Two Wins and Regular Podium Appearances Move Eversley into Top 5 in points
Tooele, Utah – When Pirelli World Challenge GT driver Ryan Eversley cracks that infectious smile, people can’t help but like the Atlanta racer.
The 32-year-old Acura driver is one of the most personable drivers in all of sports car racing. He is funny, witty and easy to talk to.
He is also one of the fiercest GT Production drivers in North America right now.
Eversley, a multi-time sports car series champion, admits the start of the 2016 Pirelli World Challenge season was difficult for he and his RealTime Racing boss Peter Cunningham, the winningest driver in PWC history.
“It was a tough start to the season for us,” said Eversley, who comes to Utah Motorsports Campus this weekend (August 12-14) for rounds 15 and 16 in the GT division. “We switched from an all-wheel-drive Acura TLX-GT to a rear-wheel drive car this year. We did our pre-season testing but the car took some time to come around to be competitive in the GT class. The GT division is extremely competitive and the learning curve was difficult at the beginning of the year.”
But, by May, Eversley and his RealTime Racing No. 43 Acura TLX-GT developed into a potent combination with a podium finish at the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. He was running third in the second of the event’s twin bill when his mount was hit from behind and retired from the race.
“The CTMP rounds were both good and bad for us,” said Ryan. “We got a third on Saturday and I felt the Acura was very good on Sunday before we were taken out. The mishap hurt the team because I had to jump into Peter’s car the next week at Lime Rock Park while my car was being repaired.”
Despite the alternate setup, Eversley’s continued charge in the point standings showed at the popular Connecticut road course with consistent fourth and sixth place finishes in the unfamiliar machine.
“The RealTime guys had a lot of repairs after the CTMP crash and got my car ready for testing at Road America in the middle of June,” explained Eversley. “We had a very good test at Road America as we learned a lot about our Acura and worked on the straightaway speed. That’s very important at the longest circuit on the series.”
And that added testing proved the team had made the Acura a contender for victory lane at the four-mile road circuit at Road America in the big Pirelli World Challenge/IndyCar Series doubleheader in June.
“We worked hard on the Acuras entering the Road America weekend and it obviously paid off with two wins and a 1-2 in the first race of the weekend,” Ryan said. “That weekend bounced us back up in the points as well. We felt that the Acura was able to battle in the mix with the McLarens, Porsches, Cadillacs and others.”
More testing for Eversley and his Acura before the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course weekend last month gave him added confidence entering the big Honda Indy 200 weekend, one of the most important races of the year for RealTime Racing.
“It is always exciting for me to have a chance to race in front of so many Honda associates at Mid-Ohio and we always want to put on a great show for them,” said Eversley. “We had a productive test (at Mid-Ohio), and I felt like the car was much better than it was last year. I thought we would be able to race pretty well.”
With no practice on Friday at Mid-Ohio due to heavy rainstorms, Eversley and the GT division in the Pirelli World Challenge faced a slippery racing surface with the rubber from the open-wheel cars. In the opening 50-minute race Saturday, Ryan vaulted from 11th to seventh quickly and battled Jon Fogarty in his McLaren fiercely for fourth, before settling for fifth.
“Ryan fought me very hard and very fair in that first race at Mid-Ohio,” said Fogarty, a four-time racing champion. “Ryan is an outstanding driver. It’s always fun to race against him.”
But it was Sunday’s GT feature that saw Eversley wow the large Mid-Ohio crowd with sensational outside pass from eighth to second at the start.
“My spotter did a great job of helping me on the start,” Eversley recalled. “I got a run on Michael Lewis and he gave me a lane, so I went soft on the brakes into Turn Four and tried to keep (series point leader Alvaro) Parente outside of me. My Acura TLX helped me get away from him going into Thunder Valley, and we were able to get a gap. You have to take advantages that you get and I am very happy that we were able to do that on the opening lap.”
Only a brilliant drive by Cadillac’s Michael Cooper held Eversley from scoring his third GT win in 2016 as the two racers battled a few car lengths apart for most of the 50-minute contest.
“When I was running in second, all I was thinking was that the Honda and Acura people in the stands were saying, ‘That’s our car up front,’” Eversley grinned. “It really made me bear down harder and push to try and pass Michael. I tried several times but he didn’t make a mistake.”
Another impressive Eversley performance at Mid-Ohio has him leaping into the Top Five in current GT point standings as the Pirelli World Challenge makes its next series stop this weekend (Aug. 12-14) at Utah Motorsports Campus.
In the Pirelli World Challenge Utah Motorsports Campus Grand Prix presented by Energy Solutions, all eight Pirelli World Challenge classes will race at the 3.048-mile, 14-turn outer road course. The races will be televised live on www.motortrendondemand.com with CBS Sports Network televising all of the races on a taped-delayed basis.
Contact; Tom Blattler, 317.525.5692, firstname.lastname@example.org