AIM Autosport is celebrating an anniversary this week -- one year since the Canadian team's first Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series race. The team returns to Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla., with a few changes to the No. 61 ...
AIM Autosport is celebrating an anniversary this week -- one year since the Canadian team's first Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series race. The team returns to Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla., with a few changes to the No. 61 Lexus-powered Riley Mk XI. The most visible is the addition of a powerful squad of sponsors, including Exchange Traded Gold, Barrick Gold Corporation, RBC Financial Group and Telus' Mike Network.
The team's target has also changed, from securing a race finish to topping the field. After finishing fifth in the Rolex 24 At Daytona in January, the AIM crew know it's possible. Burt Frisselle of Lynchburg, Va. -- who alternates races with his brother Brian -- and Mark Wilkins of Toronto will lead the charge in the July 4 race on the 3.56-mile Daytona track.
"One year ago we were focused on the logistics of doing a 2 ¾-hour race with pit stops, not on the ultimate performance of the car. Up until this race last year, we had never done anything more than a 45-minute sprint race. It was a test of the team and infrastructure more than a test of the car," co-owner Ian Willis explained. "This year we come back with seven races under our belt including the 24, so now the focus is on track performance and results. A year ago, we were happy with a finish. Now our sights are set on the podium!"
bogies at Boggy
The AIM drivers will make a special stop on July 4, visiting the children at Camp Boggy Creek in Eustis, Fla. The camp provides a rare opportunity for children who have chronic or life-threatening illnesses to enjoy a normal camp experience. Brian and Burt Frisselle host an annual golf tournament to help raise funds for Boggy Creek, and the race community has responded this year with about 40 golfers and full course sponsorship for the tournament.
"Here, finally these kids have a place that they can come and feel normal. Brian and I want to help raise money and help raise awareness in a group of people who are privileged to go racing," Burt Frisselle said. "We do a lot of hospital visits. A lot of times, we leave a little bit depressed or down because it's always hard to see kids in hospital. But we leave Boggy Creek in such good spirits because instead of seeing kids sick in bed, we're seeing them out shooting bow and arrows, swimming in the pool, making crafts and just having a blast."
Doncaster Racing will be packing more performance this week. The team had an updated engine in its No. 17 MineStar / Tim Hortons Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car for the Rolex 24 in January, but didn't receive the 2007 suspension package in time for the race. It's now on the car and producing results. Dave Lacey and Greg Wilkins of Toronto will be behind the wheel at Daytona, hoping to strengthen the team's sixth-place standing in series GT points.
"We noticed differences in times at the Rolex with the engine alone, but once we got a chance to have better geometry on the car, we've gone faster at every track this year. The average is almost three seconds [per lap]," race engineer Jim Malicki noted. "The changes from last year to this year have been good; we're not standing still. Our gentlemen drivers are taking this seriously, as the points show. We're right there with the rest of the pros."