Daytona Beach, Fla. (10 December 2017)— The 2018 IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Championship season opener at Daytona International Speedway next month will feature the launch of an all-new class, as the internationally recognized “TCR” class stages its first IMSA-sanctioned event on North American soil. Ahead of the 2018 opener, IMSA held a test this week to evaluate the performance of the new machines, which include cars from Audi, VW and Alfa Romeo.
With an impressive debut season of IMSA competition behind the wheel of a Porsche Cayman last year under her belt, teenager Aurora Straus got a first hand taste of the new TCR cars as she works on her 2018 racing plans.
Fresh from a race outing at Sebring International Raceway, Straus headed directly to Daytona at the invitation of the crack C360R squad to sample the 2018 Audi RS3 LMS machine. With closely matched worldwide regulations that see the various manufacturers’ machines posting similar lap times, the TCR category is expected to have rapid North American growth in 2018.
Straus emerged from the test with a lot of interest in the potent and compact new machines as she works to finalize her plans for the rapidly approaching racing season.
“Even though it was the first front-wheel drive car that I’ve driven, the TCR car was very straightforward; it’s a great platform,” said Straus, who admitted to being pleasantly surprised by how competitive her pace was. “Getting used to the paddle shift, the seating position, and the new car really only took a few laps. I thought that going from rear to front-wheel drive would take more adaption, but the Audi TCR felt very natural. Audi Sport has done a phenomenal job with the RS3 TCR, and the Continental tires are already a seamless part of the package.”
At the close of testing on the 3.65-mile high-banked oval-based road course, Straus emerged with a lot of confidence, as well as a lot to consider ahead of the New Year.
“We are looking at multiple scenarios in terms of next year,” said Straus who has been working full time at ZappRx, a biotech startup, as well as development of an off-track project ahead of her Harvard matriculation next fall. “I want this racing program to help provide a platform for what we are doing. We will make an announcement in early 2018 about a larger project of mine that includes racing. What I can say now is that I am looking to support my mission to get in front of as many young women and girls as I can. I want any race program I am involved in to help with that initiative, so finding the right partners—and that includes a manufacturer and race series—that can help move it forward is part of what we are considering for next year. I also have to think about my own schedule — next fall is going to be busy!”
Straus’ advisor, 2013 IMSA Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge GS Champion, and Monticello Motor Club VP of Motorsports Nick Longhi got in a few laps in the Audi as well. “First off, thanks to C360R, Karl Thompson and Ray Lee for having us, and for doing their usual stellar job preparing the car. The Audi RS3 TCR looks the part, and it delivers on the looks; it’s a real race car. The TCR races are going to be manic; flat out the entire time, and super competitive. ”
With the test in the books, Straus is eager to sort things out but knows that there is a lot to consider as she prepares for 2018.
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Monticello Motor Club
Monticello Motor Club offers an amazing 4.1 mile track, designed for car enthusiasts, racers, and everything in between. Operating as a a private country club, it is located in Monticello, NY, an hour and a half from NYC.
ZappRx is a digital healthcare company based in Boston, MA. Their online platform manages specialty medications for patients, physicians, and pharmacists, and helps accelerate the prescription process for terminally ill or severely affected patients in need of specialty drugs.