CIRCUIT OF THE AMERICAS, AUSTIN, TEXAS — Nothing like a fast, fierce, take-no-prisoners rivalry to bring out the best in a championship team. That dynamic was on full display at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, on May 8th as Legistics/RS1 drivers Nick Galante and Spencer Pumpelly engaged in an epic battle with their chief rivals for the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge championship, Eric Foss and Jeff Mosing.
Foss and Mosing (an Austin resident on his home turf) had won the Circuit of the Americas race in 2016. Galante and Pumpelly were the defending 2016 season champions. Both teams were primed for a hard-fought rematch. Nick Galante qualified the Legistics/RS1 #17 Porsche Cayman in seventh position, but once the race started, he quickly blazed his way up to third. “Nick found a new gear!” said co-driver Spencer Pumpelly. “He was leaving the rest of the field behind, including guys that we’ve had good battles with in the past.”
Action was heating up at the front of the pack when the lead car caught fire, prompting a full course caution and a strategic pit stop for the #17. Despite an excellent performance by the Rennsport One pit team, Spencer Pumpelly exited the pit lane in third place. When green flag racing resumed, Pumpelly efficiently dispatched the second-place #84 BMW and set his sights on the lead #56 Porsche driven by Eric Foss.
“With about 40 minutes to go, I kept trying move after move after move,” Pumpelly said. “We had a great fight and a lot of fun. We bumped into each other a little bit, which wasn’t intentional, but no one spun. I got by a couple of times, but he came right back around me.”
Pumpelly made a heroic last-ditch effort on the final lap but came up 0.568 seconds short. After a fiercely fought race, Team Legistics/RS1 had to settle for second. Fortunately, during his stint Pumpelly set the fastest lap of the race, which earned the team a bonus point. That single point is what now separates Pumpelly and Galante from Foss and Mosing in the championship standings. (While Pumpelly set the fastest lap of the race, he did not break the lap record at Circuit of the Americas, which he himself set in 2015.)
“I want to thank the RS1 guys for giving us a really fast car that operated flawlessly all weekend,” Pumpelly said. “Nick was on fire this weekend and I’m really proud to see him get faster and improve his race craft. There’s no way we’d be up on the podium today without his massive opening stint.”
With such great collaboration – and great competition – the 2017 IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge season is shaping up to be a wild ride. The next action-packed race is Saturday, July 1, at Watkins Glen International in New York. Stay tuned!