B-K Motorsports BP Lola Mazda Records Strong Finish in Long Beach Long Beach, Calif. -- B-K Motorsports earned its second consecutive top-10 finish overall Saturday in the Tequila Patron American Le Mans Series at Long Beach. The No. 8 BP Lola...
B-K Motorsports BP Lola Mazda Records Strong Finish in Long Beach
Long Beach, Calif. -- B-K Motorsports earned its second consecutive top-10 finish overall Saturday in the Tequila Patron American Le Mans Series at Long Beach. The No. 8 BP Lola B07/46 Mazda MZR-R LMP2 car enjoyed a solid run in the 100-minute race on the historic street circuit in Southern California. Gerardo Bonilla drove a consistent opening stint before handing over to Ben Devlin, who took the car to the checkered flag.
"It was pretty challenging," Bonilla said after climbing from the car. "We started really well and the track got very slippery. So it was a struggle to maintain a pace. The tires started really well, but the track temperature got really high."
B-K Motorsports, like many other teams, got caught out by the weather at race time. Initial forecasts for Saturday called for cooler and overcast conditions, much like what was seen in the morning. This would have been ideal for the team, as Bonilla clocked the third quickest time in warm-up. But conditions changed by the afternoon, bringing increased track temperature for the race.
"I think we were a bit off with the setup change we made overnight and this morning with the colder weather, trying to get a bit more front grip," Devlin said. "So I think we lost out a little bit there. But the tires did a great job, thanks to Yokohama. They've worked hard to produce a soft tire for street racing."
John Doonan, Manager, Motorsports Team Development for Mazda also thought cooler track conditions could have better suited the car's setup.
"The temperature changed on us," Doonan said. "We felt really good this morning. We were third quick in warm-up, it's just the sun came out. We needed it to stay cloudy and cool, which was what the forecast was for. But there's nothing you can do about it, so we'll just get after it in a couple of weeks."
After making the one and only pit stop for fuel and Yokohama tires in the race, Devlin drove the Mazda-powered Lola prototype to a eighth place finish in the highly competitive LMP2 category.
"We're just looking to get better every single time we go out," Bonilla said. "That last stint that Ben did showed that we are making some progress. We learned some things with the stint I drove and we're going to figure out what the difference is and go from there."
With another solid finish in the books, it's mission accomplished for B-K Motorsports as they now turn their focus back to racing on permanent road-racing facilities. The next round of the American Le Mans Series takes the team to Miller Motorsports Park, which will host a the two-hour, 45-minute race on the circuit's outer course. The team conducted a successful test on the new layout last week and can't wait to return next month.
"We wanted to get out of here with a finish," Doonan said. "This is an awesome event, but we're looking forward to a natural terrain course and getting after it. We had a great test in Salt Lake City this past week. So we'll go into there with a lot of confidence and see what we can do. The car is in one piece, so we'll go home with that and get them next time."
On Saturday, the team and tire partner Yokohama announced their partnership with the upcoming motion picture "Speed Racer". The stars of the movie were on hand for photo opportunities with Ben, Gerardo, the entire crew, and the team's Mazda LMP2 race car, which carried "Speed Racer" decals this weekend. "Speed Racer" hits theaters nationwide on May 9.
B-K Motorsports' next stop will be at Miller Motorsports Park for the Larry H. Miller Dealerships Utah Grand Prix presented by The Grand and Little America Hotels on May 16-18. SPEED Channel will provide live coverage of the two-hour, 45-minute race on starting at 3:00 p.m. EST on May 18.