IMSA News Roundup: February 10, 2016
Notebook Items Include Quick Start for Black Swan, MINI Shines in Super Bowl Ad, IMSA Adds
Golf Car Provider, Schedule for Upcoming Sebring Test
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 10, 2016) – Coming up short by a mere 3.048 seconds in the Rolex 24 At Daytona, Black Swan Racing is looking to carry that momentum into the remainder of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season in a bid to capture GT Daytona (GTD) class honors.
Tim Pappas, Nicky Catsburg, Andy Pilgrim and Patrick Long took second in the new No. 540 Papent.com/Fine Arts Enterprises/Champion Porsche/Boston Athletic Club Porsche 911 GT3 R.
“Obviously, it’s hard to call the season after one race, but it’s certainly better to start the year off with a strong finish,” said Pappas, owner of the Boston-based team. “We didn’t get the win, but we’re happy with the points, and we’re real happy with the quality of the competition.”
Pappas won GTC titles in the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón in 2010 and 2011, co-driving a Porsche 911 GT3 Cup with Jeroen Bleekemolen. This year’s Rolex 24 was Pappas’ first since co-driving the No. 45 Flying Lizard Motorsports Audi in the race in 2014, and he experienced a new phenomenon in the 2016 rendition.
“I don’t think I’ve ever been in a race like Daytona before, where on every single lap of every single stint for all four of us was absolutely flat out,” Pappas said. “We didn’t have the opportunity to be conservative on fuel or any other strategy, because the performance of so many cars was so high.”
Now, Pappas is looking forward to the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh From Florida on Saturday, March 19.
“I’ve always enjoyed racing at Sebring,” said Pappas, who won the GTC class in 2011 among several strong finishes. “I think it will be interesting to be into the season with the rest of our competitors and see where people stack up now that we’ve had a couple of months with the new cars.
“Our goal is on winning the championship; we’re not going to get totally fixated on individual race wins. It’s going to be a real fight for the whole season, although I think everybody has a pretty strong feeling that this championship will come down to the last lap of the last race because it’s so competitive.”
IMSA Official Automotive Partner MINI Showcased In Popular Super Bowl Commercial
MINI John Cooper Works team owner Luis Perocarpi had a good reason for missing the Roar Before the Rolex 24 test at Daytona International Speedway in January. Perocarpi took one of his race cars to Los Angeles for filming a commercial that was shown during Sunday’s Super Bowl 50.
The finished product, #DefyLabels, had sports celebrities including Serena Williams, Abby Wambach, Randy Johnson and Tony Hawk, plus two glimpses of the No. 73 MINI John Cooper Works race car.
“We’re getting a lot of buzz from our fans,” Perocarpi said. “It was pretty cool seeing our car on the commercial. MINI is real happy with what we’re doing, and MINI owners love it.”
The No. 73 car now carries an autograph from Hawk next to the drivers’ names, after the skateboarding legend signed the car during the filming. The drivers in the commercial were Robbie Davis and Michai Stephens, who both hope to drive for the team later this season in IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge competition.
IMSA Names Golf Car Provider
Mid Florida Golf Cars has been named a Proud Partner for IMSA, and will provide golf cars for use at all IMSA events. This continues the company’s strategic initiative to expand awareness of its products and services.
Already one of the largest and best established golf car providers in the U.S., the company expects the new partnership to increase awareness of its golf car sales and fleet rentals within key markets by building awareness among IMSA’s business partners and fans, who align closely with their target market.
“The IMSA fan base has, on average, high annual household income and their fans are very loyal to companies that support the sport,” said Mid Florida Golf Cars CEO Tom Cannon. “For an individual or family, a golf car is a luxury purchase, so we need to be in front of customers who understand the value and are willing to spend money on our products. Plus, IMSA has established partnerships with many well-respected brands, so we are able to showcase our product to decision makers within those companies as well.”
IMSA Teams Set For Four-Day Sebring Test
Competitors in the WeatherTech Championship return to action on Thursday and Friday, Feb. 25-26, as part of the official four-day Sebring February Test at Sebring International Raceway. Three weeks later, they return to the historic circuit for the 64th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh From Florida.
The test opens on Tuesday and Wednesday, Feb. 23-24, with testing for the Continental Tire Challenge, IMSA Mazda Prototype Lites Presented by Cooper Tire, Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama, and Ultra94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama.
Sessions will be held each day from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The test will be open to the public at $10 per day, or free to ticket holders for the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring. There will be no overnight camping.
Chris Miller, Driver of the No. 85 JDC/Miller Motorsports ORECA FLM09, after winning the Prototype Challenge class in the Rolex 24: “It was an incredible effort from the team, getting their first victory in such an historic event. We persevered. We had a couple moments when it could have gotten away from us, but we had the quickest car and were running the fastest laps most of the time. We were controlling the pace from midway through the finish, just trying not to make any mistakes.”