Tyler McQuarrie, best known for his sideways style in the Formula D professional drifting series, proved his versatility as a racing driver by dominating the Toyo Tires World Challenge GTS class at Long Beach throughout the weekend in the LPL/DRS/Switcars/LCS/Dayco/M&T Lotus Exige 240 S. McQuarrie’s win was made all the more impressive by the fact that this was the World Challenge debut for both the car and the driver.
Having out-qualified class points leader P.D. Cunningham and his famous Realtime Racing Acura TSX, McQuarrie started on pole and got a jump on the field on the first lap. Shortly after the green flag dropped, Cunningham made contact with another car and had his Acura’s hood open into the windshield on lap one, forcing him into the pits and ending any challenge the Series’ all-time wins leader could have given McQuarrie.
“I had a great start and actually got by a couple of GT cars,” McQuarrie said. “I didn’t have a working radio in the race, so I didn’t actually realize who was behind me. I looked up at the screen on the second lap and saw one of the Acuras head to the pits with the hood up. I dialed it back just a little bit when I felt I could.”
“I have to really thank the LPL and DRS team. They only got this car about five weeks ago and really did a fantastic job with it. To be able to run it here at Long Beach—to run both weekends, is really awesome. I think April in Long Beach is a little bit like May in Indy. It’s a special time and to win here is just awesome.”
The GTS win was the first time a Lotus had won a race of any kind at Long Beach since Mario Andretti won the 1977 Formula One event in a John Player Lotus.
Acura/RealTime Racing’s Esayian finished a distant second to McQuarrie in the No. 34 Acura TSX for his third podium finish in as many races and GTS points leader Cunningham finished 6th after the early incident with his hood.
[source: World Challenge]