Stevenson Motorsports Corvette Beats The Heat In Mexico At the Autodromos Hermanos Rodriguez circuit in Mexico City, Mexico, the ...
Stevenson Motorsports Corvette Beats The Heat In Mexico
At the Autodromos Hermanos Rodriguez circuit in Mexico City, Mexico, the #57 Stevenson Motorsports Corvette managed to stay on track and beat the heat that was provided in equal measure by a very warm sun and some very fast competition, for a solid 9th place finish in the GT class of the Grand American Road Racing Association Rolex Sports Car Series. Under bright blue skies the talented driving duo of Dominic Cicero II and Marc Bunting stayed 'between the lines' to finish in front of 11 other cars in the GT class.
38 cars took the green flag at 3:15 PM and all the action managed to stay on the track as this race marked the first in a long while to be run completely under green flag conditions. There wasn't a single yellow flag period throughout. While there were some instances of contact between cars in both the Daytona Prototype (DP) class and the GT class, none of the incidents required slowing the entire field. For the #57 Corvette, the full 100 lap event was a clean run to the checkered flag, with only one minor on track incident.
Bunting: "I had contact with the #67 TRG car. He locked his brakes up going into turn 1. Fortunately there wasn't any significant damage to the #57."
Both drivers were a bit surprised the race ran all the way through without a caution period.
Bunting: "I was surprised there were no yellow flags shown because there are several spots on the track where if a driver makes a mistake the result will certainly bring out a yellow. But for some reason unknown to me, for the last two years in Mexico there have been very few yellows."
Cicero: "I was definitely surprised. I thought for sure with the esses in the back that the DP cars would be taking out GT cars left and right. But everybody played nice and we had a good clean race."
Heat was an issue in Mexico but everyone seemed to be able to keep their cool; almost.
Bunting: "Heat was an issue in the car. That is something we will have to address before Homestead."
Cicero: "The heat was a huge issue in the car, we need to seal up a lot of ducts and holes before the next race. All the engine compartment heat was pouring into the driver's compartment. We didn't have cool suits or forced air to the helmets. It was a miserable day in the car. The race was one of the hardest things I have ever done. The last ten laps I was ready to quit but I couldn't after everyone had worked so hard since Daytona.
"I felt like I was something in the oven! I have some blisters on my feet - but I lived!"
Team Strategist Ron Ogletree feels improvements in the driver's comfort in the cockpit will be addressed. "The heat and cockpit environment problem for the drivers needs to be addressed immediately and I'm sure our Crew Chief, Michael Hoffman, has a handle on that issue."
Overall, the team characterized this race as a clean and successful second outing for the Crawford Race Cars-built Corvette. The car debuted at the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona and had a few mechanical gremlins interfere with its progress. But, as it did in Mexico, the #57 Corvette made it to the checkered flag.
Bunting: "The Stevenson Corvette ran flawlessly throughout the race. The crew did a great job with the car and we made significant improvements throughout the weekend
Cicero: "The car ran well in the race. We missed the set up a little with race day being a lot hotter then testing but we made some good progress with the car and the team. The crew did a great job on the pit stop. We did have a problem getting fuel in the car but I think that was a fuel cell issue. For a new group of guys running in only their second race as a unit, they are really starting to gel."
Mike Johnson joined the Stevenson Motorsports team as the new Team Manager, after the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona. He was enthusiastic about the team's performance in Mexico and is looking forward to moving the Stevenson Corvettes up amongst the top six teams in the class.
"All in all I am very pleased with our performance in our first race together. The team and the car made a lot of headway over the short weekend, but we still have a long way to go before we are a true contender. Right now there are five very good two-car teams in GT (Tafel Racing, TRG, Speedsource, Banner and the Farnbacher/Loles teams) that have all won races and Championships in this form of racing. If we continue to have the progress that we made this weekend, we should be right in the mix with them every weekend. "
Ogletree: "We had our list of problems to overcome but most were rather insignificant on their own but as the list grew the burden did as well. The good news is that we worked through the list and were able to resolve most of them with the limited materials we had available because of the venue. But it was still a very good event for the growth of the team."
Johnson: "I am looking forward to getting the car back to the shop to address our current concerns, and go back after them at Homestead."
Ogletree welcomes the addition of Johnson to the team and sees his involvement as a positive factor in achieving future success.
"The addition of Mike Johnson to the team as Team Manager was a natural progression of the growth of the team. Mike is very capable and has provided a focus the team has been searching for. He and I got along great almost from the very beginning, and his no nonsense management style quickly got the team to follow his leads. The one thing I liked most about Mike's style was his ability to listen as well as direct."
Passions for the sport of auto racing run high in Mexico and Cicero and Bunting had nothing but praise for the fans.
Bunting: "The fans show a true passion for motor sports I always look forward to racing in Mexico for that reason."
Cicero: "The fans were great, they actually pulled Marc and I off the pit cart after the race to take pictures! The people down there are so gracious. I loved it there!" . The team next heads to Miami and the Homestead Speedway for round three of the 2007 season.