Sebastian Priaulx brought his 2020 Michelin Pilot Challenge season with Multimatic Motorsports to a close with a hard-fought sixth place finish during the season finale at Sebring International Raceway (12/13 November).
The trip east to Florida brought a whirlwind season to a close for Priaulx, with the condensed calendar after the COVID-19 enforced break seeing eight events take place in four months – a schedule that began with a first visit to Sebring in July.
On that occasion, the race was dominated by red flag stoppages and yellow flag caution periods caused by adverse weather including lightning strikes. Fortunately this time around the Guernseyman was greeted by much better conditions.
Priaulx had a new team-mate for the weekend as he shared the Multimatic Motorsports Ford Mustang GT4 with Canadian racer Marco Signoretti. The duo immediately gelled and produced some promising pace across Thursday’s two free practice sessions.
That continued into qualifying that evening, with a great performance securing them third on the grid. That equalled the best result of the season for the #22 Mustang, and left them feeling confident of mounting a challenge for the podium in the two hour race the next day.
Signoretti started behind the wheel and put in a strong opening stint to remain in the top three before handing the car over to Priaulx prior to the halfway point. Unfortunately a change from a yellow flag caution period to green flag racing as they pitted cost them crucial ground.
Settling down in tenth position, Priaulx mounted a charge. The 19 year old showed impressive pace as he gained a couple of places, including passing the sister Ford Mustang. Up to eighth with ten minutes to go, he made further progress in the closing laps to finish sixth.
Sebastian Priaulx: “After a difficult outing during our last visit to Sebring, I was pleased to be able to have the chance to come back and have another go at scoring a strong result at a circuit which I really enjoy racing at.
“The podium was always our goal, but we knew it would be a tough ask at this circuit. Pace was strong in free practice though and we got a good qualifying result, extracting everything we had from the car to put us in a good position for the race.
“Marco [Signoretti] put in a great opening stint and we were right in the podium battle, but sadly as we pitted in a caution period the race went green again. The time lost in the pits put us right on the backfoot, but I was able to fight through to sixth at the finish for a strong result.
“I can’t believe it’s the end of the season already. It has been such a valuable year for me, a great opportunity to learn all of the key US race tracks. I’ve developed a lot as a driver and I can’t thank Multimatic Motorsports and Ford Performance enough for the opportunity.”