Milwaukee, WI – After 9 successful years in Pirelli World Challenge GT class competition JCR Motorsports made their GTS class debut in a Maserati GranTurismo MC GT4 during the 2016 season opener at Circuit of the Americas and subsequent rounds on the Streets of St. Petersburg.
The Milwaukee-based squad received what would be the No. 99 Kenda Tire / Recstuff.com GTS Maserati GranTurismo MC GT4 a mere four days before the team was scheduled to travel to Texas and compete in the opening two rounds of competition.
Jeff Courtney, of Milwaukee, WI, earned the title of Maserati SuperTrofeo North American Champion for his stellar 2015 performance and is quite capable behind the Italian machine.
Courtney and JCR Motorsports battled with small issues throughout the season opener at Circuit of the Americas including a cracked gearbox line that unfortunately limited their qualifying efforts and would ultimately place Courtney 17tt on the grid for Round 1. An early yellow flag allowed for Courtney to capitalize on the green flag restart and he overtook multiple cars on the opening lap.
The remaining 40 minutes found Courtney locked in some great on track battles until the checkered flag dropped. Courtney crossed the line in 7th position also earning Courtney the (Cadillac move of the race) with his pass of Max Riddle’s Aston Martin. In Round 2 Courtney’s fast lap from Race 1 put him in 10th position but an unfortunate crew infraction would have Courtney starting from the back of the field again, when the green flag dropped Courtney was able to claw back to a 10th place finish.
“The guys worked late at the track every night at COTA,” said Courtney. “Obviously since only receiving our cars from Italy 3 days prior to this event we had a lot of little issues come up throughout the weekend that ultimately hindered our overall performance. But we are very positive about the potential we have shown and the potential of these awesome Maserati’s! We expect to be very competitive once the car is sorted out and they figure out the BOP (Balance of performance) in our class.”
The next two rounds of the GTS championship were set just five days after the end of rounds 1 and 2 and were set on the Streets of St. Petersburg in St. Petersburg, Florida. Courtney qualified his No. 99 Maserati in 9th place on a very competitive GTS grid for Round 3. Courtney battled the entirety of the 50-minute race with competitors Tony Gaples, Charles Esplenaub and Dore Chaponick Jr. until the clock ran out with Courtney in 8th position.
Courtney would start 10th on the grid for Round 4 which proved to be a very challenging race. Courtney was making his way through the field when track debris started to cause some overheating issues after a late race restart which allowed an overly aggressive move by a slower competitor sent him spinning in Turn 1. After which Courtney was able to salvage a 10th place finish.
“We did not expect to be great at St. Pete but I was happy with our pace, if I had made better decisions in qualifying on Saturday after being blocked I believe our results throughout the weekend would have been much better! But we are starting to wrap our hands around this new car,” said Courtney.