Mazzotta, McKee top RealTime Acuras
Kleinubing misses podium finish
September 6, 2003 – Monterey, California
Rookie RealTime Racing drivers Zac Mazzotta and Kevin McKee ran smooth races in their Acuras at the SCCA Speed World Challenge Touring Car Championship series event at Laguna Seca Raceway, with both finishing in the top-15 in the competitive 36-car field.
However, Pierre Kleinubing, RealTime’s lead driver, missed a podium finish when water seeping from a cracked cylinder head dampened the electronics in his Acura RSX.
Kleinubing qualified third fastest for this event on the 2.238-mile circuit, one of seven cars to dip below the qualifying speed record. He jumped to second place on the first lap, fell back to third on lap six, but then pitted on the 12th lap.
“The hot water seeping from the crack caused the engine to misfire,” he said. “Once the crew dried everything and got me back on the track, I was in 28th place. The cars in this series are so closely matched that I was only able to get back up to 22nd place by the end.”
The results keep both Kleinubing and Acura in second place for their Driver’s and Manufacturer’s Championships, with two races remaining.
McKee and Mazzotta, both Californians, were racing on familiar turf, and qualified 22nd and 25th, respectively.
Climbing steadily through the field, Mazzotta finished 14th in his RealTime Racing Acura RSX, a twin to Kleinubing’s car, while McKee was right behind his teammate in 15th place with one of the team’s Integras.
“Getting the right setup for a race at Laguna Seca is harder to do than at almost any other track, simply because of the changing track conditions between practice, qualifying and the race,” Mazzotta said.
“Since the track is located in a sandy bowl,” McKee added, “there can be sand blowing across the surface, there can be a little dew from the normal morning fog, it can be cool or hot, and you could be driving on rubber that’s just been put down by the American Le Mans Series cars. All those variables are going to require changes in the car. It’s just the nature of the beast.”
Seventy-five year old Fred Meyer had one of the finest weekends of his long career at Laguna Seca, going from 35th to 24th in his RealTime Integra, staying on the lead lap. In fact, Meyer’s lap times were within 2.8% of the best efforts by the team’s younger drivers, the closest he has been in more than seven season with RealTime.
The ninth of 10 events for RealTime Racing will be Oct. 15-17 at Road Atlanta, where the series will play before an immense crowd on the ALMS Petit Le Mans weekend.
The Laguna Seca Touring Car event will air on the SPEED Channel, Saturday, Sept. 20, at 2 p.m. EST.
The RealTime Racing Touring Cars are sponsored by the Acura Division of American Honda, Red Line Oil, Eibach Springs, BOSCH, Sparco, Hella, Gemini Technologies, Goodridge, Brembo, Hawk Performance, and Acura Genuine Parts.