Veteran and Rookie Are Both Looking Forward to Long Beach April 7-8 With Their Feeds the Need/Doran Racing DORAN JE4 Ford LEBANON, Ohio, March 31 - Terry Borcheller has been in so many street races in his career that he can't even count them all.
Veteran and Rookie Are Both Looking Forward to Long Beach April 7-8 With Their Feeds the Need/Doran Racing DORAN JE4 Ford
LEBANON, Ohio, March 31 - Terry Borcheller has been in so many street races in his career that he can't even count them all. From Le Mans to St. Petersburg, Des Moines to Miami, the 2003 Rolex Series champion says he's always enjoyed street races, and he's really looking forward to the Rolex Series' first one on Saturday, April 8 as part of the 32nd annual Toyota Long Beach Grand Prix in Long Beach, Calif.
His co-driver, Harrison Brix, can't say for sure if he likes competing in street races or not yet, since the Long Beach race will be his first street-course event. But like Borcheller, Brix, of San Jose, Calif., is definitely looking forward to the race. The Rolex Series rookie has been dreaming of the opportunity since his days kite-boarding in Long Beach Harbor.
Borcheller, who at press time is in the process of moving from Gainesville, Ga. to Vero Beach, Fla., and Brix will drive the Feeds the Need Racing/Doran Racing Kodak EasyShare/Amp'd Mobile/SIRIUS DORAN JE4 Ford No. 77 in the event, which features the series' Daytona Prototype class. They're tied for fifth place in the driver point standings at the moment, while the Lebanon, Ohio-based team is currently fourth. Twenty-six cars are entered in the race.
As endurance sports car racing goes, this race is short - only 90 minutes. That and the fact that the course is a tight, 1.968-mile street circuit means that qualifying well and then staying out of trouble in the race will be paramount.
"I've always enjoyed street races," said Borcheller. "Early in my career I raced go karts on the Florida Grand Prix circuit, which were street courses at different cities throughout Florida. There the walls were hay bales, not concrete barriers though," he added with a smile.
Borcheller has also competed in all sorts of street courses in World Challenge and other series, so he knows what to expect.
"It will be a very difficult race because there isn't going to be a lot of time," he said. "Our goals are going to be to qualify well, stay out of trouble and have a good finish. Our car was really good in Mexico City and we think we know what our problem was at Homestead, so we should have a good car at Long Beach. It will be a hard race for Harrison and I, but our entire team will be doing their best.
"It's a good event for our sponsors, too," Borcheller noted. "Amp'd Mobile and SIRIUS are excited about it in particular, and it's also close to K&N's headquarters."
Brix, a California native, doesn't need Borcheller to explain the challenges that Long Beach will pose. He's well aware of them already.
"It's Grand American's first street race and mine as well, and I think it'll be a race where the attrition will be incredibly high," he predicted. "There will be lots of on-course incidents, and staying out of trouble is going to be both hard and important."
Adding to the challenge is that there are only 45 minutes of practice before qualifying, so teams better be ready to roll when the green flag drops for practice at 8 a.m. Friday morning, April 7. Qualifying is usually 15 minutes long but it's listed as an hour long on the preliminary schedule, with a format that is to be announced.
Although this will be Brix's first time competing at Long Beach, his family does have ties to the event. His father, Harry Brix, owned the Motorola Reynard Honda champ car that Parker Johnstone drove here in 1995 and 1996. Johnstone finished second to Jimmy Vasser at Long Beach in 1996 after Gil de Ferran, who led most of that race, slowed dramatically with only four laps to go when his car's exhaust/turbo-driver hose became disconnected. Al Unser Jr., who has more Champ Car victories at Long Beach than anyone else with six victories, was third that day.
"Getting on the podium at Long Beach would be a dream come true," Brix noted.