AIM Autosport Montreal race report

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AIM Autosport press release

AIM Autosport’s GAMMA88 Car Takes Seventh in Montreal
Car Now Heading to Dallas for Trucking Show with GAMMA88

#61 AIM Autosport BMW Riley: Burt Frisselle, Mark Wilkins
#61 AIM Autosport BMW Riley: Burt Frisselle, Mark Wilkins

Photo by: Eric Gilbert

Woodbridge, Ont. (August 22, 2011) — AIM Autosport’s BMW-Riley DP car sponsored by GAMMA88 finished seventh in Saturday’s Montreal 200 at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. At the beginning of the event, on Thursday, the car was at the low end of the time sheets, but the crew spared no effort in transforming it over two days into a responsive race car that the drivers enjoyed racing. Unfortunately, it did not have the speed in the race to achieve the podium finish the team had targeted.

Burt Frisselle, who qualified the car in sixth place, was in the driver’s seat for the opening stint and held the position with good pace when running alone, but was slowed significantly when caught in GT-class traffic.

Races at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve are often slowed by full-course cautions in the early laps, but that didn’t happen this year. That was unfortunate for AIM, as an early yellow would have allowed it to play a strategy made to take advantage of the great fuel economy of the GAMMA88 car’s BMW engine.

To avoid being held up in another pocket of GT traffic, Burt was called into the pits with 43 minutes elapsed. During the stop, he handed off to co-driver Mark Wilkins while the crew fueled the car and fitted fresh tires. When the work was done, Mark left the pits and rejoined the race in sixth place.

Mark drove hard, but, like Burt, could not gain position and with 50 minutes remaining in the two-hour race, he pitted for service. The car was fueled to the brim and new tires were installed. To tweak the handling, a different gurney flap was installed and then Mark was on his way in seventh place.

With 15 minutes remaining, the race’s only full-course caution—a three-lap yellow—was issued. On the restart, Mark tried to make the most of the bunched up field and attempted to gain a position as he headed into the hairpin. Unfortunately, he was squeezed into the wall, incurring damage to the nose fasteners. He dashed into the pits where the crew quickly replaced the nose and had Mark back on track without losing a place. With time running out, however, Mark didn’t have another chance to gain a place and finished seventh.

GAMMA88, which joined AIM Autosport as the primary sponsor for two races back in the spring, was so happy with the results that arrangement was increased from two to five races, culminating with the Montreal 200. GAMMA88 has been introducing its relationship with AIM into more and more of its marketing programs in recent months. Photos of the GAMMA88 BMW-Riley feature prominently in a recently-launched GAMMA88 Facebook page and the car is presently en route to Dallas, Tex., where it will appear in GAMMA88’s display at The Great American Trucking Show, August 25–27.

"GAMMA88 has been particularly proud to be the primary sponsor of the #61 car since May,“ said GAMMA88 Chief Operating Officer, Chris Goedeke. “AIM Autosport and its crew members have shown a tremendous work ethic, knowledge of racing, and have been terrific to work with. It's easy to understand why they are highly regarded in the close-knit racing community. Despite not always finishing where the team would have liked, Burt Frisselle and Mark Wilkins drove the GAMMA88 car with skill and precision while honing their craft even further—and I believe these young men have a bright racing future. Additionally, AIM Autosport facilitated key introductions and friendships into GRAND-AM/NASCAR which will help showcase the capabilities of GAMMA88 and its growing international brand."

“Seventh is a bit of a disappointing result, but the team worked very hard to improve a car that unloaded slow and ended up out-qualifying Ganassi,” said Burt. “That was probably the highlight of our weekend. It was great for the team and GAMMA88.”

“Burt did a great job in his opening stint and the AIM Autosport guys worked really, really hard all weekend as usual. From a set-up standpoint the car was great,” said Mark. “Thanks to GAMMA88 for their continued support.”

“It was a very challenging weekend for us as we worked very hard to tune the setup for the unique characteristics of Circuit Gilles Villeneuve,” said Chief Engineer, Ian Willis. “Our main challenge, once we were able to get the car balanced more to the drivers’ liking, was the large difference in minimum and maximum speed at this track. One of the ways the series tries to provide balance of performance between engine manufacturers is through limiting engine RPM. Due to the success of the BMW engine last year, series rules in 2011 have limited it to a maximum RPM of 6900, 100 RPM less than last year. This may not seem like much, but at this particular track, the gear ratio selection for the slowest corner and longest straight created compromises which meant we were not able to get the most out of our Dinan-tuned BMW power plant. It was frustrating for the drivers to have a good handling car but not be able to maintain the pace no matter how hard they drove.”

Next on the schedule for the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 is the EMCO Gears Classic at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, September 16–17. AIM Autosport is doing it’s best to be on the grid for that event.

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Series GRANDAM
Tags aim, bmw, frisselle, montreal, wilkins