Trent Hindman and Cameron Cassels started their 2017 season off strong, winning the BMW Endurance Challenge in the Grand Sport class at Daytona in their No. 12 Bodymotion Racing Porsche Cayman GT4. The Street Tuner class win went to Matt Pombo and Derek Jones in the No. 73 MINI JCW for each driver’s second career win.
Hindman finished .577s ahead of Marc Miller and Till Bechtolsheimer in the CJ Wilson Cayman. Damien Faulkner and Russell Ward completed the podium in their Cayman. The RS1 Cayman of Dillon Machavern and Dylon Murcott Porsche’s four-car assault at the top end of the field. RS1 also was the first of the new-generation fully GT4-homologated machines.
Scott Maxwell and Jade Buford completed the top five in their brand new Ford Mustang GT4. The Multimaic duo was the only force stopping Porsche form completing the top five.
Pombo finished 1.568s ahead of the closest battle on the track at the checkered flag. The two ST-class Caymans of Eric Foss and Spencer Pumpelly finished just 0.090s apart for an exciting finale. Pole-sitter, Connor Bloum, finished fourth in class in another Cayman while Owen Trinkler completed the top five in his Nissan Altima.
A late-race caution, brought out my Mark Pombo’s MINI jumbled the field for one final run to the checkers. Hindman was able to pull away from the field at the green flag to a safe distance for the win. The result marks Cassels’ first win at Daytona.
This year’s BMW Challenge marked turn of a new era for the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge, including new race lengths and new cars. The new GT4-friendly rules in the GS class has helped welcomed new machines from Ford, McLaren, and Porsche, returning class entry numbers back to 20 cars. Race lengths have also been revised, allowing for this round to feature four hours of racing.
A variety of mechanical issues and race incidents were manifest through the field. Both C360R McLarens had issues with the new machines still experiencing teething issues. Two of the new Porsche Cayman MR’s failed to finish due contact with other cars and the wall in the bus stop and international horseshoe.
The Continental Tire Challenge field heads to Sebring in two months for the second round of the 2017 season. Practice for the Sebring 150 starts on March 17.
Featured Image: Porsche, Twitter