Brian Simo Mosport preview

Brian Simo Mosport Int'l Raceway, Bowmanville, Ont. May 17 to 20, 2001 strategy game Champion Brian Simo says the May 20 race in the Trans-Am Series for the BFGoodrich Cup will be a strategy game. With changes to the 2.459-mile Mosport ...

Brian Simo
Mosport Int'l Raceway, Bowmanville, Ont.
May 17 to 20, 2001

strategy game

Champion Brian Simo says the May 20 race in the Trans-Am Series for the BFGoodrich Cup will be a strategy game. With changes to the 2.459-mile Mosport International Raceway road course, a longer race distance and a mandatory pit stop -- for the first time since 1991 -- car setup, tire compounds, experience and pacing will all play a role.

"Mosport is a real driver's track," he said. "It's a fast, technical track that puts everyone to the test. It's certainly always challenging, and the fact that this is a longer race is going to make it even more challenging. From a driver's perspective, it will be a race of pacing.

"The extra 25 miles is definitely going to have an effect. In a 125-mile race, tires and tire compounds may play a part in the strategy. That could change qualifying, too. And the pit stop will add another challenge for the crews. We have to take on a minimum six gallons of fuel, but that leaves a wide variety of options open for race strategy."

NASCAR ride

Simo will compete in two NASCAR Winston Cup races this year, driving the No. 90 Hills Bros Coffee Ford for Donlavey Racing at Sears Point Raceway (June 24) and Watkins Glen International (Aug. 12). His Trans-Am race engineer, Lynn Bishop, will work with the team to help determine the optimum road-course setup.

long-term link

Team "chemistry" is a key element in defining a winning team. The connection extends to sponsors, too. Simo has been racing with Valvoline since 1995, and he says the company has contributed to his results in many ways. "The obvious link is using Valvoline to improve the car's performance," he said. "But sponsorship is more than engine oil. The long-term support of the people at Valvoline has been a big part of my success. I look forward to continuing to win with them."

championship pursuit

Simo wants to win another championship, but he doesn't see it as a defensive play. "I don't feel like I'm defending anything -- I'm seeking a second championship," he said. "Being the champion adds a little pressure because the expectation of performance is there, but that's probably more from the outside in than from the inside out. I feel no different today than I did yesterday. Same thing, just a different day."

BRIAN SIMO

born: Oct. 1, 1959 in Beloit, Wis.
residence: Carlsbad, Calif.
family: wife Celeste, daughters Savannah and Sawyer
pronunciation: SIM o, not SEEM o

2001

Brian Simo is seeking a second-consecutive championship in the Trans-Am Series for the BFGoodrich Cup, driving the No. 88 Tommy Bahama Qvale Mangusta with associate sponsorship from Valvoline. He is also racing the No. 90 Hills Bros Coffee Ford in NASCAR Winston Cup races at Sears Point Raceway and Watkins Glen International.

race highlights

Simo raced motocross from 1971 to 1984, then started SCCA showroom-stock racing in 1990. He and his twin Mark won the 1992 Firestone Firehawk championship as team owners and Brian won the 1993 Willow Springs Sportsman Series championship.

Simo drove his first Trans-Am race in 1994. In 1995, he was the only driver to finish in the top-10 in every race and the only driver to complete every lap. He earned his first podium and eight top-five finishes in 1996. He finished second in the 1997 championship with seven top-fives, including three podium finishes. In 1998, he was second with two wins and six podiums.

In 1999, he was the only driver to start every race in the top five. He collected his third runner-up title with six victories, eight poles and nine podium finishes.

Simo won the 2000 Trans-Am Series championship with victories at Sebring International Raceway, Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte and Mosport International Raceway. He started in the top three for 11 of 12 races, with four pole positions and eight front-row starts. He scored six podium finishes, set six fastest race laps and led nine races. He completed 455 of 490 race laps (93 per cent). In 87 career Trans-Am starts, he has amassed 67 top-10 finishes (77 per cent).

Simo drove his first NASCAR Winston Cup race in 2000, at Sears Point Raceway. He qualified 34th and finished 36th, despite a long pit stop to replace a broken gear. He competed in NASCAR Busch Series races at Watkins Glen International in 1997 and 1998. Both times, he was leading the race when his engine failed.

He has also driven in several sports-car races. In four starts with BMW, he scored two GT2 (now GTS) wins in 1998 and GT podium finishes at the Petit Le Mans in 1998 and 1999. His career highlights include a fourth-place class finish in the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

-Sylvia Proudfoot

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Series Trans-Am
Drivers Brian Simo