Lexington, Ohio (August 6, 2011) — Jeff Courtney had a wild weekend the Pirelli World Challenge Mid-Ohio Grand Prix as driver of the #99 KENDA Tires/RecStuff.com/GMG Porsche GT3 Cup Car. After what looked to be a great start to the weekend, things suddenly changed with a rare mechanical failure with the left front brake line on Saturday’s first half of the weekend double-header. Courtney took a hard crash going into the keyhole turn, eliminating him from both Saturday’s and Sunday’s races.
Things started off well for Courtney and the GMG Racing Team when they got to the track late in the week. “The KENDA/GMG Porsche was pretty competitive right out of the truck,” said Courtney. “The GMG team brought me up to speed pretty quickly and things were progressing well. We were turning very competitive practice times. I was a little disappointed in my qualifying lap, as I lost a half second to my practice times; but I was eager to prove the car in the race.” Courtney qualified for a 10th place start for Saturday’s race.
“I had a good standing start,” said Courtney. “I was starting to feel comfortable and confidant in the car that we were going to pick up more positions and continue to move forward. We had moved up in position and we were running in 8th in lap 20 while heading into the braking zone of the Keyhole turn. As I went to brake, I got that eerie feeling a driver never wants to feel when the pedal pushes all the way to the floor and you realize you have no brakes.” An extremely rare mechanical failure with the left front brake crippled the Porsche GT3.
Courtney tried to spin the car, hoping to scrub some speed off before impact. “I’m not sure I scrubbed any speed as the car was in the air most of the time,” said Courtney. After heavy impact with the wall, and the car twisting in the air, the car came to rest against the outside wall, marking the end of the weekend for Courtney and the #99.
“That was a very hard hit, and I expect to be sore for a while,” said Courtney. “I’m just thankful that I didn’t collect or hurt another competitor. I felt bad for all the KENDA guests there, and all of our supporters, I had wanted to put on a great two days of racing for them. The GMG Team did a great job setting up the car and we were set to be competitive all weekend. The crash was really unfortunate all around.”
Although the crash pulled Courtney out of competition in Mid-Ohio, he fully expects to be back and ready to race at the Infineon Grand Prix, August 26-28. “I will be working on getting my body back ready to race and hopefully James [Sofronas] is working on a new ride for me,” joked Courtney.