The Brief

A Fitting Finale
Oct 24, 2019

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Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta
Friday, October 11, 2019
Braselton, GA

The final race of the 2019 IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge series at Road Atlanta in Braselton, Georgia, had all of the drama, suspense and excitement that have come to characterize this wild roller coaster of a season.

A rough start

The Legistics/Racing to End Alzheimer's/FastMD/Speed Syndicate team was looking great in the early practice sessions, placing consistently in the top five. But at the beginning of the fourth practice session, the #23 Audi RS3 experienced a sudden and significant loss of power.

With the all-important qualifying session fast approaching, the team’s ace crew switched into crisis mode, quickly diagnosing a faulty high-pressure fuel pump and rushing to make the essential repairs. Despite everyone’s best efforts, they weren’t able to get the car ready in time. Having narrowly missed qualifying, the team would have to start the race from the back of the field, in last place.


A bold call

Driver Nick Galante knew he had his work cut out for him, but he also knew he had the speed and support to make a run for the front. Wasting no time, he surged ahead three spots on the first lap of the race. By lap 5, he had muscled his way into 6th position.

45 minutes into the two-hour race, a full course caution was called for a disabled car. While the rest of the teams pitted for new tires and fuel, the #23 team made the bold decision to take on just a splash of fuel, leap-frogging to the front of the pack to temporarily claim the lead. At the halfway point in the race, Galante exited for a full pit stop, turning Violet over to driver James Vance with a topped-off tank and new tires.

A gutsy finish

Vance exited the pits in 8th place and battled his way relentlessly through the field. With just 15 minutes left in the race, he was riding the rear bumper of the 3rd place Hyundai, looking for an opportunity to make his move. The moment came at the apex of turn 7 when the Hyundai slowed slightly and ran wide.

That was all the invitation Vance needed – he dove in and squeezed by, determined to claim a spot on the podium. Not surprisingly, the Hyundai had other ideas. The cars blew out of the turn side by side, drag raced down the straight-away at 140 mph and then tried to out-brake each other as they careened into turn 10. There was slight contact, but Vance recovered quickly, holding off the hungry Hyundai for an adrenaline-fueled finish to a thrill-filled season.


Bumps, Bleeds and Blow-ups
Sep 23, 2019

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WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca

Saturday, September 14, 2019
Monterey, CA

The legendary twists and turns of WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca morphed into an adrenaline-fueled obstacle course for the Legistics/Racing to End Alzheimer's/FastMD/Speed Syndicate team at the penultimate race of the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge 2019 season.

Round 1
The challenges started early in the race when contact with a Honda from behind interrupted driver Nick Galante’s aggressive push for the lead, knocking him back into the third spot. After regaining his composure and momentum, Galante felt an ominous change in the #23 Audi RS3 on the 10th lap. The car was becoming increasingly unstable, and as it plunged down the notorious corkscrew, the left front tire blew and disintegrated.

The sudden loss of grip threw the car off the track, but Galante managed to keep Violet straight and wrestle her back to the pits. The crew performed a lightning tire change, and they were back in the game with significant time to make up. Galante laid down some great laps, but only a full course caution would give the team any hope of regaining a fighting position.

Round 2
The much-needed caution, for a disabled car on the track, came at the halfway point in the race. The team elected to retire and do a full stop – tires, fuel and driver change. With James Vance at the wheel, Violet reentered the fray in the 6th spot and quickly muscled up two positions to 4th. Closing in fast on the lead trio, the car experienced its second bump of the race – this time some right rear contact with another Honda.


Seconds before contact.

At first, the car seemed unaffected by the mishap, but a few laps later, Vance knew he was in trouble. The brakes were fading fast – and it took all of the team’s skill and nerve just to keep Violet on the track for the rest of the race. The culprit – a small bleed in the brake caliper caused by the previous contact – forced Vance to ease up the pace and back up his braking points. The team finished in 8th place – on a day when just crossing the finish line was a noteworthy accomplishment.


Watch the full race here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aAUZMNZ9EBk

The final race of the 2019 IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge season will take place at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta on Oct. 9-11.


Risk & Reward
Sep 6, 2019

R2Endalz Vir Team 1

VIRginia International Raceway
Saturday, August 24, 2019
Alton, VA

It was a race for risk-takers.

Mother Nature, a force to be reckoned with all season long at the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge series, was once again throwing her weight around at VIRginia International Raceway. Practice sessions alternated between extreme heat and sudden rains – and qualifying had to be canceled at the last minute due to a lightning-racked thunderstorm.

With a damp track and potential showers in the forecast, the Legistics/Racing to End Alzheimer's/FastMD/Speed Syndicate team was set to start the race in 8th position (based on season points standings). It wasn’t ideal, but the team was feeling good about their chances. The #23 Audi RS3 had been running fast and strong on the notoriously challenging VIR track (17 turns, 3.25 miles, lots of elevation changes and gnarly high-speed “esses” at turns 7,8,9 and 10) – rain, shine and everything in between.

Taking a chance

Once the green flag came down on Saturday’s race, driver Nick Galante didn’t stay where he’d been put for long, muscling up four spots before the threatened rain began to fall in earnest. With cars sliding off the track 30 minutes into the 2-hour race, a full-course caution was called, and every team on the track had a make-or-break decision to make: Tough it out on slicks or switch to wet tires.

With the radar showing only an isolated pocket of rain, the #23 team made a bold, calculated – and lonely – choice. When all of the other cars pitted to change tires, they kept “Violet” on the track, circling alone in the rain behind the pace car. When the race restarted, their risky strategy looked like a bad bet. With the rain still falling, it was like driving on black ice. Galante had to fight just to stay on course as the more sure-footed TCR class cars passed him by.

The purple Audi was back down to 8th position when the team’s luck shifted. The rain stopped, the track began to dry out – and Galante surged through the field to retake the lead just before the halfway point in the race. With a driver change and full service, the #23 had a 14-second lead until a drive-through penalty for wheel spin during the pit stop put them back into 2nd place.

Going the distance

Driver James Vance put his head down and brilliantly negotiated a second half littered with caution flags. When a car spun off the track late in the race, another full caution was called. At the restart, Vance was hot on the rear bumper of Jon Morley with just one lap to go. When Morley went into turn 11 a little too hot, Vance knew it was now or never. He seized the split-second opportunity, executing a clean swift pass underneath the lead car.

Violet roared out of the Oak Tree turn in the lead. Vance never looked back, delivering a scorching final 6 turns as a fierce three-car battle for second raged behind him. While Mother Nature and Lady Luck definitely played their part in this long-awaited victory, it was bold strategy and nerves of steel that ultimately won the day.

The Legistics/Racing to End Alzheimer's/FastMD/Speed Syndicate team will head to WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in Salinas, California on Saturday, September 14 for the penultimate race of the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge 2019 season.


Unforeseen Circumstances
Aug 10, 2019

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Road America
Saturday August 3, 2019
Elkhart Lake, WI

From start to finish, there was nothing even remotely predictable about the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge race at Road America on the first weekend in August.

Out of the blue

The weather during practice and qualifying sessions was ideal, with no hint of trouble in the forecast. The Legistics/Racing to End Alzheimer's/FastMD/Speed Syndicate team was in fine fettle, with driver Nick Galante laying down some scorching laps during qualifying to take the 3rd spot on the grid.


Just before the 4:05pm start time for the race, a thunderstorm popped up on the radar. Coming in fast and seemingly out of nowhere, the storm unleashed on the track, peppering it with hail and soaking the teams as they waited out a full hour rain delay.

A decision was made to shorten the length of the race to 1.25 hours, with a drive time requirement of 25 minutes for each driver. Such significant last-minute changes wreaked havoc on carefully plotted strategies – this was going to be a very different race than any of the teams had anticipated.

Into the storm

With the rain still coming down, the #23 Audi RS3 crew exercised the option to switch to rain tires before the delayed start, as did most of the other teams. On the warm-up lap, when Galante tried to clear some of the rain from the windshield, the wipers failed to respond. While visibility would be an issue for every car in the rain-soaked race, driving without wipers would add another level of difficulty to an already challenging situation.

Adjusting to his blurred field of vision, Galante lost one position going into turn one but battled his way back into third position by turn three. Breaking late into turn five, he was able to pick off the two front-runners and take the lead. On a roll, Galante passed another four GS cars on the outside in turns 9 and 10 to cushion the team’s lead in the TCR class. With the rain letting up, the track began to dry and the #23’s soft rain tires began to overheat.


The team pulled a full pit stop at the halfway point in the race, changing drivers, fueling up and switching to dry tires. James Vance was off and running some of the fastest times of the race when the skies again opened up and the #23 was again running blind. After another pit stop and a switch back to rain tires, Vance fought his way back to fourth place with one lap to go. In an all-out attempt to make the podium, he dipped a tire into the wet grass on turn three and lost a couple of spots – for a decent 5th place finish in a truly tempestuous race.