The eEuroparts.com ROWE racing team kicked off the hectic summer part of the IMSA MICHELIN Pilot Challenge with round 4 at Watkins Glen International. Heading into the race weekend in a showstopping American flag livery, the #2 R8 drivers were ready to hunt down redemption.
Throughout each practice, the R8 seemed to be at a disadvantage to the other cars in the field as they struggled to find the perfect set up to combat the strength of the Mercedes and BMWs. Leaving everything he had on track, Kenton Koch qualified 11th heading into the second endurance race of the season. The duo held hope knowing that anything could happen in a 4-hour race which is exactly how it played out. Heading out for the second half of the race, Cooke experienced track condition deterioration faster than the team could call. Wicked rain moved quickly into the area making it near impossible for handling. Barely gaining their lap back after an added stop for slick tires, the team decided to leave Cooke out on those new slicks while water began to pool on the track. These unfavorable conditions resulted in the #2 R8 walking away with a 15th place finish. Some crazy weather that delayed the start of this race came full circle to work against the eEuroparts.com team.
Just three days later, the #2 R8 was back on track but this time up in the great white North. The fifth round, marking the half-way point of the season, kicked off with a promoter test day at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park giving Cooke and his co-driver time to cool off after a hard weekend before. Heading into practices, the co-drivers were right back in sync running comparable times throughout the weekend. For this round, a switch up was made and Cooke went out for qualifying. Feeling good about their race pace and overall set up for race conditions, Cooke qualified 12th but was not discouraged heading into the race. Within the first 10 minutes of the green flag dropping, Cooke showed what he had and jumped up into 9th position. Falling off tire conditions made it difficult to keep climbing through the ranks. At the minimum drive time, the engineer made the call for a full pit stop putting Koch out for the remainder of the race on new tires sooner than other competitiors. Koch experienced the same fall off and was able only able to manage a mid-pack time at best throughout it. Fortunately a few penalties worked into the #2 R8's favor resulting in the driver duo walking away with a P9 finish - just inside the top-ten.
Walking away from back to back weekends, put Cooke and Koch in 11th in the Driver Championship.