Nico Jamin and ANSA Motorsports claimed a sweep of the Pirelli World Challenge GTS championship weekend, with the young Frenchman taking victory in Saturday’s round 3 and Sunday’s round 4 at Virginia International Raceway in Alton.
Once again, the Frenchman showed that he can win in any type of car and that he is a very special professional racer. Since March, Jamin won five races in North America in three different series: One in an Indy Light, two in an LMP3 prototype and two in a GT4 race car.
Pirelli World Challenge rookie, Ricco Shlaimoun, came to compete in his first professional race at VIR, and the young racer from California finished in the top five in the GTS Am class on Sunday in round 4 and scored his first top-ten finish overall in the Pirelli World Challenge GTS championship.
ANSA Motorsports won the 2016 Pirelli World Challenge GTS driver championship and finished second in the team championship, but has not yet secured a full-season racer to replace Brett Sandberg for the 2017 championship.
Frankie Montecalvo raced in the No. 13 KTM X-Bow GT4 for the season opener at St. Petersburg, and Jamin was selected to drive the ANSA Motorsports KTM X-Bow at VIR to show that the team from Miami Gardens, Florida, has a competitive package to offer to the right driver.
In Virginia, Jamin was driving the same machine that Sandberg took to the 2016 GTS drivers’ championship and the 21-year-old looked flawless during the two VIR contests. The ANSA crew and engineers worked well together all weekend with Jamin and Shlaimoun to find the right set-ups, and that showed and paid off.
On Saturday morning, Jamin qualified on the front row and Shlaimoun qualified 7th in the GTS Am class. Later in the afternoon, Jamin scored a dominant victory in his World Challenge debut. The Mazda-Road-to-Indy star took his No. 13 ANSA Motorsports KTM X-Bow GT4 to a 3.396-second win over Jeff Courtney’s pole-sitting No. 99 Maserati GT4 in second.
Taking advantage of the cornering ability of his KTM, Jamin got around Courtney in Turn 4 on the opening lap and bridged out an early lead, which was stabilized through the caution-free 50-minute race. It came as a commanding run for the driver from Rouen, France, who was fresh off victory in the 2017 Indy Lights round 3 at Barber and swept the weekend behind the wheel of an ANSA Motorsports LMP3 prototype in the first IMSA Prototype Challenge Presented by Mazda series event at Sebring last March.
Shlaimoun had a busy first professional race with ANSA and finished 6th in the GTS Am class in his first PWC race on Saturday and 14th overall.
Thanks to his fastest race lap in race 1, Jamin started on the pole position on Sunday in race 2. At the end, the ANSA Motorsports driver edged out Jeff Courtney’s No. 99 Maserati GT4 by 2.076 seconds at the line, in an equally dominant performance from Saturday’s feat.
Shlaimoun’s first race gave him plenty of experience that helped him prepare for race 2, and after a clean race, he finished 4th in the GTS Am class and 9th overall. It resulted in a positive performance for Shlaimoun, who resisted the pressure, improved his driving lap after lap and showed his potential throughout race 2.
After four rounds competed in the PWC 2017, ANSA Motorsports returned to Miami Gardens, Florida, with two new race-win trophies, two fastest-race laps and a pole position to add to the team’s record book.
With 14 rounds to be raced this year, ANSA Motorsports positioned itself at VIR as a true GTS championship contender for the 2017 season.
The VIR PWC GTS event will be telecast on CBS Sports network on Sunday, May 14, at 5 p.m. EDT.
The next Pirelli World Challenge GTS championship event is scheduled north of the border for May 19-21 at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Ontario, Canada.