TOOELE, Utah (Aug. 24, 2015) – RealTime Racing’s Peter Cunningham and Ryan Eversley fought valiantly to each score a top-10 finish at the latest Pirelli World Challenge GT doubleheader at Miller Motorsports Park.
Last season, the Acura TLX GT skipped the World Challenge finale at Miller Motorsports Park, making this the first time the latest Acura GT racer would tackle the 3.048-mile, 15-turn road course in the Utah desert.
Friday – Qualifying
The best way to score a top-10 finish is to start there, which is exactly what Cunningham did in his No. 42 RealTime/Acura Motorsports/HPD Acura TLX GT, qualifying eighth.
Eversley’s No. 43 Acura qualified 13th, but the team was confident some changes to the setup would have him moving up through the field.
Saturday – Race 1
As the 29-car strong GT field took the green flag from a rolling start, Cunningham was able to pick up a spot and set off after a pair of Porsche 911s.
Caught out in a bad start by the group ahead of him, Eversley fell back initially, but a full-course caution was issued halfway through the first lap. After the restart, Eversley was able to pick up two spots and move into 12th behind the No. 61 Ferrari 458 GT3 Italia. Once he was able to get around the Ferrari, Eversley was in a race of his own and eventually crossed the finish line in 11th.
“I’m pretty optimistic for tomorrow’s race based on what we learned today,” Eversley said. “We tried a different rear shock option in qualifying that didn’t work. We went back the other direction for the race. I think it showed. My pace improved throughout the event. My fastest lap was in lap 16, whereas a lot of the top guys turned theirs around lap five.”
Cunningham fell to eighth when passed by the No. 20 Bentley Continental GT3, but when the Bentley tangled with a Porsche, Cunningham was able to take advantage and moved up to seventh. He held the spot as long as he could, but was passed by the No. 8 Cadillac ATS-VR GT3 on the final lap. The eighth-place finish matches Cunningham’s best of the season.
“It was a fun race being in the thick of things with the Bentley, Mercedes and Cadillac,” Cunningham said. “My Acura got roughed up a little bit, but I was able to make some good moves and I’m glad we could collect another top 10 finish.”
Sunday – Race 2
Fast lap times from Saturday’s race set the grid for Sunday’s race. This put Cunningham 10th and Eversley 12th.
On the standing start, Eversley got an excellent launch, moving up to ninth. He spent most of the race chasing the No. 66 Mercedes AMG SLS GT3, while trying to defend his position from the No. 41 EFFORT Racing Porsche 911 GT3R.
“Having a standing start is usually an advantage for us and I was able to pick up three positions,” Eversley said. “I moved steadily toward the top 10. I found myself in seventh and eighth position racing guys that have won events this year.”
Eversley crossed the line in ninth in the caution-free race, making it two top-10 finishes for Acura on the weekend and 15 so far this season.
“I have to say thanks to the RealTime Racing and HPD guys,” Eversley said. “We’ve made some really big strides over the last two months and I’m excited for the last two events of the season to see if we can get some more top 10s.”
After a less than optimal start, Cunningham found himself in a similar position to Eversley the day before; battling the No. 66 Mercedes of Frankie Montecalvo and the No. 2 Audi R8 LMS Ultra of Mike Skeen. After dispatching both, Cunningham took the fight to Oliver Beretta’s Ferrari 458 GT3 Italia, but ran out of time to make the move and crossed the finish line in 11th.
“Our Acura TLX GTs continue to improve,” Cunningham said. “Both our qualifying and race pace has ratcheted up throughout the season. This weekend’s results were solid, but certainly not where we want to be.
“Hats off to RealTime and HPD for providing us with great and reliable cars once again. We are back on track in only five days in Sonoma but the guys should have everything turned around and ready for action!”
Highlights from the Pirelli World Challenge GT races in Utah will air on CBS Sports Network, Sunday, Aug. 30, at 2pm ET.
RealTime Racing is already en route to its next event at Sonoma Raceway, Aug. 28 – 30. Saturday’s race goes green at 7:50pm ET, while Sunday’s event begins at 1:55pm ET. Both races will be shown live on www-world-challengetv.com.