AIM Autosport’s Road America Hopes Derailed Early in Race Lap Three Incident Knocks GAMMA88 Car Out of Contention
AIM Autosport’s visit to Road America came to a disappointing conclusion yesterday with an 11th-place finish in the DP class of the Rolex Sports Car Series 250 Driven by VISIT FLORIDA. Following days of continual improvement to the car’s set up, the team was confident and in high spirits before the start of the two-hour race.
Sunny skies were welcome following days of rain. Burt Frisselle, who qualified AIM Autosport’s BMW-Riley sponsored by GAMMA88 for a fourth-place start, was in the car for the opening stint of the two-hour race. Chief Engineer, Ian Willis ordered the engine start with an enthusiastic, “Fire it up, buddy!” and after a few warm-up laps, the race was on.
Burt managed to move up to third as the field charged toward turn one, but immediately came under intense pressure from Memo Rojas in car 01. Burt fought hard to keep the place, but lost the position on lap three. One lap later, a GT car suffered a stuck throttle, rocketed into the tire wall and flipped over the catch fence bringing the race under caution.
As Burt cruised by the pit entrance, he got the call to pit and attempted to cut across a grass medium to reach the pits. Unfortunately, days of rain had left the ground soaked and muddy. The car’s nose dug in and Burt was stuck. Finally freeing himself, he drove to the pits where the AIM Autosport crew scrambled to replace the splitter, radiator and nose. Burt returned to the race three laps down.
At the 50-minute mark, still running under caution from the initial incident, Burt pitted to allow co-driver Mark Wilkins to take the wheel. Nine minutes later, racing resumed and by staying out of pit sequence with the leaders, Mark was able to gain one lap back. Unfortunately, no yellow flags came to make the strategy work and and just as the race leaders were catching him, Mark radioed that something was wrong with the car’s front end. He pitted and the crew once again sprung to action to replace a broken front camber block. Mark rolled out of the pits to finish the race on the track, but the car was ultimately classified 25th overall.
“I’m happy that we were able to show some speed for GAMMA88 by qualifying on the second row and running up front early in the race,” said Burt. “I feel terrible that we had an incident coming into the pits when I tried to cut across the grass. With all the rain, the nose just dug in.
“Next time out, we plan on staying at the front.”
“I want to thank GAMMA88 for their support,” said Mark. “I know they had a great weekend and met a lot of new potential partners while we were here.
“The team worked really hard this week to get a pretty competitive car, but unfortunately we had that incident early in the race. Now I’m looking forward to Watkins Glen as it’s one of my favourite tracks and I think we’ll be strong there.”
The next scheduled race for AIM Autosport’s GAMMA88 car is the Crown Royal 250 at Watkins Glen on August 13.