Sebastian Priaulx has got his 2020 race season back on track with a strong performance in the Michelin Pilot Challenge at Sebring International Raceway in Florida this week (16-17 July).
Following an almost six month wait since the season opener due to a COVID-19 enforced break from motorsport, the Guernsey ace reunited with the Multimatic Motorsports team to compete in their Ford Mustang GT4 alongside his 2019 British GT team-mate Scott Maxwell.
It marked Priaulx’s first time racing at the world-famous Sebring circuit and the 19 year old got up to speed during two free practice sessions on Thursday. While the team knew the track wasn’t the most favourable one for the car, they headed into race day confident of a competitive showing.
Team-mate Maxwell took the reins for qualifying and placed them seventh on the grid for the two hour race, with the experienced Canadian starting proceedings. The race started with a strong possibility of rain and that proved to be true in the early stages.
Maxwell had got their Mustang up to fifth place before a red flag stoppage due to severe weather in the area. After a break of over an hour, the action resumed and Maxwell remained in the top five before having the car over to Priaulx with forty minutes to go.
Priaulx settled into eighth place after the pitstop cycle and posted the fastest lap of the race by a Mustang driver as he tried to make progress heading into the final stages. Unfortunately more weather warnings led to a full course yellow for the final fifteen minutes.
Sebastian Priaulx: “It’s a shame that the weather played such a large role in the race and restricted our racing time. Seventh on the grid was around where we expected to be, but we felt our race pace was strong and we could potentially challenge for a podium finish.
“Scott was right in the battle through his stint, but after dropping back a bit in the pitstop I couldn’t do much during the twenty minutes of racing I got. I enjoyed being at Sebring for the first time though and getting back into the swing of things. Bring on the next race!”
The 2020 Michelin Pilot Challenge season continues in two weeks’ time (31st July to 2nd August) with a two hour race at Road America in Wisconsin.
Image from IMSA.