Braselton, Ga. (6 October 2017) – With the 2017 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season coming to a close, the VISIT FLORIDA Racing crew came into the Petit Le Mans weekend bringing the huge momentum from the team’s exhilarating victory in Monterey.
Building on that race winning effort in just the team’s second start with the Ligier, the team scored a fifth-place qualifying result with the No. 90 VISIT FLORIDA Racing Gibson-Ligier JS P217 in a solid position for the 10-hour Motul Petit Le Mans.
The first practice session of the weekend saw the No. 90 top the charts with van der Zande posting a fast time of 1:12.650-seconds. The VISIT FLORIDA Racing team was poised for qualifying after the team closed the final practice session in third – just one-tenth off of the front runners.
van der Zande was pleased with his top-five qualifying run and is confident in the car’s ability to sustain a strong pace over the course of the entire 10-hour event.
“We have a long race ahead and P5 is good enough,” said van der Zande. “After the first pit stop the field will be mixed up anyway. I am happy with our performance and I think we are really good over the long run. At the end of the session I wanted a little more out of the lap time but it would have made no difference on the position. In the end we can be happy with where we are.”
Team owner Troy Flis is pleased with the team’s top-five qualifying result and is looking forward to seeing the car come alive over the long run.
“It was a good run for us but we expected to go a little bit quicker,” said Flis. “We were really focusing on making the car a good driving car for the guys over the course of the long race. I am fine with where we qualified and it gives us a good starting position. We had a good car at night last night so I think we will be strong when the sun goes down. We are looking forward to closing out the year with another good result.”
VISIT FLORIDA Racing also welcomed Mazda Motorsports driver, Jonathan Bomarito, who will be sharing driving duties with Marc Goossens and van der Zande. Bomarito melded into the rhythm of the team and was quick to get up to speed. Bomarito looks forward to helping the No. 90 Gibson-powered Ligier JS P217 return to the top of the podium.
“Everything is pretty much going according to plan,” said Bomarito. “It’s definitely a little bit of a transition for me just getting used to a different chassis. It’s a pretty steep learning curve but I am feeling comfortable after the second practice session. The team has been great and it has been a pleasure working with such great people. Marc (Goossens) and Renger (van der Zande) have been a big help as well. The car has been fast so it’s always fun when you know you have a shot at the win.”
The green flag will fly for the Motul Petit Le Mans, Saturday, October 7th at 11:05 AM ET with coverage beginning at 10:30 AM ET on FS1.