Grand-Am Trois-Rivieres preview

TROIS-RIVIERES, Quebec -- The inaugural Grand American Road Racing Association season has featured a battle of Porsche vs. BMW in the GTU division. While Porsche has held the upper hand over the past three races, lead BMW driver Rick Fairbanks...

TROIS-RIVIERES, Quebec -- The inaugural Grand American Road Racing Association season has featured a battle of Porsche vs. BMW in the GTU division. While Porsche has held the upper hand over the past three races, lead BMW driver Rick Fairbanks feels the momentum will change in the July 30 Le Grand Prix Player's de Trois-Rivieres.

"It's going to be us against the Porsches, and I think Trois-Rivieres will be a pretty good track for us," said Fairbanks. "I like street courses. They reward being a precise driver. Also, I like racing at Trois-Rivieres, because they always have a great crowd, and they're real fanatics about racing. I remember my first day driving there, and they had twenty to thirty thousand fans for practice."

Fairbanks will share the No. 50 Genesis Racing BMW M3 with Andy Pilgrim. The pair are coming off a second place finish at Road America, behind the G&W Porsche of Mike Fitzgerald and Daren Law. Fairbanks has two victories to his credit this season, teaming with Bill Auberlen to win at Phoenix and Lime Rock.

Fairbanks has one prior appearance in the oldest street race on the continent, driving in the SCCA World Challenge in the early Nineties.

"I had just passed one of the Archer brothers for third place, when I crashed in the Arches," Fairbanks recalled. "I had a real good race going up until that point."

Genesis Racing will field two BMW M3s at Trois-Rivieres, with Chris Gleason leading the No. 55 entry. Fairbanks will rejoin Auberlen to head a three-car entry for the 2000 season finale, the August 25-27 Bosch SportsCar Summerfest Six Hours at Watkins Glen International.

"I've finished fourth in all three of my races at the Glen," Fairbanks related with a smile. "I'm ready to move up!"

Fairbanks, a resident of Greenville, S.C., is the owner of National Paintball Supply Company, one of the nation's biggest Paintball supply distributors. He originally hope to be an astronaut, but became a successful home builder after graduating from Georgia Tech. A former Motorcross racer, he began racing street stocks 12 years ago.

In Pilgrim, Fairbanks is teamed with one of America's most versatile sports car drivers. He made 17 starts for seven teams in 10 different cars in 1999. His resume includes a class victory in the 1997 Rolex 24 At Daytona, and pole and second place finish in that year's 24 Hours of LeMans. He won the 1997 SportsCar GT1 champions, plus the 1988 Motorola Cup, 1996 Brazilian GT2 title, and 1995 IMSA Street Stock championship.

Practice for the Le Grand Prix Player's de Trois-Rivieres begins at 10 a.m. on Friday, July 28, with qualifying set for Saturday afternoon. All five Grand-Am classes will race on Sunday, with the schedule also including races for the Toyota Atlantics and U.S. F2000 National Championship.

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Bill Auberlen , Rick Fairbanks