The Fox Factory 120 at Road Atlanta marked the end of the 2017 IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge season; the first year of the GT4 technical specifications. Some would say the duo of Machavern and Murcott had a solid lead heading into the weekend. Others crunched the numbers and thought it too close for comfort.
During the season announcers nicknamed the pair and referred to Dillon Machavern and Dylan Murcott during broadcasts and interviews as the Dillon’s, D2 , a pair of twenty-somethings. The crew joked that it made radio communications between the pit box and the driver easy because there was always a Dillon/Dylan behind the wheel.
With 10 challenging rounds of competition over a 10-month season in the books, the pathway to the championship wasn’t easy for Machavern and Murcott or the RS-1 crew. Along the way, the pair campaigned the No. 28 RS1 Porsche GT4 MR to 4 podium finishes, a victory at Virginia International Raceway and 3 second place finishes at Mosport, Lime Rock Park and Road America, a trio of fourth place finishes at Daytona, COTA and Laguna Seca, and three bumps in the road at Sebring, Watkins Glen and Road Atlanta.
The team’s resolve was tested on the final day of competition. During qualifying and after posting a time to place them 4th on the grid, the No. 28 suffered an engine failure. As the cockpit filled with smoke, the crew and drivers were not going to let the season end that way. The team immediately undertook the daunting task of swapping out a motor in record time to get the No. 28 to the false grid. The No. 28 would start the race from 13th. The goal was to race for position, take care of the car and but by all means bring it home to the checker. Sounds easy but proved a challenge for both drivers. Murcott drove the opening stint reporting issues early on but brought the car to pit lane during the second full course caution in 9th. A spectacular pit stop by the crew for fuel, tires and driver change had Machavern up to P2 when the field went back to green flag racing. The directive, simply maintain and bring the car to the checker. Problems with the replacement engine and a failing catalytic converter put the car in protection mode, limiting the performance of the car thus forcing Machavern to give back positions and slip back to P9 by the time the checker was displayed. “The hardest part of racing is letting cars pass you. It’s not in your DNA but the team communications were clear, bring it home to the checker.” Machavern said.
At the end of the day, Dillon Machavern of Charlotte and Dylan Murcott of Ancram, NY were the 2017 IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge Series Grand Sport (GS) Drivers’ championship, the top class in the series, in the No. 28 RS1 Porsche Cayman GT4 MR with a total of 279 points, a slim 13 and 14 points respectively ahead of the second and third place teams. RS1, in its first season competing in GS, earned the Team Championship and Porsche the Manufacturers’ Championship.
“This title is absolutely incredible,” Machavern said. “It’s a huge team effort for all the boys at RS1. They worked so hard all season and today just showed what they’re willing to do in order to take home a title.”
The entire season was telecast on FOX Sports 1 and is available at IMSA.com and on IMSA’s YouTube Channel.