BAR1 back on the podium at Road America

Kyle Marcelli and Chris Cumming drove the No. 8 ORECA Prototype, while Rusty Mitchell and James French shared the driving duties in the No. 7 ORECA.

In light of next year's debut of the United SportsCar Racing Series, it was a history making weekend as the American Le Mans Series and the Grand Am Series participated at the same venue on the same weekend.

And the BAR1 Motorsport team had their own reasons to celebrate, a back-to-back visit to the podium in the highly competitive Prototype Challenge class.

#8 BAR1 Motorsports ORECA FLM09: Kyle Marcelli, Chris Cumming
#8 BAR1 Motorsports ORECA FLM09: Kyle Marcelli, Chris Cumming

Photo by: Art Fleischmann

The Orion Energy 245 was run on Elkhart Lake's Road America. It is one of the world's fastest permanent road racing tracks and a fixture in the sports car racing community. Driver's relish the circuit's 4.048 miles of challenging turns, curves, high-speed straights and dramatic elevation changes.

Kyle Marcelli and Chris Cumming drove the No. 8 Evident Capital ORECA Prototype, while Rusty Mitchell and James French shared the driving duties in the No. 7 orange and blue PetroComm ORECA.

Weather throughout the weekend was picture perfect. Unfortunately, all the setup work done early in the week went out the window when rain showers moved in just prior to the start of Sunday's race. Suddenly the deck was shuffled and left all teams scrambling to make the right call.

Team owner, Brian Alder, shared everyone's concern given the fact no team had ever run this year's Continental tires in the rain.

"The rain played a major factor in the race and strategy. It was raining for the first 30 min of the race and this was the first time our drivers have experienced wet conditions on the series mandated Continental tire. We faced a lot of unknowns going into the race.

"James French in the No. 7 PetroComm car was outstanding in his first stint - running P2 and chasing done the leader in PC.

"Chris Cumming drove another solid first stint and quickly came to grips with the No. 8 Evident Capital car managing the wet conditions. He handed off a perfect car to Kyle Marcelli at the one-hour mark.

"Things got interesting as the field was split on fuel and driver strategy. Then we got caught out by the 2nd yellow of the race putting both our cars on the tail end of the lead lap.

We desperately needed another yellow for us to catch back up. The yellow came, but it was 10 seconds too late for the 7 car leaving us a full lap down.

"In the No. 8 car we were able to capitalize on the yellow and regain track position. This put Kyle [Marcelli] and [Bruno] Junqueira in a head to head battle for the lead.

Kyle drove outstanding, cutting Bruno's lead from seven seconds down to three when the final yellow came out ending the race under caution.

"The BAR1 crews did an amazing job as always. Both cars had solid pit stops all day.

"We're thrilled getting our 2nd podium in a row. It gives us great momentum heading into the final four races of 2013. We were able to gain points on the top three drivers with Chris [Cumming] currently 4th.

"Finally, I'd just like to say the first race with both Grand Am and ALMS was a huge success. I think fans got to see two great races and I think everyone is excited for 2014."

BAR1 Motorsport

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About this article
Series ALMS
Drivers Chris Cumming , Kyle Marcelli , Rusty Mitchell , James French , Brian Alder
Teams BAR1 Motorsports
Article type Race report
Tags alms, cumming, french, junqueira, marcelli, mitchell, oreca, road america