Compass360 Racing Goes Beyond Just Winning Title

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Karl Thomson said he felt his team could have had a chance at winning the 2010 GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge Street Tuner championship before the season, but he remained cautious.
“As given the caliber of our competition, it would have been remarkably difficult,” Thomson said.

The No. 74 Skunk2/HPD Honda Civic Si battles for the championship title in the season-ending Salt Lake City 200.

Yet, his No. 74 Skunk2/HPD Honda Civic Si earned its second consecutive title at the hands of drivers Lawson Aschenbach and David Thilenius. The pair earned the championship on a tiebreaker, beating Seth Thomas and Bill Heumann on the most third-place finishes.

Aschenbach and Thilenius triumphed in the season opener at Daytona International Speedway and also won at Watkins Glen International, and garnered six top-five finishes in as many races before a 10th-place showing at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, a victim of a flat tire.

Then, mechanical problems forced finishes outside the top 10 at the next two races, putting Aschenbach and Thilenius at a 19-point deficit entering the season finale at Miller Motorsports Park. It was there that leaders Thomas and Heumann suffered their only bad luck of the season, with differential problems forcing them well down in the results. Aschenbach and Thilenius finished third, which gave both drivers 274 points.

The tiebreaker was determined on third-place finishes, 1-0, as both driver pairings had earned two victories and two runner-up results.

That wasn’t all for Compass360. The team’s No. 75 J.C. Concrete/HPD Honda Civic Si finished third in the team standings, with Zach Lutz and Ryan Eversley winning at Virginia International Raceway and collecting eight top fives. An engine problem at Homestead-Miami Speedway forced the car’s only retirement, and also split Lutz and Eversley’s point totals. Lutz finished third in the standings, one point ahead of Eversley.

Compass360 Racing also earned eighth in points with its No. 77 Honda Civic Si and 18th in the standings with the No. 76 Honda Civic Si. Both cars saw a rotating driver lineup.

Below are other teams that won races or finished in the top 10 in the Street Tuner points standings.
BimmerWorld/GearWrench made its Continental Tire Challenge debut in 2010, placing both of its cars in the top five in the final standings while nearly claiming the Street Tuner title.

After opening the season with nine consecutive top-six finishes, a freak drive-train failure on the opening lap of the season finale robbed BimmerWorld/GearWrench from winning the championship.

Seth Thomas and Bill Heumann won races at Lime Rock and Mid-Ohio in the No. 81 Performance Friction/RAYS Engineering/Red Line Oil BMW 328i, in addition to a pair of seconds at Daytona at VIR. After losing 37 minutes in the pits at the beginning of the Miller Motorsports Park finale, Heumann and Thomas battled back to 20th position – in position to take the title. However, when the third-place car had engine failure in the closing minutes, the No. 74 Compass360 Racing Honda took that position – which proved to be the tie-breaker after the two teams ended the season tied with 274 points apiece.

“Everything leading up to Utah was pretty awesome,” said team owner/driver James Clay. “It was pretty tough the way it turned out, but overall the experience was pretty awesome.”

BimmerWorld/GearWrench also fielded the No. 80 BMW 328i for Clay and David White, finishing fifth in the team championship. Their best finish among six top-10 finishes was second at New Jersey.

“We’re looking forward to next year, and hopefully climb up to the next step,” Clay said. “We knew coming in to the series that we had a lot of technical knowledge from our years of racing these cars in other series, and the year was a confirmation of that. Our goal in 2009 was to start with two cars in 2010 and add two GS cars in 2011. That’s still our plan for next season.”
APR Motorsport
Developing new cars to run in both Grand Sport and Street Tuner led to a difficult season for APR Motorsports. However, the year ended with a strong showing for the team’s new VW Mark 6, winning the season finale from the pole at Miller Motorsports Park.

“It was an interesting season,” said APR director of competition and crew chief Jeff Mishtawy. “We moved from the fifth-generation Volkswagen GT I to the MK6 for 2010, which is a totally different car.”

Aaron Povoledo scored the first pole position for the VW MK6, and joined Ian Baas in winning the season-ending Salt Lake City 200 in the No. 91 APR Motorsport VW GTI. The pair led the most laps, with Baas having the fastest race lap.
The team’s No. 181 VW of Dr. Kevin Stadtlander and Josh Hurley finished fourth in the team standings, scoring podium finishes at VIR and Watkins Glen, in addition to taking fourth at Lime Rock and fifth at Watkins Glen. The team’s No. 171 took sixth in the championship.

APR Motorsport also ran in GS, fielding an Audi S4 in selected races, with a best finish of 14th at Lime Rock with Baas and Jordan Taylor.

“That car was far ahead of the development curve than we anticipated,” Mishtawy said, “but unfortunately as we went through the season, we had some pretty bad racing luck.”

Based on the development of the new Audi S4, and the strong finish to the season for the VW GTI M6, Mishtawy feels the team will be competitive in both Continental Tire Challenge championships in 2011. The team will announce its driver lineups in the near future.
Freedom Autosport
After campaigning a pair of Mazda MX-5s in the Street Turner Class of the Continental Tire Challenge for the past two years, Freedom Autosport added a pair of MazdaSpeed3s to its lineup in 2010. After the team opened the year with three consecutive podium finishes, though, the rest of the campaign proved to be a struggle.

Derek Whitis and Tom Long won at Homestead and Barber in the team’s No. 25 Mazda/LifeLock MX-5, while Rhett O’Doski and Andrew Carbonell took third in the season opener at Daytona in the No. 26 entry.

“We had a lot of momentum at that point of the season, even though we were given a competition adjustment,” team manager/driver Long said. “We were still competitive at VIR, but had a big incident with one car and an oiling problem with the other. From that point forward, we lost out momentum.”

Whitis and Long managed only a seventh at Watkins Glen before both cars were on the podium for the penultimate round at Trois-Rivières. The No. 25 finished second in the Canadian round, going on to finish seventh in the championship, while the No. 26 took third at Trois-Rivières and 10th in the final standings.
“We were given another adjustment late in the season and got the weight taken off,” Long said. “We had that double podium at Trois-Rivières and were running competitively at Miller, only to have an engine problem in the closing minutes while running third.”

It proved to be a learning year for the MAZDASPEED3s. Taylor Hacquard had the best finish for the No. 28, 10th at Daytona, while Eric Foss and Randy Pobst had the best showing in the No. 27, placing 11th at Barber.

“The MAZDASPEED3s qualified well but struggled staying on pace,” Long said. “As we developed the car through the year it got better and better, although the results weren’t there since we focused our effort on the MX-5. But we’re very pleased with the car – I feel the MAZDASPEED3s will be our best bullet for next year.”
Kinetic Motorsports
Kinetic Motorsports brought the new Kia Forte Koup into the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge in 2010, and team principal Nic Jönsson was “ecstatic” with his cars combining for seven top-10 finishes and finishing ninth and 11th in the championship.

“I feel our showing was remarkable for a brand-new manufacturer in a very competitive championship,” Jonsson said. “We were all about coming and getting experience in a new creation with absolutely no racing DNA built into the car. Many of our competitors have been racing for many, many years – and there’s some racing DNA built into them.”

Trevor Hopwood and Adam Burrows finished eighth in the driver standings. Their best finish in the No. 12 entry was fifth at Lime Rock Park, where Hopwood led six laps.

Jönsson and Andy Lally shared the team’s No. 10 entry, which finished 11th in the team championship. Their best finish was fifth at Virginia International Raceway, in addition to placing eighth at Barber Motorsports Park, New Jersey Motorsports Park and Miller Motorsports Park. Lally led four laps in the race at New Jersey’s Thunderbolt Raceway. Jönsson also qualified third at Lime Rock, only one-tenth of a second off the pole.

RSR Motorsports
RSR Motorsports finished 2010 with a bang, winning two of the last three races and finishing second in the season finale. Randy Smalley and Owen Trinkler won at New Jersey and Trois-Rivières before Trinkler and Sarah Cattaneo placed second in the finale at Miller Motorsports Park – previewing a possible driver combination for next season.

“Finishing the year like that was a good momentum push,” said Trinkler, driver of the No. 198 Cruise America/4 Winds RV/Mini USA Mini Cooper S. “In my mind, we’re the hottest team in ST, and we’re expecting good things next year.”
Trinkler said the team remained in Salt Lake City to test following the finale, and have a test scheduled for Road America to “get a leg up on the competition.
“There’s no slowing down,” he added. “We’re not going to bask in our glory – it’s full steam ahead for next year.

The team’s No. 198 Mini Cooper S finished third at Homestead early in the season in what was their only other competitive race. They had engine problems and did not start at Daytona, and missed four races following a fire at Barber Motorsports Park.

“We had only four competitive races in that car all year, and still finished 13th in the points,” Trinkler said.

The team also fielded two other Mini Coopers. Cattaneo, who earned the pole position at Homestead, and VJ Mirzayan finished seventh at New Jersey and ninth at Trois-Rivières, garnering 19th in the team standings in the No. 197 entry. RSR also fielded the No. 196 Mini, which had its best finish in the finale when Smalley and BJ Zacharias finished 13th.


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