On a stormy summer Friday in June of 2016, Dime Racing driver Frankie Montecalvo faced a challenge: handling a car with a loose back end. Montecalvo was racing in Road America, a race track near Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin – one that attracts around 800,000 people from all over the world every year. He was driving a Mercedes SLS AMG GT3, and it demanded attention.
While Montecalvo snagged two second-place finishes at Road America in 2015, he went into the 2016 race unsure of what the outcome would be. As they started into the weekend, Montecalvo and the Dime Racing crew made quite a few changes to the GT3 in the duration of the practice sessions due to issues with the back end of the car. Per Montecalvo, they “…went into the qualifying session blind,” as an additional adjustment was made to the GT3 setup just before the session began. The adjustments proved to not be catastrophic, and Montecalvo qualified for the pole of the Saturday afternoon race, earning a time of 2:06.566.
Qualifying for the pole was wonderful for the team, but the issues with the back end of the GT3 had not been completely resolved. A few more adjustments were made prior to Saturday’s race, but they didn’t help much. Montecalvo said it best: “…the car was an absolute handful to drive that afternoon.” At this point in the race, with four minutes to go, the back end of the GT3 was still loose and the tires weren’t in great shape. Despite these setbacks though, Montecalvo managed to seize second place in the GTA Class for Round 12 of the Pirelli World Challenge Championship. He also qualified on the pole for Round 13 the next day, having driven the fastest race lap in class.
Going into Sunday’s race, Montecalvo was still a bit frustrated with the GT3 but kept in mind that it was a new day and a new race. The Dime Racing crew had been working tirelessly after Saturday’s race, removing all of the changes implemented the previous day and going in a different direction. Montecalvo felt the difference and was able to snag seventh overall. He managed to finish 41 seconds before his closest competitor, winning Round 13 in the GTA Class at Road America.
Despite the minor setbacks, Frankie Montecalvo, driving the Dime Racing SLS GT3, finished Road America with two podium finishes and a win.