Automatic Racing to Field Four Cars in 2006; Joe Varde Joins as Team Manager ORLANDO, Fla. -- Automatic Racing will be expanding its efforts in the Grand-Am Cup Series for 2006, fielding four BMW M3s in the Grand Sport class. The team has...
Automatic Racing to Field Four Cars in 2006; Joe Varde Joins as Team Manager
ORLANDO, Fla. -- Automatic Racing will be expanding its efforts in the Grand-Am Cup Series for 2006, fielding four BMW M3s in the Grand Sport class. The team has also announced that racing veteran Joe Varde has joined as Team Manager to oversee Automatic Racing's growth.
Automatic Racing first entered Grand-Am Cup competition in 2002 with just one BMW M3 at selected rounds. The 2003 season marked the start of Automatic Racing's full-time commitment to the series. Last season, the team ran two cars at each round, with the No. 09 BMW finishing fifth in the Grand Sport championship.
After three successful seasons, Automatic Racing decided to further their involvement with the Grand-Am Cup Series by doubling the size of the team.
"The Grand Am Cup Series has become one of the premier series of sports car racing," said team owner Jep Thornton. "The level of competition and the number of entries has grown dramatically since we started the team in 2002."
To accommodate all four cars, Automatic Racing is currently building a new 9,000-square foot shop in their hometown of Orlando, Florida.
Additionally, a new 53-foot race hauler emblazoned with the Automatic Racing logo and the No. 09 BMW is being delivered from UltraComp Trailers. Visitors at last weekend's PRI show in Orlando saw the hauler and the No. 09 Automatic Racing BMW M3 on display by UltraComp.
With over 26 years of experience as a driver, team owner and team manager, Joe Varde was an obvious choice to oversee Automatic Racing's expansion. Varde has two endurance street stock racing championships of his own. He also headed his own team of 5 cars in the Firestone Firehawk Series, the precursor to Grand-Am Cup, and he knows the challenges of running such a big team.
"For the team to go from two cars to four, now you have two pit crews, which makes logistics a challenge," says Varde. "Right now I'm feeling it out and getting to know the team. I'm not here to change the team; I'm here to add to the team."
"Automatic Racing is thrilled with the addition of Joe Varde," said Thornton. "His proven track record and experience will bring the team to the next level."
Varde adds that his primary goal for the 2006 season is "for every car to make every lap." He stresses the importance of durability and consistency in working toward a championship.
Fans can keep up with Automatic Racing's four-car assault on the Grand-Am Cup championship at www.AutomaticRacing.com.