Johnson and Thompson WIN at CTMP; First win for Toyota GR Supra GT4 EVO in Pilot Challenge Competiton
Hattori Motorsports has been declared the winner of Saturday’s IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge race at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park after the No. 95 Turner Motorsport BMW M4 GT4 was assessed two penalties following post-race technical inspection.
It marks the first Pilot Challenge win for Toyota and made Hattori Motorsports a winner in its series debut. Thompson also claimed victory in his series debut while it was the 24th for Johnson, making him the winningest driver in Pilot Challenge history.
"This was such an incredible and meaningful win" said Johnson. "To help Toyota achieve their first victory in the series, Parker and Hattori Motorsport's first series wins on their debut race, and to break a 7-year tie to become the winningest driver in Michelin Pilot Challenge history was truly special."
"We had a strong effort going into this race weekend and the way the entire team, drivers, and car came together having never worked together or even tested prior to this weekend is a testament to the professionalism and determination of everyone involved. Parker had a flawless first stint, the team had two great pit stops, and after the dust settled, we came out with the win. I am thankful for this opportunity from Shige Hattori, Hattori Motorsports, Weins Auto Group, Toyota, Brian Richards and everyone involved with making this possible."
RESULTS: Canadian Tire Motorsport Park 120 (Updated)
Hattori to Run Toyota GR Supra GT4 EVO for Thompson, Johnson
NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series team Hattori Motorsports will make its IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge debut this weekend at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, fielding a Toyota GR Supra GT4 EVO for Parker Thompson and Billy Johnson.
Founded by former open-wheel driver Shigeaki Hattori, the North Carolina-based operation has previous sports car racing experience from a limited-season campaign in Pirelli GT4 America with the same car.
“In just a few short meetings with Shigeaki and the rest of the team, I feel like we have the right ingredients for a special performance,” said Thompson, who is coming off his maiden IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship victory at Watkins Glen.
“I can appreciate Shige’s early career experiences in open-wheel racing, and how he’s built an outstanding legacy with the Toyota brand that spans multiple series.
“The chance to contribute to that legacy, even if it’s just for a single race weekend, is something I don’t take lightly.”
Johnson, meanwhile, moves over from Archangel Motorsports for the new drive with Hattori.
“I’m excited to be driving the No. 50 Weins Auto Group Hattori Motorsports Supra GT4 EVO at CTMP with Parker,” said Johnson.
“It’s great to be competing in a Toyota at this level having driven them early in my career at Import-tuning Time Attack events in southern California.
“Mosport is such a great track to drive and I feel like we have a strong team, car, and driver lineup to be in contention for a win.”
No word has been given if CTMP is currently a one-off for the team or if additional Pilot Challenge races are planned this season.
A total of 35 cars are entered for Saturday’s two-hour Canadian Tire Motorsport Park 120, which sees several driver changes since Watkins Glen, including Kyle Marcelli aboard the No. 88 Archangel Aston Martin Vantage GT4 alongside Todd Coleman.
Coleman and Johnson switch to IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge
After pulling-out of the SRO America Championship earlier this year, Todd Coleman and Billy Johnson have made the transition over to the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge series and will be piloting the No.88 Aston Martin Vantage GT4 for Archangel Motorsports. Their first race will be Round-5 of the series at Watkins Glen on June 25th.
Archangel, Todd Coleman and Billy Johnson team up for GT4 America
Todd Coleman is switching to Aston Martin, tabbing Mike Johnson’s Archangel Motorsports to run a Vantage for himself and Billy Johnson for the full season of Pirelli GT4 America. In addition, Coleman will compete in GT America, beginning this weekend on the streets of St. Petersburg.
Todd Coleman Racing, supported by Archangel Motorsports, will make its team debut racing the No. 69 Aston Martin Vantage GT4. In addition to co-driving, Johnson will also act as the team’s coach as Coleman contests the single-driver GT America series.
“I couldn’t be more excited to partner up with Billy for the SRO America championships,” said Coleman. “He is an incredible talent that I am confident to learn a lot from over the course of the season. We have put together a dream of a season with our partners at Archangel Motorsports and Aston Martin, with more events to be added. We are looking forward to getting back on the track starting with St. Petersburg this weekend.”
Coleman earned three podiums last year in the GT America series, laying the groundwork for what should be a strong 2023 season. Johnson, a professional driver with experience in the sports car racing and NASCAR, will be a strong addition to the team. He started racing karts at 13 years old, going on to become the 2016 IMSA Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge champion and development driver for Multimatic Motorsports and Ford Performance.
“I’m really looking forward to racing with Todd in the GT4 America series this year,” said Billy Johnson. “The whole Todd Coleman Racing team with Mike Johnson and Archangel running the Aston Martin GT4, I feel like we have the team, car, and driver lineup that is capable of challenging for wins.”
The partnership marks the first “official” presence for Archangel Motorsports in SRO competition, although Mike Johnson has directed the efforts for other teams in GT4 America.
“I had managed the TRG team last year with the two Porsche Caymans in GT4 America, and met Todd Coleman through some contacts and he was looking to change brands,” Mike explained. “I had a lot of experience with the Aston Martin running it for Volt Racing for three years. A couple phone calls, and next thing you know, an Aston Martin showed up at my shop and Todd and I put together a good program. We started at Daytona with the VP Racing SportsCar Challenge races and the four-hour (IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge) race on the Rolex weekend, but the whole plan has always been to do a full season of GT4 America.”
The Pirelli GT4 America season, along with Fanatec GT World Challenge America and Touring Car America, begins March 31-April 2 at Sonoma Raceway.
Johnson WINS Pickup Solo 40 in Thailand for Ford Performance!
Billy Johnson piloted the factory-backed Ford Ranger to victory in a field that included a grand total of 19 entries at one of the most prominent endurance races in South East Asia. Despite Johnson’s extensive experience behind the wheel of all sorts of racing machines, incredibly, this was his very first stint in a pickup at any track. After qualifying second, Johnson battled factory Toyota and Isuzus entries, took over the lead and took the Ranger to vicotry circle.
“I was thrilled to compete in a pickup truck for the first time in a Ford Ranger,” Johnson said. It’s amazing to work with the Ford’s racing partners like Aurora Motorsports, who has been developing and racing the Ranger in Thailand for the last three years. The handling of the Ford Ranger #55 was very impressive. The recent victory has reflected the continued development of FTR and Ford’s racing partner to highlight the Ranger’s endurance and performance.”
“It’s a true pleasure to see the success of FTR team in developing a highly capable Ford Ranger pickup that could finish and win an endurance race together with a talented race driver after the team had just completed the 2022 Thailand Super Series race and took the first runner-spot in Thailand Super Pickup category,” said Ratthakarn Jutasen, managing director of Ford Thailand. “FTR and Aurora team also had a great opportunity to get professional advice from Billy to help refine and improve the Ranger’s performance and prepare to compete and win in 2023 racing season.”
Johnson to drive the factory-backed Ford Ranger in Thailand
Billy Johnson will be driving the factory-backed Ford Ranger in the Pickup Solo 40, one of the most prominent endurance races in South East Asia. The race will be held at the famed Buriram Chang International Circuit in Buriram, Thailand.
"I am excited to race in South East Asia for Ford of Thailand" said Johnson. "Having competed in many Ford vehicles over my career, it will be quite special to be on the other side of the continent competing in such a unique form of motorsports".
Johnson and Lau finish 2nd in SRO GT4 America Race at Watkins Glen
Watkins Glen, NY - Billy Johnson and Edgar Lau finish 2nd at Watkins Glen in the No. 124 Rotek / ARG Motorsports Mustang GT4.
"Edgar did an amazing job and had an impressive last lap drive to put us on the podium" said Johnson. "This was a much needed redemption after suspension damage in Race 1 when passing for the lead took us out of contention. The Rotek / ARG Motorsports guys gave us a great car all weekend and Edgar put in some great drives to make this an awesome weekend".
Johnson to drive No.124 Rotek / ARG Mustang GT4 in SRO Americas
Buescher Drives to P6 finish at
Billy Johnson is a (freelance) American professional race car driver who has competed in the World Endurance Championship (WEC) for Ford Chip Ganassi Racing in the #66 Ford GT, winning the 2018 6-Hours of Spa, and is the 2016 IMSA Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge GS champion for Ford/Multimatic Motorsports in the #15 Ford Performance Shelby GT350R-C with co-driver Scott Maxwell.
With 24 wins and 50 podiums to his name, Billy is the winning-est driver in the Michelin Pilot Challenge history. In addition, Billy has multiple GT class podium finishes for Turner Motorsports, driving the BMW M3 in the IMSA GTD Class.
Johnson is a development driver for Multimatic and Ford Performance and helped develop the LeMans winning Ford GT racecar, Championship winning Shelby GT350R-C, Mustang GT4, FP350S racecars, as well as street cars including the GT350, GT350R, GT500, and Ford GT.
He has been called to drive in numerous endurance races including the 24 Hours of LeMans in the #66 Ford GT, 24 Hours of Daytona in the #77 Doran Racing Ford Daytona Prototype, the 12 Hours of Sebring in the #007 Aston Martin Vantage to the #64 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 458 to the #97 Turner Motorsport Z4 GT3.
Johnson is also a road-course specialist who has competed in the NASCAR Cup series, driving for Richard Petty in the iconic #43 NASCAR; as well as the NASCAR Xfinity series.
Billy is a professional driver coach and has worked for numerous racing schools and is hired by Ford to teaching advanced techniques to Ford's Cup and XFinity drivers on road courses.
Driving for Roush Fenway Racing with a career-best 8th place finish in the #60 at Montreal in 2012, Johnson made his oval racing debut at Loudon in 2013 in a Nationwide car finishing an impressive 15th position on the lead lap. He also led laps in the #16 at Road America.
Billy is an 8-time track record holder in Time Attack events driving an assortment of cars but most notable for piloting the FXMD Turbo NSX, the fastest Time Attack car in the country.
Billy currently resides in Boynton Beach, FL.