Bodymotion Racing Finish Top Ten at Sebring
SEBRING, Fla., March 17 — After qualifying third in the Street Tuner (ST) class and running in that position for more than half of Friday’s IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge race at Sebring International Raceway, Devin Jones and Drake Kemper were relegated to a tenth-place finish after the track’s bumpy surface took a toll on their No. 31 Bodymotion Racing Porsche Cayman.
Bodymotion Racing came into the event as the defending race winners and the winners of the season opener with its Grand Sport entry, the No. 12 Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport driven by Cameron Cassels and Trent Hindman. Unfortunately, that car suffered a problem with one of its wheels that caused it to lose several laps, and it ended up tenth in the Grand Sport class at the conclusion of the two-hour race.
Jones, of Mooresville, N.C., started third after qualifying just 0.250 off the ST pole early Friday morning. He ran in third place throughout his stint, which included a fierce battle with Jeff Mosing for second place just after the first half-hour of the race. He pitted under yellow with about 70 minutes to go, turning the car over to Kemper, a rookie from Thermal, Calif.
The pit stop went perfectly, and Kemper was able to start his stint in third also. He remained in that podium position for about 20 minutes until the eventual class winner passed him. What the fans didn’t know was that Kemper was dealing with a suspension problem, but he was able to bring the entry home in one piece.
Things started off well for Cassels, of Coldstream, British Columbia, Canada, until his car developed a vibration that continually got worse. Team owner Mike Bavaro brought that car in for fuel under green just 20 minutes into the race as a strategy move, but it never came into play due to problems with the right- front wheel that forced Cassels to pit with about 52 minutes gone. The team went behind the wall to make repairs and Hindman replaced Cassels in the cockpit and finished the race, but the time lost was far too much for the star from Wayside, N.J. to make up.
Bodymotion’s sponsors — Veristor, Delaware Investments, TrimTex and the Apex Sports Car Academy — are sure to get their share of airtime when the race is shown on Fox Sports 1 at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, March 26. The team will regroup at its headquarters in Ocean Township, N.J., which was recently named an Approved Porsche Collision Center, and hope for better results at the next event May 4-6 at Circuit of the Americas (COTA) in Austin, Texas.
Post-race quotes follow:
Cameron Cassels, co-driver, No. 12 Bodymotion Racing Porsche Cayman GT4:
“I just noticed as the laps wore on, there was more and more vibration in the car, particularly in the right front. I don’t know what happened yet; we might have sheared off some wheel stubs. Finally at the end, at that last caution lap, coming into Turn 5, I tried to turn hard left and the car just went straight. So I knew there was something really wrong. You could certainly feel it as the laps went on, especially after the stop for a splash of fuel. It was a shame; I think our pit stop strategy could have won the race for us. It’s really, really disappointing because we had a great car and a great strategy.”
Trent Hindman, co-driver, No. 12 Bodymotion Racing Porsche Cayman GT4:
“When you’re leading a championship you’ve obviously got a big target on your back, not just with your other competitors but with the technical gremlins that can sometimes get to you. Unfortunately, they got to us today.
“Ultimately the only thing you can do on days like today is maximize everything you’ve got and, to be honest with you, I’m shocked we’re walking away with 11th-place points. It could have been much worse than that. It’s the result of all the guys coming together, getting the repairs, getting the car back out on track and crossing the line and finishing the two-hour race in one piece, or mostly in one piece. Days like today are what win championships; maximizing the bad days, this is what’s going to pay off at the end of the year. It takes every last little point we can get to count, and you’ve got to think big picture. This is just extra motivation we’re going to use going forward into COTA.”
Michael Bavaro, team owner:
“It’s a disappointing day because the ST car qualified so well and we had a suspension failure on that car, but we soldiered home. I think they did a great job, considering what broke, that they were even able to finish.
“The No. 12 car had broken lug nuts and a broken wheel and we were able to change it pretty quick, but we had to go behind the wall so we lost a few laps there. We finished the race running and we need the points.
“It’s a season-long commitment so we have to take the points and move on to COTA for our next round and keep our chin up. We’ll go back [to the shop] and fix the cars.
“I think everybody showed real good form today. For the season to come I think we’re going to have something for these McLarens and these Mustangs. In both classes [GS and ST], we belong in that lead battle. I can imagine our cars would have been right up in there had we not had problems. We’ll look forward to COTA.”
Devin Jones, co-driver, No. 31 Bodymotion Racing Porsche Cayman:
“We had pretty high expectations coming into this race. We were really solid in qualifying, and came close to the pole there. But we had some issues with the frame of the car that we found last night after the second practice. We couldn’t do a permanent fix, but the guys did a good job bolting something up and getting it so hopefully we could make it through the race. I think during my stint the car held together pretty good and we were able to maintain third, but later in the run when Drake got in, that problem came up again.
“The guys did a good job welding it together though. We weren’t sure we would even get on track yesterday. They did a good job getting it back together. We’re disappointed that we couldn’t get a better finish, but I think everybody rallied pretty well. Once we get some of these issues worked out, I think we’ll be tough to beat.”
Drake Kemper, co-driver, No. 31 Bodymotion Racing Porsche Cayman:
“I’m a tad disappointed for the Bodymotion crew. These guys worked tirelessly last night to get the car back up and running. Devin Jones put in a phenomenal first stint, and really it was my race to lose at that point, which definitely happened. We battled up front for a little while, and then an inherent problem from last night, the one we were fixing, became unstuck again. It got worse and worse, and I just did everything I could to hang onto the thing. At least I’m proud that the car is in one piece, and we’ll go to COTA and try again, once we get that problem fixed.”
For more information, go to Bodymotion.com.