Terry Borcheller experienced the ups and downs of motorsport during the Rolex Sports Car Series race weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Fla. Electronic gremlins struck during practice, held off during qualifying, then returned with...
Terry Borcheller experienced the ups and downs of motorsport during the Rolex Sports Car Series race weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Fla. Electronic gremlins struck during practice, held off during qualifying, then returned with a vengeance at race time.
Borcheller, of Phoenix, and Forest Barber of Fort Worth, Tex., started Saturday's race from the front row in the No. 54 Bell Motorsports Doran JE4. Electrical and heating problems dropped them out after two hours of the two-hour 45-minute race. They finished fourth in the Daytona prototype class, 14th overall.
Borcheller qualified second in the 16-car field with a fast lap at the end of Friday's qualifying session. His time of one minute 17.217 seconds was just short of the pole time of 1:16.982 on the 2.4-mile Homestead road course.
"We dealt with a lot of heat issues," he explained. "The heat was affecting everything, especially the performance of the engine. Over the afternoon, we just got real creative with air and cooling, and the car performed the way it should.
"We had a misfire in qualifying when the tires were at their peak. We fixed it quite a bit, but the qualifying peak was gone. We still got a better lap - it put us on the outside pole. If we hadn't had the misfire at all, there was a great chance we would have had the pole!"
Borcheller encountered several problems during the race. The heat issue recurred, causing electrical snags that left him without instrumentation in the car. An aerodynamic change to the car made handling difficult. Slowed by the mechanical problems, Borcheller drove off-line to stay clear of the other cars, only to find his tires thrown off-balance as they picked up debris outside the racing line.
"We've experienced a lot of electrical glitches, but we think the majority of the glitches are coming from the heat that's in the motor compartment," Borcheller said. "We also made an aerodynamic change before the race and experienced an enormous amount of understeer. Because of the heating problem, I was having to run higher gears everywhere, so coupled with the understeer issue, it was double-ugly! If you have understeer, usually in the lower gears you can yank off the throttle and help the car turn, but I would yank off the throttle and just get more understeer because it was such a high gear.
"I pitted early because I thought we had corded a right front, but it was pick-up on the tires," he noted. "It was a real frustrating stint for me."
"On a positive note, it was a very, very productive day," Borcheller said. "We learned a tremendous amount more about the car. Unfortunately, because we got the car last as far as manufacturers go, we're still in major development. But we know from qualifying that the car is fast and very promising for the future."
The car builder, Doran Enterprises, engine builder Keith Roberts and Bell Motorsports are already hard at work to identify and correct the development issues in the car, so it will be ready for the next Rolex Series race at Phoenix International Raceway on May 3.