Mid-Ohio/Watkins Glen II: Bell Motorsports preview

Kodak EasyShare Team Will Compete in Two Races in One Week; Driver Line-up Is Barber and Borcheller at Mid-Ohio; Borcheller and Gavin at the Glen FORT WORTH, Aug. 3 - A lot can happen in a week. Drivers Forest Barber and Terry Borcheller and...

Kodak EasyShare Team Will Compete in Two Races in One Week; Driver Line-up Is Barber and Borcheller at Mid-Ohio; Borcheller and Gavin at the Glen

FORT WORTH, Aug. 3 - A lot can happen in a week.

Drivers Forest Barber and Terry Borcheller and the rest of the Bell Motorsports/Feeds the Need team hope to turn their luck around in the second half of the Grand American Rolex series' 2004 season, which begins this coming Saturday, Aug. 7 with a race at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio. Less than a week later the team will be in action again the following Friday, Aug. 13 at Watkins Glen International in Watkins Glen, N.Y.

Borcheller is the defending Daytona Prototype driver champion, and Bell Motorsports is the defending Daytona Prototype team champion. Barber and Borcheller won both of these races last year, but so far in 2004 they have just one victory: the series' most important race, the season-opening Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona.

Barber and Borcheller will share the cockpit of the Kodak EasyShare DORAN JE4 Pontiac #54 at Mid-Ohio.

Barber, who is also the car owner for the team, wants to make an all-out assault at the Glen since it's near the Rochester, N.Y. headquarters of the team's primary sponsor, Kodak. So, when General Motors offered the services of Corvette factory driver Oliver Gavin for the Glen race in appreciation of the team using Pontiac engines, he quickly agreed to put Gavin in the car along with Borcheller, the reigning Daytona Prototype champion, for that event.

In June Gavin, Olivier Beretta and another driver who will be racing at the Glen, Jan Magnussen, won the GTS class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in France for Corvette. It was Gavin's second class victory in that prestigious race. He is the lead driver of the Corvette C5-R #4 in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS), and he and Beretta are currently tied for second place in that series' GTS point standings. They're just seven points ahead of Borcheller, who drives for the ACEMCO Motorsports team in the ALMS.

Before becoming a driver for Chevrolet's works Corvette Racing program, Gavin enjoyed a great deal of success in formula car racing, including being a Formula 1 test driver for Benetton. He was the British Formula 3 champion in 1995. The 31-year-old driver lives in Northampton, England.

"We're delighted to welcome Oliver aboard for the race at the Glen," said Barber, of Fort Worth.

"I am very much looking forward to racing with Bell Motorsports in a Daytona Prototype," said Gavin. "Both the Bell Prototype and my Corvette C5-R benefit from GM's small-block V-8 engine, something that I've gotten very used to over these last few years. Watkins Glen is a fantastic track and I have some unfinished business there, as I finished second overall in 2000."

Both races will be broadcast on a same-day, tape delayed based on SPEED. The Emco Gears Mid-Ohio Road Racing Classic is scheduled to air at 8 p.m. ET on Saturday, Aug. 7. The Sahlen's 200 at the Glen, which like the last race, the Paul Revere 250 at Daytona, is a preliminary event to a NASCAR Nextel Cup race, is scheduled to be shown at 10 p.m. ET on Friday, Aug. 13.

The team hopes that racing on Friday the 13th won't anger the racing gods, as they want nothing more than to get back onto the top step of the podium like they were when they won this year's Rolex 24. Barber and Borcheller are finding that it's much harder to repeat as champions than it was to win the overall team and driver championships like they did last year.

The competition has gotten a great deal stiffer. Last year at Mid-Ohio there were four Daytona Prototypes in an overall field of 30 cars. This year there are more Daytona Prototype cars entered at Mid-Ohio than any other class, as there are 15 DP entries in a 37-car field, almost quadrupling the number from a year ago.

More Daytona Prototypes had been assembled and were ready to race at the Glen last August, but this year the field is still double what it was in 2003. Last year when Borcheller and Barber won this race there were seven DPs in a 27-car field. This year there are 15 DP entries in a field of 32 for the same event.

The Kodak team is currently fifth in points, just six points out of fourth place and 11 points out of third. Pontiac leads the engine manufacturer standings with 202 points to Lexus's 196. Borcheller is tied for fifth in the Daytona Prototype driver standings with 148 points. Barber, who hasn't driven in all the events, is 13th with six of the 12 events in the books.

Borcheller was involved in a very uncharacteristic accident at the last race, held at Daytona July 1-2, when another driver hit him in the rear. Repairs have been made, however, and one of the drivers who helped the team get its Rolex 24 victory, Christian Fittipaldi, shook the car down recently at Moroso Motorsports Park in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. It will be ready to go when practice opens at Mid-Ohio this Friday at 10 a.m. Qualifying is slated for 4:55 p.m. that afternoon, and the 250-mile/111-lap/two-hour-and-45-minute race is scheduled to get the green flag at 5:30 p.m. Saturday.

The schedule is even more condensed at the Glen, with practice on Thursday morning, Aug. 12 and qualifying at 4:30 p.m. that day. The 200-mile/82-lap race is scheduled to begin around 6 p.m., right after NASCAR Nextel Cup qualifying, and will end at 8:30 p.m.

-bm/lm-

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Jan Magnussen , Christian Fittipaldi , Terry Borcheller , Oliver Gavin , Forest Barber , Olivier Beretta
Teams Corvette Racing