The weekend started off with beautiful sunny skies and unusually warm weather for Ohio in late October. The Friday Test Day/Practice/Qualifying saw Team Sahlen continue to work on refining their set up with the new Audi.
Team Sahlen achieved the amazing accomplishment of securing overall victories at the Summit Racing – American Endurance Series event at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course with 2 different makes of race cars. During Saturday’s 8 ½ hour enduro, #43 “Retro” Audi R8 LMS GT3 secured a come from behind overall victory. Then on Sunday’s 8 ½ hour enduro, #41 “Lunatic” Porsche Cayman GT4 secured the overall victory.
Will Nonnamaker shared the pre-race prep on the Audi – “The crew worked very hard the week prior to the race to get the new Audi prepared. There was an Open Test & Tune here at Mid-Ohio the prior Thursday, and we were able to take advantage of the three 20 minutes sessions. We learned a lot about the adjustments we needed to make leading up to the race. In fact we were able to make further adjustments even during Friday’s qualifying based off of the things we learned at the Open Test and Tune.”
Saturday saw a full 50+ field take the green flag. Team Sahlen quickly led the way at the front in the new Audi R8. As well, the #42 “Saucy” Porsche Cayman sat comfortably in 3rd place Overall. A mid day incident with traffic saw the Audi needing to make a trip to the garage for quick repairs. The Team Sahlen crew was efficient and quick and had the R8 back on track in less than 10 minutes. During the next few hours the #42 “Saucy” assumed the lead in the race. Unfortunately for “Saucy”, a transmission glitch put the Cayman out of the race and ended the weekend for the #42. But making a hard charge from the back of the field was #43 “Retro”. As the clock wound down on the 8 ½ hour enduro, amazingly “Retro” had risen to the top of the leader board as the checkered flag flew.
Joe Sahlen shared his thoughts after the race – “I really enjoyed driving the new Audi R8 today. It is an amazing piece of machinery. It was pure joy every lap around the track. The crew did an amazing job getting us back out there. Then Will and I just drove hard, with a never give up attitude to get back to the front. Quite a way to debut a new race car with an Overall win.”
Sunday saw Team Sahlen bring the #41 “Lunatic” Porsche Cayman GT4 out of the garage in place of the #42 “Saucy”, that was retired for the weekend. The weather continued to be clear and beautiful, with the temperature even a bit higher in the high 60s’. Both Team Sahlen race cars charged to the front and ran 1st and 2nd Overall for much of the event. In the end of the long battles during the day, the #41 secured 1st Overall and the #43 secured the 3rd place Overall. Team Sahlen’s steady racing on both days saw the Overall Weekend awards of 1st and 3rd in the Class 5 category. Additionally, Will Nonnamaker’s Overall Victories in both Saturday and Sunday’s races saw him receive the Top Driver of the weekend award.
Joe Nonnamaker summed up the weekend – “What great weekend of racing. I had fun on both days of racing. Its hard to put into words what its like to drive the Audi R8. It really was a pleasure to drive “Retro” around my favorite race track, Mid-Ohio. And then to be able to go up on the podium with all my granddaughters was just icing on the cake.”
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