AIM Autosport already looking forward Gold car good to go in testing this week at Homestead Toronto (23 February, 2008) -- As the checkered flag waved on the 2008 Rolex 24 At Daytona, one team already had a head start on the competition. It...
AIM Autosport already looking forward
Gold car good to go in testing this week at Homestead
Toronto (23 February, 2008) -- As the checkered flag waved on the 2008 Rolex 24 At Daytona, one team already had a head start on the competition.
It was hard to miss the big space in the paddock where the AIM Autosport transporter had been set up in the Daytona International Speedway garage just hours prior. But, as most teams began to tear down and decamp for the long trip home, AIM Autosport Transport Driver Walter Ristucc was already racking up the miles on the way back to team headquarters outside of Toronto.
With a strong driver line up, the second-best qualifying result in the team's short Daytona Prototype history, and a stout mechanical package, hopes were high that the team would improve on the remarkable fifth-place result the team earned in the 2007 edition of the 24. Those hopes proved to be well grounded, as all four AIM Autosport drivers-full time pilots Brian Frisselle and Mark Wilkins as well as Colin Braun and Andrew Ranger- raced their way to the front of the pack at various points in the event for a total of 37 laps in front of the massive field. But after overcoming a series of setbacks during the long Daytona night, a cut tire finally ended the 2008 effort after causing significant damage to the car.
Despite the outcome, the team was eager to begin preparations for the next at-speed outing for the No. 61 Gold car, and set off to the team base in Toronto well before the 24 even finished. With twelve hard-earned points in the bank, the team will look to put those same strengths to use and climb back up the championship ladder during the 2008 season. That climb will start with two days of running during an official Rolex Sports Car Series test at Homestead Miami Speedway on February 25-26.
"We were all obviously disappointed with how things played out during the 24, but now we're in sprint race mode for the next four rounds and that's purely where our focus is," said AIM Autosport team principal Ian Willis. "We know that the same things that made us so strong in the 24 will also be key in the next four rounds (Homestead, Mexico City, VIR, and Laguna Seca) before the Glen six hour. We made the move to the new Riley bodywork to get a head start on understanding what it was capable of, and that strategy has already begun to pay off. We're looking forward to the Homestead test to keep moving that program forward."
The early exit from the 24 was a bitter pill for the full-time pilots Mark Wilkins and Brian Frisselle, but after showing such strength in the 24, both young chargers were buoyed by the start of the 2008 Rolex season.
"Obviously it was disappointing how things played out during the 24, but the fact is, this team had done the homework, showed up with a fast car, and was competitive until something beyond our control put us out," said Frisselle. "That's racing, and these guys know what we need to do to show up at Homestead and be fast again. We have some points to make up now in this championship, but we also know we have the tools we need to do just that."
"I'm already anxious to get back in the car!" said Wilkins. "This whole season is a different game now that we have the 24 behind us. With the Ford power and the new Riley bodywork, we just want to get as many miles as possible under our belts and keep learning what we can do to get the most out of the package. We picked up a lot last month but we are looking forward to moving this learning curve even more in the Homestead test and then coming back to put that to good use in the race."
-credit: aim autosport