Bodymotion Racing's Never Quit Attitude Pays Off at Trois-Rivieres Ocean, NJ- The Bodymotion Racing Team arrived in the southern state of Alabama to begin what would become a 10-day race week that would end north of the Canadian border.
Bodymotion Racing's Never Quit Attitude Pays Off at Trois-Rivieres
Ocean, NJ- The Bodymotion Racing Team arrived in the southern state of Alabama to begin what would become a 10-day race week that would end north of the Canadian border. Owner-driver Michael Bavaro and his co-driver Michael Ellis arrived at the Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, AL with high expectations. The team was in the top 10 in team points, in arguably the most competitive sports car series in the world. The 2.3 mile road course would offer a challenge to the 57 cars, a race course originally built for motorcycles.
The extremely hot and humid climate of Alabama was evident for this weekend's event. It was taking its toll on everyone, drivers and crew. The weekend's practice and qualifying sessions had experienced many on-track incidents that hampered car setup time for the team. Afternoon thunderstorms also were affecting how much dry track time the teams received. The team was able to post a qualifying time of 1:39.177 to place the Bodymotion 997 in 16th position on the grid.
The Barber Park 200 would see Michael Bavaro start the #21 Tiger liveried Porsche 997. Unfortunately, as the race began the Grand American officials would black flag the Bodymotion car for jumping the start. Bavaro would have to come down the pit lane at a reduced speed to serve the penalty. Returning to the race back in 56th position the team knew that they had the entire race to make up positions. Bavaro began his quest to get back to the front of the race. When Bavaro had made it back to the top 10, trouble struck the Porsche. The factory fuel delivery system failed on the car. For many teams this would have ended their race; not the Bodymotion team. The team went behind the pit wall and worked on the car to get it back in the race. The repair took 10 laps to fix as the race progressed. In the intense heat and humidity the crew had that "never quit attitude" and got the fuel system repaired.
Co-driver Michael Ellis climbed into the Porsche and re-entered the race. Back in the pits the crew felt the satisfaction in knowing that they took a car that many teams would have retired, and they put forth the effort to get it back in the race.
"I knew we were many laps down, but our goal for the season has been to finish in the top 10 in the points," said Ellis. "Throughout my stint in the car I was dealing with a lot of traffic and carnage." The race was hampered by many full course cautions caused by multiple incidents. Ellis was able to bring home the Porsche in 26th position in class, picking up valuable team points.
The team had to quickly pack up and return to New Jersey to begin preparation for the next race in a couple of days. The Grand Am Cup teams would headline the "Le Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres" in Canada. The 1.521 mile street-road course would offer many challenges for the team as they had never raced at the historic venue. Track time would be very valuable to the drivers for learning the circuit and setting up the car. Despite having never visited the track before, the team would qualify in 17th position with a time of 1:14.108.
Bavaro would once again start the race for the team. Unfortunately, the Grand American officials would again serve Bavaro with a black flag for jumping the start. "After the race at Barber, I was especially careful at the start," stated Bavaro. "The team does not know why we got the black flag." After Bavaro served the penalty on pit lane, he rejoined at the back of the field. However, this race would prove to be trouble for all of the competitors. "Brakes were a major issue for everyone, the straights were too short to cool them," said Bavaro.
The team conducted a flawless pit stop for the driver change between Bavaro and Ellis. "I was extremely pleased with the team's pit stop, everything was perfect," said Bavaro. Ellis would continue to make up positions on the field. Then, Ellis would experience a major brake failure at one of the circuit's fastest corners; this caused him to take to the run-off road as he controlled the car to miss the wall. Ellis would rejoin the race and continue to press on and overtake competitors. "I had to pump the brakes a lot at the end," said Ellis. On the final lap of the race Ellis was able to pass one of the Ford Mustangs to gain the teams best finish of the season, a ninth place. The team's "never quit attitude" has paid off after two grueling weeks of racing.
The next race for the Bodymotion Porsche is on Saturday, August 27th at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio.