Tim Bell Joins Doran Racing for 2011 GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge; Shows impressive speed in pre-season testing
Daytona Beach, FL (11 January 2011) - There will be a new racer to keep an eye on this year as Tim Bell has been signed to drive the No. 14 BMW 128 for Doran Racing as he prepares for a full season of GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge competition. Bell will contend for the MESCO "Rookie of the Year" Award as he steps up to the pro ranks of GRAND-AM racing after gaining experience in the BMW Car Club of America (BMWCCA) ranks.
Bell, who will balance his racing endeavors with his pursuit of a college degree, tested for multiple teams in the off-season before getting the call from Doran to join the legendary squad's two-car foray into the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge ranks with the all-new BMW 128i machine.
"I got to test a range of cars and experienced everything from front wheel drive, forced induction cars to rear-wheel drive, naturally aspirated cars like the BMW, and I am glad I'm going to get the chance to race the BMW," said Bell. "I was impressed with the car--it was quick right out of the box and there is a ton of potential for this car. It is similar to some of the BMW's I've raced in BMW CCA and I think that helped me feel more comfortable more quickly."
Bell's pursuit of racing success will see the weekend events become a full-fledged family activity for the Bell family, as Tim's older brother Matt has already established himself on the GRAND-AM circuit with his award-winning drives in the Daytona Prototypes and record-setting runs in the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge series.
Bell's learning curve started this weekend on the high banks at Daytona International Speedway as the "ROAR Before the Rolex 24" kicked off the 2011 racing season. The 3.56-mile circuit is the first of nine new tracks for Bell to learn this year, having gained most of his experience on tracks closer to home in California. And that isn't the only thing for Bell to pick up, as the endurance format will see Tim sharing the machine with a co-driver, adding a round of new jobs to get used to in 2011.
"I'm not sure what to expect in terms of the race, and learning about pit stops and the driver changes, because that's just something I'll have to experience to really know what to do in that kind of pressure situation. But having someone like Kevin Doran teaching me is great because he has so much experience and he knows how to work with drivers quickly."
The test went very well as Bell set some very un-rookie-like times during the weekend as he prepared to be ready to go at the drop of 2011's first green flag on January 28.
"I felt really comfortable and we took about five seconds off our time during the weekend so I was pretty pleased with the test," said Bell. "Some of it was improvements that Doran made with the car, and some of it was me just getting used to the track and the traffic and everything else that was going on. I'm really happy and now I'm just looking forward to getting back here at the end of the month and starting the season off with a good race at Daytona."
After his first day of running at Daytona, Bell was already sounding a bit like a grizzled veteran.
"The day went really well, but I think we could use more power in the car!"
Bell will continue his at-track education at the end of the month when he returns to the famed track for the season-opening race on January 28.