23/07/19

Race Result: Northeast Grand Prix spells agony for Blomqvist

Race 1 Race 2

The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Northeast Grand Prix resulted in agony for Tom Blomqvist, after a P3 qualifying result turned to a seventh-place finish at Lime Rock Park, Connecticut.

The Team RLL racing driver and his team-mate Connor De Phillippi battled all weekend-long in sweltering summer temperatures, which made tyre management incredibly challenging with track temperatures reaching a staggering 55 degrees Celsius during the race.

The weekend got off to a good start on Friday, as Tom and Connor finished two of the three practice sessions inside the top-three places to set a good foundation for the remainder of the weekend.

When the time for qualifying came on Saturday morning, it was decided that Connor would be the one to get behind the wheel for the #25 BMW M8 GTE. A strong qualifying performance from Connor saw him set a best lap time of 49.322s to secure a P3 start for the Grand Prix.

Heading into Saturday afternoon, it was time for the two-hour and 40-minute race to take place, and with an air temperature of 35 degrees celsius and a scorching track temperature, the emphasis was on tyre management in order to secure a good result.

Connor handled the first stint of the race, and did a solid job to keep the #25 BMW in third position. However, on lap 39, Connor was eventually overtaken by Dirk Muller in his Ford GT and demoted the BMW to 4th place before Tom took over driving duties a few laps later.

On lap 44 it was Tom’s turn to take the reins at the short but tricky circuit. Tom put his head down and lapped consistently to maintain position but unfortunately, struggled with high tyre degradation and eventually fell down to 5th place.

Opting for a different strategy, Connor was back in the car for the final stint of the race and aimed to do a longer stint than his competitors. In the intense heat, Connor did his best to manage the pace but the tyres fell off a cliff as the race drew closer to its conclusion.

With no life in his tyres to fight with, Connor and the #25 car slipped down the running order and eventually took the chequered flag in seventh position, ahead of the sister BMW, to mark the end of a tricky weekend for Tom and the team.

“The only real positive to take from this race was our pace in qualifying,” Tom said after the weekend. “It was a tough race for everyone but we just didn’t execute flawlessly and in this series any small mistake can set you back.

“We struggled massively with tyres during the race and that set us back a lot. But still, it’s all part of a learning curve and we have a couple of weeks now to reset. We will bounce back at the next round for sure!”

The next stop on the calendar for Tom is the Road America in Wisconsin on the 2-4 August.