Maxwell and Johnson drive the GT350R-C to second place in Texas
By Steve Turner
Photos courtesy of Ford Performance and IMSA
It was a dramatic outing for the Multimatic Motorsports teams in the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge race at the last race. A crash at Virginia International Raceway took out the Number 15 Shelby GT350R-C and led to the Multimatic team hauling last yearâ€™s Boss 302R 700 miles down from Canada to compete. In the end, neither Shelby GT350R-C graced the podium. The team looked to change that at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, last Friday.
The Multimatic team rebuilt the damaged car so they were back to full strength with two Shelby GT350R-C racers. Drivers Scott Maxwell and Billy Johnson were back behind the wheel of the reconstructed Number 15 racer, while Austin Cindric and Jade Buford again piloted the Number 158 Shelby.
For the third time this season, Scott Maxwell scored the Total Pole award with a 2:23.232 lap and an average speed of 85.456 mph, while Austin Cindric qualified in the eighth starting position.
â€œThey got the car ready about a week ago, but it’s always a big deal because with these cars, they’re not like prototypes or F1 cars, where you just drop parts off and put new ones on,â€ Scott said. â€œThe guys did phenomenal to get it ready. There were a lot of sleepless nights. The proof is in the puddingâ€”they gave us a great car again. I thought we had a chance at a top three. I knew we had a good car, based on this morning, but Iâ€™m happy to get the pole. Itâ€™s a bonus. I don’t think weâ€™ve won a race from the pole this year, so it would be nice to win the double.â€
It turned out that Scottâ€™s post-qualifying statement was prophetic, as starting in the first spot didnâ€™t lead to a win. While both Shelby GT350R-Cs led of portions of the race, the timing of pit stops and caution flags didnâ€™t bode well for them.
â€œI canâ€™t say enough about the team at Multimatic,â€ Scott said. â€œThey did a phenomenal job. We were struggling with understeer quite a bit, so after a couple of laps I really struggled, but the cars were coming back to us toward the end of the stint. I think thatâ€™s what we saw with Billy.â€
In the end, the driving duo piloting Number 15 was a scant 1.292 seconds behind the race winning pair, Robin Liddell and Andrew Davis. Meanwhile, the GT350R-C driven by Austin and Jade finished where it started in the eighth position.
â€œI was catching the leader, especially in traffic,â€ Billy added. â€œMaybe if Iâ€™d had a few more laps (I couldâ€™ve won). They were faster right off the bat and I was just catching them over the long run and in traffic. I think some of the fastest cars today had some problems, but it was a great finish for the No. 15 Shelby GT350R-C for Ford Performance and Multimatic. Everybody worked really hard and itâ€™s great to get a podium.â€
If you missed the liveÂ IMSA race, you can watch the full replay right here…