endurance month AIM Autosport and Doncaster Racing will be back in endurance mode for the six-hour Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series race at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International on June 9, but both teams have already completed a marathon getting...
AIM Autosport and Doncaster Racing will be back in endurance mode for the six-hour Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series race at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International on June 9, but both teams have already completed a marathon getting to the race. They share a race shop and transporter, so covering three races and a test in four weeks -- on two coasts, at four very different tracks and in two race formats -- has tested their logistics capability.
The teams started with races in Monterey, Calif., on May 19 and 20, then charged back to the race shop north of Toronto, where the cars and equipment were unloaded and prepped for two trips -- the No. 17 Doncaster Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car heading to Lime Rock Park in Connecticut for a series race on May 28, the AIM car to Lexington, Ohio for a two-day test.
AIM's Formula BMW transporter arrived from Salt Lake City, Utah, with a detour to Wyoming and Michigan to help a stranded competitor. It was reconfigured for the Doncaster car, loaded and and off to Lime Rock. Meanwhile, AIM's primary Rolex Series transporter left for Ohio with the team's No. 61 Lexus-powered Riley Mk XI car, with a side trip to Lakeville, Ind., to pick up Hoosier tires, doubling the travel time.
Both teams returned to Canada for a fast reset for the six-hour race, with additional time required for bodywork repair and a transmission rebuild on the Doncaster car. The teams will depart for Watkins Glen on June 6.
"We had to jump through flaming hoops to make this whole thing happen," AIM co-owner Ian Willis said, detailing the minute-by-minute planning required. "Everyone involved has gone the extra mile to ensure that the cars are on track."
"The schedule has been really tough on us," Doncaster principal John Lacey confirmed. "We worked all weekend and early this week to finish the long race prep -- brakes, uprights, drive shafts, etc., etc. -- for the six-hour race. You get the picture as to the scramble small teams have to go through when Grand-Am sets these types of schedules: east to west, north to south, thousands of miles of travel, three races and one test in four weeks!"
Brian and Burt Frisselle of Lynchburg, Va., will team with Mark Wilkins of Toronto in the AIM Riley, backed by Exchange Traded Gold, Barrick Gold Corporation, RBC Financial Group and Telus' Mike Network. Doncaster's full-season driver Greg Wilkins of Toronto will share driving duty in the MineStar / Tim Hortons Porsche with Robert Julien of Gulfstream, Fla., and Tom Papadopoulos of East Hills, N.Y.
Lexus, which powers the No. 61 AIM Riley, builds an engine that capably handles the rigours of endurance racing. The company is the only Daytona Prototype engine-maker to win a six-hour race, a nine-hour race and a 24-hour race. Lexus teams have won the last two Rolex Series endurance races -- the 2006 nine-hour event at Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah, and the 2007 Rolex 24 At Daytona.