Hearn Motorsports News and Notes -- April, 2006 As a professional driver, Richie Hearn (Henderson, Nev.) knows that to stay on top you have to keep moving forward. In the short off-season, Hearn Motorsports has done just that. They have...
Hearn Motorsports News and Notes -- April, 2006
As a professional driver, Richie Hearn (Henderson, Nev.) knows that to stay on top you have to keep moving forward. In the short off-season, Hearn Motorsports has done just that. They have signed two young drivers; Jules Duc (Los Gatos, Calif.) and Ryan Phinny (Carmel Valley, Calif.) to their newly formed Formula BMW USA Series operation. They have also redeveloped their web site (www.HearnMotorsports.com), purchased a new team transporter and done extensive private testing since the new year began. It has been a very busy "off" season for the Las Vegas Motor Speedway-based team.
Coaching Brings Same Results with New Talent
As a driver, Richie Hearn's skill behind the wheel is readily recognized. Now that he is also an owner, he is showing that same professional approach and getting impressive results. As a car owner in the Star Mazda Series, Hearn placed multiple drivers from a variety of backgrounds in his car. The one constant was success no matter who sat behind the wheel. Hearn now has newcomers Jules Duc, pronounced "Duke", and Ryan Phinny (Fin-E) piloting the two Hearn Motorsports Formula BMW USA Series entries in 2006. Each driver brings a unique perspective on the sport. Phinny has an extensive and successful karting background but little time racing cars while Duc began his career in the BMW USA Series. Hearn, the 1995 SCCA Atlantic Series Champion, is coaching each to fine-tune their skills.
Riche Hearn: "We don't do anything really different with the cars. There isn't much different that you can do. I think where we have an advantage is that we can offer real coaching. I've been where these guys are and I made it to the top series in the country. So, I think I have a pretty good idea of what it takes both on the track and off. You have to make your own mistakes but, as a team, we can minimize those some. There aren't many team owners that can do that. Add in our engineering staff and I believe you have what gives us our edge."
Hearn Motorsports has concluded its off-season, private testing for the two young drivers and completed two official test days at Road Atlanta (March 27-28). With the Formula BMW USA Series testing restrictions now in full force, Duc and Phinny will have only four more testing opportunities (a total of six days) to prepare for the highly competitive "spec", open wheel car series. Four of the six opportunities come before the first race of the year at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course (May 19-20). The final two tests are toward the end of the season. Thus far, winter testing has gone exceedingly well as each driver has greatly improved his performance. Rookie Phinny has been setting the pace with Duc close behind. A second set of testing dates comes this weekend, April 7-9, at (Alton) Virginia International Raceway. Each test provides new challenges and new tracks for the drivers while offering a head-to-head comparison with the drivers they will compete with throughout the season.
Richie Hearn: "We've tested at several tracks and both drivers have improved their abilities and the car. They are working well with the team and with each other. They've run some quick laps. At Road Atlanta we didn't get the track time we needed for the speeds we wanted to see. So, we didn't leave there very satisfied. But I think we'll do better at Virginia and gear-up for the Mid-Ohio test. It's about getting better and we're getting better."
More Than a New Coat of Paint
The off-season is the time for renovating a race team and Hearn Motorsports has gone to extremes in that. Beyond a complete restructuring of his shop, repairing and replacing items after a season of abuse in 2005 and prepping new cars, Hearn recently purchased a new transporter. The 44-foot unit will haul the two Formula BMW USA entries of Duc and Phinny through the seven venue, 14-race schedule as well as all the support equipment. The new transporter will increase the team's ability to do more on-sight work and opens doors for additional cars to be added to the team immediately.
Hearn also used the winter months to do a total redesign on the team's web site, now found at www.HearnMotorsports.com. The new site offers a cleaner, more modern interaction with visitors as well as providing a wealth of additional information. Currently, web surfers can read team principal Richie Hearn's bio, check out photos of the team's two new Formula BMW cars and review the 2006 schedule. Over the course of the coming weeks, they will be able to read bios on the team itself, team drivers, follow the standings and more. The site also includes a prominent countdown clock that reminds every visitor of when the next series' race will be held.
Richie Hearn: "Today, in auto racing, how you look and are perceived is almost as important as what you do on-track. The new transporter and the new web site gives us the chance to show potential sponsors and potential drivers that we are a professional organization; that we understand both sides of the pit wall. These things also help us as we build towards the next step for the team. We put together a great foundation the last few seasons and we are really ready to grow the team now. I want to thank Janice Horn who has kept RichieHearn.com going for several years. Everything we are doing now does two things; first, it serves us this year and secondly, it helps us build for years to come. Everything is being done with that in mind."