Portland, OR – After spending the first part of the week attending a busy Shell sponsor event in Pittsburgh, ST Racing’s Samantha Tan and Nick Wittmer flew directly to Portland for Rounds 7 & 8 of the 58th Rose Cup Races featuring the Pirelli World Challenge at Portland International Raceway.
During Saturday morning’s qualifying for Round 7 of the Pirelli World Challenge championship, Samantha Tan was able to run a second faster than her practice times. “I think I was focusing too much on my lap times and not enough on the corner in front of me. l know what I have to do to improve for this afternoon’s race, and I’m excited for the race as I’m a better racer than qualifier” she said.
By late Saturday afternoon, the heat had climbed to 95 degrees with a track temperature of 137 degrees. Round 7 was a mixture of many spins and crashes. Not long after the start of the 60-minute race, an incident involving the #62 McLaren machine caused a full-course yellow for debris and oil on track. The officials decided to delay the pit window. Samantha Tan drove solidly while avoiding all the debris and pulling off some great passes before handing over her #38 GPI BMW M4 GT4 to co-driver Nick Wittmer.
Wittmer’s usual driving style quickly moved him up the field when the #88 BMW punted him and caused him to spin off track. Wittmer was able to rejoin the race but a few laps later, he was hit again. Despite the damage on his car, he was able to finish 13th in the Pro-Am class. A sad outcome for both drivers who had driven so well.
The Straus/Miller duo running the #36 ST Racing BMW M4 GT4 machine had a good run and captured 3rd place for a podium finish in the Am-Am category.
“It was a pretty crazy race” commented Tan. “I think there was a crash or spin on every other lap. At the start, on Turn 1, there was a crash as I had anticipated. I just stayed out of it, went all the way around, and tried to stay out of the mess the entire time. I had a lot of fun passing some cars in Turn 1, trying to time it right. I had a bit of a jump coming out of the last corner, and right before the turn, in the braking zone, I passed a few more cars. It felt great. I kept the car clean for Nick. He did really well. I am really sad for both of us about what happened, but the car will be fixed for tomorrow, and we will definitely get it all back.”
Wittmer added “We had a good race. As soon as I got into the race, I passed about a dozen cars, moving up the field, putting down some good times. The car setup was awesome. Then when I came up behind car #88, as I was passing him, he dive-bombed into the corner and took me out. I fell back 10 positions, got a few of them back before another guy hit my car on the right front side and broke my tow, and I had to finish the race like that. Lots of damage everywhere, but we’ll get it fixed tonight and we’ll be strong tomorrow.”
Sunday’s race began at noontime, with the hottest recorded weather of the weekend at 99 degrees. Wittmer started from the third row and ran really well with the top-ten cars, looking for openings to pass. When he pitted at half-time, the Montreal driver didn’t stop the car completely for the driver change-up, and co-driver Samantha was asked to come in for a drive-thru penalty a few laps later, just when she was up there running with the top-ten cars. Tan came through pitlane, drove back out and managed to bring the #38 GPI car home safely, recording a 12th place finish. Meanwhile, the #36 ST Racing car made contact with another car and was not able to finish the race. The weekend ended on a disappointing note for the drivers. Everyone at ST Racing is looking forward to a better race weekend at Utah where Samantha will celebrate her 21st birthday.
Round 8 driver quotes:
Samantha Tan (GPI-BMW M4 GT4 #38) “The race started off really well. Nick had a great drive. Then, I got in the car, and kept the same position for a while and then a yellow flag came out. I had a really good re-start, and then I got a call on the radio telling me I had a drive-thru penalty. This is so frustrating because we were right there running with the front pack. Not the result we were looking for. But what can you do, that’s racing I guess.”
Nick Wittmer (GPI-BMW M4 GT4 #38) “We had a good stint, the car was good. But there is not enough passing room here. It’s like a stretched-out Lime Rock, where you have to wait for someone to make a big mistake in front and then you can get by. The top 10 guys were just all lined up, driving well, no mistakes, so we couldn’t get any passes. Then, when I pitted, I made an error. I didn’t push the button hard enough for the car to stop. I thought it was off, but it wasn’t. We were penalized and Samantha had to come back into the pits for a drive-thru. It was an okay race. We’re still happy with the results and well get them next time. The ST Racing Team gave us a great car and I am thankful to them and Mr. Tan for everything.”
This weekend’s GTS SprintX Rounds 7 & 8 will be broadcast on CBS Sports Network, premiering Wednesday July 25, at 8 pm ET.
Be sure to join us for the Pirelli World Challenge’s next official race on August 10-12, 2018 at Utah Motorsports Park.
Samantha Tan’s race fans can follow her on samanthatanracing.com, Instagram
(@samanthatan_racing) (samanthaatan), Facebook (STRSamantha) and on Twitter (@STR_Samantha).
About ST Racing:
ST Racing was officially launched last October (2016). A Team of experienced guys was put together for this year’s 2018 Pirelli World Challenge season. Both ST Racing drivers, Samantha Tan and Nick Wittmer are driving a new car, the BMW M4 GT4 in the GTS SprintX class. Kenneth Tan is the Team Principal, Ben Distaulo the team manager, and Alex Dupré, team engineer.
About the Pirelli World Challenge
The Pirelli World Challenge is a North American auto racing series that is managed by WC Vision. The World Challenge series was born in 1990, and celebrated its 25th anniversary season in 2014. The series consists of seven driver classifications and six classes of vehicles: Grand Touring (GT), GT Cup (new for 2015 – for Porsche 991 Cup cars), GTS, Touring Car (TC) and “Touring Car A” (TCA), new in 2014. In 2014, a new GTA driver classification was established for professional drivers that do not make their living primarily from racing. In 2016, the Sprint X class was established: a two-driver, 60-minute sprint event with GT and GTS cars, for a total of eight classes. The purpose of the Pirelli World Challenge® Championships is to provide teams, manufacturers and aftermarket suppliers a competitive production-based race series in which to prove their products.