Pole position for Sean Creech Motorsport at Road America

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Pole position for Sean Creech Motorsport at Road America

Second straight LMP3 pole position and track record for the SCM No. 33 SCM Ligier at Road America

ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (5 August 2023) –On Saturday,  Sean Creech Motorsport (SCM) took the first step toward capturing that elusive victory in the IMSA SportsCar Weekend at legendary Road America on Saturday afternoon, setting a new LMP3 track record and taking pole for Sunday’s two hour and 40-minute race.

Nico Pino earned his second IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship pole of the year for the team behind the wheel of the No. 33 SCM Focal One Ligier JS P320, following a pole position in the Rolex 24 at Daytona. The Chilean cleared the LMP3 class field by nearly a second, setting a new track record of 1:57.930 – and startling television viewers and team members alike by carrying so much speed through turn one that the Ligier looked to be taking flight at the corner exit.

With Lance Willsey unable to attend the race weekend due to prior commitments, Pino – the team’s endurance driver – joined João Barbosa at the legendary 4.048-mile road course. During Friday’s practice sessions, the team focused on helping Barbosa come to grips (literally) with the completely new racing surface (following a late fall re-pave), while Pino learned the track’s intricacies for the first time.

But over the two 90-minute practices, incidents on track caused a combined nine red flags and made for very disjoined sessions. The loss of nearly one hour of valuable track time severely limited the drivers’ ability to check the car’s setup, as the team worked on downforce and balance over both the high-speed straights and low-speed corners. Both practice sessions saw the team set the seventh-quickest lap time – and the SCM engineering team knew that called for aggressive measures.

The team made “significant” aerodynamic changes to the No. 33 overnight, and Pino took to the track with no real idea of how the car would react. But the 18-year-old didn’t hesitate, setting the quickest time on the first timed lap. Pino continued to re-set the quick time with each lap – despite going wide into turn one late in the session and getting all four wheels off the ground.

“I saw the video – and the team said they replayed it numerous times on TV,” said Pino. “It didn’t feel like that much! But it certainly was good air time. This is my first time at Road America, and we struggled a bit yesterday in practice, so we had to make a big change for qualifying and explore the limits. I’m happy with pole, it’s a good position to start tomorrow.

“We changed the aero balance quite aggressively so the car would be better in the high speed, where we were struggling yesterday,” Pino continued. “Now we need to go a bit back on that – and of course, make sure the car will be in good shape for the end of the race. The track is still a bit slippery, but I think it will get better in time – but not in time for the race tomorrow.

Team principal Sean Creech was happy with the outcome of qualifying – and ready to erase the memories from 2022, when the team was caught up in another car’s off-road excursion after an early-race rainstorm, ending the team’s day.

“Nico did a great job out there today – the entire team did,” said Creech. “We did make a very aggressive change to the setup for qualifying and it really paid off. It’s nice that we’ll be holding the LMP3 track record here for what could be a long time (note: the LMP3 class will no longer compete in the premier IMSA series starting in 2024.) Now it’s time to get ready for the race tomorrow – the track is still quite slippery offline so passing will be tricky. But we’ll be ready.”

SCM thanks partner Focal One for its continued support.

The IMSA SportsCar Weekend main event takes the green flag Sunday at 11:10 a.m. Eastern. The race will be broadcast live in the U.S. on USA Network and Peacock. International viewers can watch via IMSA.tv, with IMSA Radio also available at IMSA.com.