PF Racing claimed its first IMSA podium finish during the Michelin Encore 4-hour endurance race held at Sebring International Raceway this past weekend. PF Racing full-time drivers James Pesek and Jade Buford were joined by 24 Hours of Daytona winner Shane Lewis, who had first campaigned with the Missouri outfit earlier in October.
PF Racing concluded its first full-time IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge season in Sebring, competing for the class win in the Grand Sport category. The Ford Mustang GT4 showed promising pace throughout the weekend as the crew found the perfect set-up for this challenging track, renowned for its old pavement and bumps, which makes racing at Sebring all the more exciting.
Although the car was plagued with brake issues throughout the weekend, the PF Racing Team’s hard work paid off as the Ford Mustang GT4 was able to set the fastest lap time in FP4 and qualifying, clinching their first GS pole position in the Michelin Pilot Challenge.
Nashville resident Jade Buford, who set the fastest lap time in qualifying, took the green flag of this 4-hour race and hung onto the top spot for a number of laps until later being passed. Harrisonville’s native James Pesek took over from Buford, who had maintained the car in second place throughout his stint. The team tried a different strategy to minimize pit stops, which paid off as Pesek came down pit road for a quick splash and go, and went back on track in first place.
Shane Lewis fell victim to the break issues the team had been experienced all weekend at corner 3 with the car coming to a halt. Shane was able to get the car back in the paddock where the PF Racing crew managed to resolve the issue while only losing minimal time.
The Florida resident was able to get back on track but was more than 15 laps down. However, a competitor had to retire early, which allowed the pink Mustang to settle into third place for the remainder of the race.
PF Racing is thrilled to have claimed its first podium finish in IMSA, finishing the 2019 season on a high note.
James Pesek: “Jade had a great start of the race and brought me back a clean car. However, when I got in, the brake issues progressed and changed my entire stint strategy. Then Shane went out and had a complete brake failure. The team did an outstanding job putting the car back together, which allowed Shane to go back out there and bring back home a third-place finish. I am very happy to have scored our first podium in IMSA, especially here, at such an iconic track.”
Jade Buford: “We made the most of a challenging day. We had brake issues right from the get-go. The car and the team were strong enough to claim a first victory, but in the end, the crew did very well fixing the issue and get us back out there to finish third.”
Shane Lewis: “It was a crazy deal; going from pole position to having brake issues, to the car back running great, to it completely breaking down on the track, then to the crew fixing it, to standing on the podium spraying Florida orange juice instead of Champagne. How do you explain that crazy kind of weekend other than I’m super stoked for the team and their first podium finish, especially considering all the hard work they have put into it. It’s just a pleasure that I can be a part of it.”