The Camaro Z28.R made its racing debut this past weekend in the BMW Performance 200 race held before the start of the 52nd Rolex 24 at Daytona. Much like Corvette Racing and the C7.R, the two teams running a total of three Z28.Rs finished the race with some rather disappointing results.
The day got off to a good start after the #01 Z28.R, under the command of CKS Autosport, qualified fourth in its class and fourth overall. Stevenson Motorsports fielded two cars, with the #9 Z28.R qualifying a respectable fifth overall, and the #6 car qualifying eighth.
During the pace laps before the start of the race, the #9 car from Stevenson Motorsports, driven by Matt Bell, pulled out of its fifth place qualifying position to the side of the track. While the rest of the field drove past and on to the start of the race, Bell and his Z28.R caught a tow back to the pits to repair a broken fuel line. By the time the repairs were complete, the car was 8 laps behind from the leader. But Bell and teammate Andy Lally made the best of a bad situation, using the remainder of the race as a pseudo testing session.
“We had a fuel line break free before we could take the green,” said Bell. “This stuff happens when you have a new car. It’s too bad it happened during the race but you know besides that, the car was great. The handling was there. It’s one of the easiest cars I’ve driven. I kind of treated it like a test session, going out and trying to see what the car would do.”
The #9 Z28.R finished the race in 23rd for the Grand Sport class and 54th overall.
Meanwhile, the #6 car from Stevenson Motorsports managed to get off to a better start. Andrew Davis started the race, spending most of his stint in the top ten before handing the car over to teammate Robin Lidell. During Lidell’s stint, the differential failed, knocking the car out of the race indefinitely.
“It was a pretty catastrophic failure,” said Liddell. “I jumped out of the car in Turn 5 where we stopped and had a look under it but all I could really see was a bit of oil under the diff. It went with absolutely no warning whatsoever, nothing, just immediate. I went to power at the exit of Turn 3 and it just, bang, big bang, then something flapping, something not happy back there mechanically, a lot of banging and clattering and that was it.”
The best finish for the Chevy Z28.R came from the #01 CKS Autosport car. After qualifying placed them in fourth position, Eric Curran and Lawson Aschenbach battled for the top ten over the course of the 2.5-hour race. The #01 car ultimately finished in 13th position, but was bumped up to 11th place after two cars ahead of them were penalized. While it wasn’t the result the team was hoping for, it finished only seven seconds behind the leader and posted a lap time that was faster than many of the cars that finished before them.
CKS Autosport and Stevenson Motorsport will bring their Z28.Rs to race at the Sebring International Raceway for the 12 Hours of Sebringon March 13-14. Here’s to hoping they have better fortune this time around.