ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (Sept. 23, 2019) – Not only did RealTime Racing win the Pro-Am category in both Blancpain GT World Challenge America races this past weekend, but Sunday’s stunning overall victory marked the team’s 100th win in World Challenge competition since 1993. Better still, the milestone was achieved at RealTime’s home track, Road America.
SATURDAY – QUALIFYING
Drivers Dane Cameron and Mike Hedlund made the first inroads to a victorious weekend by qualifying up front for both of the 90-minute races. Hedlund’s qualifying time put the No. 43 Acura NSX GT3 Evo fifth overall on the grid for Saturday’s race, while Cameron was able to place RealTime second overall for the start of Sunday’s race.
SATURDAY – RACE ONE
Hedlund had a flawless opening stint in Race One and came in for the pit stop and driver change with a small gap to the second-place Porsche.
It was up to Cameron to defend the Pro-Am class lead for the second half of the race.
“I had a pretty tough stint and was pushing very hard to fend him off,” Cameron said. “We had different strengths in different places between the two cars. I was able to shake him off a bit toward the end, before the full-course yellow. I wasn’t super excited to see that yellow, because I thought I’d built myself some breathing room. It turned out our Acura was strong on the long run, because we had a lot of tire left and performance left at the end of the race, which our competitors didn’t.”
Cameron played the restart wisely and was able to pass two cars in Turn Five, to add some traffic between himself and the Porsche. From there he was able to re-establish a gap and cruise home to the Pro-Am win and second-place overall.
SUNDAY –RACE TWO
World Challenge teams woke up to a wet race track on Sunday morning. The rain stopped just in time for a dry line to form around the 4.048-mile circuit.
“The track dried enough that it was pretty much a no-brainer for everyone to start on slicks, which is what happened,” Hedlund said. “When everyone starts on the same tires, it’s less stressful because either everyone made the right decision or everyone made the wrong decision.”
Cameron, who started the race, paid close attention to the track conditions on the pace lap and it paid dividends when the green flag game out.
“We were on the front row, which was good,” Cameron explained. “I felt like we had some good dry pavement on the outside of the first corner and the exit curbs were nice and dry. I made sure to get my tires ready and had a go for it around the outside on the first corner and was able to get the lead.”
Cameron inched away from the field and handed the car over to Hedlund with a comfortable gap. Though Hedlund is the ‘Am’ part of RealTime’s Pro-Am equation, he had his heart set on an overall victory.
“Dane’s pass on the outside going into Turn One on a half dry, half wet course was amazing,” Hedlund said. “That got me amped up and I wanted to beat some Pros!”
Hedlund had found himself in a similar position three weeks ago at Watkins Glen, where he was leading overall after taking over from Cameron. Unlike Watkins Glen, he had a comfortable gap to the Pro cars that were also stuck in traffic.
RealTime’s push for the overall win was nearly derailed with an ultra-brief full-course yellow.
“I heard ‘full course yellow’ on the radio, so of course I slowed down and then I heard ‘green green green’ so I floored it,” Hedlund recalled. “A lap or two later I saw the red Ferrari behind me. I went into another zone entirely and started taking a lot more risks, because I really wanted to get the overall win.”
Though he was under immense pressure, Hedlund managed to hold off the Ferrari by 0.495-second at the finish line.
The overall victory was the perfect way to celebrate RealTime’s landmark 100th race win.
“Road America holds a special place in everyone’s heart at RealTime,” Team Owner Peter Cunningham said. “I can’t imagine a better way to score wins number 99 and 100 than at our home track with brilliant drives by Dane and Mike. Getting the overall win as a Pro-Am entry today is a cherry on top of the sundae.”
RealTime has the potential to collect wins 101 and 102 in the World Challenge season finale at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, October 18 – 20.