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Apr 29, 2014 - 03:57 PM
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Defending Champion MOMO NGT Motorsport Seeks to Reclaim Title at Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix
Posted by: newsla on Apr 29, 2014 - 03:54 PM
Sports Cars
Defending Champion MOMO NGT Motorsport Seeks to Reclaim Title at Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix


MOMO NGT Motorsport returns to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca this weekend for the Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix, looking to once again take the class win when the checkered flag drops Sunday afternoon, May 4, 2014..

 

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The GT Daytona (GTD) team took the GTC class win at Mazda Raceway last season in the American Le Mans Series, and is hoping to replicate that success in the newly formed IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship this weekend. MOMO partner Henrique Cisneros and season-long teammate Kuba Giermaziak will pilot the MOMO NGT No. 30 GTD Porsche 911 GT America (Type 991) in the legendary event. With the duo's combined Laguna Seca and Porsche experience, this will be a team to watch.

Although the No. 30 Porsche was taken out in a multi-car incident around the three-hour mark at the last GTD race in Sebring, Fla., the team has not stopped working since March to get back on track for this event. MOMO NGT is prepared for the challenge of reclaiming their Laguna Seca winning title and is ready to get back to racing.

With the class-split schedule of races that the IMSA Series is offering this season, the competition this weekend will consist of two two-hour races: one featuring the Prototype Challenge and GTD classes, and the later race showcasing the Prototype and GT Le Mans fields. While there will be just the two classes sharing the 2.238-mile Northern California circuit at a time, the traffic and weather conditions will also play into the team strategy.

Henrique Cisneros, No. 30 MOMO NGT Motorsport driver/MOMO partner: Last year at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, MOMO NGT Motorsport took the GTC class win with you and Nick Tandy. What would it mean to repeat that victory this year in the GTD class? "It would be great to repeat the win we had last year, but there are a lot more variables to deal with this time around. The field is three times larger and we are battling different manufacturers, so you could say the difficulty has increased. However, we will only be two classes given that the GT and Prototype cars will not race at the same time as us. This will make racing easier for the drivers and the fans so it should be a great show."

At Laguna Seca this year, the GTD class will be racing alongside only the Prototype Challenge class. What are your thoughts about racing with a smaller field of cars and with no P or GTLM cars for the first time? "My personal opinion is that racing should be limited to two or three classes at a maximum. The speed differential in a small track like Laguna Seca can be very dangerous and I am glad we will have a smaller field at this specific track."

With this being the first non-endurance event of the 2014 TUDOR Championship season, what is your mindset going into this shorter race at a track you are familiar with? "I do enjoy the shorter races since you get to really push the entire time. I have driven Laguna in various formats in ALMS and I think the shorter race format provides the best conditions for a great race. The amateurs have to drive an hour and then the last stint is between all the pros, so it is a very clear cut swap between Pro-Am."

Kuba Giermaziak, No. 30 MOMO NGT Motorsport driver: Having never raced at Laguna Seca before, what are you most looking forward to about this track?

"I think this is the track which I was most looking forward to this season. It's one of my favorite tracks on the computer games I play to prepare for races, and I'm really excited to finally race it in person. For sure the corkscrew is the corner I'm most excited for, and I can't wait to drive it in our Porsche."

With the unfortunate incident that took MOMO NGT out of the 12 Hours of Sebring, what are you most focused on to gain some points back for the team at Laguna Seca? "We were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time during the Sebring race, so the main goal is simply to finish the race. We really need points but I'm sure that if we aren't unlucky in the race as we were at Sebring, we should be easily fighting for a Top 5 finish."

At Laguna Seca this year, the GTD class will be racing alongside only the Prototype Challenge class. How will this smaller field of total cars and shorter event play into the strategy for the race?

"I think it's going to be much better with fewer classes racing here. The last two races, we had crazy traffic and so many incidents involving different cars and classes. The fewer cars we have on track, the easier it is to handle for drivers and for our team, so I'm hopeful that this works in our favor."

Ramez Wahab, NGT Motorsport Owner/No. 30 MOMO NGT Motorsport Team Manager: With the technicality and elevation changes that Laguna Seca offers, what are the biggest factors that go into preparing the car for this event? "In our case, we will enter the Laguna Seca race with a basically brand new car. We had to build up our No. 30 MOMO sponsored Porsche from scratch since the tub was heavily damaged from the previous 12 Hours of Sebring race. This alone is a big challenge and the tight two-day schedule at the track won't make it easier at all. We need to make sure the car is 100% from the first practice lap forward, otherwise we will be playing catch up the entire weekend."

MOMO NGT Motorsport won the GTC class at Laguna Seca last year. What knowledge and experience with the set up will you bring from last year's event to this year's race with the GTD class to hopefully replicate that success? "Last year we won Laguna Seca with Nick Tandy and Henrique Cisneros driving, and the team has actually won multiple times at Laguna Seca in IMSA GT3 Cup. Obviously we will do our best this year as well, although it's going to be a totally different scenario. We have a different car, different tires and brakes, aero, etc., so all the experience from the past doesn't count very much."

At Laguna Seca this year, the GTD class will be racing alongside only the Prototype Challenge class. How will this smaller field of cars and shorter event play into the strategy for the race? "I think it's good to have only two classes racing, GTD & PC. It's still going to be 35 cars racing each other on a short track at Laguna, and the speed difference will be much closer than what we are used to. It should be a good race and one that we hope to be successful in."

The green flag will drop on the Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix Powered by Mazda (PC/GTD) at 10:15 a.m. PDT on May 4. Tune in to FOX Sports 1 for LIVE coverage of the race beginning at 10:00 a.m. PDT.


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