Brass Monkey Racing had no track testing to prepare their Nissan GT-R race cars for the World Challenge GT opener in St. Petersburg, Fla., but exceeded most everyone’s expectations with a strong first outing. Driver and team manager Tony Rivera’s Nissan GT-R racing machine ran strong all weekend, as he placed in the top ten for both races.
In Race 1, Rivera qualified his Nissan GT-R seventh on the grid, with teammate Ott a mere two places behind him in ninth, the cars less than half a second apart in lap times, in the large, 30-plus car field. Rivera charged after the front runners, running among the top five cars for most of the race before slipping a bit toward the end due to electrical gremlins and ultimately finishing seventh. Ott’s well-placed starting spot in the ninth position was all for naught as lady luck looked unkindly upon him in his debut race. He was hit by another car on the opening lap and ended his race with a broken suspension.
In the second World Challenge race on Sunday, Rivera once again posted a top ten finish, having started seventh and finishing eighth. Ott again drew the ace of spades when another car spun in front of him and he took an unexpected flight over the hood of the spinning Porsche. Amazingly he was able to continue for a few laps after replacing the flat tires but had to retire a few laps later with bent suspension. He ended up finishing 28th.
Still, the duo was able to gain valuable points in the GT-R’s inaugural North American race, an impressive feat in itself, but even more impressive when you consider that their new racing GT-Rs underwent no track testing prior to their first race.
With the Brass Monkey Racing team having already demonstrated that they are a top-tier squad (the outfit won two World Challenge races in its debut season last year), Tony Rivera, Steve Ott and their Nissan GT-Rs will only get faster as the men and the machines receive more track time in the races ahead.
Race 1 of the World Challenge race weekend from St. Petersburg, Florida will air on the Versus HD channel on Saturday, April 18 at 2:00 p.m. Eastern.
2010 World Challenge Race Schedule*
|March 26-28||St. Petersburg, FL (street circuit)|
|April 16-18||Long Beach, CA (street circuit)|
|May 21-23||Mosport International Raceway|
|July 2-4||Watkins Glen International|
|July 17-18||Toronto, Canada (street circuit)|
|August 6-8||Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course|
|September 10-12||Virginia International Raceway|
|October 1-3||Utah Grand Prix|
*All races scheduled to be broadcast on the Versus television network (check local listings) and also on www.world-challengetv.com after initial television broadcast.