ELKHART LAKE, WIS, Sunday, July 8, 2001 - The ...
ELKHART LAKE, WIS, Sunday, July 8, 2001 - The #48 Pilbeam America/Fender Musical Instruments Pilbeam MP84, which qualified fourth in the class, finished fifth in class (33rd overall) in today's Grand American Road Racing Series' (Grand Am) Road America 250. In only its second event of 2001, Pilbeam Racing America ran as high as second in the SRPII class before an overheating problem with its Nissan engine forced the car to the sidelines. The 2000 FIA Sports Racer Light European championship-winning chassis was driven here at Road America by Dave Dullum (Falls Church, VA), Joe Blacker (Elliott City, MD) and Jeff Bucknum (Phoenix, AZ). The #48 completed 29 laps.
"We were pretty aggressive early on but then settled in for the 500 miles," said lead driver Jeff Bucknum- who qualified and stated the Pilbeam. "I just wanted to settle into a pace. We were able to click off the times we wanted to do. The Pilbeam was really solid. Once the lead car and we settled in we kept about a ten second differential. Our first stop we handed the car over and that started off really good but then the motor decided to quite. That was the end of our race."
"The car was very good. We were moving forward and were holding second place," said technical director Phil Harris. "We came into do that first pit stop and it looks like we picked up a vapor-lock or a head gasket problem. We went back out and the engine didn't recover so we decided to park it to avoid any serious engine damage."
Road America is considered one of the premier road courses in the country with long, straight-aways, tight and high-speed turns. The 14-turn, 4-mile tree-lined facility challenges equipment as well as any course in the country. The Pilbeam MP84's notable return to North American competition highlighted the car's promising future in both the Grand Am's SRPII and American Le Mans Series' LMP 675 class.
Bucknum continued to be impressed by the chassis following his race stint. "The MP84 was very good thanks to Pilbeam and the guys here working. It was definitely going to be a good race. We think we'll be back to try this again."