Back to the Front
Multimatic Motorsports Shelby GT350R-C racers finish 1-2 at Lime Rock
By Steve Turner
Photos courtesy of Ford Performance and IMSA
We know that the Shelby GT350R-C made history at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park by notching its first victory. However, that race was bitter sweet. While car 158 made history on two fronts, car 15 narrowly missed a podium finish because of an on-track altercation that put driver Scott Maxwell hard into the tire wall. Well, over the weekend the two Shelby GT350R-Cs finished first and second in the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Championship at Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, Connecticut.
Not only did the Multimatic Motorsports teams fulfill their potential in Round 6 of CTSC competition, but they did so in dramatic fashion. The winning duo of Scott Maxwell and Billy Johnson finished atop the podium, but also they did so in a Number 15 car rebuilt from scratch in about a week. If that weren’t dramatic enough, the duo had to work their way through the field after qualifying complications left them starting the race in the back of the pack.
This time Scott Maxwell started the race in the re-born Number 15 GT350R-C, and by the time he stepped out of the car it was in first place.
“I just had to be patient and manage the tires. The car was very consistent and that’s what you really need here. I knew I had Billy (Johnson) to close, so I just wanted to stay out of trouble and give him a good car to take to the finish,” Scott said. “I just had to be patient, manage the Continental Tires and pick the guys off one by one. The key was staying consistent and staying out of trouble. I knew we had a good chance if I handed Billy a good car to close the race.”
Of course, running a clean race from behind was just part of the challenge. Doing so in what amounted to a new car built in a week just added layers of drama to the story.
“I can’t thank the team at Multimatic and Ford Performance enough for their hard work to get this car rebuilt from scratch in just a week,” Billy Johnson said. “It was written off at the last race, so it was an incredible job they did to have the car ready to go here. This result shows their hard work. The GT350R-C was awesome and we had a great pit strategy. It was great to get some luck to go our way for once and be able to come out on top. This is a great result for the whole team.”
“Getting a new car built in one week was incredible,” he added. “The guys at Multimatic gave us a great car, and they had great pit strategy. We also had a little bit of luck go our way, so we were able to come out on top. The result is deserving of the team’s hard luck and dedication.”
It was definitely redemption for the team Scott and Billy, as they had been in great position before the crash at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park.
“It was a great day,” Multimatic’s Technical Director Larry Holt said. “To finish 1-2, I mean Jade (Buford) did a fantastic job. It’s a bit of a Cinderella story, coming from the back in a car that happened to be built from scratch in the last week and a half. And we are really racing, there is nothing that gets left out there. Those Nissans were coming for us. I can’t say enough, Billy is a star, and Scott (Maxwell) did an incredible job coming from the back like he had to do.”
Making it an even better weekend for the GT350R-C teams was Austin Cindric and Jade Buford finishing in the P2 spot. Winner of the last race, Austin Cindric drove first and turned the car over to Jade Buford. From there, Austin hopped a plane to race in Red Bull RallyCross in Detroit, Michigan, where he also earned a P3 podium finish. He left the GT350R-C in the capable hands of teammate Jade Buford to finish the race.
“He fought me clean, it was a great battle,” Jade said of Billy Johnson. “I just had to be defensive. I couldn’t be happier with my Multimatic Ford Performance GT350R-C today, it performed great. Couldn’t be happier with a 1-2 finish—if I can’t win, I just want my teammate to. I think we have been building momentum the last few races, I think we need to just keep carrying it on, pushing for the championship. It should be a good battle to the end.”
The Multimatic teams will try to continue that momentum for the Ford Performance Shelby GT350R-C as the CTSC series rolls into Road America on the weekend of August 7-8.