Photo courtesy of IMSA

New Chevy Camaro GT4.R scores first win in CTSC at CTMP

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The new Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R has taken its first win in sports car competition, with Robin Liddell and Matt Bell breaking through in the No. 57 Stevenson Motorsports entry in today’s Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge two-hour race at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.

Liddell and Bell debuted the car in the third race of the season at Circuit of The Americas, and had been building towards this result over the last three races in the GS class. The CTSC season intensified in volume of races starting last week at Watkins Glen, having not raced since COTA in May. But Watkins Glen kicked off a stretch of five races over the next two months, with CTMP today, Lime Rock later this month and Road America and VIR in August.

The Camaro also runs in Pirelli World Challenge and while it’s been a model of consistency with Lawson Aschenbach banking a bevy of podiums for Blackdog Speed Shop, it hasn’t yet won a race in the sprint series. Stevenson was the Continental Tire series GS champion with the previous generation Chevrolet Camaro Z/28.R in 2015 with Liddell and Andrew Davis winning, and their last race win came in September of that year at COTA.

RS1 moved into second place on the final lap with the No. 28 Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR driven by Dillon Machavern and Dillon Murcott, while the Motorsports in Action No. 69 McLaren 570S GT4 of Jesse Lazare and Chris Green fell to third on the final lap despite having a likely fuel edge and pitting later on the final pit stop sequence.

In ST, a late-race push from Eric Foss saw the sports car veteran emerge on top in his No. 56 Murillo Racing Porsche Cayman he shares with Jeff Mosing.

CRG-I Do Borrow’s No. 44 Nissan Altima of Owen Trinkler and Sarah Cattaneo came second, Trinkler nearly having a late go at Foss but unable to get him after running wide at Turn 3.

Prior leaders LAP Motorsports were unable to get another win with the No. 37 MINI JCW driven by Mike LaMarra and James Vance, Vance having done well to lead late before Foss came charging and barging through in the final stages.

NHRA: Dodge/Mopar unveils new Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car in Denver

Photos/video courtesy Dodge/Mopar
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If you’re a fan of NHRA Funny Car racing and Dodge/Mopar, you may notice something different at this weekend’s Dodge Mile-High NHRA Nationals at Bandimere Speedway in suburban Denver, Colorado.

Two-time (2011 and 2014) NHRA Funny Car champ Matt Hagan – who has won the last two NHRA national events in the last four weeks – will be piloting a newly-designed 2019 Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat, a 10,000-horsepower Funny Car that was unveiled this morning ahead of Dodge/Mopar’s premier NHRA national event.

The new Charger SRT Hellcat succeeds the former Mopar Dodge Charger R/T, which had been in use since 2015.

“We improved on the body design,” Hagan said of the new Charger Hellcat. “It was already a great design, a great body. But now, we’re going to have a little more downforce, a little more traction on these racetracks and it will be a huge performance advantage.”

The new Hellcat includes a number of innovations, including a new front splitter to increase downforce. Just like its predecessor, the R/T, the Hellcat will go head-to-head with Chevrolet’s Camaro in the NHRA Funny Car ranks.

“We will be able to press harder with more downforce on the nose, which translates into huge amounts of downforce on the run,” Hagan said.

According to a media release, the new Hellcat features major design changes in three key areas: the front end, bodysides and burst panel placement:

* “At the front, the shape of the nose has been tweaked and a new splitter (photo), built of carbon fiber and Kevlar like the rest of the Funny Car body, has been added. The splitter substantially mimics the look and shape of the production vehicle’s splitter while generating greater downforce to help plant the Funny Car to the track.

* “Bodyside scallops have been redesigned to more closely identify with the production Hellcat while also enhancing on-track function and performance. The deeper character lines provide greater visual ties to the street version of the Hellcat, while also helping to mitigate the “body burn” common on all Funny Cars due to the close positioning of the exhaust headers.

* “The location of the burst panel on the hood has also been reworked. The panel is now centered over the top of the engine to more efficiently release energy and pressure in the event of engine issues, a common occurrence in race cars that are pushed to the razor’s edge of performance.”

Since the R/T was first introduced into the Don Schumacher Racing corps, it has gone on to 50 wins, 42 runner-up finishes and 40 No. 1 qualifiers in NHRA national events and one NHRA Funny Car World Championship (Ron Capps, 2016).

The new Charger SRT Hellcat, which can exceed 330-plus mph and covers 1,000 feet in under four seconds, is the drag strip version of the supercharged, 707-horsepower production Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat, the quickest, fastest and most powerful sedan in the world.

While Hagan will drive the first Hellcat, his other three Dodge-powered DSR teammates – Capps, Jack Beckman and Tommy Johnson Jr. – will soon take delivery of their own versions of the car over the remaining 11 races of the 2018 season.

One day after winning two weeks ago at Norwalk, Ohio, Hagan and crew chief Dickie Venables put the new Hellcat through its paces with several test runs. The results were so strong that it was decided to debut the car at Denver and run all qualifying and elimination rounds with it.

“We made four good, solid runs in testing at Norwalk,” said Hagan. “We put the body through a lot of different things and were really, really pleased with it.

“I really think it’s going to translate over to performance on the race track, and hopefully more win lights in the future.”

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