005 Audi R8 LMP) in fourth and Danny Baker in fifth (2011 Oreca 03).

Masters Historic Formula One USA – Race 1
Thornton Extends His Road America Winning Streak

Under sunny Wisconsin skies this afternoon, Gregory Thornton made short work of his Masters Historic Formula One USA competition at the WeatherTech International Challenge with Brian Redman, rolling to his fifth win at Road America here in Elkhart Lake.

Thornton (1982 Lotus 91) started from the pole and never surrendered the lead. Behind him Dan Collins (1982 Lotus 91), who qualified second, and Cal Meeker, who qualified third, engaged in a brief spirited battle for the second spot before Meeker put his Tyrrell ahead of Collins on lap 2 and defended that slot through the checkered flag.

Following Collins, Bud Moeller (1979 Ensign MN179) and Lee Mowle (1980 Lotus 81) filled out the top 5.

“It was great,” said Thornton about his win. “Lots of grip, hot, and the car went brilliantly. The boys told me to do 05s and 06s. So, the first one out, I did an 06, then another 06 and an 05. The boys said ‘You’re building the gap nicely,’ so I held it.”

Thornton’s best lap: a 2:05.252 on the four-mile track.

What will it take to beat Thornton at Road America?

“Probably a turbocharger,” said Collins, smiling. “He’s been driving that car a long time, and he’s good.”

Rounding out the top 10 were Chris Locke (1976 Lotus 77), Ron Maydon (1977 LEC CRP1), John McKenna (1974 Parnelli VPJ-4), Robert Blain (1975 March 752), and Charles Warner (1979 Shadow DN9).

Masters Historic Formula One USA – Race 2
Thornton Doubles His ‘Doubles Record’ by Winning Again at Road America

It’s now four straight Masters Historic Formula One USA wins for Gregory Thornton.

Thornton (1982 Lotus 91) recorded back-to-back wins last weekend at Watkins Glen and backed that up this afternoon here at Road America and the WeatherTech International Challenge with Brian Redman by also making a clean weekend sweep of things at this historic Wisconsin track.

Following Thornton across the finish line were Cal Meeker (1979 Tyrrell 009) and Chris Locke (1976 Lotus 77).

“We’ve done very well,” Thornton said about his recent success after today’s race.

Not that it was an easy run today for Thornton, who sat on the pole. He has serious competition from Meeker, who shared the front row with him.

“Cal didn’t read the script,” Thornton joked on the podium. “His car is fast, and in a straight line, he is as slippery as an eel.”

Meeker picked up his slipstream and got past him toward the end of lap 1, Thornton said.

Meeker led lap 2, but by lap 3 Thornton was in front again.

“Cal made it close. I watched him for a while, to see where he might be weak, and then I got around him” Thornton said.

The contest between Thornton and Meeker was not the only drama early in the race. On lap 1, Dan Collins (1982 Lotus 91/8) and Bud Moeller (1979 Ensign MN179) came together in Turn 8, with both retiring from the race and moving the rest of the grid up the leader board.

By lap 4, the race order had stabilized, with Locke securely in third and Ron Maydon (1977 Lec CRP1) and Robert Blain (1975 March 751) rounding out the top 5.

The order remained the same through the checkered flag.

“It’s just two weeks to California [the Monterey Pre-Reunion and the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion]. I love Laguna Seca and the Corkscrew, and I’m looking forward to all of it.” Thornton said.

The Monterey Pre-Reunion is August 7/8 and the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion is August 12–15. The Masters Historic Formula One USA will participate in both events.