Wednesday, February 10, 2016

IMSA News Roundup: February 10, 2016

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.

End Quote:
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.”

Monday, February 8, 2016

NASCAR NOTEBOOK 2/9/2016

  • BK Racing to run fourth team at Daytona with Richardson: BK Racing is welcoming Stalk It as a partner for the upcoming Daytona 500 with driver Robert Richardson Jr. Veteran NASCAR Crew Chief, Mike Ford, will lead the effort. Stalk It is an innovative eco-driven longboard company that uses CornBoard in the construction of its custom, hand-crafted longboards. Utilizing innovative CornBoard material allows Stalk It to reduce dependency on wood products while creating boards that are high-performance with low-ECO impact. All Stalk It boards are hand-made in the USA. "I feel very blessed with the opportunity to be back in the driver's seat for Daytona," said Richardson Jr. "I can't thank Lane and Stalk It enough for coming on board. I'm looking forward to working with Mike (Ford) and the entire BK organization."(140 Buzz/BK Racing) He will drive the #26.(2-8-2016)
  • Furniture Row ready for new season; still looking at 2nd team in 2017: Much is new for 2016 at Furniture Row Racing, which will have a new manufacturer, a new means of engine and chassis delivery and a new pit crew. But one thing hasn't changed for the Denver-based team that enjoyed a breakthrough 2015 that culminated with reaching the championship round of the Chase for the Sprint Cup. Among the new elements the team will be adapting to this year:
    -Its engines will be shipped via airfreight from Toyota Racing Development headquarters in Costa Mesa, California, instead of trucked in from Richard Childress Racing in Welcome, North Carolina (actually cutting the transport time in half to Furniture Row Racing's shop in Denver, Colorado).
    -The pit crew will be supplied by Joe Gibbs Racing, which has become a technical partner of Furniture Row as Toyota's flagship team.
    -TRD has relocated two of its technicians to Denver for embedding with the team.
    As part of its new alliance with JGR, Furniture Row Racing will be using the same chassis as Gibbs but start with an older model before switching a few races into the season - which has Visser slightly concerned. "That throws everything off," team owner Barney Visser said. "So it's going to be kind of a rocky start. I'm expecting a rocky start, but hopefully by May or June, we'll be rolling again."
    With Bass Pro Shops as a primary sponsor on Truex's #78 for several races this season, the team has corporate sponsorship independent of Visser's furniture business for the first time. Team owner Barney Visser hints that prospects are solid for expanding to a second car next season. "There's some things going on that I can't really talk about right now, but we're excited about the possibility of a second car that Toyota may bring to us," he said. "We'll see."(NBC Sports)(2-8-2016)

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

ESM Team Takes Prototype Class Lead

Rolex 24 At Daytona-Winning Patrón ESM Team Takes Prototype
Class Lead In Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup
Four-Way Tie For GTLM Lead After First Of Four Patrón Endurance Cup Rounds

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 31, 2016) – After taking one of the biggest wins in team history last weekend in the 54th Rolex 24 At Daytona, Tequila Patrón ESM drivers Ed Brown, Scott Sharp, Pipo Derani and Johannes van Overbeek took the Prototype lead in the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup standings after Round 1 of the unique, four-race championship within the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

Points were awarded following each six-hour increment in the Rolex 24. Five points are awarded to the leader of each segment, with four points for second, three for third and two for all other competitors. The other Patrón Endurance Cup rounds are the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh From Florida, Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen and the 10-hour Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta.

The No. 2 Tequila Patrón ESM Honda Ligier JS P2 won the second and final segments at Daytona. They scored 16 points, three more than two-time defending Patrón Endurance Cup champions João Barbosa, Christian Fittipaldi, Filipe Albuquerque and Scott Pruett in the No. 5 Action Express Racing Mustang Sampling Corvette DP.

“Patrón has been honored enough to do this for a couple years, and Scott [Sharp] and I said the first year, we've got to win one of them,” Brown said. “We just never could scratch it, and we had a chance a couple years ago at Sebring, and it didn't pan out.  It feels great to finally get one and get a jump start. Sebring is our home track, and we look forward to going to Sebring and seeing what this car can do there.”

The GT Le Mans (GTLM) class not only produced the closest class finish in Rolex 24 history; it also heads to the next round at Sebring International Raceway with a four-way tie for the Patrón Endurance Cup class lead.

In the race, Oliver Gavin held off Corvette Racing teammate Antonio Garcia by 0.034 seconds in a nearly side-by-side finish to take the victory. The two Corvette Racing cars (Nos. 3 and 4) join the two Porsche North America entries (Nos. 911 and 912) in a tie for the Patrón Endurance Cup. Twelve drivers each earned 13 points at Daytona.

Gavin, Tommy Milner and Marcel Fässler won the race and final Patrón Endurance Cup six-hour segment in the No. 4 Corvette Racing Corvette C7.R, while Garcia, Jan Magnussen and Mike Rockenfeller took the third segment with a slingshot pass in the No. 3 Corvette C7.R.
Defending GTLM champ Patrick Pilet joined Nick Tandy and Kevin Estre in winning the opening segment in the No. 911 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR, while teammates Earl Bamber, Michael Christensen and Frédéric Makowiecki were second in the opening sprint and third in the three remaining segments to also score 13 points in the No. 912 Porsche 911 RSR. The No. 68 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GTE of Alessandro Pier Guidi, Alexandre Premat, Memo Rojas and Daniel Serra captured the second segment and has 11 total points.

The GT Daytona (GTD) race winners also took the Patrón Endurance Cup lead, with John Potter, Andy Lally, René Rast and Marco Seefried capturing the final two segments in the No. 44 Magnus Racing Audi R8 LMS GT3 to score 14 points. Second, with 12 points, is the No. 23 Team Seattle/Alex Job Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R of Mario Farnbacher, Ian James, Alex Riberas and Wolf Henzler.

Prototype Challenge (PC) also is tied after the opening round. JDC-Miller Motorsports won the final two segments to tally 16 points for the winning No. 85 ORECA FLM09 of Kenton Koch, Misha Goikhberg, Chris Miller and Stephen Simpson. The defending PC class Patrón Endurance Cup champion, the No. 52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports team, won the opening two segments with drivers Tom Kimber-Smith, Robert Alon, Jose Gutierrez and Nicholas Boulle to also score 16 points.

The Patrón Endurance Cup will feature three four-hour segments at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh From Florida on March 19.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Corvette C7.Rs Finish 1-2 For Closest Class Finish In Rolex 24 History

Corvette C7.Rs Finish 1-2 For Closest Class Finish In Rolex 24 History
No. 4 Corvette Of Gavin Edges No. 3 Corvette Of Garcia To Win GTLM By 0.034 Seconds;
Magnus Racing Uses Fuel Strategy To Win GTD In Audi R8

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 31, 2016) – For Corvette Racing, the question entering the 54th Rolex 24 At Daytona was simple: How do you top 2015?

Last year, the team’s pair of Corvette C7.Rs won the Rolex 24, Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh From Florida in the GT Le Mans (GTLM) class and then the team won the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The answer was delivered Sunday in an epic 1-2 finish, with the 2015 Le Mans-winning No. 4 Corvette C7.R of Oliver Gavin edging the 2015 Daytona and Sebring-winning No. 3 Corvette C7.R of Antonio Garcia to the line by 0.034 seconds, the closest class finish in the history of the Rolex 24.

“What you saw today was simply the two best road racers in the world with the two best cars in the world,” said Doug Fehan, Corvette Racing program manager. “You’d be hard pressed to find a better race than this. You don’t spend 23.5 hours working this hard and not let those guys continue to race.”

Fehan assured Garcia once he moved into second that there would be no team orders. After that, the battle for the win was on in the season-opening IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race. Once he shed the No. 912 Porsche 911 RSR of Earl Bamber to take second, Garcia set his sights on Gavin and the two ran nose-to-tail over the final 20 minutes. With three minutes remaining, Garcia briefly passed Gavin entering Turn 1, but ran wide, allowing Gavin to retake the position.

Garcia got a run coming out of the bus stop on the final lap, but came up just short in a drag race to the stripe giving the win to Gavin and co-drivers Tommy Milner and Marcel Fassler. Garcia and co-drivers Jan Magnussen and Mike Rockenfeller finished second, while Bamber rounded out the podium in the No. 912 Porsche North America entry along with Michael Christensen and Frederic Makowiecki.

“All I could think about was my boss, Doug Fehan and what he would say if we did touch,” said Gavin. “Then on the last lap I was thinking I had just enough on him, but then he towed up behind me.  It was like the line was just going away from me.  I couldn't get to the line fast enough.  I've just seen a picture of it, actually, and it was pretty close.”

Magnus Racing Uses Fuel Strategy To Win GTD In Audi R8
The GT Daytona (GTD) finish was equally thrilling with fuel strategy playing an integral role in the finish. The No. 28 Konrad Motorsport Lamborghini Huracán GT3 of Fabio Babini passed Rene Rast’s No. 44 Audi Tire Center Magnus Racing Audi R8 LMS GT3 with nine minutes remaining, but ran out of fuel with only three minutes remaining in the 24-hour race.

Rast was able to conserve enough fuel to finish 3.048 seconds ahead of Nicky Catsburg’s No. 540 Black Swan Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R to win, joined by co-drivers Andy Lally, John Potter and Marco Seefried. Catsburg meanwhile was joined by Patrick Long, Timothy Pappas and Andy Pilgrim in the runner-up finish.

Rounding out the podium was the No. 93 ViperExchange.com Dodge Viper GT3-R of Ben Keating, Jeff Mosing, Damien Faulkner, Gar Robinson and Eric Foss, 5.059 seconds back.

“I think it was one of my hardest stints ever in my life,” said Rast of his final race-winning stint. “The radio was constantly in my ear telling me how many turns I had left, go faster, but save more fuel.  It's so hard to go slower than to go fast, and I had to adapt myself every single lap.

“I saw the Porsche coming and they told me to let the Lamborghini pass, and I said ‘That's not the way how we're going to win.’ It was a big, big team effort. They always knew what they were doing, and I really appreciate the work.”

NOTEBOOK
  • The race winners were also the round winners in the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup. The No. 4 Corvette Racing C7.R entry won the round with 13 points as the result of a tiebreaker over the No. 3 Corvette C7.R and the two Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSRs. The Magnus Racing Audi won the round in GTD with 14 points.

  • After running out of fuel with three minutes remaining the No. 28 Konrad Motorsport Lamborghini Huracán GT3 finished fifth in GTD.

  • In its competition, the two Ford GTs showed promise in the early going, but gearbox issues spoiled the two-car Ford Ganassi Racing’s chance at a debut victory. The No. 66 Ford GT finished the race seventh, while the No. 67 Ford GT finished ninth.

  • The overnight portion of the race claimed two favorites in the GTD class. In the race’s 10th hour, the No. 16 Pertamina/Monster Energy Lamborghini Huracán GT3 of Justin Marks and the No. 48 Castrol/Universal Industrial Services Lamborghini Huracán GT3 of Bryce Miller collided in Turn 1 while battling for the lead, knocking both out of contention.

  • The race was slowed 21 times by caution. The race record was 25 cautions back in 2009.