Jr III ("Junior Three") Racing had its first IMSA VP Racing SportsCar Challenge (VPSC) race at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday which saw Bijoy Garg finish on the podium in third after qualifying on the pole - the first pole position of his racing career - in the No. 3 S2 Cyber Ligier JS P320.
The Jr III Racing crew overcame a major setback following an incident in practice on Friday which resulted in the team having to rebuild the rear end of the Ligier. Despite working into the late hours of the night, the team came back on Saturday to qualify on pole.
Garg made his first laps around Daytona International Speedway during practice on Friday which saw him finish both sessions second overall in the 24 car field. Unfortunately, with less than 10-minutes left in practice 2, the No. 3 Jr III Racing Ligier had an off going into the Le Mans Chicane which resulted in extensive damage to the left rear of the car.
After the team completed repairs on Friday evening, Garg was back in action for qualifying on Saturday which saw him post a 1:43.091-second lap time which put him at the point for the first 45-minute sprint race that afternoon.
"While we certainly did not want to have to put the car back together like that, it was a great experience for the team and a bonding moment.” said Billy Glavin, owner of Jr III Racing. "The team has been working towards having the ability and systems in place to perform a rebuild like that over the last three years. Last night they showed that they could get it done. And Bijoy’s pole time today and podium reward everyone for their hard work, he did an excellent job."
Garg led the field to the green flag but unfortunately got loose going into turn one which forced him to the rear of the field. The first-time sports car driver took no time maneuvering through the slower GSX class before catching up to the rest of the LMP3 machines by lap 3. He continued his charge through the field which saw the California-native post the fastest lap of the race - 1:45.094-seconds - just 19-minutes into the 45-minute sprint event. By lap 16, Garg drove the No. 3 LMP3 to third as he settled into a rhythm. The checkered flag waved just 10 laps later, with Garg maintaining third across the finish line.
"I hit a bump wrong to start the race, and the car unloaded, sending me spinning," said Garg. "After something like that, you just have to recover. I had to be the best I could in traffic and recognize that it was a long race with opportunities to advance. I am excited for the podium; the guys earned it after last night. I do think winning the race was possible today, but that is what we will be chasing tomorrow."
The second race of the weekend takes the green flag tomorrow afternoon at 12:20 PM ET, live on Peacock. Garg and the No. 3 Ligier will start on the front row to chase another podium.
JR III PR