With his sights set on an IMSA podium since knowing he would compete in the Road Atlanta Petit Le Mans event weekend, Tyler Gonzalez was successful in his goal. Piloting a Copeland Motorsports Hyundai Veloster N TCR, Gonzalez raced alongside longtime teammate Tyler Maxson as it was the first time the pair would co-drive together in the Fox Factory 120 in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge. Closing the weekend with a second-place finish, the teenage duo was nearly victorious in their first ever event.
“The IMSA program is such a professional environment and somewhere that I would like to be in the future,” explained Gonzalez. “We had a great car and a great crew behind us so the result may surprise some, we expected to be fighting for the win.”
After progressing through the official practice sessions in fine form, a red flag in qualifying hurt their session result as the #27 entry was scored with the sixth fastest time. Looking forward to the race 24 hours later, Gonzalez, Maxson and their Copeland Motorsports team went over the strategy for the race and the best way to approach the two-hour long event
With Gonzalez behind the wheel for the drop of the green flag, the Floridian held his own advancing forward into the top-five and ran in the fourth position. Running fast and consistent lap times despite very little time in a TCR car, Gonzalez was pacing with season long IMSA regulars as he moved his way forward to give the team a chance to fight for the win.
Handing the wheel to Tyler Maxson late in the race, Maxson was able to get around the eventual race winner on a restart but fell back one position with less than two laps remaining to finish second and earn their first career IMSA podium.
“It was a great weekend, and I personally learned so much,” added Gonzalez. “While racing hard is key, management of equipment is the name of the game earlier in the race to be able to give yourself a chance to fight later on. I think we did a very good job in that, but it is all still new to both Tyler and me, and in the end, we nearly pulled it off.”
With the event now complete, Gonzalez will shift his focus to his next event and next season as he hopes to have all the details of his 2021 campaign ironed out in the near future.
For more information and/or partnership opportunities on Tyler Gonzalez, please contact Alberto Gonzalez at 407.466.9083 or via e-mail to email@example.com.
Photo Credit: IMSA