VIR: Patrick Barrett race report

Barrett Finishes in Top Ten in First Grand-Am Rolex Series Race Despite losing first and second gears thirty five minutes into the race and third gear as the last half hour approached, Patrick Barrett and Mike Forest finished 10th in the GT...

Barrett Finishes in Top Ten in First Grand-Am Rolex Series Race

Despite losing first and second gears thirty five minutes into the race and third gear as the last half hour approached, Patrick Barrett and Mike Forest finished 10th in the GT class in Barrett's first race in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No.16. The Bosch Engineering 250 was held this past Saturday and Sunday, April 26th and 27th at Virginia International Raceway, and featured a field of 19 Daytona Prototypes and 26 GTs racing together on the 3.27 mile, 17 turn road course.

Barrett was 17th quickest in GT qualifying on Saturday and started Sunday's race in his PR1 Motorsports Pontiac GXP.R in 15th place after two competitors were relegated to the rear of the starting grid for rules infractions. Barrett gained several positions and was in 11th when he stopped for fuel at the first yellow flag caution period on lap 10, and thanks to an excellent pit stop, rejoined the race in 9th. The five speed transmission started acting up a short time later.

"The race started out well for us. I was boxed in at the start and lost two positions, but gained them back (and then some) as the race progressed," said Barrett. "We gained a couple more positions during our first pit stop for fuel, so everything was going really well. Then I lost second gear, and then first gear. I could keep up with the cars around me, but trying to make a pass was too risky because I couldn't slow the car down properly."

Barrett brought the car into the pits on lap 30 during the second full course caution period, one hour into the 2 ¾ hour race, and handed it off in 9th position to team mate Forest. Another great pit stop by the team gained two positions and sent Forest back out in 7th.

In 8th place, and with just 20 minutes remaining, Forest had already lost 3rd gear and was busy trying to use 4th and 5th gears to fend off a charging Corvette and a Pontiac GXP.R running in 9th and 10th,. They were bettering his pace around the hilly road circuit by five to six seconds a lap and eventually got by him with three laps to go.

"Mike did a great job in his stint", Barrett commented. "The car maintained its pace through much of the circuit, but exiting the Oak Tree hairpin, leading onto the 4,000 back straight, was our weakness. Without 1st, 2nd, or 3rd gear, we were vulnerable to loosing positions there and in other low speed sections. Mike did a fantastic job bringing the car home in 10th." This was series newcomer PR1 Motorsport's and Mike Forest's second time in Grand-Am Rolex competition, and their first top ten finish.

Barrett, 18, from Los Osos, California, will join the team again, a week after he graduates from high school, at the EMCO Gears Classic at the Mid Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington Ohio on June 20-22.

"I really enjoyed my first race in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series. I had a lot of fun competing against some of the best sports car racers in North America", commented Barrett. "I can't wait to get back into the car again at Mid-Ohio this summer."

"Competing in my first professional sports car race means a lot to me and I couldn't have done it without the help of my supporters and sponsors, Kolliner-Long Gallery of Cambria, California and Alpinestars, and of course my Mom and Dad", added Barrett.

SPEED TV will show the Bosch Engineering 250 at 9 AM PDT, 12 PM EDT on both Saturday May 3rd and Monday May 5th. See www.SpeedTV.com.

-credit: www.PatrickBarrettRacing.com

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Patrick Barrett , Mike Forest