In what turned out to be a street fight, the BAR1 Motorsports No.8 Evident Capital, MBRP Performance Exhaust race car leaves with mixed emotions after finishing 6th in the Tequila Patrón American Le Mans Series at Long Beach, a two-hour sprint race through the downtown streets of Long Beach, California.
With a lap time of 1:16.654, Marcelli qualified the No.8 BAR1 Motorsports entry P4 just 0.487 off the pole position time of Bruno Junqueira. The teams strategy was quite simple, Chris Cumming would start the race and run until the first pit-stop window for fuel, then Marcelli would get in to finish. Chris did a nice job maintaining the pace of the leaders and looked to hand the car off in good position, until about the 20-minute mark when Chris suffered a rear tire lock-up in the brake zone for turn one. This caused the car to pivot and kiss the concrete wall barrier. This was a very unusual mistake, the surface is quite bumpy and sometimes a downshift over the wrong bump can cause a lock up. Minutes later the No.8 was in the pits for a nose / splitter change. The crew did an outstanding job to get the car back into the race. Although, now three laps down, it was crucial to complete a minimum 70% of the race distance to score points. Just past the 40-minute mark, Chris was into the pits for a full service stop; fuel, tires, driver change. Marcelli was now behind the wheel and pushing hard to recover laps. Setting the fast lap of the race a 1:17.239, Marcelli passed the class leader of Colin Braun to recover one lap, unfortunately with a race distance of only two-hours, the team was unable to get back on the lead lap and thus took the checkered flag in P6.
Brian Alder, owner of BAR1 Motorsports:
“Although we had some bad luck in the race, overall, we made big improvements overall as a team. The nose / splitter change on the No. 8 car was very quick, it shows the pit stop practice our crew has been working on is paying off.”
“Kyle Marcelli did a fantastic job setting the fastest lap of the race and Chris Cumming was outstanding in the first part of the opening stint. We’ll get ‘em in Monterey!”
Kyle Marcelli remains optimistic.
“It was a disappointing result for us in Long Beach, but it just goes to show that in racing, anything can happen. Long Beach is the shortest race on the calendar, and thus counts for less championship points. We need to refocus for Monterey and keep the championship title in mind. I’m extremely confident in our ability as a team.”
“I was very happy with the crews performance. They were really on top of it with preparation and speed. When things went wrong for us early in the race their preparation was crucial to the bigger picture. Hats off to them.”
The next round of the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón is the American Le Mans Monterey from Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on Saturday, May 11. American Le Mans Series at Laguna Seca is the third round of the 10-race ALMS championship. ESPN2’s coverage begins at 4 p.m. ET on Sunday, May 12 with live coverage is available on ESPN3 starting at 6:15 p.m. ET on Saturday, May 11.
About the ALMS:
The American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón is the world`s leading sports car championship and is recognized as the Global Leader in Green Racing. In the tradition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, multiple classes of cars – purpose-built prototypes and production-based Grand Touring automobiles – race on the track at the same time to create compelling race action and constant passing. All cars in the Series compete using one of five approved alternative fuels or energy sources: clean sulfur-free diesel, cellulosic E85 or E10, Isobutanol and electric hybrid technologies. The Series has more automobile marques involved than any other major race series in the world as manufacturers develop relevant technologies on track that transfer directly to the customer showroom. The ALMS competes at North America`s premier road racing tracks and selected temporary street circuits in major urban markets.
Photo by John Thawley.