AIM Autosport turned in a flawless top-five performance through almost seven hours of the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series finale on Saturday, but contact from another competitor turned it into an 11th-place finish just two minutes from the finish.
AIM Autosport turned in a flawless top-five performance through almost seven hours of the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series finale on Saturday, but contact from another competitor turned it into an 11th-place finish just two minutes from the finish. It was a disappointing end to a strong season for the rookie team backed by Exchange Traded Gold, Barrick Gold Corporation, RBC Financial Group and Telus' Mike Network.
Brian Frisselle and Burt Frisselle of Lynchburg, Va., and Mark Wilkins of Toronto alternated driving the No. 61 Lexus-powered Riley Mk XI, keeping it at or near the front of the field through the six-hour 51-minute race on the 4.486-mile Miller Motorsports Park road course in Tooele, Utah. With superior fuel strategy, the gold-backed Daytona Prototype car led three times. Burt Frisselle was running sixth when he was hit by another car about 45 minutes before the finish. The contact ultimately broke the car's driveshaft and he dropped back through the field in the last two minutes to finish 11th.
Doncaster Racing had a better finish, starting 12th in the GT class and finishing fifth. Dave Lacey of Toronto drove the No. 17 MineStar / Tim Hortons Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car first, trying a new helmet system that didn't provide sufficient air. He finished his stint with an elevated carbon-monoxide level that didn't allow him to get back behind the wheel. Greg Wilkins of Toronto drove two stints, with Tom Papadopoulos of East Hills, N.Y., taking a stint between. Darren Law of Phoenix, whose Daytona Prototype car went out of the race early, substituted for Lacey and drove the final hour, securing fifth place for the team.
Andrew Bordin (AIM co-owner): "I'm really proud of everybody. Our drivers really evolved this year; they're becoming world-class drivers. We all worked hard, we've learned as a team and our team has done really well. We showed well today. If we didn't have any bad luck -- which is a huge part of the equation in racing -- we would have done well. There's all of next year and the year after that and the year after that and the year after that, so it will come around for us."
Brian Frisselle: "It's the end of the year now and it's a little bit disappointing way to end it. We showed a lot of potential all year and during this race. It's a great group of guys; I love working with them. I've got to thank Exchange Traded Gold, Performance Drink, CDOC, Lexus, all our supporters for making this all possible. It was a fun year, it was a learning year for the team and for all of us. It's not the way we wanted to end it, but it's not always perfect. We'll come back next year and hopefully win some races."
Burt Frisselle: "The last hour was absolutely chaos out there, but all in all, it was a good day and I'm happy with the team's performance. A lap and a half from the end, we broke a half-shaft after some contact with the 23 car, but I was proud to be part of the team this year. I think today we showed our performance and next year, the sky's the limit for AIM."
Mark Wilkins: "The guys worked so hard and I was really, really hoping for a top-five this weekend. For the majority of the race, that's the way it was going. We had a really good setup, a really good car, all three of us drove the wheels off it. It's a shame that the car didn't make the end. It's definitely a tough one to end the year."
John Lacey (Doncaster partner): "I'm very pleased with a fifth-place finish. David got some carbon-monoxide poisoning after doing a great drive, Greg filled in nicely and Tom did a good job. We were able to get Darren Law to fill in for David at the end. Hopefully, this fifth place will get Darren the win in the Porsche championship worldwide. That would be a terrific cap to the season."
Dave Lacey: "We tried a new helmet ventilation system this weekend and think we got it wrong because as soon as I got out of the car, I just felt absolutely queasy, like I'd been breathing carbon monoxide for an hour and a half. I went to race medical and they did some blood tests and the carbon-monoxide levels were elevated. I got some oxygen and I felt like I was coming back a little bit, but race medical suggested that I should not get back in the car. I'm really happy with the fifth place. We didn't know where we were going to end up -- we made a lot of changes overnight and they turned out well."
Darren Law: "I have to say thanks to John Lacey, Greg Wilkins and all the guys at Doncaster for allowing me to do that. That's the second time this season they let me jump in their car to try to run for Porsche points, and hopefully it helped them keep it out front and get a good finish, as well."
Tom Papadopoulos: "It's an absolutely wonderful way to end the year. We were consistent and clean the whole race. It was fun, it was great! I hope to do it many more times like this."
Greg Wilkins: "We had a great race today. Everybody just drove a really consistent race and kept the car clean. We weren't really that quick over the qualifying and practice, but it's a long race and we had a consistent base. It's a nice way to end the season."