the champion! Terry Borcheller finished the 2003 season on top of the podium, with his 52nd professional race win and his sixth professional championship in as many years. Borcheller, of Phoenix, and Forest Barber of Fort Worth, Tex., combined...
Terry Borcheller finished the 2003 season on top of the podium, with his 52nd professional race win and his sixth professional championship in as many years. Borcheller, of Phoenix, and Forest Barber of Fort Worth, Tex., combined for their sixth Rolex Sports Car Series win of the season in the No. 54 Bell Motorsports Doran JE4 Daytona Prototype. Fittingly, Borcheller won the inaugural Daytona Prototype driver championship and Bell Motorsports won the class team title in Daytona Beach, Fla.
Barber qualified third on the 38-car grid, second in class, with a lap time of one minute 50.211 seconds on the 3.56-mile Daytona International Speedway infield road course. He drove the first stint of the two-hour 45-minute race. Borcheller took over during the first caution period and returned to the track sixth in class, 12th overall. Steadily working through the field, he took the class lead at 1h45 and the overall race lead at the two-hour mark, and held his position to the checkered flag.
"I'm really, really excited to win the championship," Borcheller said. "I had a lot of help from a lot of people, including Forest Barber, Jim Bell, our great crew and my sponsors K&N, Infinity2, Alpinestars, Bell Helmets, Bob Bondurant, Gatorz Eyewear and Goodyear."
Borcheller didn't have an easy run to victory, battling intense competition, slippery track conditions and electrical gremlins.
"My fuel light came on several laps prior to when the crew thought it would come on, so I was worried about that," he acknowledged. "We also had an electrical glitch that started about an hour before the end of the race. In the last 15 minutes, it happened five or six times, where the whole dash and the motor just quit. It was only for a split second, but it was just enough to really freak me out! I was very happy to see the checkered flag."
Borcheller and Barber also competed in the Grand-Am Cup race on Oct. 31, but in different cars. The No. 54 Bell Motorsports BMW M3 was felled by an engine problem, so the drivers split up in an effort to win the GSII class championship. Borcheller came close, but had to settle for second in the championship when his car went out with 45 minutes remaining in the three-hour race.
"We blew a piston [in the BMW] on the first day of testing," Borcheller explained. "We were going to run one lap each in the race, just to get points, so we would lock-up second place in the championship. But then we decided to go for it. We shook hands and said, 'May the best man win'. It turned out both of our cars were in contention early in the race."
Borcheller paid a visit to the community during his race week. Working with Motorsports Ministries, he was the feature speaker at the First Baptist Church of Daytona youth rally. He also addressed the group in 2000.
Borcheller will finalize his plans for 2004, including drives in the American Le Mans Series, the Rolex Sports Car Series, the Grand-Am Cup and the new European Le Mans Endurance Series. He has signed agreements with his sponsors K&N Performance Filters and the Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving, and hopes to complete others soon.