OCT 17 – Daytona International Speedway
Round 1 of the Mermaids Charity Sprint Series (MCSS) hosted by Prismatic Motorsports kicked off at Daytona International Speedway over the weekend, as teams set out to raise funds for Mermaids UK. This is the second GT3 series to be managed by Prismatic, coming off of an endurance season that concluded in August. Rather than continuing with the previous format of a single two-hour race, the MCSS events are comprised of two 45-minute races, each with a forced pit stop. A 15-minute qualifying session is held for the first race, and finishing order is inverted to start the second race.
This led to some fantastic racing and tense moments as the faster drivers worked their way through traffic.
Qualifying / Race 1
Steven Carlile in the #55 +MVT Racing Lamborghini was slated as the car to beat leading up to the weekend, as he was the winner of the previous season’s endurance race. The pace was there in practice with the #55 top of the charts, edging out the Prismatic Motorsports BMW of Emily Howe by almost 0.4 seconds. Qualifying would tell another tale however, seeing the #83 of Howe take pole position over Carlile by a slim 0.1 margin, and earning 2 bonus points for her effort.
As the race began, Howe and Carlile distanced themselves from the rest of the field, swapping positions a few times leading up to the mandatory pit stops. The #55 Huracán was the first to peel off to pit and managed to do so cleanly, but the car stalled for a moment when exiting the box, resulting in valuable seconds being lost. After the #83 of Howe completed her stop, she had a 5 second gap over Carlile and went on to win race 1 by a margin of 4 seconds.
As the field was inverted for the final race, Howe and Carlile started at the back of the pack, with Judith Cooper in the Prismatic Motorsports Porsche leading the way to the green flag. The #41 of Rebecca Rennie, the #4 of Elise Main, and the #89 of Lilac Zier moved forward and put up a strong fight with the #55 and #83, but could not stop Emily Howe from taking over the lead at the halfway point. After being held up in some traffic, Carlile opted to pit earlier than the rest of the field and use the clean air to his advantage, but a fuel miscalculation would force the car back onto pit road with 2 laps remaining. The error destroyed any hope for a victory, and resulted in a P4 finish while Howe went on to grab the win and sweep the weekend.
Race 1: P2 /// Race 2: P4
Point Standings after Round 1
|8||Lia Van Stevelen||12|