Linda Mansfield
Restart Communications
Phone: 317.201.0729

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Dempsey/Wright Motorsports'
Brumos Racing #58 Finishes
Sixth in Class at Sebring

All three drivers of the Dempsey/Wright Motorsports #58 Porsche 911 GT America were scored as high as second in class at some point during Saturday's Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh from Florida at Sebring International Raceway. After 12 hours of competition under brutally hot conditions the team finished sixth in class with its Porsche, which carried the livery of Brumos Racing.

The team's drivers were Jan Heylen, who lives in nearby Tampa, Fla.; the youngest driver in the race, 19-year-old Madison Snow of Lehi, Utah, and Milo Valverde of San Jose, Costa Rica. The latter was substituting for Patrick Dempsey of Malibu, Calif., who was a late withdrawal due to work commitments. The 34-year-old Valverde was making his first Sebring start.

All three drivers were proud to represent Brumos Racing, an iconic team that is enshrined in the track's Hall of Fame. In addition to Brumos Racing, the team enjoyed support from Porsche, Beautyrest mattresses, Bilstein shocks, Spyder active sportswear and Universal Industrial Sales.

An engine issue during practice caused the team to sideline its new, 2015-spec race engine and install a well-seasoned, 2014-spec engine. The crew stepped up to perform the engine swap and committed themselves to fast and accurate pit stops to help gain track position. Their practice, experience and commitment showed, as the team had numerous lightning-fast pit stops, which to most accounts were the fastest in the field.

There were six full-course cautions during the race, which featured 14 cars in the GT Daytona class in a total field of 43. All but one of the yellows occurred in the first half of the race, which made finding a comfortable rhythm a challenge. The cautions' timing in relationship to the team's regularly-scheduled pit stops also proved challenging.

Due to the 2014 engine's power versus the power supplied by the 2015 spec engine, the team decided on a very aggressive race strategy to keep track position, as the car didn't have the outright speed to drive to the front but it was competitive once there. Driving hard takes its toll on components such as the braking system. The team planned to work on the car's brakes under a long caution period during the second half of the race, but unfortunately that caution never came and the repair was completed at an inopportune time.

After qualifying eighth, the #58 was 13th in class at the one-hour mark due to the shuffle of pit stops, but Heylen and Snow pushed hard throughout their stints and 16 minutes after the one-hour mark Snow was shown in second place. Valverde kept their pace up and the car was still in second at the three-hour mark. The fourth hour featured an intense battle between Snow and Bryce Miller in an Audi, but the car remained unscathed and it was fourth in class at the halfway point.

Not counting dips for pit stops, the entry was primarily in sixth place during hours seven and eight, but Heylen climbed to third at the nine-hour mark. At the time he was 40.164 seconds behind the second-place Aston Martin and under a fierce attack by the fourth-place driver, who was in a Dodge Viper.

Snow was circling the track under a full-course caution at the 10-hour mark. He'd been fifth until the caution waved, but at hour 10 he was seventh due to pit stops. The car had lost one more spot with 60 minutes to go, but Heylen put his head down and brought the entry up to sixth before time ran out, setting the car's fastest lap of the race in the process.

Two of the cars in the GT Daytona class that were running in the top-three positions with one hour remaining in the race didn't end up on the podium. The leader with just 8 minutes to go ended up ninth.

"We want to publically thank Brumos Racing's Hurley Haywood for showing his support and offering motivation to the team with stories from his many years of endurance racing," said John Wright, the team owner.

The GTD division won't be in action at Long Beach, so the #58's next race will be May 3 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Salinas, Calif., when the class will be paired with the PC class and the P and GTLM classes will be combined for twin 2-hour races. That event will be covered live on Fox Sports 1 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Eastern time.

Saturday's race at Sebring was covered live on Fox Sports 1, Fox Sports 2 and imsa.com.

Wright Motorsports' Web site is at WrightMotorsports.com. The team is also active on Facebook and Twitter.

 

Driver quotes follow:

Madison Snow: "We had a great car for the race and the crew worked flawlessly on every pit stop. We always had tires done before fuel and when it came to brakes they were very quick and made sure everything was perfect before they sent us out on track. I was able to have great stints with not terrible amounts of traffic, as it was fairly well spread out, and had cars in my class to battle with too. We finished in an OK position but we ran a very good race so I would say I am happy with the result."

Milo Valverde: "I want to thank the Dempsey/Wright Motorsports team for giving me this opportunity. It was an honor for me to drive a Brumos Porsche at Sebring next to Jan and Madison. The race was very hard. This was my first time at this difficult and demanding track, but it was a great experience. The guys did amazing pit stops; we just weren't lucky with the yellows, and that cost us track position."

 

 

Wright Motorsports Drivers
Show Their Mettle at Sebring;
Trio Enjoys Overall Podium Finishes

Wright Motorsports' 2015 campaign in the IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama got off to an extremely successful start at Sebring International Raceway during twin 45-minute races last Thursday and Friday, with three of its five drivers getting overall podium finishes, a rookie posting a new track record when he topped the charts in qualifications, and another driver earning the Yokohama Hard-Charger Award.

Elliott Skeer of Carlsbad, Calif., had a truly impressive series debut, as he recorded two second-place finishes in his first appearance ever with the Batavia, Ohio-based team. He also stunned the series regulars by winning the pole during qualifications on Thursday with a new track qualifying record of 2:05.849 (106.985 miles per hour) for the 3.74-mile, 17-turn road course in Central Florida.

Wright's Michael Schein of New York City recorded the best finish of his career in this series when he placed third on Thursday. He started fourth in that race but he got third working lap nine when his teammate, Kasey Kuhlman, spun in Turn 7 while trying to avoid debris. Despite a fierce battle with Marco Cirone, Schein was able to pose for photos on the podium after Thursday's race. Schein had another excellent run in the second half of the doubleheader on Friday when he started fourth and finished in the same position.

After his spin, Kuhlman regrouped beautifully to finish fifth overall and second in the Masters division on Thursday. The Cincinnati-based driver and the defending Masters champion did even better on Friday, finishing third overall and first in the Masters division for the top class, Platinum Cup, with his Kuhlsport #15.

John Goetz of Weston, Conn, earned the Yokohama Hard-Charger Award for coming from 16th overall to 11th overall on Thursday. He was tenth in the Platinum class and sixth in that division's Masters classification. Goetz was in line for another top-10 finish in class on Friday until he fell back to 14th after the race's only restart with a little more than 3 minutes remaining. Like Skeer, he was making his first starts as a Wright Motorsports driver.

Santiago Creel of Mexico City, Mexico started ninth on Thursday and tenth on Friday. Creel stormed through the field on Friday, running in fifth position and putting pressure on the leaders, until a spin caused his retirement late in the race.

The next event is April 10-12 at NOLA Motorsports Park in Avondale, La.

For more information on Wright Motorsports, see WrightMotorsports.com. Information on the series can be found on imsa.com.

Driver quotes follow:

Elliott Skeer: "It was quite the learning curve this weekend! I am very happy with how the weekend did turn out. Two second-place finishes and no scratches on the car is a great result for the first weekend. I can't thank Porsche Motorsports North America, IMSA, Yokohama, and Wright Motorsports enough for the opportunity to compete this season.

"I think the biggest learning curve was the car itself. I'm comfortable at Sebring due to some other racing here, but I had never driven a 991 Cup for a long run. So I learned a lot about the Yokohama tires and how to use them the most efficient way possible. 

"With different cars come different styles of racecraft. I learned a lot about how to battle in Cup cars efficiently as well."

Michael Schein: "It was a solid first weekend for me at Sebring; P3 in race one and P4 in the second. The first race was quite tough, as I had pressure from Marco Cirone the whole time. Race two was a bit more straightforward. I started to make up some ground on Kasey in the closing stages but I never got close enough to challenge for third. Wright Motorsports gave me a great car to fight with. I'm happy to head to NOLA with a strong points haul and no incidents over the race week."

Kasey Kuhlman: "Race 1 was frustrating because I had the speed and the opportunity to make the podium, but a slip in some debris derailed my effort.  I was fortunate to have a big enough gap to rejoin and still finish P5.

"I just needed to hit my marks and make no mistakes today [Race 2] in order to finish on the podium, since I started third. The two young guys in front were going to be hard to catch, so my goal was to stay ahead of everyone else. Mike Schein in particular, while my teammate, was where I expected to feel the pressure. Mission accomplished. The late restart was stressful so I was happy to hold on to my spot in P3. It was a good start to the season. Leaving Sebring with solid points and no car damage is very rewarding."

John Goetz: "I enjoyed Friday's race immensely until I lost grip on the restart and scraped the wall four laps from the end. But I've gotten more used to the 991 so I'm trying to look on the bright side of a disappointing finish to the event. Like the first race, I had managed to move up the field by six or seven places from my relatively poor showing in qualifying. The Wright team has been wonderful in supporting me in my first event in Platinum."

 

 

Fifty Plus Racing Riley BMW
Prepared by Doran Racing
Finishes Seventh at Sebring

Showing the same sort of perseverance that those dealing with Alzheimer's disease display daily, the Fifty Plus Racing team finished a solid seventh in Saturday's Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh from Florida at Sebring International Raceway.

Like the scientists who are working to find a cure for Alzheimer's, Fifty Plus Racing continues to make strides on and off the track. Off the track, the Fifty Plus Racing Foundation is raising funds for Alzheimer's research through its Web site at FiftyPlusRacing.com. And on the track, the Fifty Plus Racing Riley BMW prepared by Doran Racing not only finished Saturday's race, it finished one spot higher on the scoreboard than it did in the season opener at Daytona.

It wasn't easy. Besides the 12 other cars in the top class, Prototype, there were 30 cars in other classes battling for position during the 12-hour race that was run under brutally hot conditions. Fourteen of the 43 starters didn't finish. The #50 not only finished the race, it had improved on its starting position by six positions in class when the checkered waved Saturday night and the fireworks were launched.

Four drivers took turns in the cockpit as the #50 did 309 laps of the 3.74-mile, 17-turn road course and made 15 pit stops during the 12-hour race. The drivers were Jim Pace of Ridgeland, Miss.; Dorsey Schroeder of Little Torch Key, Fla.; David Hinton of Clearwater, Fla., and Byron DeFoor of Ooltewah, Tenn., who also owns the car.

Pace was driving at the beginning and the end, and he set the car's fastest lap of the race on lap 17 with a 1:57.784. There were six full-course caution flags, but the #50 wasn't involved in any of them.

There were other challenges both on and off the track, however.

The team lost several laps on the first pit stop due to a fuel issue, but it was quickly solved.

Schroeder had just gotten out of the car under the second full-course caution around the two-hour mark when there was an accident on pit lane that injured the team's left-front tire changer, Kevin Fox. A PC car driven by Tommy Drissi was being passed by a Prototype car as they went down pit road, room ran out, and Drissi's PC car ran into Fox. Fox was taken to a local hospital but returned to the track later with minor injuries and a lasting memory, but luckily no broken bones.

Hinton was behind the wheel shortly thereafter when he pitted because there was fluid in the driver's foot well. After checking all sorts of hoses and connections, the Doran Racing crew solved that problem and sent him back out.

There was also a scare with a little more than one hour to go when the car suffered a flat tire. Hinton was behind the wheel then too, but he was able to make it back to the pits for a replacement without the help of a tow truck.

The #50 maintained a steady pace throughout the race, the drivers hit their marks and avoided accidents, and the team let the race come to them through attrition.

As far as the scoreboard went, the #50 got off to a rousing start when it advanced from 13th to tenth in class on the very first lap when Pace passed Tristan Nunez and Tom Long in the two Mazda Prototypes and the DeltaWing to boot. The #50 pitted under the first full-course caution for the fuel issue, however, so it was scored 12th in class at both the one- and two-hour marks after Oz Negri crashed the Shank Ligier in Turn 14 on lap 47.

It was back in tenth at the three-hour mark with DeFoor behind the wheel after the DeltaWing suffered mechanical problems and one of the Mazda Prototypes retired.

It got two more spots at hour five and hour seven when the other Mazda Prototype dropped out and the Honda that started second retired with steering problems.

Schroeder was driving when the car moved into seventh place before the nine-hour mark after Jon Fogarty had a problem with the Tequila Patrón Honda, and the Fifty Plus Riley stayed in seventh through the end when Pace took the checkered flag.

Fifty Plus Racing's next event is the Sahlen's Six Hours of the Glen June 27-28 at Watkins Glen International in Watkins Glen, N.Y., as it is concentrating on the four Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup races this year.

For more information on Doran Racing, a legendary endurance sports car team that has overall victories in the Rolex 24, the Twelve Hours of Sebring and other prestigious events and championships, see DoranRacing.com.

Driver post-race quotes follow:

Jim Pace: "I had a blast sharing the race with Dorsey, David and Byron, and all did exactly what was expected — stay out of trouble. After 12 hours there was not a mark on the car from other traffic. Traffic management is such a big part of this race, and we discussed finding a clear spot and running our own pace. It worked well.

"We lost several laps on the first pit stop with a fuel-system issue but the crew corrected it. Obviously it was hot, but Sebring is often hot and always bumpy.

"Crossing the finish line was a treat for me. I thought about the first time I passed under the checkered flag at the Sebring 12-Hour in 1990, and five podium finishes after that. I thought about the great teammates and friends that shared the dream of 'Sebring' over the past 25 years. A lot of water has gone under the bridge since then, and yet I see so many of those faces around the track still. Some are officials, others are crewmembers, some are fans and a whole bunch are drivers that went through the Skip Barber school system that Dorsey and I worked with since the late 1980s. It is very rewarding to see those people on track and doing well. Others follow along via e-mail and digital media. We all share the passion for motor racing and a respect for Sebring!"

Dorsey Schroeder: "It was so great to be able to race Sebring and the 12-Hour again. This is one of the races that every race fan should have at the top of their bucket list! No one knows just how hard this race is until you compete in the event. This is a torture machine of a race, on both man and machine! To do it at 62 years old was a huge endeavor! It's a true test of one's commitment and physical abilities.  I lie here totally exhausted, sore, bruised and totally satisfied and smiling!

"I want to thank everyone on the Fifty Plus racing team, all of Kevin Doran's tireless crew, and most of all my teammates — Jim Pace, David Hinton, and most of all team owner Byron DeFoor — for an absolutely stunning effort resulting in a seventh in class and a true finish in what was one very tough 12-Hour! Our commitment to find a cure for Alzheimer's disease will be as relentless as our love for racing!"

Byron DeFoor: "Just as most people are united in their visions and dreams, whatever they may be, so are we at Fifty Plus Racing Foundation. The drivers, the crew, the engine builders and our fans have a common objective — to cure Alzheimer's disease. We hope those who watched the 12-Hour at Sebring will join our team and help us win the more important race."

 

 

Gleason goes global and joins WestCoast for TCR International campaign

Kevin Gleason will contest the new global TCR International Series with WestCoast Racing in one of the Swedish team’s three Honda Civic TCRs

With a career founded on touring cars in the United States, Gleason spent his childhood watching his father race in GRAND-AM and the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) and straight away became an avid motorsport fan. 

Having originally started out racing motocross in his early years, it was in 2008 that the Business Management graduate began racing in Spec Miatas, earning one win, two pole positions and averaging a top-four finish in his debut season.

He then went on to compete in the Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup in 2010, followed by a full season in the Continental Tire Sportscar Challenge in 2011, where he finished fifth in the Drivers’ standings. 

The 27-year old boasts an impressive CV that includes victory in the 25 Hours of Thunderhill, the ViR 13 Hour and the 2014 ADAC Nürburgring 6 Hours, as well as an outing in the 2014 Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour in Australia alongside four-time Le Mans 24 Hours winner Oliver Gavin and one of today’s most highly regarded touring car drivers, Rob Huff.

Gleason is a protégé of former FIA WTCC Champion, Huff, who recognized his natural talent and believes in Gleason’s ability to deliver on the international touring car scene. 

The TCR International Series is a brand new manufacturer-focused racing concept on a like-for-like touring car platform and is founded by FIA WTCC supremo Marcello Lotti. The series will compete in all four corners of the globe, including as part of the illustrious Formula 1 support package in Malaysia, China and under the lights of Singapore. 

Founded in 1994 by Dick Jönsson-Wigorth, WestCoast Racing is one of Sweden’s most successful touring car outfits and has no fewer than five Drivers’ and two Teams’ titles in the Swedish Touring Car Championship (STCC) to its name. 

In addition to its existing programme in the STCC, the Halmstad-based team is set to embark on a full-time campaign in the new-for-2015 TCR International Series with three Honda Civics built to TCR regulations by JAS Motorsport, with one of them being piloted by American driver, Gleason. 

Gleason said: “I feel very fortunate to be a part of the WestCoast Racing team for the inaugural TCR International Series season. The team is well proven and brings a vast array of experience that I’m sure will help see it quickly adapt to the new challenge it faces in 2015. Beyond the team, I expect the Honda Civic TC3 to be a competitive package, especially with the support of JAS Motorsport and Mugen. I look forward to building these relationships into a successful campaign.

“The TCR International Series is brand new so it’s difficult to have any expectations. I believe the vision of creating a worldwide platform with a cost sensitive structure modeled on GT3 is a great idea that will help grow touring car racing globally. I’m just excited to be contesting a full season for the first time since 2011 and I am looking to soak up as much information as possible and apply it to maximize my chances for success. Let’s start off with scoring points and build on that.” 

The 2015 TCR International Series is due to commence at the Sepang International Circuit as part of the illustrious support package for the Formula 1 Malaysian Grand Prix (29 March) and will tour many of the world’s greatest motorsport venues in Europe, South America and Asia. 

For more on Kevin Gleason, please 'like' his Facebook page or follow @KevinGleason60 on Twitter. 

 

 

Fifty Plus Racing
Hopes for a Good Run in Saturday's
Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring

With four solid practice sessions under their belts, Fifty Plus Racing's four drivers are ready for the start of the 63rd annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh from Florida Saturday at 10:40 a.m. In addition to being a jewel of the Tudor United SportsCar Championship, the race is the second event in the four-race Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup.

"Things are going great!" said Jim Pace of Ridgeland, Miss., who set the entry's fastest lap so far here in the very first practice session on Thursday with a time of 1:59.127 for the 3.74-mile, 17-turn road course.

"We didn't go out for qualifying because we changed our practice engine for our race engine today, and we didn't get the change completed and the car through tech before qualifying," Pace said Friday evening. The team will run a systems check and make its final adjustments during a 20-minute warm-up session Saturday morning.

"It's a long race, and we're hoping for a solid result," Pace added. "We want to thank everyone for following along, and for making donations to the Fifty Plus Racing Foundation for Alzheimer's research through FiftyPlusRacing.com."

Another one of the team's drivers, Dorsey Schroeder of Little Torch Key, Fla., was also in the 1:59-area when he ran a 1:59.741 on the car's next-to-last lap in the second practice session on Thursday afternoon.

The car was 13th in the Prototype class in both the third and fourth practice sessions Thursday night and Friday morning, respectively, and all four drivers got acclimated to the car and the track. Along with Pace and Schroeder, the car will also be driven by car owner Byron DeFoor of Ooltewah, Tenn. and David Hinton of Clearwater, Fla., in Saturday's race.

Heat will play a role in the race, as temperatures are expected to be in the low 90s with zero chance of rain, according to The Weather Channel.

Some of the team's other sponsor partners include Adamia Therapeutic Repair Lotion, Contemporary, Grace Healthcare, Milkadamia and Red Rock.

Fox Sports 1 will cover the event live beginning at 10:30 a.m. Eastern time tomorrow before the coverage switches to Fox Sports 2, IMSA.com and back to Fox Sports 2 for the finish. Fox Sports 1 will then air a highlights show from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Sunday.

For more information on Fifty Plus Racing, see FiftyPlusRacing.com. For more information on the team that prepares the car, Doran Racing of Lebanon, Ohio, see DoranRacing.com. For more information about the series and live timing and scoring, video and audio, see Imsa.com

 

 

Doran Racing Nissan 370Zs
Finish Fifth and Sixth at Sebring

SEBRING, Fla., March 21 — Doran Racing came to Sebring International Raceway looking for points in the Continental Tire SportsCar Series, and the Lebanon, Ohio-based team left with a lot of them after its two Nissan 370Zs finished fifth and sixth Friday afternoon in the Microsoft Visual Studio 150.

Nick McMillen of Salem, Ore., and Bryan Heitkotter of Fresno, Calif. improved on their finishing position in the season opener by one spot when their #41 took the checkered flag in fifth position after 2.5 hours of competition on a bumpy and greasy track under very hot and humid conditions.

Taking the checkered flag only 3.782 seconds behind the #41 in sixth place was the #14 of Brad Jaeger of Charlottesville, Va., and B.J. Zacharias of Cincinnati.

Although none of the Grand Sport competitors could beat the two Camaros that dominated this particular race, the Doran Racing Nissans almost matched them in speed. Zacharias set the third-fastest lap of the race on lap 40 when he turned the 3.74-mile, 17-turn road course in 2:17.126. Heitkotter set the fourth-fastest lap of the race 10 laps earlier when he was timed in 2:17.479.

Jaeger qualified fourth in the #14 with a 2:17.029. McMillen was supposed to start sixth, but he ended up having to start the race on pit lane in last place when his car didn't fire up when the formation laps began. Once he got rolling McMillen threaded his way through the Street Tuner field in less than 10 minutes, but he had to do that carefully because those cars are slower and have different braking points than his Nissan has. Despite this being his first race at Sebring McMillen got that job done handily, and then took aim at the back of the Grand Sport field.

He got as high as ninth when he pitted under the third full-course caution to turn the car over to Heitkotter with about an hour and 24 minutes remaining. He and Jaeger both set their fastest laps on lap 5; Jaeger ran a 2:18.159 and McMillen ran a 2:18.320.

Heitkotter started his stint in 14th place but he had a fabulous restart on lap 27, gaining four positions. He continued to pick off one car a lap until he settled into sixth place on lap 31. Some of the cars that didn't stop under that yellow did so under green around lap 37 and Heitkotter got as high as second at that point, but then he dropped to tenth when he made the car's third and final pit stop under green shortly thereafter.

He was back in seventh place on lap 43 with 32 minutes remaining. He got sixth on lap 48 by passing Mark Wilkins' Camaro, and fifth on lap 49 when he passed Scott Maxwell's Mustang. With 15 minutes to go he was 10 seconds behind the fourth-place Camaro of Kyle Marcelli. He cut that margin to 6.041 seconds by lap 59 when the checkered dropped.

Jaeger kept the #14 firmly in fourth place for the first 15 laps until he pitted under yellow on lap 16. It was too early for a driver change, and he was ninth for the restart on lap 18 with 46 minutes gone. Almost immediately there was a crash, however, which brought out the second full-course caution on lap 19. Jaeger had already worked his way up to seventh by that time, and he moved into fifth on lap 22 when he passed both Anthony Mantella and Martin Barkey.

The third full-course caution came out right after that on lap 23 though for a stalled car, so team owner Kevin Doran brought Jaeger in at that point for the driver change with 65 minutes gone.

With the pit stop the entry dropped from fifth to 13th, but Zacharias had a good restart just like Heitkotter did and he was in ninth place by lap 29, right behind Heitkotter. He got eighth the following lap by passing Trent Hindman, and seventh on lap 32 by passing Louis Phillipe Montour. He got as high as fourth on lap 36 during a pit stop rotation, and dropped to 11th when he made the car's third and final pit stop a little later under green.

He got tenth on lap 41, ninth on lap 43, and eighth on lap 47 when he passed Hindman again. He was still in eighth place on lap 49 with 20 minutes remaining, but he'd cut the margin to seventh from more than 7 seconds to just 1.273 seconds.

He cut it to nothing 5 minutes later by passing Mark Wilkins for seventh, and he moved into sixth place on lap 55 with just 6 minutes remaining in the race by passing Maxwell's Mustang.

The race will be televised on Fox Sports 1 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Eastern time on Sunday, April 5.

The series doesn't have any races in April, but it will appear at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Sonoma, Calif. on May 2-3.

For more information on the team, see DoranRacing.com. For more information on the series, see imsa.com.

Driver post-race quotes follow:

Brad Jaeger: "I think that the Nissan 370Z was superb. I think we could have been the highest non-Camaro finishing car. We had a few problems in the pits that cost us some time, but we all kept focused on what we need to do behind the wheel and we never gave up. We had some setbacks, but we battled back and we got some solid points for the championship.

"The Nissan 370Z was amazing in the heat. We kept the tires underneath us and we could move forward when others were falling off. It's a great car, and we'll take what we learned here and go on to Laguna Seca."

B.J. Zacharias: "It was really hot, but we had a really good car. We had a couple issues that cost us some track positions, but I can't stress enough that we had a really good car. I think the best any one of us could have finished was third, but the car is in one piece and we got good points, and now we'll go on to Laguna Seca. Finishing fifth and sixth was a good, solid result."

Nick McMillan: "When we headed out for the formation lap it wouldn't start for some reason, so they pushed me off to the side. We tried everything, and then it finally started, but I had to wait for the GS field to start their race and then the ST field too, so I was dead last when I actually started.

"They didn't leave me any room but it was fun to pass all the ST cars and make it happen. Then I just tried to run consistent laps to get up through the GS field as much as I could. I had a little scratch on the back of the car from a GS car, but other than that no scratches on the car, surprisingly.

"It was definitely a struggle, more because of the heat and because I had to push early on rather than be able to settle into a comfortable pace. I definitely used up some energy chasing the field; it was the hottest I've ever been in a car. I did the best I could and handed it over to Bryan in a decent position, and Bryan did great to stay clean.

"For as bad as it started out, I think it turned out as good as possible. Our goal was at least a top five, and we achieved that. It's all there; we just need to have everything fall into place.

"Laguna is next. That will be the first time my parents will get to see me race, so that will be special for me."

Bryan Heitkotter: "It was a solid result for the Doran Racing team at Sebring. I'm especially proud of the way the team rallied the 41 car back into the thick of the action, having started from the back of the entire field. Nick did an outstanding job carving up through the ST field and catching a few GS cars before the first caution period.

"I jumped into an excellent car and had lots of fun continuing to climb up the order. Saving tire life was crucial in this hot race, and I was doing my best to run fast, consistent laps and keep the tires underneath me. That was one of the biggest challenges of the race.

"A big thank you to all the hard-working crew on the Doran team, and Nissan GT Academy for the opportunity to live my dream and race in a super-competitive series."

 

 

Doran Racing's Nissans
Qualify Fourth and Sixth
For Friday's CTSCC Race at Sebring

The Doran Racing Nissan 370Zs will start in the fourth and sixth positions in Friday afternoon's Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge race at Sebring International Raceway.

Brad Jaeger of Charlottesville, Va., qualified fourth in the Lebanon, Ohio-based team's #14 with a time of 2:17.029 for the 3.74-mile, 17-turn road course during a 15-minute qualifying session Thursday afternoon. That was only 0.487 of a second off third place and 1.183 off the pole. His fastest lap came on lap four of six laps he turned during the session in the red-and-white Nissan he shares with co-driver B.J. Zacharias of Cincinnati.

Rookie Nick McMillan of Salem, Ore., qualified sixth in the team's #41 that he shares with fellow Nissan GT Academy champion Bryan Heitkotter of Fresno, Calif. McMillan, who has never raced at Sebring before and is competing in only his second race on American soil, turned a 2:17.289 on his fourth of five laps in the qualifying session. He was only 1.443 seconds off the pole, and just 0.045 of a second behind the Porsche that qualified fifth.

McMillen and Heitkotter finished sixth in the season opener at Daytona in January, and Jaeger and Zacharias finished third at Sebring last year.

Friday's 2.5-hour race, called the Microsoft Visual Studio 150, supports Saturday's Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh from Florida.

Friday's race will be streamed live on IMSA.com beginning at 1:05 p.m. It will also be televised on Fox Sports 1 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Sunday, April 5. All times are Eastern.

Driver quotes follow:

Brad Jaeger: "It was a good qualifying session. At the beginning it was interesting. My tires weren't up to temperature and I got pushed wide by a couple of cars, so I let everyone by and made sure I had enough room between cars for a clean lap the next time by. I got two clean laps after that, and we were able to secure fourth spot.

"So far things have been going well. The Camaros have so much torque that on a one-lap run they're very quick. But we're quick too, and we hope to show what we can do in the long runs tomorrow. We've had a great car all weekend. Doran Racing has been great in developing the car and the Nissan 370Z is very good here; we've been fast from the moment we unloaded.

"I have a good feeling for tomorrow. It is in the mid-to-upper 80s this afternoon and it should be the same tomorrow. We'll tweak the car a little and hope for a lot of green-flag laps in tomorrow's race."

Nick McMillen: "It was good; we figured out the balance pretty well yesterday, and then Bryan, Brad, B.J. and I went over the data and found a couple spots where we could improve.

"On my first lap my tires weren't up to temperature. I caught an Aston Martin pretty early but I got by him. The first lap after I got by him was pretty good, and then on my second flyer I kept pushing but there was a Porsche in front of me that was catching a Mustang, and I ended up catching up with both of them. I think that lap would have been even better than the other flyer without that traffic, but I'm still pretty happy. We're definitely in a good position for the race tomorrow.

"I like Sebring. I think it fits me as a driver; I like to be busy. It's fun and I think it tests any driver's ability to the max. I can't imagine what it would be like to go over the bumps in a Prototype. It's one of the hardest tracks I've ever driven at, but I like it!"

 

 

Dempsey/Wright Motorsports Hopes to Continue
Brumos Racing's Winning Tradition at Sebring

BATAVIA, Ohio, March 13 — Dempsey/Wright Motorsports hopes to add a brand new chapter to Brumos Racing's winning tradition on Saturday, March 21 in the 63rd annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh from Florida at Sebring International Raceway in Sebring, Fla.

It will be the 21st time that a car in Brumos Racing livery has competed in the iconic race, and the second time that the popular Jacksonville, Fla.-based company's colors have been carried by a Porsche 911 GT America car prepared by Batavia, Ohio-based Wright Motorsports. The effort certainly has momentum, as the #58 finished on the podium in the season opener in January at the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona in Daytona Beach, Fla.

Drivers Madison Snow of Lehi, Utah; Jan Heylen of Tampa, Fla. and Patrick Dempsey of Malibu, Calif. will try to build on Brumos Racing's success at Sebring. The late Peter Gregg posted two class victories for Brumos before his overall Sebring 12-Hour victory in 1973 driving with Hurley Haywood and Dr. Dave Helmick. Haywood still holds the record as the driver who has made the most starts at Sebring with 28.

Last year both Brumos Racing and Gregg were unanimously inducted into the Sebring Hall of Fame Museum. Brumos Racing was the first team ever honored with this distinction.

In addition to Brumos Racing, other marketing partners for the effort include Porsche, Beautyrest mattresses, Bilstein shocks, Spyder active sportswear and Universal Industrial Sales.

This year the #58 will be one of 17 entries in the GT Daytona class in the 47-car, once-around-the-clock classic on the 3.74-mile, 17-turn road course that attracts a crowd of kids on spring break as well as motorsports enthusiasts. It is the second race of the year for both the Tudor United SportsCar Championship and the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup.

At 19, Snow is the youngest driver on the current entry list. He is also the only driver entered who can say that both his mother and his father are past winners of this race.

Along with Patrick Huisman, Melanie and Martin Snow drove a Porsche Turbo to the GTS class victory and finished ninth overall at the Twelve Hours of Sebring in 1999, which was the first American Le Mans Series race ever.

Madison Snow was only 3 and he wasn't in attendance when his parents were on the top step of the class podium for this race, but this is his second start in the 12-Hour. He and Heylen, along with the Plumb brothers, finished ninth in class last year. Snow won the IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA championship in 2013 driving a Wright Motorsports-prepped Porsche, and Wright Motorsports will also field five Porsches in that series' season-opening doubleheader at Sebring that supports the 12-Hour.

Wright Motorsports owner John Wright also guided Schumacher Racing's Porsche 911 that won the GT-2 class at Sebring in 1996. The drivers were Andy Pilgrim, Will Pace and Larry Schumacher.

Fox Sports 1 will cover this year's event live beginning at 10:30 a.m. Eastern time March 21 before the coverage switches to Fox Sports 2, IMSA.com and back to Fox Sports 2 for the finish. Fox Sports 1 will then air a highlights show from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Sunday, March 22.

Live timing and scoring will be available on IMSA.com.

Wright Motorsports' Web site is at WrightMotorsports.com. The team is also active on Facebook and Twitter.

 

About Wright Motorsports: 

Wright Motorsports is the premier Porsche race engineering facility in Ohio and a multi-series, international racing team known for superb car preparation, expert race strategy and driver development. Located in Batavia, Ohio near Cincinnati, it is owned and directed by John Wright, a certified Porsche factory-trained technician. As a crew chief John Wright has played a key role in winning eight driver and seven team championships in World Challenge, IMSA (ALMS) and the Grand-Am Rolex Series. Wright Motorsports won the team championship in Porsche GT3 Cup USA in 2012 and 2013. In 2014 it had four podium finishes in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship. For more information see WrightMotorsports.com and follow it on Facebook and Twitter.

 

 

Fifty Plus Racing Riley BMW
Prepared by Doran Racing
Hopes for Great Showing at Sebring

After a stellar eighth-place finish in the Rolex 24 at Daytona in January, Fifty Plus Racing is hoping for another top-10 run with its Riley BMW Prototype prepared by Doran Racing in the 63rd annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh from Florida Saturday, March 21 at Sebring International Raceway in Sebring, Fla.

It is the second race of the year in both the Tudor United SportsCar Championship and the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup. Fifty Plus Racing is focusing on the latter, a four-race series that also includes the Sahlen's Six Hours of the Glen at Watkins Glen International in Watkins Glen, N.Y. on June 28 and the Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta on Oct. 3.

Jim Pace of Ridgeland, Miss., Byron DeFoor of Ooltewah, Tenn., and two Floridians — David Hinton of Clearwater and Dorsey Schroeder of Little Torch Key — are set to handle the controls of the #50, which strives to raise both awareness and funds for the fight against Alzheimer's disease via its Fifty Plus Racing Foundation and its Web site at FiftyPlusRacing.com. Donations for Alzheimer's research can be easily made to the foundation by PayPal through that Web site.

Some of the team's other sponsor partners include Adamia Therapeutic Repair Lotion, Contemporary, Grace Healthcare, Milkadamia and Red Rock.

The team's driver roster reflects not only success in pro races but also a great deal of experience in two other forms of the sport: vintage racing and driver instruction.

Pace won this race overall in 1996 with Wayne Taylor and Eric van de Poele in Doyle Racing's Riley & Scott Mk III Oldsmobile, right after Taylor, Pace and Scott Sharp won the Rolex 24 that year in the same car. Incidentally, Pace's brother Will won in GT2 in 1996 too, marking the first time two brothers won at Sebring in different cars.

Pace was also third overall twice (1995 and 1997) at Sebring. He won his class (GTPL) in 1991 and was second in class (GTU) in 1994, also setting the class's fastest race lap in the latter race. He finished fourth in the GTU class in his first Sebring Twelve Hour (1990). This year marks his 12th appearance in this classic race.

Audi swept the top four positions overall at Sebring in 2001, and Schroeder was on the podium in third place overall that year in one of them, along with co-drivers Andy Wallace and Ralf Kelleners. He also has a class victory, as he and Wally Dallenbach Jr. drove a Roush Racing Lincoln Mercury Cougar XR-7 to the GTO win in 1989, finishing eighth overall. Other class podiums by Schroeder came in 1990 (second) and 1993 (third). He's also been in many other races at Sebring, and along with co-driver Steve "Younga" DeBrecht he won a Firestone Firehawk 3.5-hour S/T race here in 1987 prior to all his Trans-Am success.

Both Pace and Schroeder also have many years of experience as driver instructors in schools that use Sebring, which is active over 300 days a year with private testing, clubs, corporate events, driving schools and the like.

"I taught with the Skip Barber Racing School at Sebring for more than 20 years, and I've always considered it a 'home' track," said Pace.

"I taught at Skip Barber at Sebring for a long time, and that's where I met and taught Jim Pace, Juan Pablo Montoya, Bryan Herta and many others," noted Schroeder, who added that he thinks he may have driven on every configuration of the track.

Sebring has had eight different configurations during the years. It's currently a 3.74-mile, 17-turn road course, of which 2.89 miles are asphalt and 0.85 miles are concrete. Portions of the facility were used as a World War II B-17 training base. That includes the frontstretch, which consists of the original concrete poured for the military base in 1941.

Motorsports history is right up the alley of Hinton, who owns the vintage racing organization Historic Sportscar Racing (HSR). That group will be in action leading up to the Twelve-Hour race beginning on Wednesday, March 18, and it will stage races on Thursday, March 19 and Friday, March 20 at Sebring. Its members are also scheduled to participate in parade laps pr

"Sebring is my home track, and I spend probably 12 weekends a year here for different events," Hinton said. "It's a very magical place steeped in history, and for me personally it was the first IMSA race I ever attended back in 1986. I've also had the pleasure of driving some fantastic cars around Sebring over the years, including the McLaren Can-Am cars from the sixties and a Lola T70 Mk3B coupe that Mike Hailwood and Frank Gardner raced here in 1969 in the Twelve Hours.

"This will be my second time driving in the Twelve Hours of Sebring," he added. "I was driving last year at the 10-hour mark when we lost the belt on the dry sump pump, which forced us to retire. What a thrill it was to be driving in my first Twelve Hours of Sebring though! I will never forget driving around for the first time in what seemed like a tunnel of motorhomes around the track, with the occasional thick smoke pouring over the track from the spectators' campfires."

Like Hinton, DeFoor, who owns the #50, is very active in vintage racing and he is also making his second appearance in the Twelve-Hour race. He appreciates the history of the event too, as well as the test it gives both driver and machine.

Pace and Schroeder summarized the team's outlook going into the race very well.

"The Sebring Twelve-Hour is one of my favorite races because it really emphasizes endurance," Pace said. "Known around the world as a circuit that is very demanding on both the car and the driver, Sebring requires a team effort all day and into the night. It is very different than the Daytona 24 due to the bumpiness of the surface and the increased intensity of traffic. Sebring requires constant awareness of traffic, whether faster or slower, and to deal with it efficiently."

"I liken Sebring to being in a championship prize fight," added Schroeder. "You know going in that you're going to come out beaten and battered. Win or lose, Sebring is the toughest endurance sports car race in the world. You've got to adopt the attitude of being down right mean and nasty, otherwise it will beat you!"

As a group, Fifty Plus Racing's drivers are older than many of the other teams' drivers. Schroeder is 62, DeFoor is 59, Pace is 54 and Hinton is 46. However, they're with the best team possible to help them achieve their goal of doing well in this race. Doran Racing also prepped the car driven by the oldest overall winner of the Twelve Hours of Sebring ever — Gianpiero Moretti, who was 58 years and 4 months old when he took the checkered flag first here in 1998.

Fox Sports 1 will cover this year's event live beginning at 10:30 a.m. Eastern time Saturday, March 21 before the coverage switches to Fox Sports 2, IMSA.com and back to Fox Sports 2 for the finish. Fox Sports 1 will then air a highlights show from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Sunday, March 22.

Live timing and scoring will be available on IMSA.com.

For more information on Doran Racing, a legendary endurance sports car team that has an overall victory at Sebring, other prestigious races and several championships to its credit, see DoranRacing.com and its Facebook page.

 

 

Wright Motorsports to Field Five Porsches
In 2015 IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Beginning with Season Opener at Sebring March 18-20

All drivers want to be on the podium, but achieving that in a series as competitive as IMSA's Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama can be a tall order.

Wright Motorsports, which won the series' top drivers' championship in both 2012 and 2013, will field Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars for five drivers in the series this year. Everyone on the Batavia, Ohio-based team intends to do their best to help all five of them pursue podium finishes and that elusive first overall victory starting with the season-opening doubleheader at Sebring International Raceway in Sebring, Fla., March 18-20.

The doubleheader supports the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh from Florida on March 21. It is the first event in a 16-race, eight-event season that concludes in late September.

All five drivers will compete in the top class, Platinum Cup. They approach the challenge with different levels of experience, however.

Kasey Kuhlman of Cincinnati finished fifth in the Platinum class last season. He also dominated the Masters division, which is for drivers over the age of 45, sewing up the championship before the last event of the year. He returns with his familiar Kuhlsport #15.

Michael Schein of New York City and Santiago Creel of Mexico City, Mexico were two Wright Motorsports teammates who often battled each other last season. Schein finished eighth in the point standings last year and Creel was tenth. They hope to continue that battle, but move it up a few spots so they're battling for podium finishes in 2015.

The other two Wright Motorsports IMSA GT3 Cup drivers in 2015 are both new to the team, and one is completely new to the series. John Goetz of Weston, Conn., will move up to the Platinum class this year after posting two victories in the Gold Cup division in 2013 with another team. He is the reigning Porsche Club Racing national champion in GTC4.

"I chose Wright because of its stellar reputation as a team capable of winning championships and helping its drivers succeed," said Goetz, who is a global equity investment manager by profession. "In just a few test days I've experienced the team's intensity and sincerity in getting the most out of the cars and drivers."

In a move announced just yesterday, 20-year-old Elliott Skeen of Carlsbad, Calif. will make his series debut at Sebring in a Wright Motorsports-prepared Porsche. One of five drivers invited to the Porsche Young Driver Academy last October, he hopes to learn as much as possible as quickly as possible under John Wright's tutelage.

ebring's preliminary schedule, which is subject to change, shows two 30-minute practice sessions at 9:30 a.m. and 2:25 p.m. on Wednesday, March 18 prior to qualifying at 8:35 a.m. on Thursday, March 19. The first 45-minute race starts at 3:50 p.m. that same day, while the second half of the doubleheader is slated to get the green flag at 11:10 a.m. on Friday, March 20. The official schedule and other information, including live timing and scoring, will be available on imsa.com.

Wright Motorsports' Web site is at WrightMotorsports.com. The team is also active on Facebook and Twitter.

Driver quotes follow:

asey Kuhlman: "My goals are to improve upon the P5 overall finish in the standings from last year, finish on the overall podium in each event, and finally win a race in this series.

"This will be my fifth year in the series. Each year has built upon the last in terms of improving my race craft, confidence and ability to concentrate. I am in the best physical shape of the past five years heading into the start of this season. I hope that translates into more podium finishes and perhaps an overall win or two this year.

"It is always exciting to see the new and talented drivers that join the series each spring. It is difficult to know how I will stack up until we put the first couple of timed sessions in the books at Sebring. I never take my competition for granted. As such, my Masters championship from last year doesn’t mean anything heading into 2015 in my mind. I have to earn it all over again.

"I am looking forward to being with my teammates this season. They are all good guys and we are going to have lots of fun!"

ichael Schein: "I'm looking forward to reaching the podium in 2015, and a win would be a great achievement.

"I always enjoy coming to Sebring. It's a great atmosphere, and the fans make it one of the best events on the calendar."

antiago Creel: "I'm very excited to begin my second year in the IMSA GT3 Challenge with Wright Motorsports. Last year was all about learning. This year it's time to put all the learning together! My target is to be in the top five!"

ohn Goetz: "My goal is to improve as a driver. I've raced a lot but I haven't pushed myself for a while. While I ultimately want to win a Masters championship, I'm hoping to get on the podium for the 2015 season, and win a race or two along the way.

"Sebring is an awesome experience with very specific track surface challenges to be mastered. I've been racing at Sebring for 10 years and I still don't have it down. I've had multiple wins there in PCA Club Racing, but my prior IMSA GT3 Challenge races there didn't turn out great. While I had P2 [Gold class] in qualifying, I spun in one race and I got punted off the track by another driver in the next race.  Fortunately I still salvaged a podium finish in the second race.

"I'm really looking forward to racing at Sebring; along with Watkins Glen and Road America, it's one of my favorite tracks."

lliott Skeer: "I want to have both a safe and competitive season. We all shoot for the championship, but to win that you have to finish all the races that you can. I want to be up front, challenging for podiums and wins. I want to learn as much as possible as quickly as possible."

About Wright Motorsports: 

Wright Motorsports is the premier Porsche race engineering facility in Ohio and a multi-series, international racing team known for superb car preparation, expert race strategy and driver development. Located in Batavia, Ohio near Cincinnati, it is owned and directed by John Wright, a certified Porsche factory-trained technician. As a crew chief John Wright has played a key role in winning eight driver and seven team championships in World Challenge, IMSA (ALMS) and the Grand-Am Rolex Series. Wright Motorsports won the team championship in Porsche GT3 Cup USA in 2012 and 2013. In 2014 it had four podium finishes in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship. For more information see WrightMotorsports.com and follow it on Facebook and Twitter.

 

Skeer Joins Wright Motorsports
For 2015 IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge

 

Wright Motorsports announced today that it will field a Porsche for 20-year-old Elliott Skeer of Carlsbad, Calif. to drive in the IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama beginning with the season opener March 18-20 at Sebring International Raceway in Sebring, Fla.

Skeer's ride comes in part through a scholarship from the series' sanctioning body, the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA), supported by Porsche and Yokohama. It is awarded to a driver without prior Porsche GT3 Cup experience. It is designed to attract and recognize new talent that desires to race in this highly competitive championship, one of 20 similar Porsche single-make series worldwide.

Skeer was selected as a wildcard entry in the third annual Porsche Young Driver Academy last October, where five young guns were put through their paces in a two-day test at Barber Motorsports Park in Leeds, Ala. His performance at the academy as well as his previous success in the sport generated his opportunity to join Wright Motorsports, one of the most successful Porsche teams ever in North America.

Skeer drove a Mazda in the Street Tuner class in the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca last May, finishing second after winning the class pole with a new track record. He was a Team USA scholarship contestant in 2013. He posted six victories and 14 podium finishes in 23 Mazda MX-5 Cup races in 2012 and 2013, finishing second in the championship in the latter year. He also ran multiple races with the Porsche Owners Club (POC) and Porsche Club America (PCA) in a GT4-class Porsche Boxster in 2013, earning podiums in every race. Prior to that he gained a great deal of experience in Spec Miata, winning the championship in the Teen Mazda Challenge. He won the Mazda MX-5 Cup Shootout in 2011, earning a factory MX-5 Cup ride in 2012. He got his start in the sport through karting, which he began at age 6.

Skeer is looking forward to learning as much as possible this season behind the wheel of the #14 Wright Motorsports-tuned Porsche. According to Sebring's preliminary schedule, the first Porsche GT3 Cup race at Sebring will begin at 3:50 p.m. Eastern time on Thursday, March 19, and the second race is slated for 11:10 a.m. Eastern time on Friday, March 20. Both are timed, 45-minute races that support the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh from Florida on Saturday, March 21.

"I want to have both a safe and competitive season," Skeer said. "We all shoot for the championship, but to win that you have to finish all the races that you can.

"I think we will be competitive fairly quickly," he added. "I want to be up front, challenging for podiums and wins. I want to learn as much as possible as quickly as possible.

"I am both humbled and grateful for the help that I have received," he continued. "Without the help of Jens [Walther] and everyone at Porsche Motorsport North America, IMSA and Yokohama Tire, this would not have been possible. I hope to not only be successful in 2015, but to continue to grow as a driver alongside Porsche and IMSA long after 2015."

“As we enter our fourth year hosting the Porsche Young Driver Academy, I couldn’t be more pleased with what we’ve accomplished,” said Walther, president and CEO of Porsche Motorsport North America. “Looking back at the caliber of young drivers that have joined us for our program, we have found gifted racers that are intelligent, well-spoken and passionate about developing their craft. Elliott came to us as a recommendation from our partner at IMSA and showed himself very well at last year's Porsche Young Driver Academy both on the track and off. With very little previous Porsche experience, we felt that the best place to develop the skills he needs for the next level is in the Porsche GT3 Cup USA by Yokohama. Furthermore, to be able to align him with a team like Wright Motorsports gives him the tools to succeed within the championship."

“The Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama is an important part of Yokohama’s commitment to its motorsports program in North America,” said Duane Sampson, Yokohama Tire Corp. motorsports manager. “Elliott has shown plenty of talent to this point in a variety of machinery, and we’re eager to see his development continue at this competitive, exciting level of his career.”

"Elliott demonstrated terrific potential during the Porsche Young Driver Academy, and we're pleased with his decision to focus his racing effort in the IMSA paddock," added Randy Hembrey, senior series manager, IMSA development and single-make series.

Skeer has raced at five of the eight tracks that the series will visit in 2015.

"The three that will be new to me are NOLA [Motorsports Park in Avondale, La., which is a new venue for the series]; Watkins Glen [International in Watkins Glen, N.Y.] and COTA [Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas]" he said.

He has raced at Sebring in two doubleheaders in the past, posting two second-place finishes in Mazda MX-5 Cup competition there in 2012 and a victory and a third in the same series at Sebring in 2013.

"I really like Sebring, and I'm really looking forward to the Porsche GT3 Cup season opener," he said. "I consider myself a student of the sport, so I like the history of the place. The concrete on the frontstretch is still the same concrete that so many great drivers have raced on through the years; Sebring is one of the richest tracks as far as history goes that we have.

"Just the whole atmosphere makes for a fun event," he added. "It's racing's Woodstock."

In addition to Sebring, Skeer is also particularly looking forward to the last two races on the 2015 schedule.

"It will be my first time at COTA, and that's a World Endurance Championship weekend too so it will be great to see all those teams," he said, adding "it's my birthday that weekend too, so it would be nice to really do well that weekend."

He also singled out the season finale Sept. 25-27 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, which will be during the Porsche Rennsport Reunion when more than 1,000 vintage and current Porsche race cars are assembled in one place. "That will be a different sort of event for the series," he noted. "It will be a very fun weekend, and Laguna is an amazing track anytime."

To prepare for the season, Skeer is visiting all the tracks on the schedule via sim racing and other video pursuits. "I was always on video games just having fun in the past, but now it's more of a tool to help me prepare for racing," he noted. "It's a good way to stay sharp if you can't actually test, so I try to take advantage of it as much as possible."

Being a Southern Californian, he also spends as much time outside as possible doing a wide range of athletic events. He also enjoys photography, especially automotive photography, and he'll have his camera in the paddock at the racetrack this year too.

In addition to pursuing his dream of becoming a professional sports car driver, Skeer is pursuing a business degree at California State University, San Marcos, where he is a sophomore. "Some of my classmates know about my racing, and of course all of my close friends do," he said. "But it's nice to keep it a little quiet as far as college goes."

For more information on Skeer, see ElliottSkeerRacing.com. For more information on Wright Motorsports, see WrightMotorsports.com. Information on the series can be found on imsa.com.

 

About Wright Motorsports: 

Wright Motorsports is the premier Porsche race engineering facility in Ohio and a multi-series, international racing team known for superb car preparation, expert race strategy and driver development. Located in Batavia, Ohio near Cincinnati, it is owned and directed by John Wright, a certified Porsche factory-trained technician. As a crew chief John Wright has played a key role in winning eight driver and seven team championships in World Challenge, IMSA (ALMS) and the Grand-Am Rolex Series. Wright Motorsports won the team championship in Porsche GT3 Cup USA in 2012 and 2013. In 2014 it had four podium finishes in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship. For more information see WrightMotorsports.com and follow it on Facebook and Twitter.

 

 

Doran Racing Heads to Sebring
Hoping to Repeat Last Year's Podium Finish;
Drivers Are Confident that Their Nissans
Are Well Suited for the Challenge

Remembering its rousing third-place finish in the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge race at Sebring International Raceway last year, Doran Racing has high hopes as it prepares to travel to Sebring, Fla., for this year's race there on Friday, March 20.

Both of the Lebanon, Ohio-based team's cars finished in the top 10 in this event last year, as its #14 Nissan 370Z finished third and its #41 Nissan 370Z placed ninth.

The same duo that was on the podium here last year — Brad Jaeger of Charlottesville, Va., and B.J. Zacharias of Cincinnati — will be in the #14 for the 2.5-hour race at Sebring, which is called the Microsoft Visual Studio 150. It supports the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh from Florida the following day.

Nissan GT Academy champions Bryan Heitkotter of Fresno, Calif. and Nick McMillen of Salem, Ore. will share the #41 at Sebring. Heitkotter has tested at the 3.74-mile, 17-turn road course but has never raced here, and McMillen will be making his first visit ever to the historic Central Florida track. It's always very bumpy, as 2.89 miles of the track are asphalt and 0.85 miles of it are concrete. The concrete portion includes the frontstretch, which consists of the original concrete poured in 1941 for the World War II B-17 training base that was formerly at the facility.

Last year many full-course cautions were predicted but there were only two of them and they both occurred in the second half of the race. Jaeger qualified eighth in the #14 last year and was in sixth when he finally got to catch his breath and turn his Nissan over to Zacharias. Zacharias had a terrific restart near the end to go from ninth to nail down the podium finish before the race ended under caution.

The #14 seemed poised for at least a top-five finish in the season opener at Daytona until a freak failure of a tiny hinge in the gas pedal assembly let it down. The less experienced drivers in the #41 had the better result in the first race of the year, as Heitkotter and McMillen finished sixth.

All four drivers are already counting points as they strive to move their entries up in the championship standings.

The two Doran Nissans are two of 18 cars entered in the GS class. An additional 26 ST cars make up the 44 total entries.

The series has two practice sessions at 10:15 a.m. and 3:20 p.m. on Wednesday, March 18 before the GS class qualifies at 1 p.m. Thursday, March 19. The race is slated to get the green flag at 1:05 p.m. on Friday, March 20.

It will be streamed live at IMSA.com. In addition, it will be televised on Fox Sports 1 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Sunday, April 5. All times are Eastern.

Driver quotes follow:

Brad Jaeger: "I'm really looking forward to returning to Sebring! Last year we had an amazing third-place finish, even though the team battled through some car problems during one of the pit stops. After that problem in the pits, everyone put their head down and we battled back for that spot on the podium. Our Nissan 370Z really managed the tires better than all of our competitors at Sebring, and if the same is true this year, we should be able to move through the field during the middle portion of a stint.

"B.J. and I were in line for a top-five finish at Daytona, but due to a problem with the throttle pedal we lost a few laps. My goal is to finish in the top five at Sebring to get us back in the points for the championship.

"The Nissan 370Z really shines at Sebring, and I love the circuit. The mix of high-speed corners with tight, technical sections suits my driving style. I'm really looking forward to returning this year!"

B.J. Zacharias: "Last year's race was a really good victory for the #14 car. Yes we finished third, but it sure felt like a win. At that time the Camaros were very light on their restrictions and some other teams seemed to get a great jump out of the gate. Brad had a good opening stint, Kevin and Mike called a great race, and we had great luck threading the needle on the final restart in Turn 1. It really helped the team gain confidence after our start at Daytona.

"This year again we didn't have the best of races at Daytona, but we had THE car in the race.

"This year at Sebring we're coming in with a strong mindset and I truly believe from the first session we will be a team everyone has to deal with. Nissan Motorsports has stepped it up and the whole team is pushing forward.

"Both cars came away from Daytona in one piece, so we have been able to move ahead. It's little things here and there, but everything helps when you aren't forced to rebuild chassis or build new cars.

"I think the important thing is going to be getting Nick all the info he needs, as he is a Sebring virgin so to speak. It's such a demanding track in all phases as a driver and on the car. But he's a quick study and I am sure they will be up to speed quickly.

"I think there will be an emphasis on both Brad and Nick to qualify inside the top five and be able to keep it there without over-stressing the cars."

Bryan Heitkotter: "I'm excited to race the Doran NISMO 370Z in Sebring. I have a good feeling with it at other tracks, so it will be good to add this classic American circuit to my resume. I've driven there before but never raced there.

"Nick McMillen and I had a positive debut at Daytona and I'm excited to drive with him again, especially now that he has some miles in the car."

Nick McMillen: "I'm excited to be joining Bryan Heitkotter again in the Doran Racing Nissan 370Z after our strong result at Daytona. Given the results of last year at Sebring with both Doran cars in the top 10 and the momentum Bryan and I have right now, I am confident we can put in a great result if we run smooth and stay out of trouble.

"I have never been to Sebring so I can't wait to tick off another historic track on my to-race list. I think the bumpy track will favor my smooth and consistent driving even more so than Daytona did.

"After getting my feet wet in the first round of the Continental series and shaking off the cobwebs from the off season, I'll be a step or two ahead of where I was as we go into Sebring. I'm ready to get back to racing and see what Bryan and I can do!"

 

 

Cosmo to Drive M1 Racing's Tampa Bay Jaw Surgery Audi In Pirelli World Challenge Season Opener This Weekend at COTA

Guy Cosmo will exchange his headset for his helmet this weekend and drive M1 Racing's Tampa Bay Jaw Surgery Audi R8 LMS ultra in the season opener of the Pirelli World Challenge at the Circuit of the Americas (COTA) in Austin, Texas.

M1 Racing's Walt Bowlin, who usually drives the car in the series' GT-A class, tabbed his coach to drive it in the GT class for the COTA doubleheader.

Both Bowlin and Cosmo's roots are in open-wheel racing, as are those of M1 Racing team owner Paul Mata and engineer Remi Lanteigne. The latter, who is well known for his accomplishments in open-wheel racing, will make his sports car engineering debut this weekend.

The Dallas-based team entered a handful of World Challenge races last year and it has worked hard in the off-season to prepare for both its 2015 World Challenge program and its participation in the Pro Mazda Championship presented by Cooper Tires.

Cosmo has been successful in both open-wheel and sports-car racing as both a driver and a coach, and he's already gelled with the team.

"I've known Guy since a Star Mazda race at Mid-Ohio in 2004 where he sat on the pole," Mata noted. "It was another team and I was just a tire-and-fuel guy that day."

Now, through a great deal of hard work, 11 years later Mata is the team owner for the car Cosmo will drive this weekend.

"We're happy to have Guy on board," Mata added. "I think we can do well if we can stay out of trouble in the races."

Since M1 Racing is based in Dallas and the World Challenge season opener is in Austin, the team hopes for a lot of home-state support.

Cosmo has limited testing time behind the wheel of the Audi, but what laps he has only whetted his appetite for more.

"It's going to take some adjustment, but Guy loved the car when he drove it at NOLA [NOLA Motorsports Park in Avondale, La.] right before Christmas," Mata added. "He said it was on rails, and that he'd really like to drive it in a race."

Cosmo will do just that when he makes his World Challenge debut this weekend.

Although the car and the series are new to him, he already has been successful at the 3.418-mile track, as he's been on the podium there in an American Le Mans Series race.

The COTA event, called the Nissan Grand Prix of Texas presented by Motul, gets underway on Thursday with a practice day. Qualifying for the GT class is at 9:30 a.m. local time on Saturday, with the first race slated to get the green flag at 2:45 p.m. local time that day. The second race is scheduled for 1:25 p.m. local time on Sunday.

The complete schedule is available at world-challenge.com, while live streaming is planned for world-challenge.tv.

The races will also be broadcast on a tape-delayed basis at 11 a.m. Eastern time on Saturday, March 11 on the CBS Sports Network.

Bowlin plans to be back in the Audi for the second event on the calendar when the series appears on the street circuit in St. Petersburg, Fla. March 27-29. M1 Racing will also field cars for the Pro Mazda season opener at St. Petersburg that weekend. The team has Florida connections too, as Bowlin is from Tarpon Springs and Cosmo is from Riviera Beach.

"We have high hopes for the 2015 season for both our sports car and our open-wheel programs," Mata noted.

Funded drivers and marketing partners wishing to join the team may obtain more information by e-mailing M1RacingInfo@gmail.com.

M1 Racing's Web site is at m1racing.co and it's also active on Facebook and Twitter.

About Tampa Bay Jaw Surgery:

Tampa Bay Jaw Surgery is a leader in the treatment of conditions and diseases associated with the oral and maxillofacial complex.  Founded by Dr. Walt Bowlin, it has been providing quality surgical services statewide in Florida since 1999. New centers will be opening in Texas, Florida and other parts of the Southeast in the near future.

 

 

M1 Racing's DeGrand Is Impressive At Pro Mazda Winterfest

Although the weather was very cold, M1 Racing was all fired up after one of its rookies, Tristan DeGrand of Eureka, Mo., finished fourth in the finale of the Pro Mazda Series' Cooper Tires Winterfest Feb. 26 at Barber Motorsports Park in Leeds, Ala.

In addition to almost making the podium in his first Pro Mazda event, DeGrand definitely was the hard-charger at Barber. He moved up six positions in both races held on the 2.3-mile road course that will host the third event of the 2015 Pro Mazda season.

DeGrand started 15th and finished ninth in the first 15-lap race that morning, and then took what he learned to go from tenth to fourth in the second 17-lap race that afternoon.

DeGrand, who will turn 19 on March 11, was only 1.2234 seconds off a podium finish in the finale.

"Tristan's race craft is phenomenal," said M1 Racing engineer Remi Lanteigne, who also worked with DeGrand at Exclusive Autosport when he won 18 races in 24 starts enroute to the Toyo Tires F1600 championship and the Formula Tour 1600 championship last year. "He doesn't have the speed in Pro Mazda yet, but that will come. You never would have known this was his first time in a Pro Mazda car. He got more and more comfortable every lap."

Lanteigne and M1 Racing owner Paul Mata are known for their ability to spot talent and nurture it, and they have high hopes for DeGrand.

"He's a very experienced, young American driver," Lanteigne noted. "He has a strong background in karting in both North America and Europe and in Skip Barber. He proved himself in F1600 too, and he's definitely a rising star."

DeGrand was the Skip Barber Rookie of the Year in 2012 and the World Karting Association Grand National champion in 2007, among many other accomplishments.

Another M1 Racing driver, Nicholas Latifi, had two podium finishes in the first half of the Cooper Tires Winterfest Feb. 19-20 at NOLA Motorsports Park in Avondale, La., as he prepared for a season of racing in Europe.

He started seventh and finished second to Weiron Tan in the second race at NOLA, setting his fastest lap on the 14th and last lap of that race.

Latifi started tenth in the third race and finished third to Jack Aitken and Tan, setting the third-fastest lap of the race in the process.

Unfortunately Latifi had bad luck at Barber. He qualified fourth for the first race, but he and the third-place starter, Will Owen, made contact in Turn 14 on the first lap. Luckily the young Canadian was not hurt, but his car was withdrawn from the nightcap due to the damage it sustained.

Carlos Conde of Scarsdale, N.Y. also represented the team at NOLA as he prepares to make a run for the Pro Mazda series' Expert class championship. Although he will probably miss the event at Barber Motorsports Park in April due to another commitment, he and M1 Racing driver Jay Horak of Mesa, Ariz. should make plenty of headlines in that class this season. Horak won the Expert class championship in 2013 driving for M1 Racing.

The Pro Mazda season opener is a doubleheader on the street course in St. Petersburg, Fla. March 27-29.

Funded drivers and marketing partners wishing to join the team may obtain more information by e-mailing M1RacingInfo@gmail.com.

M1 Racing's Web site is at m1racing.co and it's also active on Facebook and Twitter. For more information on the series, see promazdaseries.com.

About Tampa Bay Jaw Surgery:

Tampa Bay Jaw Surgery is a leader in the treatment of conditions and diseases associated with the oral and maxillofacial complex.  Founded by Dr. Walt Bowlin, it has been providing quality surgical services statewide in Florida since 1999. New centers will be opening in Texas, Florida and other parts of the Southeast in the near future.

 

 

SR Lubricant Solutions Introduces Its Mycroleum Brand

SR Lubricant Solutions, LLC, is excited to announce the launch of a full line of state-of-the-art lubricant products under its new Mycroleum brand.

The Zionsville, Ind.-based company is focusing on commercial and industrial uses for the Mycroleum line, which initially consists of Mycroleum Engine Oil Treatment; Mycroleum Gear Treatment; a full complement of greases, including EP2, EP1, EP0 and 00; and two fuel treatments: Mycroleum Fuel Solutions Diesel Treatment and Mycroleum Fuel Solutions Gasoline Treatment.

Mycroleum lubricant products contain patent-pending Mycroleum technology utilizing micro-metallic particles. None contain lead, PTFE, chlorinated paraffins or antimony components.

"We've proven in the lab and in independent testing in the field that Mycroleum products will greatly benefit commercial and industrial companies that are looking for ways to make their equipment last longer and increase production over similar periods of time," said Rick Maas, SR Lubricant Solutions co-founder.

"We took our time to find the right production partners to manufacture Mycroleum products," Maas added. "We are using the finest raw materials available, and we're committed to producing the Mycroleum brand in America. We are actively growing our dealership network, building our internal sales capabilities, and continuing research to add to the product line. We are convinced we can add value to our customers who use Mycroleum in their production lines."

Scott Deslippe, the company's co-founder along with Maas, is heading the brand's launch in Canada.

"Mycroleum is going to be a strong brand in Canada as well as the United States because it uses the highest quality base products available," Deslippe said. "Our top priority right now is building our distribution network across the country and working with our distributors to penetrate the market in their verticals. The foundation is set to really grow this brand in Canada. There is a need for quality products like these that provide results, and I look forward to growing the brand in Canada with great enthusiasm."

Deslippe, an Amherstburg, Ontario, resident, brings extensive knowledge of the market and products to Mycroleum's North American customer base.

"My past experience marketing Pro-Ma Performance Products for over 10 years gives us a great head start in the market," Deslippe noted. "The Mycroleum group of products is the next generation of that same technology. The formulas have been updated and improved upon, and my experience with those products gives me a great deal of knowledge about how the products work in real-world applications."

"We look forward to servicing the needs of customers everywhere," said Ryan Humphrey, managing partner of Lubricant Solutions USA, the marketing affiliate of SR Lubricant Solutions in the United States. "We believe there is a huge opportunity to grow the brand. Just as individuals are driving their vehicles longer and are taking better care of them, industry is working hard to extend the life of its existing equipment and taking better care of both new and old machinery. We'll be a big part of that going forward," added Humphrey, a Zionsville, Ind., resident.

Chief Chemist Bruce Wells was instrumental in developing the Mycroleum line.

"The use of quality base products, finding experienced, professional companies to blend and bottle our formulas, and presenting a first-class product make all the difference in the world," Wells said. "There are many competitors in this space, but none will be able to match the quality of these products. The technology being used in the marketplace on equipment has changed so much over the past decade, and it's time lubrication technology catches up. I'm proud to be a part of putting these products together. It's exciting!"

"The Mycroleum brand has been built on the basis of providing a quality, value-added product at a reasonable price," Maas said. "Using premium base materials and remaining competitively priced means there will be less margin, but there will be more satisfied customers in the long run, and that is our goal. We have had many very promising conversations already, and we're looking forward to servicing these customers for a long time to come."

In addition to extensive testing in the lab and in the field, SR Lubricant Solutions conducted a research and development program in motorsports to fine-tune its formulas for Mycroleum products. "We've already tested Mycroleum products in several different NASCAR series' race cars, World of Outlaws winged sprint cars and in IndyCar with promising results," Maas said. "It's a natural fit for the Mycroleum products to be actively involved in motorsports, and it won't be long before you see the Mycroleum brand more prominently at the track."

More information is available at Mycroleum.com and on its social media sites. Inquiries can be made via info@mycroleum.com or by calling 844-99LUBES in the United States and 855-99LUBES in Canada.

 

 

Dempsey/Wright Motorsports
Battles Back After Early Transponder Problems
To Finish Third in the 2015 Rolex 24 at Daytona

If a team has to have problems in the Rolex 24, it's best to have them early.

But Dempsey/Wright Motorsports took that old saying to new levels when it dropped from fourth in class on the grid to last place at the beginning of the Rolex 24 Saturday afternoon at Daytona International Speedway due to problems with its transponder, the electronic unit the series supplies to each car to record its laps completed.

The team made four pit stops to solve the problem, losing seven laps and dropping to 50th place overall and 17th in the GTD class after the first hour of competition.

It spent the next 23 hours battling back to record an amazing podium finish of third in class and 15th overall Sunday afternoon in the premier event of IMSA's TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, the first of four races in the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup.

It was the second podium finish in a row at the Rolex 24 for the Batavia, Ohio-based team with its Porsche 911 GT America.

It also put the famous Brumos Racing livery back on the podium at this event, since Brumos joined Porsche, Beautyrest mattresses, Bilstein shocks, Spyder active sportswear and Universal Industrial Sales as marketing partners here.

The #58 spent the first quarter of the race no higher than 15th in class, but by Hour 7 it had advanced to 12th and in Hour 8 it broke back into the top 10 in class. That was due not only to the team's expertise but also to plain hard driving by its four drivers: rising star Madison Snow of Lehi, Utah; Jan Heylen of Tampa, Fla.; Patrick Dempsey of Malibu, Calif. and Philipp Eng of Stuttgart, Germany. Changing strategy in mid-stream, juggling the timing of pit stops and dealing with numerous other issues behind the scenes was a well-oiled team led by team owner John Wright; Bob Viglione, the team's technical director, and Rob Gambrill, its car chief.

At the halfway point Snow was in the cockpit and the Porsche was in eighth place. Two hours later Heylen set the entry's fastest lap of the race on lap 405 with a time of 1:47.691 for the 3.560-mile road course. By Hour 15 it was still in eighth, but it had drawn within three laps of the class leader.

Dempsey moved the car into seventh place during Hour 16, Eng built on that during Hour 17, and Snow was in sixth place at the 18-hour mark.

The team continued to move up the scoring pylon. Two hours from the finish the Dempsey/Wright Motorsports Porsche moved into third place in class when a Ferrari made a pit stop for a driver change. It took the checkered flag two laps behind the car that finished second in class and one lap ahead of the fourth-place car, completing 702 laps in the 24-hour period.

Portions of the race were televised live on Fox.

For more information see WrightMotorsports.com and follow it on Facebook and Twitter.

The next race is March 18-21 at Sebring International Raceway in Sebring, Fla.

For more information on the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship and the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup, see IMSA.com.

Post-race quotes follow:

Madison Snow: "The race started out tough because we were multiple laps down after the first hour of the race due to a transponder issue. The team did a great job diagnosing and fixing the problem as quickly as possible. From then on it was just driving as hard as we all could while maintain the equipment. It is very easy to make a mistake out there and end up not finishing the race, and you just never know when the next yellow will fall.

"To battle back from the transponder issues to get a podium finish was amazing! A podium finish at Daytona is amazing anytime, but considering our problems early it was incredible."

Jan Heylen: “This is my fifth time racing the 24-hour and I understand the importance of maintaining the equipment. John Wright, Bobby Viglione and the entire crew worked together to deliver a highly competitive race car that allowed us to secure our third-place finish. We fought through adversity, but needed the yellow flags to go our way. We came here to win the Rolex, but after coming back from being seven laps down to stand on the podium, it’s a victory.”

Patrick Dempsey: "I am really proud of the entire team and the effort that was put forth this weekend. We came from seven laps down, finding ourselves in 51st overall. To never give up the fight and to be on the podium and 15th overall at Daytona is a testament to how hard our team worked. It's an amazing achievement."

Philipp Eng: “To race for Dempsey/Wright Motorsports at the Rolex 24 of Daytona is a dream come true! Over the last couple of weeks I feel that I have not only grown as a driver, but have gained friends for life. We have all become a family, and finishing third at Daytona reflects that bond.”

John Wright (owner of Wright Motorsports): "We went from 51st in the first hour due to the transponder issues to 15th overall. We had to pit four times for the transponder problem.

"Battling back for a podium finish is a testament to this team. We don't give up and we don't get down. It's all about staying positive.

"We want to thank Porsche, Brumos, Beautyrest, UIS, Spyder active sportswear and Bilstein for making it possible.

"The drivers did what they had to do and the team did what they had to do. We battled back from adversity, and just never gave up!"

 

 

Two Doran Racing Nissan 370Zs
As Well as Several More of Its Race Cars
Are Featured in Nissan's Super Bowl Commercial

The Bengals didn't make it to the Super Bowl, but another Cincinnati-based team was featured on the telecast briefly during the second quarter of the game Sunday night.

A pair of Nissan 370Zs that Doran Racing fields in the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge Series (CTSCC), #14 and #41, were prominent in Nissan's 90-second commercial that aired during the big game.

They were two of 11 race cars the Lebanon, Ohio-based team supplied for the secret taping of the commercial at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas in December.

"We provided four IMSA drivers, seven IMSA Doran Racing crew members, and 11 race cars," said Doran Racing owner Kevin Doran. "Eight cars were from our shop in Lebanon, Ohio. The other three were brought in from other race teams."

The four drivers were a pair of Rolex 24 winners— Didier Theys and Forest Barber — and two men who currently co-drive a car that is one of the stars of the commercial, the Doran Racing Nissan 370Z #14 that competes in the CTSCC series. That's the regular ride of B.J. Zacharias of Cincinnati and Brad Jaeger, a native of Cincinnati who is currently living in Charlottesville, Va., while he pursues his Masters degree at the University of Virginia.

Jaeger can be seen very briefly in the commercial, which is entitled "With Dad," while he's on the top step of the podium during a victory lane celebration.

The storyline of the commercial, which is set to Harry Chapin's 1974 folk/rock song "Cat's in the Cradle," shows a father off racing as his son grows up, watching him on TV. The father misses many important events in his son's life while he pursues his racing career, first in a Doran Racing Nissan 370Z and then in a Nissan GT-R, with which he has an accident. He goes on to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans in Nissan's much-anticipated World Endurance Championship LMP1 car, the GT-R LM NISMO, which is unveiled for the first time during the commercial. The father and son then drive off together in a new Nissan road car at the end of the commercial.

"I was one of three guys on the top step of the podium in the commercial," said Jaeger on Friday, two days before the commercial aired. "It was me, the main actor, and one of the Nissan GT Academy drivers. I got to drive the older Nissan Prototype too.

"A lot of our mechanics were extras in various scenes," he said. "I was there for two and a half days, but I think the team was there for almost a whole week.

"I had a wonderful time," he continued. "It was the first time I've ever been exposed to a proper Hollywood production. It was a lot more relaxed than a race weekend, but they knew what they wanted and they went out and did it.

"We all had radios, and it was very planned out and coordinated," Jaeger continued. "We'd film in one portion of the track, and then go to another portion. I got to drive the older Nissan Prototype. There was definitely a lot of waiting around, but they did it right. My guess is that there were around 200 people there in all; everyone from the production staff to the people driving the cars to the actors and the wardrobe and makeup people."

"It was a good experience and I'm happy the #14 and Doran Racing were able to be a part of it," Zacharias said.

For those who missed it on Sunday, the commercial is available for viewing on YouTube.

Last year's Super Bowl had an estimated 112.2 million viewers, making it the most-watched broadcast in American TV history.

The next TV appearance for Zacharias and Jaeger and their Doran Racing Nissan 370Z #14, as well as Nick McMillan and Bryan Heitkotter in the similar #41, will be during Fox Sports 1's coverage of their season opener at Daytona. It is scheduled to air at 10 a.m. Eastern next Sunday, Feb. 8.

The team's next event is at Sebring International Raceway in Sebring, Fla. The Doran Racing Nissan 370Zs will be in the CTSCC race there on Friday, March 20, while the team's Fifty Plus Racing Prototype will race in the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh from Florida the following day.

Incidentally, the Fifty Plus Racing Prototype moved up one spot in the Rolex 24, from ninth to eighth place in the Prototype class, after the car that was originally scored in third place was penalized after the race. That ruling was made public on Friday.

For more information on Doran Racing, a legendary endurance sports car team that has overall victories in the Rolex 24 and several championships to its credit, see DoranRacing.com and its Facebook page. For more information on the series, see IMSA.com. For more information on Nissan, see Nissan-USA.com.

 

 

Fifty Plus Racing Riley BMW
Prepared by Doran Racing
Rebounds from Crash to Finish Ninth in Rolex 24

It was an emotional rollercoaster, but Fifty Plus Racing achieved the goals it set for the 2015 Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway and then some.

One of the major images generated at the "Roar Before the Rolex 24" pre-race test Jan. 9-11 at Daytona was of the team's "Endures for a Cure/Highway to Help" Riley BMW #50 flipping on the frontstretch and coming to a rest upside down on the track after running over debris and cutting a tire. Luckily driver/car owner Byron DeFoor escaped serious injury.

The car wasn't as lucky. Many other teams would have simply withdrawn from the upcoming race. But thanks to the hard work of the team that prepares the car, Doran Racing, the #50 was repaired at its headquarters in Lebanon, Ohio and was back at Daytona last week, ready to undertake the twice-around-the-clock classic on Saturday and Sunday.

Fifty Plus Racing's primary drivers are all over age 50, and the team does not have the monetary resources of the teams at the top of the time sheets. Instead of winning, its primary goal is the first goal of every endurance sports car team: to finish the race. That's a daunting goal for all competitors, since mechanical issues and accidents can quickly end their day prematurely.

This is especially true at the Rolex 24, where high-performance parts and humans are stressed over a 24-hour period. Last weekend 24 of the 53 cars that started the race didn't make it to the finish. But among the 29 that took the checkered flag was the Fifty Plus Racing #50, so the team achieved its primary goal.

Its top-10 finish of ninth in class was icing on the cake.

The record books will show that its official finishing position was ninth out of 16 cars in the Prototype class, and 32nd out of 53 overall.

It was a great accomplishment for all concerned, and especially for the team's five drivers: Jim Pace of Ridgeland, Miss.; Bryon DeFoor of Ooltewah, Tenn.; David Hinton of Clearwater, Fla.; Dorsey Schroeder of Little Torch Key, Fla. and Doug Smith of Roswell, Ga.

Pace, a two-time Rolex 24 winner, took the lead driver role and qualified the car 14th in class and 29th overall.

Schroeder, who also has a long list of racing accomplishments, including a Trans-Am championship, was making his return to the cockpit after an absence of 13 years.

DeFoor, the car owner, has many years of sports car experience.

The same can be said of Hinton, the owner of Historic Sports Racing (HSR), one of the largest vintage racing sanctioning bodies in the United States.

Smith, who at 36 is Fifty Plus Racing's only driver under the age of 50, got the call at the last minute to help with the night-time stints. Although this was his first Rolex 24, he's a professional racing instructor who teamed with Andy Wallace to win a class at the Classic 24-Hour HSR vintage race at Daytona last November. That weekend Smith and Wallace's Audi R8 beat, among other cars, a Riley & Scott driven by Pace, DeFoor, Hinton and another key player on the team, Brian Johnson of the rock band AC/DC.

Pace and then DeFoor drove the #50 during the first hour of the Rolex 24 on Saturday. They were immediately faced with a treacherous "green" track, since an overnight rain washed away some of the tire rubber laid down in previous races and practice and qualifying sessions. They withstood the pressures and got the effort off to a good start with no incidences.

Schroeder set a fast lap of 1:44.233 on sticker tires on lap 60 during his first stint while running 13th in class. Five laps later his foot went to the floor, however, when the car lost its brakes at about 190 miles per hour. Schroeder masterfully kept the car off the wall and brought it back to the garage, where the crew made repairs quickly and got him back on the track.

From hours three through seven the car was scored in 14th place in class as each of its primary drivers took turns behind the wheel. It rose to 11th at Hour 8 at 10:10 p.m. Saturday night with Pace driving. It stayed in 11th place for the next five hours, with Smith getting his first Rolex 24 experience around 11 p.m.

Hinton and Pace also drove during the night. Pace set the car's fastest lap of the race just before 3 a.m. Sunday when he was timed in 1:43.796 on lap 341 in the cool night air. By 4 a.m. the car broke into the top 10 for the first time, and a top-10 finish became a definite possibility.

Smith was shown in ninth place by Hour 15 and eighth by Hour 16. Hinton was able to keep the car in eighth as dawn broke Sunday morning. The car remained in eighth throughout the morning, and it was 20 laps ahead of the ninth-place car at lunchtime.

At that point, with an engine problem looming and no additional positions to gain, the team decided to save the car's engine and be around at the finish. It placed ninth, completing 590 laps around the 3.56-mile road course over the 24-hour period.

The final goal for the team — and the most important — is to raise as much funds as possible to fight Alzheimer's disease through Fifty Plus Racing's Web site at FiftyPlusRacing.com or on its Facebook page. With the fans' help more money was allocated towards that goal during the Rolex 24, but there is still time to make donations by texting ACDC to 51555 or by calling 1-800-349-1753. Donations can also be easily made by credit cards or PayPal through FiftyPlusRacing.com.

The Rolex 24 was covered in part on Fox. Coverage of all 24 hours of the action can be viewed on the Tudor United SportsCar Championship's YouTube channel. More information is available at IMSA.com.

The team's next race is the prestigious Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring fueled by Fresh from Florida March 18-21 at Sebring International Raceway in Sebring, Fla.

For more information on Doran Racing, a legendary endurance sports car team that has overall victories in the Rolex 24 and several championships to its credit, see DoranRacing.com.

Driver post-race quotes follow:

Byron DeFoor: "The 2015 24-hour was a rollercoaster event for me. It's always a high to build up to the actual race day. My colleagues at Grace Healthcare spent tireless hours having events to promote the car and raise money for Alzheimer's research. Brian Johnson went beyond the call of duty helping us with filming commercials and doing interviews whenever called upon. He stepped up to the plate and did anything we asked.

"Kevin Doran made sure the car showed up, ready wrapped and beautiful, to every location for the next event to promote the race and our Alzheimer's foundation. Jim, David and Dorsey, my friends and driving partners, were always there doing their part of the job, which even included hosting silent auctions and working with IMSA to secure car cameras and TV time to tell our story and what we are all about.

"Since I was badly bruised and sore from my cash at the test, Doug Smith was asked at the last minute to fill in as a driver if needed. He did a great job driving during those lonely night hours. Of course it's always comforting to hear the voices of our friends and spotters, Jeff, Carl and Dixon. Thank you guys for watching our backs!

"Kevin and the Doran Racing team performed miracles after the crash to get the car ready in a week to return to Daytona Speedway for the 24-hour race. The car actually looked better than before I crashed. Thank you, Kevin!

"When I strapped in for the first time, post-crash, lap after lap I tried to conquer my fear of something going wrong. The least bit of vibration from tire off-line build-up or seeing other cars crash in front of me would send me into a mind rush of my crash at the test.

"I finally began to get comfortable during the last hours of the race, and then suddenly the #54 car with Colin Braun at the wheel caught fire. My mind and thoughts took me back to my crash, thinking of what it would be like to be trapped inside if my car had caught fire.

"I'm glad Colin was able to get out of his car and over the wall quickly. The truth is, racing is a very dangerous sport. I realize race cars are built much safer than in the past, but it sure feels good at the end of a race to look at your family and smile and be able to say I made it home safely."

Jim Pace: "The Daytona 24-hour is more than just another race, and this year with the 'Highway to Help' team was a real emotional rollercoaster!

"Kevin Doran's crew performed wonderfully preparing the car and worked tirelessly with great attitudes.  Sharing the drive with Byron DeFoor and David Hinton again was fun. Doug Smith did a real nice job joining in the night sessions. And how awesome to have Dorsey Schroeder as a teammate! He's a great driver, a great guy and a great friend!"

Dorsey Schroeder: "My return to the Rolex 24 at Daytona after a 13-year absence was both emotionally and physically demanding. When I retired back in 2002 at Daytona driving for Dyson Racing, I told Chris Dyson it was time for me to move on.  Thirteen years later, and a lot of water over the dam, I had the chance to return.

"I have to thank Jim Pace for being my friend and for believing in me. I have to thank Byron DeFoor, David Hinton and Brian Johnson for being my friend, and believing in Jim. And I have to thank Doug Smith for having my back, and doing an outstanding job in his first Rolex 24.

"I was drained after the race emotionally and physically.  However, you can't slap the smile off my face.

"To Kevin Doran's team a huge thank you for a job executed perfectly. To all my fans, thank you for your gracious comments. To my Lord God, thank you for delivering me safely!

"Next, Sebring!"

David Hinton: "This was my second Rolex 24 at Daytona, and what a rollercoaster ride it was, from the lows of the Roar to the high of pushing the car to the starting grid in front of all our friends and family.

"After spending the last 25 years on the other side of the fence, I appreciate every lap of every stint racing with some of motorsports' biggest names of today and the future. I would not want to do it with any other team or any other teammates.  We made memories that I will never forget."

Doug Smith: "Great things can come at the last minute, and that was definitely the case here. The whole experience is still on a surreal level for me.

"First and foremost, I want to thank everybody at Fifty Plus Racing and Doran Racing for their hard work and dedication. To take a car that had so much damage at the test and make it a 24-hour finisher, all you can say is, 'Wow!'

"I would like to thank my teammates first and foremost: Byron DeFoor, Jim Pace, David Hinton and Dorsey Schroeder. I am honored and humbled to have had the opportunity to be their teammate for my first 24 Hours of Daytona.  Thank you again for the belief in me.

"It was also an honor to be part of an organization that is in a fight not only for a win in a car race, but also in the fight on a bigger scale against Alzheimer's disease. When caring and amazing people band together almost anything is possible, and a cure will be found!"

 

 

Dempsey/Wright Motorsports
Battles Back After Early Transponder Problems
To Finish Third in the 2015 Rolex 24 at Daytona

If a team has to have problems in the Rolex 24, it's best to have them early.

But Dempsey/Wright Motorsports took that old saying to new levels when it dropped from fourth in class on the grid to last place at the beginning of the Rolex 24 Saturday afternoon at Daytona International Speedway due to problems with its transponder, the electronic unit the series supplies to each car to record its laps completed.

The team made four pit stops to solve the problem, losing seven laps and dropping to 50th place overall and 17th in the GTD class after the first hour of competition.

It spent the next 23 hours battling back to record an amazing podium finish of third in class and 15th overall Sunday afternoon in the premier event of IMSA's TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, the first of four races in the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup.

It was the second podium finish in a row at the Rolex 24 for the Batavia, Ohio-based team with its Porsche 911 GT America.

It also put the famous Brumos Racing livery back on the podium at this event, since Brumos joined Porsche, Beautyrest mattresses, Bilstein shocks, Spyder active sportswear and Universal Industrial Sales as marketing partners here.

The #58 spent the first quarter of the race no higher than 15th in class, but by Hour 7 it had advanced to 12th and in Hour 8 it broke back into the top 10 in class. That was due not only to the team's expertise but also to plain hard driving by its four drivers: rising star Madison Snow of Lehi, Utah; Jan Heylen of Tampa, Fla.; Patrick Dempsey of Malibu, Calif. and Philipp Eng of Stuttgart, Germany. Changing strategy in mid-stream, juggling the timing of pit stops and dealing with numerous other issues behind the scenes was a well-oiled team led by team owner John Wright; Bob Viglione, the team's technical director, and Rob Gambrill, its car chief.

At the halfway point Snow was in the cockpit and the Porsche was in eighth place. Two hours later Heylen set the entry's fastest lap of the race on lap 405 with a time of 1:47.691 for the 3.560-mile road course. By Hour 15 it was still in eighth, but it had drawn within three laps of the class leader.

Dempsey moved the car into seventh place during Hour 16, Eng built on that during Hour 17, and Snow was in sixth place at the 18-hour mark.

The team continued to move up the scoring pylon. Two hours from the finish the Dempsey/Wright Motorsports Porsche moved into third place in class when a Ferrari made a pit stop for a driver change. It took the checkered flag two laps behind the car that finished second in class and one lap ahead of the fourth-place car, completing 702 laps in the 24-hour period.

Portions of the race were televised live on Fox.

For more information see WrightMotorsports.com and follow it on Facebook and Twitter.

The next race is March 18-21 at Sebring International Raceway in Sebring, Fla.

For more information on the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship and the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup, see IMSA.com.

Post-race quotes follow:

Madison Snow: "The race started out tough because we were multiple laps down after the first hour of the race due to a transponder issue. The team did a great job diagnosing and fixing the problem as quickly as possible. From then on it was just driving as hard as we all could while maintain the equipment. It is very easy to make a mistake out there and end up not finishing the race, and you just never know when the next yellow will fall.

"To battle back from the transponder issues to get a podium finish was amazing! A podium finish at Daytona is amazing anytime, but considering our problems early it was incredible."

Jan Heylen: “This is my fifth time racing the 24-hour and I understand the importance of maintaining the equipment. John Wright, Bobby Viglione and the entire crew worked together to deliver a highly competitive race car that allowed us to secure our third-place finish. We fought through adversity, but needed the yellow flags to go our way. We came here to win the Rolex, but after coming back from being seven laps down to stand on the podium, it’s a victory.”

Patrick Dempsey: "I am really proud of the entire team and the effort that was put forth this weekend. We came from seven laps down, finding ourselves in 51st overall. To never give up the fight and to be on the podium and 15th overall at Daytona is a testament to how hard our team worked. It's an amazing achievement."

Philipp Eng: “To race for Dempsey/Wright Motorsports at the Rolex 24 of Daytona is a dream come true! Over the last couple of weeks I feel that I have not only grown as a driver, but have gained friends for life. We have all become a family, and finishing third at Daytona reflects that bond.”

John Wright (owner of Wright Motorsports): "We went from 51st in the first hour due to the transponder issues to 15th overall. We had to pit four times for the transponder problem.

"Battling back for a podium finish is a testament to this team. We don't give up and we don't get down. It's all about staying positive.

"We want to thank Porsche, Brumos, Beautyrest, UIS, Spyder active sportswear and Bilstein for making it possible.

"The drivers did what they had to do and the team did what they had to do. We battled back from adversity, and just never gave up!"

 

About Wright Motorsports: 

Wright Motorsports is the premier Porsche race engineering facility in Ohio and a multi-series, international racing team known for superb car preparation, expert race strategy and driver development. Located in Batavia, Ohio near Cincinnati, it is owned and directed by John Wright, a certified Porsche factory-trained technician. As a crew chief John Wright has played a key role in winning eight driver and seven team championships in World Challenge, IMSA (ALMS) and the Grand-Am Rolex Series. Wright Motorsports won the team championship in Porsche GT3 Cup USA in 2012 and 2013. In 2014 it had four podium finishes in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship. For more information see WrightMotorsports.com and follow it on Facebook and Twitter.

 

 

One Doran Racing Nissan 370Z Gets Sixth;
The Other Runs Well Too But Ends Up 15th
In CTSCC Season Opener Friday at Daytona

Nissan GT Academy standouts Nick McMillen and Bryan Heitkotter were thrilled when they got the call to drive Doran Racing's #41 Nissan 370Z in the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge season opener Friday at Daytona International Speedway. They were even more thrilled when their entry finished a solid sixth in the 68-lap, 2.5-hour race that supported this weekend's Rolex 24.

Doran Racing's #14 Nissan 370Z driven by Brad Jaeger and B.J. Zacharias appeared poised for at least a top-five finish and perhaps a podium. It ended up 15th in the Grand Sport class, however, after a plastic hinge supporting the gas pedal let go with about 35 minutes remaining in the race as Zacharias was in seventh place and entering Turn 1 of the 3.56-mile road course. He pitted, the crew replaced the part and he did a few more laps, but the goal at that point became just to salvage as many points as possible.

McMillen, of Salem, Ore., started the #41 ninth in the 53-car field. Jaeger, of Charlottesville, Va., originally qualified 11th but he was right beside McMillen in tenth place after the BMW that originally qualified tenth crashed in the morning warm-up and wasn't able to start.

McMillen dropped back to 13th initially, but he was 12th by lap two and he stayed in that spot until he moved back into the top 10 due to pit stops around the first full-course caution on lap 11. He was scored mostly in 12th or 13th place for the rest of his stint, but he got as high as third due to pit stops before he pitted for Heitkotter to take over during a green-flag pit stop around lap 28 with 1:23 remaining in the race.

Jaeger advanced to eighth by lap two and remained in that spot until he vaulted to sixth after the first of three full-course cautions. All of the cautions were for single-car incidents for cars off course and needing a tow.

Jaeger had a stirring battle with Max Riddle's Aston Martin following the restart, and he was comfortably in seventh when the second full-course caution waved on lap 18. Cameron Lawrence passed him on lap 23 to push him back to eighth, and he was still in that position when Zacharias took over around lap 25 around the one-hour mark.

Both starting drivers posted their best laps early. Jaeger's was on lap four with a 1:57.722, and McMillen's was lap seven with a 1:58.829.

Zacharias' fastest lap was lap 31, when the Cincinnati-based driver turned a 1:57.425 despite dealing with a stomach ailment. Heitkotter, of Fresno, Calif., set the fastest lap of his stint on lap 35 with a 1:58.117.

At the halfway point in the race on lap 34 Zacharias was 11th and Heitkotter was 12th, 1.590 seconds behind him. With one hour remaining they were in the same order but they were up to eighth and ninth. At that point another Nissan driven by Brett Sandberg brought out the third and final caution on lap 42 when it stopped and needed a tow.

Zacharias was up to fifth and Heitkotter moved into sixth when pit stops occurred under that yellow. They both fell back when they pitted too, but on lap 47 with about 38 minutes remaining Zacharias was in seventh place, just 0.091 of a second behind the sixth-place car of Trent Hindman, and Heitkotter was ninth, looking for a way around Jade Buford.

Shortly thereafter the hinge let go on the #14's gas pedal. Heitkotter's #41 was still rolling in eighth place, although he was still dealing with Buford. He got around Buford with 24 minutes remaining to advance to seventh, and 2 minutes later he passed Kris Wilson's Aston Martin to take sixth. He was about 2.7 seconds behind the fifth-place car when the checkered dropped for the race, which was officially called the BMW Performance 200.

The series' next race is slated for Friday, March 20 at Sebring International Raceway in Sebring, Fla.

For more information on Doran Racing, see DoranRacing.com and its Facebook page. For more information on the series, see IMSA.com.

Driver post-race quotes follow:

Nick McMillen — "It was fun, and definitely exciting!

"I never got to start a race before; last year in the Blancpain Endurance Series, I either drove the middle or the last stints. It was also the first time I got to really battle for position, and to deal with the slower ST cars.

"Every lap here was a learning experience. Each lap I gained more and more knowledge. It was really fun.

"There was one Mustang that took me awhile to get by. Car placement and knowing who to trust and who not to trust were all part of the learning experience.

"I've never experienced a track with high banking before either. I didn't realize how steep the banks really were. It was a whole different experience. That part was odd, but fun.

"I took too long to pass a couple of cars and I missed a couple shifts, but my goal was to keep it in the top 10 and keep it in one piece to turn over to Bryan. I'm glad we were able to bring it home sixth."

Bryan Heitkotter — "It was fun. Nick put in a good stint and kept the car in perfect shape. There was a lot of green-flag racing and we were able to get sixth, so it's great to start the year off strong.

"There was a lot of real close racing during my stint. It took a lot of time for me to get around the 158. He's clean but effective.

"I'm really happy to be back with Doran Racing. They did an excellent job in preparing the cars. This was my second race at Daytona; I was in the ST class last year.

"Our car was stronger at Daytona than I thought it might be. We have a good all-around car, so I'm very excited for the upcoming season."

Brad Jaeger: "My stint went to plan except for when I came into the pits.

"The goal for my whole stint was to stick with the leaders. I think I could have pushed harder and run higher up, but the car was running a little hot during my stint so I just wanted to keep the temperatures within the normal range, save the engine, keep the car clean and save it for B.J.

"The throttle pedal started shifting its position during my stint. It was amazing that B.J. could stick with it as long as he did. B.J. felt we had the pace to move up and we were definitely in line for a top-five finish and maybe even a podium, but that's racing.

"The pedal was just starting to shift during my stint. During the driver change we might have hit it.

"Our Nissans were very strong. Doran Racing has done an amazing job balancing everything. I can't say enough about the hard work and preparation they do. They prepared two Nissans to run in the Conti race and a Prototype for the Rolex 24, including rebuilding the Prototype after the crash at the Roar. They do an amazing job."

B.J. Zacharias: "I guess I got a stomach virus or something. I started to get sick last night.

"The internal hinge on the gas pedal broke. It's about a half-inch by one-eighth-inch thick piece of plastic, and it just snapped off.

"When I got in the car it was already broken or breaking. For all the left-handers I was only getting half throttle.

"Over the radio, Kevin [Doran] said to push on the very base of the throttle. It's sort of amazing it lasted as long as it did, but it finally snapped off completely when I was going into Turn 1. We came in and replaced it and got back out, but by that time we were already several laps down. We salvaged 15th place out of it, so we got a few more points than we got here last year.

"The adrenalin you get during your stint when you're running for position helped keep me from thinking about my stomach, but those last 20 minutes or so were hard.

"Our car was really fast. I think we could have been on the podium. On the longer runs it was really, really good. The cars are in one piece, and we'll go on to Sebring."

 

 

Fifty Plus Racing Prototype Qualifies for Rolex 24

Jim Pace said he ended up "about where we thought we'd be" with the Fifty Plus Racing "Endures for a Cure" Riley BMW when he placed 14th in class during Rolex 24 qualifying Thursday at Daytona International Speedway.

He was quick to point out that he and his three co-drivers — Byron DeFoor, David Hinton and Dorsey Schroeder — are thankful for the tremendous job that Doran Racing did to get their car back on the track after a spectacular accident in testing here just 12 days ago.

The first accomplishment was to repair the car at Doran Racing's headquarters in Lebanon, Ohio and be back at Daytona when the first official Rolex 24 practice session got the green flag Thursday morning. The second goal was to post an official qualifying time Thursday afternoon, which Pace did with a lap in 1:44.423 for an average speed of 122.732 miles per hour around the 3.56-mile road course. He'll start 29th overall when the green flag drops at 2:10 p.m. Saturday.

Those two goals are now accomplished, but there are two more.

The team's third goal is to be running at the finish of the Rolex 24 on Sunday afternoon, which is a daunting challenge for all 53 cars entered in the race.

The fourth goal — and the most important — is to raise as much funds as possible to fight Alzheimer's disease through Fifty Plus Racing's Web site at FiftyPlusRacing.com or on its Facebook page.

Pace and his teammates are taking it one step at a time.

"I'm so pleased with the job Doran Racing did to get the car repaired and back here for the race weekend," Pace said. "We're making a few adjustments and we'll continue to do that all weekend. We have a lot of experience behind the wheel, so we really hope we'll be able to finish the race."

Pace said he had no problems during his qualifying laps.

"Everyone was polite," he said with a smile.

The Rolex 24 will be covered live in its entirety through a combination of segments on FOX, FOX Sports 2, FOX Sports 1 and IMSA.com. The latter will also have live timing and scoring.

The telecasts start with coverage on FOX from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. FOX Sports 2 takes over from 4 p.m .to 8 p.m. Then FOX Sports 1 handles things from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. The brutal nighttime action will be on IMSA.com from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. FOX Sports 1 resumes the coverage from 7 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. Sunday.

For more information on Doran Racing, a legendary endurance sports car team that has overall victories in the Rolex 24 and several championships to its credit, see DoranRacing.com.

 

 

Doran Racing Nissan 370Zs to Start Ninth and 11th
In CTSCC Season Opener Friday at Daytona

Doran Racing's Nissan 370Zs will start ninth and 11th in today's season opener for the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge series at Daytona International Speedway after qualifying in those positions Thursday afternoon on the 3.56-mile road course.

Nick McMillen of Salem, Ore., celebrated his 22nd birthday in fine style. The Nissan GT Academy standout qualified ninth in his first race ever in the United States and in this particular car, the #41 that he'll share with Bryan Heitkotter of Fresno, Calif. McMillen's best lap was done in 1:57.708 for an average speed of 108.880 miles per hour. That was only 1.188 seconds off the Mustang that won the pole and 0.521 off the Camaro that qualified fifth, which is a remarkable accomplishment for a driver who took his first lap at Daytona and his first lap in this car about 24 hours earlier. His best lap came on lap three of four turned in the qualifying session.

Brad Jaeger of Charlottesville, Va., ran over a curb early in the session that compromised his car's alignment, but he'll start right behind McMillen in 11th place in the #14 he shares with B.J. Zacharias of Cincinnati. His best lap was also lap three of four, when he was timed in 1:57.916 for an average speed of 108.688 mph.

The Lebanon, Ohio-based team changed the engine in the #41 prior to qualifying, and after qualifying it was working on that car's differential. A problem with the differential was thought to be the reason why McMillen came to a stop in the Bus Stop to bring out a red flag at the end of the session. Without having his best lap thrown out for causing a red, he would have qualified seventh with a 1:57.475 on lap two.

"I got a good lap early because there was no traffic around me," McMillen said. "Then I think at the end we must have had a problem with the differential, because there was no noise and no mis-shift, but I just lost power in Turn 6.

"I've been driving Nissans with a sequential transmission and paddle shifters, so getting used to racing with a manual transmission has been challenging," he added. "There is tough competition in this series. Just getting used to the car and the track has been a challenge. I'm trying my best to be consistent and smooth, and I'm learning the limits of the car."

When asked if this was the best birthday he's ever had, he said "I have to say 'Yes!'" with a smile.

"I think we have a really good car for the race," said Jaeger. "Very early in the session I hit a curb too hard and threw off the alignment in the right-front suspension. Given my mistake early on, I'm pleased to hang on with 11th. Doran Racing and Nissan deserved to be higher up because the car was there, but I just hit a curb too hard.

"Our car was really loose in practice, but the track conditions changed and with the new tires, we were right there," he added. "I think we have a good car for the race. We'll just try to stay clean and be there at the end tomorrow."

Friday's 2.5-hour race, which is called the BMW Performance 200, is slated to begin at 1:45 p.m. It will be covered live on IMSA.com.

For more information on Doran Racing, see DoranRacing.com and its Facebook page.

 

Doran Racing to Field Two Nissan 370Zs In Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge; Season Opener Is Friday at Daytona

Doran Racing is pleased to announce that it will field two Nissans in the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge series in 2015, beginning with the season opener Friday at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla.

Fan favorites Brad Jaeger of Charlottesville, Va. and B.J. Zacharias of Cincinnati return to the #14 Nissan 370Z, while Nissan GT Academy standouts Bryan Heitkotter of Fresno, Calif. and Nick McMillen of Salem, Ore., will share the #41 Nissan 370Z.

Jaeger and Zacharias were in the heat of the action up front in nearly all 12 CTSCC races last year. The veterans' Nissan finished fifth in the final point standings for 2014 with two podium finishes (Sebring and Watkins Glen) and two additional top-five finishes (Laguna Seca and Indianapolis).

"I'm really looking forward to a fresh start and a new year," said Zacharias, who drove the first Nissan 370Z in Grand-Am competition 12 years ago. "I feel very fortunate to be back with Kevin Doran, Brad Jaeger and Nissan for the Continental Tire series. I think Brad and I really started becoming a threat last year as the season progressed.

"The series has gone down to 10 rounds in 2015, so coming out of the gate full bore will be important," Zacharias added. "Number one on the list is the championships that are up for grabs. The team has worked really hard over the winter to ensure we have a shot right from the first green flag.

"Brad and I have kept steady communication throughout the off-season, so we know what to expect," Zacharias added. "I think being paired back with him for another full season helps the 14 car in our push for the title.

"With only 10 races this year, it really stresses the emphasis on 10 consistent top-five finishes, with little to no room for error," he said, referring to the fact that races at Kansas Speedway and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2014 do not appear on the series' 2015 schedule. "We'll put our heads down and pull the belts a little tighter! I'm really looking forward to the opportunity we have with this program, and where we are headed."

"I'm really excited to return to Doran Racing for the 2015 Continental Tire season," said Jaeger, who is also pursuing a masters degree in business administration at the University of Virginia. "B.J. Zacharias and I had a great season last year driving the #14 Nissan 370Z, where we finished fifth in the championship, and I am looking forward to growing the program with Nissan this coming year.

"B.J. and I work really well together, and I think everyone on the team started to find their 'groove' halfway through last season," Jaeger continued. "If we can keep that momentum going into this season, we should have great results. 

"I'm also really happy to have two Nissan GT Academy drivers join our team in another 370Z," he added. "I think Nissan's GT Academy program is excellent at finding talented drivers, and Bryan and Nick will definitely help this year's effort. 

"Consistency will be really important due to the shortened season," Jaeger concluded. "There are also a few changes to the Balance of Performance and some new cars entering the series, which will also shake up performance a bit."

The Nissan GT Academy is a reality TV show/program that takes top performers in racing video games and develops them into professional race car drivers.

Heitkotter earned his spot in the Nissan GT Academy in 2011. He drove for Doran Racing in selected events in the CTSCC series in both 2012 and 2013 in a Nissan. Despite doing only partial seasons, he won two poles in 2012 (Mid-Ohio and Laguna Seca) and one in 2013 (Road America). He finished seventh in the Pirelli World Challenge Touring Car series last year driving a Nissan Altima Coupe for another Nissan-affiliated team.

"I'm excited to be a part of the Doran Racing team again," Heitkotter said. "I have a lot of great memories there, and at the same time feel like we have some unfinished business with the top of the podium. We led often, but for one reason or another winning remained elusive. It will be great to team up with fellow Nissan GT Academy graduate Nick McMillen after his time in Europe and see what we can accomplish together."

McMillen became a Nissan GT Academy driver in 2013. His 2014 season got off to a great start with a class victory at the 24-hour race in Dubai for Nissan. He went on to drive a Nissan in the Blancpain Endurance Series last year, and took home a victory at Silverstone, England enroute to a 15th-place finish in that series' Pro-Am Cup point standings.

"I'm very thankful to have the opportunity to join Doran Racing and fellow U.S. GT Academy winner Bryan Heitkotter as my teammate in the car at Daytona," McMillen said. "The season opener for the Continental Tire series will actually be my first race in the United States, which makes racing at Daytona even more exciting. I welcome the challenge of working with a new team and a new [to me] car. I haven't raced since September but I'm sure I will get up to speed quickly and feel at home with the Doran crew in no time."

This week's schedule for the BMW Performance 200 at Daytona shows one-hour practice sessions on the 3.56-mile road course at 1:30 p.m. and 3:45 p.m. on Wednesday. There is a half-hour practice session slated for 11:45 a.m. on Thursday before qualifying for the Grand Sport class is held at 2:40 p.m. that afternoon. Race day, Friday, begins with a 20-minute warm-up session at 9:45 a.m. The green flag is slated to drop on the 2.5-hour race at 1:45 p.m.

A press time there were 25 GS entries and 32 Street Tuner entries for a field of 57.

The CTSCC race supports the Rolex 24 on Saturday and Sunday. Doran Racing has won that race overall multiple times, and it has also won it as a car manufacturer.

Live timing and scoring and live video coverage are slated for imsa.com. IMSA officials said the race will also be televised on Fox Sports on a date and time to be announced later.

For more information on Doran Racing, see DoranRacing.com and the team's Facebook page.

The 2015 CTSCC schedule, which is subject to change, follows:

Jan. 23-25 Daytona Int'l Speedway, Daytona Beach, Fla.

March 20-21 Sebring Int'l Raceway, Sebring, Fla.

May 2-3 Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, Salinas, Calif.

June 27-28 Watkins Glen Int'l, Watkins Glen, N.Y.

July 11-12 Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, Bowmanville, Ont.

July 24-25 Lime Rock Park, Lakeville, Conn.

Aug. 8-9 Road America, Elkhart Lake, Wis.

Aug. 22-23 VIRginia Int'l Raceway, Alton, Va.

Sept. 18-19 Circuit of the Americas, Austin, Texas

Oct. 2-3 Road Atlanta, Braselton, Ga.

 

 

Dempsey/Wright Motorsports Announces Marketing Partnership With Brumos Racing for Daytona and Sebring; Adds Eng to Its Driver Roster for Rolex 24

 The famous Brumos Racing livery will be in competition once again at Daytona and Sebring in 2015 thanks to a joint marketing partnership announced today by Dempsey/Wright Motorsports and the Jacksonville, Fla.-based company.

Brumos Racing's famous red and blue livery will be prominently displayed on the Dempsey/Wright Motorsports #58 Porsche 911 GT America for the Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla., on Jan. 24-25 and the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh From Florida March 21 at Sebring International Raceway in Sebring, Fla. The endurance racing classics are the first two events in both the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship and the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup.

Brumos Racing is one of the most storied teams in the history of American sports car racing. It posted its first of four victories in the Rolex 24 at Daytona over 40 years ago, when Hurley Haywood and the late Peter Gregg were victorious in 1973 with a Porsche Carrera RSR. Most recently Brumos Racing brought home the 2011 GT championship. The team's last race was at Road Atlanta in 2013, but Brumos will once again be part of the action through the marketing agreement with Dempsey/Wright Motorsports.

In other news concerning the effort, Dempsey/Wright Motorsports also announced today that Philipp Eng will be the fourth driver for the team at Daytona. The 2014 champion of the Porsche Carrera Cup Germany joins the previously-announced driver lineup of Madison Snow, Patrick Dempsey and Jan Heylen.

Eng, 24, hails from Salzburg, Austria and currently lives in Stuttgart, Germany. He earned his first GT title in the ultra-competitive Porsche Carrera Cup Germany series by consistently good finishes, clinching the title by two points with a third-place finish in the season finale at the Hockenheimring in October. He finished the season with three victories and nine podium finishes. It was his fourth season of GT racing after previous success in formula car racing and karting. Eng joins the likes of Jörg Bergmeister, Marc Lieb and Nick Tandy as Carrera Cup Germany champions. Although this will be his first appearance in the Rolex 24, he has driven in 24-hour races at Dubai twice in the past.

"I am very grateful for this opportunity to come and race in the United States with Dempsey/Wright Motorsports," Eng said. "This will be my second race in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, and I am really happy to be racing in the United States again.

"Porsche introduced me to John Wright and he gave me the chance to do my first Rolex 24 with Porsche. I really hope that it will be as successful as my 2014 season. Being part of such a great team with very fast teammates is phenomenal!

"I don´t know Jan personally yet, but I know he is a very quick and experienced driver," Eng added. "I worked with Madison in the 2014 Porsche Supercup race at Austin and we got along very well. Both Jan and Madison were always on top of the timesheet at the Petit Le Mans in 2014, so I am sure we will have a good shot at the Rolex 24.

"I met Patrick at the Porsche Motorsport Night of Champions last month, and we had a good chat about Daytona," Eng continued. "It's really cool to be racing with him, and I am sure he will give everything he can to have a good result. My teammate in 2014 [in Porsche Carrera Cup Germany,] Sean Johnston, won the 2012 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge with Wright Motorsports, and he told me it is a very professional and hard-working team!"

"Brumos Racing is pleased to partner with John Wright and his team for these two races in 2015," said Dan Davis, chairman of Brumos Automotive. "Wright Motorsports is the best-qualified team in the class, and with John's group of talented drivers, we look forward to successful racing."

"John Wright is a class act," added Haywood, vice president of Brumos Automotive. "The Rolex 24 at Daytona and the Twelve Hours of Sebring make a smart pairing with Dempsey/Wright Motorsports for Brumos, and I'm excited to be a part of it."

“The Dempsey/Wright Motorsports team is very proud to be associated with such a racing icon as Brumos Racing," said Wright Motorsports owner John Wright, who has been involved in the Rolex 24 since 1993. "A lot of preparation has been accomplished in the off-season, and this late marketing partnership was just the shot in the arm we all needed to give us the momentum it takes going into such a large venue.

"The first time I was part of a Brumos effort was in 1995 [ROHR/Brumos 993 GT2], which Hurley Haywood drove. Bob Snodgrass, Jim Bailie and the core Brumos organization showed me how a professional team operated, and it was a monumental experience for me.

"In 2012 we came together again and it was such a great experience working with Dan Davis, Hurley Haywood and Skip Schinsing that we wished we could continue the remainder of the year," Wright added. "We ran against each other in 2013, and Brumos didn't compete during the 2014 season. I for one am very glad to have Brumos in action again, and I'm honored that it's with our team."

"It is great to see Brumos back on the track,” said Dempsey, of Malibu, Calif. “Brumos Porsches have been on numerous podiums over the decades, which is really inspiring to me. I’m proud to be a part of this iconic team. It is steeped in great history, and I think to be a part of that raises the game of everyone on the team."

"This year is shaping up to be a great year," said Snow, a rising star from Lehi, Utah and the only driver in the Rolex 24 who can say that both his mother and father have competed in this race in the past. "You always wonder how it will turn out in the off-season and you never really know until the Daytona test, but it sounds like this will be the best year to date for me being able to drive with Brumos. It's such a highly-respected team and it has the legacy where you see pictures and posters of its cars everywhere.

"I met Philipp at COTA for the Supercup race, where he showed me his dedication and speed in the car, and when it came time to look for additional drivers for the 24-Hour he was on top of the list," Snow continued. "It will be nice to drive in the same car with him and work a little closer regarding the data and setup of the car.

"I am very excited to be able to work with both Brumos and Philipp," he concluded. "The Roar will be a great time for us to get to know one another and all mesh together so that when we come back for the race everything goes as smoothly as possible."

"I think that anyone who knows anything about racing and racing in the United States would be as excited as I am to have their name associated with Brumos," said Heylen, a native of Belgium who resides in Tampa, Fla. "Its heritage and long-time partnership with Porsche combined with Wright Motorsports' experience will make for an even stronger, more competitive team than we had in 2014."

Other marketing partners for the #58 Dempsey/Wright Motorsports Porsche, in alphabetical order, include Beautyrest mattresses, Bilstein shocks, Spyder active sportswear and Universal Industrial Sales. 

The races will be televised on FOX Sports.

On Jan. 9-11 the team will participate in the Roar Before the Rolex 24, a pre-season test at Daytona.

For more information on the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship and the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup, see IMSA.com.

About Brumos Automotive:

Brumos Automotive was founded in the mid-1950s with a dedication to exceed the expectations of its customers in both sales and service. The rich heritage of Brumos Racing is reflected in superior leadership across the Brumos dealerships, which contribute to the strong reputation of Brumos in the Jacksonville, Fla. community. Along with Brumos Racing, there are five dealerships: Brumos Motor Cars (Mercedes-Benz) and Sprinter; Brumos Porsche; Brumos Lexus of Jacksonville; Brumos Lexus of Orange Park; Mercedes-Benz of Orange Park (including smart). In addition Brumos Collision Centers focus on auto body repair. For more information go to Brumos.com and follow Brumos on Facebook and Twitter.

About Wright Motorsports: 

Wright Motorsports is the premier Porsche race engineering facility in Ohio and a multi-series, international racing team known for superb car preparation, expert race strategy and driver development. Located in Batavia, Ohio near Cincinnati, it is owned and directed by John Wright, a certified Porsche factory-trained technician. As a crew chief John Wright has played a key role in winning eight driver and seven team championships in World Challenge, IMSA (ALMS) and the Grand-Am Rolex Series. Wright Motorsports won the team championship in Porsche GT3 Cup USA in 2012 and 2013. In 2014 it had four podium finishes in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship. For more information see WrightMotorsports.com and follow it on Facebook and Twitter.