RealTime Racing teammates Ryan Eversley and Peter Cunningham took vastly different routes to the front during Sunday's Grand Prix of Long Beach, but in the end both trips resulted in top-10 finishes for the Acura TLX GT drivers.
Eversley started fifth and turned that grid spot into a strong result, running up front all day on his way to a sixth-place finish. Cunningham started 23rd but survived early-race contact and picked his way through field, making up 14 positions to finish ninth.
"It was a top-notch race. I'm very pleased to get out on the other side with a top-10 finish," Cunningham said. "Hats off to the RealTime guys, the car worked flawlessly throughout. Our No. 42 doesn't look as pretty as it did at the start, but it should be fine for next weekend [at Barber Motorsports Park]."
Eversley fought off challenges from the McLaren of Kevin Estre and JD Davison's Nissan to run as high as fourth, where he chased the Bentley of Chris Dyson through the latter half of the race. Duncan Ende's spin brought out the final caution of the day, and Michael Lewis and Davison got around Eversley on the restart, but his sixth-place finish moved Eversley into the top five in the championship standings after five races.
"It was really frustrating to give up spots on the restarts to cars that we were faster than throughout the race, but that's the nature of the beast here," reported Eversley. " It just wasn't our day, but I had a lot of fun and it's been awesome to compete in front of HPD's home crowd and the 55 engineers that came here for support. All in all, a good weekend."
Cunningham emerged from early contact that left his Acura TLX GT without a rear deck lid, but the series' all-time winningest driver kept moving forward. By the time Duncan Ende spun in the hairpin to cause the last of the race's four caution flags, Cunningham had climbed to 11th. On the last restart with five minutes remaining, Cunningham found a way around two more cars to earn a season-best ninth-place finish.
"Some of it was fair-and-square passing and out-braking other cars into the corner, but some of it was guys spinning off in front of me like ping-pong balls," Cunningham said of his march to the front.
The team won't have much time to bask in the afterglow of their promising result, as the Acuras will load up and head across the country for next weekend's doubleheader at Barber Motorsports Park near Birmingham, Alabama.
Developed from the production Acura TLX by HPD and RealTime Racing, the Acura TLX GT features HPD chassis and aerodynamic performance parts approved for Pirelli World Challenge competition. It is powered by a direct-injected, twin-turbocharged V6 engine, developed by HPD from the production TLX, and will utilize all-wheel drive, as found in Acura's SH-AWD system.
Video recaps from this weekend's Honda racing activities in Long Beach, including Verizon IndyCar, TUDOR sports car and Acura Pirelli World Challenge efforts, are being posted on the "Honda Racing/HPD" YouTube channel. Produced by the Carolinas Production Group, the video packages can be found in the 2015 HPD Trackside Video Playlist at: https://www.youtube.com/HondaRacingHPDTV
Ryan Eversley (driver, #43 RealTime Racing Acura TLX GT, qualified and finished 6th in Sunday's Pirelli World Challenge race): The car is in one piece, so we go to Barber and hopefully get a better result. The front of the field raced really strong. James Davison and I had a great battle and maybe nudged each other once or twice, but that's what happens on a street course. I was really impressed with him today—he always left me a lane to race, which is important.
Peter Cunningham (owner/driver, #42 RealTime Racing Acura TLX GT; qualified 23rd, finished 9th): Going into the Fountain, Bill Ziegler drove into the back of me at 25mph. That forced me into the guy in front of me, even though I was all the way on the brakes. The hit hurt the aero on the front straightaway, but I was still able to go flat.