In light of next year’s debut of the United SportsCar Racing Series, it was a history making weekend as the American Le Mans Series and the Grand Am Series participated at the same venue on the same weekend. The BAR1 Motorsport team had their own reasons to celebrate, a back-to-back visit to the podium in the highly competitive Prototype Challenge class.
The Orion Energy 245 was run on Elkhart Lake’s Road America. It is one of the world’s fastest permanent road racing tracks and a fixture in the sports car racing community. Driver’s relish the circuit’s 4.048 miles of challenging turns, curves, high-speed straights and dramatic elevation changes.
Kyle Marcelli and Chris Cumming drove the No. 8 Evident Capital, MBRP Inc., ORECA Prototype, while Rusty Mitchell and James French shared the driving duties in the No. 7 orange and blue PetroComm ORECA.
Weather throughout the weekend was picture perfect. Unfortunately, all the setup work done early in the week went out the window when rain showers moved in just prior to the start of Sunday’s race. Suddenly the deck was shuffled and left all teams scrambling to make the right call.
Team owner, Brian Alder, shared everyone’s concern given the fact no team had ever run this year’s Continental tires in the rain.
“The rain played a major factor in the race and strategy. It was raining for the first 30 min of the race and this was the first time our drivers have experienced wet conditions on the series mandated Continental tire. We faced a lot of unknowns going into the race.”
“Chris Cumming drove another solid first stint and quickly came to grips with the No. 8 Evident Capital, MBRP Inc., car managing the wet conditions. He handed off a perfect car to Kyle Marcelli at the one-hour mark.”
“Things got interesting as the field was split on fuel and driver strategy. Then we got caught out by the 2nd yellow of the race putting both our cars on the tail end of the lead lap. We desperately needed another yellow for us to catch back up. The yellow came, but it was 10 seconds too late for the No. 7 car leaving us a full lap down.”
“In the No. 8 car we were able to capitalize on the yellow and regain track position. This put Kyle Marcelli and Bruno Junqueira in a head to head battle for the lead. Kyle drove outstanding, cutting Bruno’s lead from seven seconds down to three when the final yellow came out ending the race under caution.”
“The BAR1 crews did an amazing job as always. Both cars had solid pit stops all day.”
“We’re thrilled getting our 2nd podium in a row. It gives us great momentum heading into the final four races of 2013.”
“Finally, I’d just like to say the first race with both Grand Am and ALMS was a huge success. I think fans got to see two great races and I think everyone is excited for 2014.”
Next up for the ALMS will be the Grand Prix of Baltimore on Saturday, Aug. 31. Visit ALMS.com for current and future event information including tickets and area accommodations. Follow the ALMS on Twitter (#ALMS), Facebook and the official YouTube channel.
BAR1 Motorsports is partnered with Evident Capital, MBRP Performance Exhaust Inc., Merchant Services, Ltd., Petro Comm, Slacker Inc., OMP America, AutoMaxUSA.com and Stefan Johansson Växjö for its second year of full competition in the American Le Mans Series. The team is located in Plain City, Ohio. Team owner, Brian Alder, has been an active and winning crew chief in the American Le Mans Series since its inception. You can find out more about BAR1 at www.bar1motorsports.com, follow the team on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Bar1Motorsports or Twitter @bar1motorsports.
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.