Las Vegas NV, January 21st – The EXR 250 kicked off the 2017 EXR Endurance Series Championship with thrilling racing action on track. 18 drivers competed in 9 cars and raced over 250 miles for 3-hour on Exotics Racing exclusive road course at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
The EXR Series welcomed back 10 drivers from 2016 season; IMSA racer Tristan Vautier, V8 Supercars racer Alex Premat, Richard McIntosh, Bill Hynes, David Perisset, Michael Halverson, Roger Eagleton, GRC racer Collete Davis, Rob Bramlette, and defending EXR Sprint Series Champion, Romain Thievin. And 9 new drivers completed the line-up; French Mitjet racers Marine Pidoux, Bertrand Migout and Gaetan Essart; David Mathey, Frank Mechaly, BMW factory driver Chris Hill, Josh Leach, and Beau Borders.
Each team had 2 drivers: Perisset – Halverson raced for Shooting Range Industries (#8), Borders – Leach for Exotics Racing (#11), Migout – Essart for Ameristar (#22), Pidoux – Thievin raced for Ameristar (#44), McIntosh – Vautier for Urban Rebel (#50), Hynes – Premat for UFD (#57), Eagleton – Davis for Urban Rebel (#66), Mathey – Mechaly for Rockstar Denim (#77), and Hill – Bramlette for Fleet Truck Parts (#88).
Due to heavy rain predicted on Sunday 22nd, the race direction rescheduled the start of the race EXR 250 on Saturday 21st at 7pm following practice and qualifying sessions with dry condition on track.
Qualifying #1 – Very close top 3, Urban Rebel’s Vautier laid down the fastest lap (01:02.406) with UFD’s Premat only a few tenths behind him (01:02.660) and Thievin (01:02.664). Qualifying #2 – Exotics Racing’s Leach laid down the fastest lap (01:04.144) 1 second in front of UFD’s Hynes (01:05.239) giving car #57 the Pole Position for the race after combining Premat and Hynes best timings.
Start of the race, 7pm – Night, dry and cold condition on track for the rolling start of the EXR 250. During the warm-up lap, team #33 had a mechanical issue and had to return to the pits to switch with a spare car, making Thievin losing his 6th position on the starting grid to the back of the group. The first stint saw incredible close racing between the 2 leaders Vautier and Premat, they spared wheel to wheel for the first 20 laps and made a slight contact at one point as things got very heated.
Thievin also had an intense battle with Essart but made contact with the car #22 which spun out track. Other incidents included car #8 which made contact with car #66, Halverson pushed slightly Davis off the track in turn 2.
Teams #66 and #44 got a penalty of 30 seconds for leaving the pits too early during the mandatory pit-stop and driver change.
The majority of the race was leaded by Urban Rebel team #50. Vautier set a new lap record at the Exotics Racing track with a 1:01.531 while his master teammate hold the first position with fast lap times and consistency.
The Shooting Range Industries team #8 did also an incredible race by being very precise during their pit-stop and very fast on track beside the cold tarmac.
Premat followed up Vautier with a 1:01.758 lap time, giving both the racers the 1 and 2 spots on the EXR Series leaderboard.
End of the race, 10.30pm – The last pit-stop saw dramatic standing changes due to mechanical issue on the leading car #50. McIntosh broke his transmission and had to switch with a spare car, losing 01:21 minute in the pit, and the victory. Therefore, car #57 took the first position with a very fast Hynes behind the wheels.
Close battling between car #11 and car #8 leaded to contact, putting both cars out of track in turn 5 with only 10 laps left to go. Halverson reported that the car lost grip after that and he wasn’t able to regain his speed, but he guaranteed the third place on the podium.
New amateur racers Mathey – Mechaly in car #9 did a pretty consistent race improving lap times stint after stint. In car #88, Hill – Bramlette set some of the fastest lap time and made no mistake during their race.
After the race, due to transponders and MyLap system issues, the race direction reviewed the timing lap by lap as well as the on-board videos and had to alter the final results.
P1 – #57 HYNES / PREMAT – UFD
P2 – #11 BORDERS / LEACH – EXOTICSRACING
P3 – #8 PERISSET / HALVERSON – SHOOTING RANGE IND.
P4 – #66 EAGLETON / DAVIS – URBAN REBEL
P5 – #50 MCINTOSH / VAUTIER – URBAN REBEL
P6 – #22 MIGOUT / ESSART – AMERISTAR
P7 – #44 PIDOUS / THIEVIN – AMERISTAR
P8 – #88 HILL / BRAMLETTE – FLEET TRUCK PARTS
P9 – #77 MATHEY / MECHALY – ROCKSTAR DENIM
More results here :
Photo gallery here :
TURN 2 / LAP 11
Warning – 20 seconds penalty
(Contact incident with car #22)
TURN 2 / LAP 39
Warning – 10 seconds penalty
(Contact incident with car #66)
TURN 5 / LAP 24
Warning – 20 seconds penalty
(Contact incident with car #8)
Cleo Premat, Director of Communication