Former U.S. Touring Car Championship driver and Grand-Am Cup newcomer Gary Sheehan drove the fastest lap of the race in the Mont-Tremblant 250 Saturday, posting a 1:47.569 on lap 8, one of 14 laps he led in the Istook-Aines Audi S4. That blistering lap was also the fastest of the weekend for the GS class, besting the pole time of 1:47.609 set in morning qualifying by teammate Anders Hainer. Sheehan’s lap sets a new track record for the GS class at Mont-Tremblant.
Starting from the front row, Sheehan took the lead in lap 1, turn 5, when pole-sitter and teammate Hainer bobbled and lost momentum. Sheehan then extended his lead to a maximum of 7.5 seconds, until pitting for fuel under caution on lap 14. During the race, Sheehan twice brought the car up through the field to 4th position, the latter charge coming after a drive-through penalty (for a blend-line infraction in pit lane). Late in the race, after his 2½ hour stint in the car, (much of it without water), the 4th place Sheehan brought the car in for the final pit stop and a driver change, to co-driver Ray Bailey. In the last laps of the race Bailey experienced a spin, which saw them slip to their 11th place finish. The race was eventually won by Powell/Borcheller in the Cadillac CTS-V, with a best lap of 1:47.970.
A tired, but happy Sheehan said after the race,
“This is certainly the best weekend of my career so far. It’s more than I could have hoped for. To have qualified on the front row and led the race early on, well, it’s a very big thing for me, in my first race at this level.” When told he set the fast lap and new track record, a surprised Sheehan said, “Wow. I’m in shock. That’s like a dream come true. The car was so good, the Istook-Aines guys are amazing; they set the car set up so well”. He adds, “We were out-braking people all day…thanks to Stoptech™ for the amazing brake setup”.
Commenting on the track and the Grand-Am Cup, Sheehan said,
“I love this track! It’s very challenging and a lot of fun. This track is where I began my racing career and this weekend it treated me well again. I can’t wait to race here again!”
The all-wheel-drive, twin-turbo Audi S4 has consistently been a front running car in the series and is a great match for Sheehan: Gary has been competing and winning in a Subaru Impreza WRX in the U.S. Touring Car Championship over the past three years with great success, most recently finishing second in championship points in 2003. The two cars have similar AWD drive trains, use turbocharged engines, and are set-up with Stoptech™ brakes.