Lexington, OH – The debut of Calvert Dynamics in the GTA class in Pirelli World Challenge at Mid-Ohio saw a pair of fourth place finishes for Preston Calvert, while Michael Lewis logged two top-10 runs in GT, including a sixth place finish on Sunday in the No. 98 Porsche 911 GT3R with both cars being prepared by Phoenix Performance.
Calvert, driving the No. 77 Porsche 911 GT3R, made his first start in the GTA class after a season-and-a-half in GT Cup competition, moving up smoothly to more powerful and quicker GT car. Heading into the weekend, he had only 100 minutes of time in the car over a handful of test sessions at New Jersey Motorsports Park.
“The car is much faster than the GT3 Cup car, with more power, and substantial aerodynamic downforce contributing to the grip for cornering and braking. In addition, it is necessary to brake the car much deeper in the brake zones of most corners, to make use of the downforce and the race-oriented antilock braking system,” said Calvert. “The car also has traction control, which makes corner exits more secure and faster, especially on turns over rises in the track, like Turns 5 and 9 at Mid-Ohio.”
After a number of podiums to start the season in GT Cup, Calvert improved his lap times quick at Mid-Ohio, but an opening-lap incident in Saturday’s race and a subsequent clutch issue eventually saw him retire the car, with a strong team effort required to repair the problem for Sunday’s race.
The Phoenix Performance crew, led by Andrew Aquilante and Kurt Rezzetano, managed to repair both the body damage and the clutch in time for Sunday morning’s race, staying in the paddock until after 1 AM. Race engineer Stefan Pfeiffer was right there with them, helping with issues fitting the clutch to the car.
“I’m very grateful for the great effort they made to get my car ready for Sunday’s race. The dedication and capability of our team is awe-inspiring,” said Calvert, who took an even more cautious approach in Sunday’s race to avoid any first lap issues.
“I finally got going more quickly after a while, and managed to chase down and pass one GTA car, and was closing slowly on the next GTA car at race end. Overall my race lap times were often better than my qualifying time, indicating my ongoing need for seat time in this new car. Late in the race, I was involved in an incident when the race leaders lapped me, where I was able to let the first two cars by in Turn 12, by going very wide, but could not find the third place car in my mirrors as I turned left into Turn 13,” Calvert said. “I ended up causing him to have to choose which side of me to pass by on, as I could not tell where he was. He ended up trying to pass on the outside, and having to drive on the grass at driver’s right at Turn 13, causing overheating issues for him later, which was unfortunate.”
Marking his second weekend with Calvert Dynamics, and now confirmed in the No. 98 GT3R through the end of the season, Michael Lewis continued improving in the black and yellow colors with a solid sixth place finish on Sunday.
“We had to really squeeze everything out of our Porsche GT3R this past weekend to get around the tricky Mid Ohio course. It was a nonstop effort to get our car competitive and ready for each session. Thank you to my team for continuing to develop the car to find every bit of performance we could for each session,” said Lewis.
“We ended up salvaging decent finishes in both races. After looking at the qualifying order on Saturday morning, and at what type of race cars were ahead of us, we knew we would have a hard fight in the races. In the end, we were clean and tidy and that’s how we were able to finish where we did. It was encouraging to work with the team this weekend in the way we did, as each of us were looking for ways to improve. Next up is our race in Utah,” he continued. “Again, I must say a big thank you to Discount Tire, Circle Porsche of Long Beach, Curb Records, and many others for the past two race events. Now, Calvert Dynamics will be spearheading the rest the season and I’m forever grateful for that.”
The team marks another major weekend at Utah Motorsports Campus, August 12-14, with Lewis racing in GT and Calvert driving in GTA, and also partnering with Andrew Davis in the SprintX races, an hour-long format featuring a driver change.