IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge
Road America 240
Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin
Saturday, August 6, 2022
With a few difficult weeks behind them, the Racing to End Alzheimer’s/Hardpoint team made its way to Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin for a potential reset in the form of good old-fashioned endurance racing. Four-hour races like this weekend’s event at Road America challenge drivers, crew and engineers alike. The long circuit strips everyone down to the studs, exposing the sheer mettle required to succeed in professional racing. Luckily, seasoned driver John Capestro-Dubets would be running with Nick Galante and Sean McAlister, rounding out one of the best teams in the business.
Sean at the Start
Sean McAlister grabbed the wheel of the newly set up No.22 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS Clubsport and took to the iconic track with confidence. Working his way through a dense field, McAlister qualified in a promising 12th place, giving the team a good shot at a top ten finish.
Demonstrating impressive consistency, Sean then piloted the No.22 through the first 65 minutes of the four-hour race, keeping his 12th position for the entire leg. For endurance races like these, steady patience early on is key. Most of the jostling and repositioning occurs when tires and fuel start to run low, so maintaining position within striking distance of the lead pack is crucial. When McAlister handed the car off to Nick Galante, the whole (sometimes star-crossed) team was feeling cautiously optimistic.
Strategies, Cautions, Fuel and Tires
Galante took full advantage of McAlister’s hard-earned position. He sped onto the track and into the melee as the crew honed its strategy for moving up through the crowded field. This middle leg of the race was defined by multiple full-course caution periods that allowed the team to adjust fuel strategies and set the car up for its run to the finish. The constantly shifting timeline might have tampered with a less experienced driver’s rhythm, but Galante expertly fielded the stops and starts like the pro that he is. With about two hours and twenty minutes to go, Nick dove into the pits and handed the wheel over to John Capestro-Dubets for the final grueling leg of this 240-minute endurance test.
Almost immediately, John found himself battling for position. As the race entered its final two hours, consistent positioning gave way to a constant back and forth within the top ten. After a heroic effort to carry old tires all the way up to fifth place, Capestro-Dubets was forced to pit after being squeezed out of four positions.
Determined to make the places back, John aggressively reengaged with the lead pack, shooting up to second place. With 50 minutes to go, the No.22 re-entered the pits for its final fuel and tire change, a move calculated to allow Capestro-Dubets to focus his efforts on maneuvering up the leaderboard with no further interruptions.
Unfortunately, just as John was preparing to make his final push for a podium finish, a lengthy full-course caution was called. The untimely delay ultimately cost the No.22 a few more positions, and the distinctive purple and white Racing to End Alzheimer’s livery crossed the finish line in 9th place. For a season that has seen its share of disappointment, a top ten finish in a grueling endurance race at Road America is a badge that the whole team will wear proudly. Stay tuned for the next race on August 27th at VIRginia International Raceway. It’s sure to be a good one.