Four years on from IMSA debut, secures inaugural VP Fuels championship
Braselton, Ga. (13 October 2023) - Bijoy Garg and Jr III (“Junior - Three”) Racing secured the first ever 2023 LMP3 VP Racing SportsCar Challenge (VPRC) Championship title following Friday’s season finale at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.
With practice opening the event weekend on Wednesday, Garg scored the fastest spot in the second session with a 1:16.617 second lap in the No. 3 Wing Ligier JS P320.
A rainy Thursday morning qualifying session saw Garg qualify for the season finale, scoring a front row start with the second fastest lap of the session (1:25.276 seconds).
The first of two races took place Thursday evening under dry track conditions. Garg was able to take the lead on the first lap before a full course caution came out on lap 10.
A final restart with just under ten minutes saw Garg under immense pressure for the lead, but he held on despite some challenging traffic to score his 7th win of the season.
“That last lap was very tough,” said Garg. “I caught some traffic in the wrong places and just spent so much time in traffic that Jagger (Jones) was able to close the gap. I had to defend him pretty hard going down the straight. Luckily the caution came out at a good time and I was able to keep the lead. I’m very happy for the whole team to get this win and hopefully do it again on Friday.”
The second 45- minute race was held Friday morning, Garg took the green flag from fifth on the grid. On the first turn of the first lap Garg was able to make up two positions to sit third. Unfortunately the No. 3 Wing Ligier took a spin with 30 minutes to go, but Garg was able to rejoin the field in fourth. Unlike Thursday’s race, Friday’s race ran at a relentless pace with no cautions, making it more difficult for Garg to work his way back through the pack.
After battling for the third place position for several laps, the California native was able to get the position and start closing the gap to second. As the white flag waved the leader pulled off with a mechanical issue, in turn 2, moving Garg to sit second. Just a few turns later, the then - leader then spun giving Garg the lead. Garg crossed the finish line to score his eighth win of the season.
“The race went really bad, until it went good,” said a smiling Garg. “Two people had issues in front of me which gave me the lead. I feel like at Road Atlanta, the starting position makes a big difference and when we got the penalty it set us back quite a bit. I felt like our pace was good overall, the car needed a bit of work but I’m extremely happy with how it turned out. I’m so happy to have won the championship for the Jr III Racing team. It’s a bittersweet moment because the team and I are both going in different directions next year. A huge thank you to everyone at Jr III Racing who helped develop me into the driver I am today.”
Though Jr III Racing has finished with VPRC, it still has to finish the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship on Saturday (October 14), where Garg will join Garett Grist and Dakota Dickerson in the No. 30 Wing Ligier.