Race Preview: Wright Motorsports Sets Sights on Charlotte Motor Speedway
BATAVIA, Ohio, (October 6, 2020) – Following back-to-back podium finishes in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, Wright Motorsports is ready for action in this weekend’s sprint race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. This Saturday, the MOTUL 100% Synthetic Grand Prix will race on the Speedway’s ROVAL, a 2.32 mile, 10-turn road course in Concord, North Carolina. The No. 16 1st Phorm Porsche 911 GT3 R, driven by Ryan Hardwick and Patrick Long, will be one of 18 GT entries in the 100-minute race.
“2020 has been a non-stop season for us at Wright Motorsports, but we’re ready to keep moving forward and put in a good performance at Charlotte,” said team owner John Wright. “We’re ready to capitalize on our current momentum, execute with consistency, and continue to run in the fight for this championship.”
This weekend will mark the first time in 20 years since the series has competed at Charlotte Motor Speedway, effectively leveling the playing field in terms of driver experience where circuits are concerned. Wright Motorsports took part in a tire test last month, giving Patrick Long and Ryan Hardwick the opportunity to get their first laps around the circuit in anticipation of the approaching race weekend. Hardwick has also been utilizing a racing simulator to get as familiar as possible with the circuit, looking for every possible area of improvement before hitting the track on Friday evening for the first practice session.
The race weekend will consist of two practice sessions, qualifying, and the 100-minute race, all in the span of a 26-hour period. Due to the limited schedule, the pressure will be turned up for teams to dial in the car balance and get up to speed as quickly as possible in order to gain highly coveted championship points. With four races left, Hardwick and Long stand in fourth in the driver point standings, while Wright Motorsport holds third place in the team standings.
The MOTUL 100% Synthetic Grand Prix will air live on NBCSN, Saturday, October 10th at 8:00PM Eastern, with IMSA Radio also offering additional coverage and commentary on imsa.com, and live scoring of all sessions available at livescoring.us.
Personally, I’m looking forward to having a bit more of a level playing field in terms of track knowledge this weekend in Charlotte. With this being the first time that IMSA has held a race on the Roval, all the teams and drivers are going into it with little to no track time. Most of my competitors have 15 or more years of experience racing most of the other tracks we visit during the season, where the most experience I have is four or five races if I’m lucky. We had a productive test day at the Roval last month, and the track is quite fun and challenging! It’s like a combination of a street circuit and the Daytona road course, which is pretty cool to me! Our team is taking the same approach as we always do, which is to execute on our strengths, minimize mistakes, and maintain our consistency.
This will be a wild one! I’m keen to keep our momentum in what is about as unique of a format as we see in the sport. We have lots of racing in these next weeks, so the endurance race is on.
The test at Charlotte was wild. It’s sort of an amusement park ride of a track, and completely pitch black on the infield. I am glad we had the chance to see the place before this weekend. Ryan was a quick study and was on the pace! It was awesome to see how he puts his head down and continues to advance when he gets a proper amount of testing time! Let’s go!