American driver Brian Thienes will be making his fifth IPC start having joined the series mid-season in 2021. Thienes has raced both open-wheel and sportscars with success in both disciplines. With a fifth-place finish in just his second start in the Ligier LMP3 and his second-place finish at the Roar Before the 24, Thienes is confident that the new car is the perfect vehicle for continued racing success.
“I am looking forward to round 2 of the IMSA Prototype Challenge,” Thienes said. “US RaceTronics did a good job with the test at mid-Ohio. Patrick and I are well prepared for this race. We look forward to good results this weekend.”
Patrick Kujala (FIN), who celebrates his 26th birthday on race day, has had major successes throughout his 17-year racing career, winning at every level he’s competed in. His first championship, at the age of 9 in the Andalucian Karting Championship series, was just the start. Kujala won the 2012 Juniors championship in Formula Renault, the Lamborghini Super Trofeo World and European Championships in 2015, and the Lamborghini Super Trofeo European Pro-Am Championship in 2016 before moving into GT3 cars where he scored multiple wins including the 24 Hours at SPA in 2018. Kujala made his IMSA Prototype Challenge debut with an impressive second-place finish at the ROAR Before the 24 in Daytona in January and is looking forward to getting back into the car this weekend.
“After a good start at Daytona we want to carry that momentum coming to Mid-Ohio,” Kujala said. “The test wasn’t optimal because of the bad weather but on the positive side as a driver we got to drive in all different conditions which is always good.”
Race engineer Peter Jacobs has worked with Thienes and Kujala for many years in both Lamborghini Super Trofeo and now the IMSA Prototype Challenge Series is also looking forward to this weekend’s event at Mid-Ohio Sportscar Course. Jacobs expects the duo to be competitive after a good performance at a test earlier this month at the iconic track.
“Over the past two years, Brian Thienes has made huge strides in his driving under the guidance of US RaceTronics,” Jacobs said. “The Ligier 320 is an outstanding race car that suits Brian well; it gives him a great deal of confidence. Patrick Kujala, was an excellent choice as our second driver. Patrick is a very articulate, mature driver with an outstanding understanding of what the car is doing, and what it needs. This makes setting up the car much easier. Our Mid-Ohio test was for the most part under wet conditions, so we weren’t able to explore different options with regards to set up. I still believe, Brian and Patrick will be very competitive on race day.”
If you’re in the Mid-Ohio area make sure to come out and catch all the excitement live. The team will qualify on Saturday, May 14, 2022 at 2:40 p.m. and race Sunday morning May 15, 2022 at 9:25 a.m. local time.
Photo courtesy of Jeanine Wells