HINDMAN: VIR Debrief

Trent-Hindman-VIR-DebriefWhile making travel arrangements weeks in advance before an IMSA event, I always plan on staying for the main show of the weekend, the WeatherTech Championship, in order to kiss babies, shake hands, and make hay while the sun is still shining.

At the end of the day “out of sight, out of mind” could not be more true in the world of motorsport.

If you’re a driver like me looking to take the next step forward in their career, it is necessary to attend and find a way to be actively involved in those big races even though you may not be competing in them.

The dream of every driver, on the outside looking in, is to one day get that last-second call up to drive in the WeatherTech Championship, and I was fortunate enough for that dream to become a reality this weekend at VIR.

First thing’s first though; this was already shaping up to be a busy weekend for me between the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge and Lamborghini Super Trofeo.

Being within reach of winning both championships made for a bit more added pressure, especially after falling to second position in the GS championship standings following a very bizarre race at Road America two weeks ago.

I cannot say that I focus on one championship over the other, really it’s a game where one must try and find a way to balance the two.

I’m lucky in the sense that I have the tremendous opportunity to work with great teams and co-drivers across the board. They’re really the ones who make it possible for me to plug-in and go.

Generally Thursday’s promoter test days (when we have the opportunity to run them) are the busiest, and to me, the most vital.

Showing up to official practice and qualifying with an already strong car underneath you is everything. Starting on the back-foot rarely ends well for anybody, and when championships are on the line, desperation ensues.

At Bodymotion Racing, we had a strong start to our Thursday afternoon testing but it soon turned to head scratching, as we knew we had a pretty critical suspension issue with our car, leaving Cameron with almost no laps.

Friday was really the day that my whole weekend got “flipped-turned upside down” in the words of Will Smith and DJ Jazzy Jeff… all for the good though.

The Bodymotion Racing crew had figured out what had happened to our car and got it resolved quickly before our mid-morning CTSC official Practice 1. Their efforts were not in vain, as we quickly set a good string of laps that put us ahead of our competitors for the remainder of the session.

The main job now was to get Cam behind the wheel and acclimated to a track that he had been looking forward to driving since the end of our race weekend last year.

Super Trofeo, on the other hand, was looking very strong as our engineer David Wagener, Riccardo, and myself were really firing on all cylinders this weekend. We made some significant changes to our car during testing on Thursday and the gamble had paid off. Now all focus could be set on Riccardo learning the very difficult VIR circuit.

Somewhere in between all of this, I had missed a few texts from our Wayne Taylor Racing team manager, Travis Houge, urging me to contact him or Wayne immediately.

My mind immediately shifted to “Oh God, they’re getting rid of me” mode when suddenly I met up with Travis at the WTR tent and he promptly told me to start walking. He gave me a quick brief on why he and Wayne needed to get in touch with me, and to be honest I really couldn’t believe it.

Next thing I know, I find myself in front of a panel made up of Ben Keating, Jeroen Bleekemolen, and Bill Riley… almost felt like an episode of Shark Tank!

This was really the first time I had ever met and spoken to any of them. I was shocked to hear of Ben’s situation and potential decision to leave the track, although understandable, because Hurricane Harvey had not yet made landfall in Texas.

Basically, if Ben were to head home in anticipation of the impending storm, he needed a replacement and I was recommended to be fit for the job. I was floored, but hope I didn’t show it too much!

About an hour later I was notified by Bill that Ben had unfortunately headed home and I was to be at the Riley Motorsports trailer by 3:30 p.m. to prepare and be briefed on the general controls of the car for a 4 p.m. practice session. Game on.

There honestly was not any time to think about how to manage my focus when running in three separate, somewhat high pressure situations, which I think helped in hindsight.

My first laps in the Mercedes-AMG GT3 went off without a hitch and again, I was blessed to be given the opportunity to work with such a great team of people at Riley Motorsports.

It was clear that my job this weekend was to not set lap records. Rather, it was to keep the car on the road, pointed straight, and give it to Jeroen without a scratch. If we went fast in the process, then awesome, but that was not the main focus.

Things seemed to calm down on Saturday and Sunday, as schedules were a bit more spaced out now. Saturday morning started off strong with another WeatherTech practice session, followed by Super Trofeo qualifying, where Riccardo and I were able to pull off pole position for both races! Awesome effort by the Prestige Performance team.

Later on that afternoon was arguably the most important race of the weekend, our two-hour long CTSC race, where Bodymotion Racing, Cam, and I would have the opportunity to get ourselves back up in the lead of the GS championship.

Cam had qualified P9 on Friday evening but he, as always, made up positions during his stint and handed me the car in a fantastic position. Really I believe it was his best race-drive yet.

This is where things started deteriorating, as we had a developing communication problem between the pit-box and the No. 12 car towards the end of Cam’s stint.

That issue continued to develop to the point where under the first full course yellow of the race, being unaware of our track position and having no communication with our pit-box, we had failed to take advantage of the lap down wave-by procedure and essentially went one lap down without even knowing it.

That was it, for the rest of the race we tried playing catch up but it was to no avail.

We would finish a dismal P12 after having such high hopes. We are now 20 points out of the championship lead with two races remaining. It is still possible and we will still sure as hell try to win it, but it will be a tall order.

With no time to dwell on the continued run of horrid luck we have seen with the No. 12 Bodymotion Racing Porsche Cayman, it was straight back to the Super Trofeo race on Saturday evening and Race Two on Sunday morning.

Again, the Prestige Performance/WTR team, Riccardo, and myself had very high hopes following our qualifying performance. Race 1 was off to a good start, but a pit lane speeding penalty had earned us a drive-through penalty just before our pit stop and driver change.

We had a sizable gap prior to pitting, so taking the drive through and pushing like hell for 20 minutes made for a more exciting situation than I believe any of us really wanted. I had caught up to the leaders with roughly two laps remaining, was informed of a situation where the leading car had a penalty, and was wisely advised to think about the championship.

That’s exactly what we did, and following post race time penalties, we were awarded the overall and Pro class win.

Race 2 was my turn to start and we got a solid initial start, but then heading down to turn three it was clear that I had a left rear tire starting to go down.

Finally the cornering load of turn three shredded the thing apart. That was tough, since now we had no chance at a win and had to still push hard and try to minimize the damage done to our Pro class championship lead.

Riccardo and I battled hard for 50 minutes and ended up P2 in class, P6 overall. Not bad for almost going a full lap down after lap one.

Again, no time to dwell on what could have been, so it was full steam ahead on how to properly execute what Bill Riley, Ben, and Jeroen needed me to do behind the wheel of the No. 33 Mercedes-AMG GT3 in the GTD class of the WeatherTech Championship.

Jeroen would be starting a solid P4, I would hop in for a full fuel stint right in the middle, and then Jeroen would bring the thing home for the final stint. Pretty straightforward.

Physically, I was fine. Mentally, I was exhausted. This was a weekend where I had really experienced the highs and lows of motorsport all within 36 hours, and I was running off pure adrenaline and coffee, lots and lots of coffee.

But again, no time to worry about it now as it was show time for arguably the best opportunity of my entire racing career. I wanted to and needed to deliver for Jeroen, for Bill, but most importantly, for Ben Keating.

The two hour and 40-minute race came and went just like that. My stint wasn’t flawless by any means, but I felt that I had completed my job to the best of my abilities and had done exactly what I was asked to do.

When Jeroen crossed the line in P3 at the end, I damn near cried; I could not believe it. We were on the podium in my first ever IMSA Weathertech GTD race but most importantly, I was relieved that it had all went according to plan.

This has seriously been the most incredible last few days of the 21 years I have spent on planet Earth.

Maybe it goes to show how much I really don’t do outside of the motorsport world? I don’t know. All I do know is that I have some of the greatest groups of people I have ever met supporting me and my dream.

Thank you to Cameron Cassels, Bodymotion Racing, Trim-Tex Drywall Products, Wayne Taylor, Wayne Taylor Racing, Prestige Performance, Riccardo Agostini, Bill Riley, Riley Motorsports, Jeroen Bleekmolen, and Ben Keating.

Just want to mention that my thoughts and prayers are with all who have been affected by Hurricane Harvey. Mother Nature shows no mercy at times.

It’s been a hell of a ride, but now I need a beer and some sleep! Until next time…

Strategy Move by Bodymotion Racing Results in Top-Five Finish and Gain in GS Points Lead

Trent-Hindman-Limerock-Park-CTSCC-2017
LAKEVILLE, Conn., July 23 – Bodymotion Racing unofficially retained its point lead in the Grand Sport (GS) class and even increased it by one marker by using some unusual strategy to finish fifth in the IMSA Continental Tire Sportscar Challenge Series race Saturday at Lime Rock Park. The Ocean Township, N.J.-based team’s entry in the Street Tuner (ST) class also finished fifth in its class in the two-hour contest at the 1.53-mile, seven-turn road course about 100 miles north of New York City.
The strategic move was a change in the driver order for the team’s GS car, the No. 12 Porsche Cayman GT4 sponsored by Bodymotion, Delaware Investments and Trim Tex . Usually Cameron Cassels of Coldstream, British Columbia, Canada starts the car and then turns it over to his  experienced teammate Trent Hindman of Wayside, N.J. This time the team opted for Hindman to start the race, go as far as possible on one set of Continental tires while conserving fuel, and then turn the car over to Cassels with hopefully little to no damage incurred. If Hindman could set the fastest lap of the race in the process when his tires were freshest, it would also be beneficial because that’s worth an extra point.
The whole team delivered. The starting driver must qualify, and Hindman won the pole with a time of 55.388 (99.443 miles per hour). He set the fastest lap of the race on lap seven with a 55.745 (98.807 mph), and he led the first 42 laps of the race despite having to avoid several lapped cars that spun or crashed in front of him.
The Camaro that eventually won made a pit stop earlier and was able to pass Hindman on lap 43 with fresher tires, but Hindman was back in front for four more laps before he finally pitted on lap 68 for his one and only pit stop. In addition to saving fuel and his tires during his 1:07 stint on a track that was getting more slippery every lap, he also turned the car over to Cassels with no damage for the final push. The pit stop was fast, Cassels set very competitive lap times and successfully avoided any crashes too, and the team’s reward was its fifth top-five finish of the season to date. When adding in the time during qualifying, Hindman’s stint and the pit stop, the team stretched one set of Continental tires for approximately one hour and 20 minutes of competition.
Unofficially Hindman and Cassels now hold a five-point lead in the GS point standings, 167 to 162.
Post-race quotes follow:
Trent Hindman, co-driver, No. 12 Bodymotion Racing Porsche Cayman GT4:
(During race): “At the end of the day, I couldn’t have done it without these Bodymotion guys, who gave me a great car in qualifying yesterday. And today we carried that into the first stint. I honestly had no idea what was going to happen. It was definitely tough. That’s the longest I’ve ever run a set of Continental Tires. That was an hour and 20 minutes between qualifying and the race. Very impressive. We’ll see what happens.”
(Post-race): “I lost track of how many [ST cars he was preparing to lap] had problems in front of me. That was chaos to be honest with you. Once we got rolling again after that caution, I honestly had no idea where we were on the track or what was going on. I just tried to save fuel, save tires, and tried to keep it in one piece for Cameron, but that was absolutely chaos.
“I’m actually relatively pleased that we decided to go with this strategy, because I think if anything else would have happened during that first stint, we would have ended up off the track with some sort of damage on the car. I’m just happy that I was able to avoid all that.
“We went about an hour and 20 minutes with one set of tires. It wasn’t the easiest in the world. Kudos to Continental for coming up with a tire that can withstand that sort of punishment, but it’s still tough on tires. It’s impressive, but it was absolutely not easy. I was hanging on. When I got out of the car I was pretty drained. You’re trying to extract every bit of speed out of it. Mentally you know you have to save fuel, work through traffic, and at the same time not chuck the car off the road, which I almost did a couple of times.
“At the end of the day I don’t think the race would have gone as well for us as it ultimately did without the good pit work of the Bodymotion guys, the guys giving us a great car for qualifying, and without the good driving by Cameron in the last 45 minutes.”
Cameron Cassels, co-driver, No. 12 Bodymotion Racing Porsche Cayman GT4:
“It was the first time this season we’ve done this [had Trent start the race]. Our mad scientist of an engineer, Mark Manning, wanted to do this. I love the guy; it was a brilliant call. I’ve never finished the race, and we wanted to shake it up a bit. I got to play with a different group of guys. It was a lot of fun. I was sliding all over the place. I hope to do another one of these where I get to close out the race.
“I actually made a mistake; I thought the 68 and the 69 were a lap down so I conserved the pace, but they were for position. But it was fun.”
Mike Bavaro, team owner:
“It was a great day points wise. I hate to say that because we’re here to race, but this late in the season to be able to come here and gain a point advantage, I would not have guessed. Maintaining was our whole goal.
“We thought we’d get eighth place if we started these drivers the other way. But I have to hand it to my staff. They sat down and figured out on paper that we could finish fifth or sixth if we started the drivers the other way around, and they made the right call.
“The stops were dead on. The ST stop was 35 seconds, which is unbelievable. And 45 seconds for the GS car because it needed more fuel. But everybody did their jobs. It was a real good high-five for them. Everybody did a great job. It was fun today. We go to Road America next.”

Hindman, Bodymotion Racing Take Lime Rock CTSC Pole

Trent-Hindman-Pole-Limerock-CTSCCTrent Hindman and Bodymotion Racing will start on pole for tomorrow’s IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge Lime Rock Park 120 after a dominant performance in qualifying.

Hindman’s lap of 55.388 seconds in the No. 12 Porsche Cayman GT4 was 0.408 seconds faster than Matt Bell who qualified second in the No. 57 Stevenson Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R.

Dylan Murcott locked down the third starting spot for RS1, with Jack Roush Jr. in the KohR Motorsports Ford Mustang rounding out the second row.

Paul Holton and Chris Green took fifth and sixth in the GS field for C360R and Motorsports In Action, respectively.

Chad McCumbee set the pace in the ST class for Freedom Autosport, leading a Mazda MX-5 sweep of the top three spots. Murillo Racing’s Christopher Stone qualified second, splitting Freedom Autosport teammates McCumbee and Matt Fassnacht.

James Clay qualified fourth in the No. 84 BimmerWorld Racing BMW 328i, followed by Derek Jones in the No. 73 MINI JCW Team entry in fifth.

The two-hour Lime Rock Park 120 is scheduled for 10:25 a.m. ET with live coverage with IMSA Radio commentary available at IMSA.tv.

Photo Courtesy: Jake Galstad Article Courtesy: Sportscar365

GS Point Leader Bodymotion Racing Finishes Sixth

Trent-Hindman-Mosport-CTSCC-Sam-Cobb-PhotographyBOWMANVILLE, Ont., July 10 – Bodymotion Racing’s Cameron Cassels and Trent Hindman still hold the lead in the Grand Sport (GS) point standings (unofficially) of the IMSA Continental Tire Sportscar Challenge series, 140 to 136, after they finished sixth in the series’ two-hour race at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (CTMP, aka Mosport) Saturday afternoon. 
 
The Ocean Township, N.J.-based team’s GS entry had contact at least twice. Cassels, of Coldstream, British Columbia, had contact in Turn 1 on the first lap that compromised the car’s front-end alignment, and the entry eventually went a lap down. Later, after the driver change under green on lap 30, there was contact between Hindman and Jared Salinsky that caused damage to the left rear of the Bodymotion car and sent Salinsky’s Mini into a tire wall off Turn 3, bringing out a full-course caution.
 
The rest of the race went nonstop. Hindman, of Wayside, N.J., was never able to make up the lap, but he not only finished, he advanced from eighth to sixth at the checkered with the entry, which is sponsored by Bodymotion, Delaware Investments and Trim Tex.
 
The team’s Street Tuner (ST) car, the No. 31 Porsche Cayman sponsored by Bodymotion, VeriStor, the Apex Sports Car Academy and Delaware Investments, had an impressive showing until a penalty knocked it out of contention for a possible podium finish. Devin Jones of Mooresville, N.C. started eighth in that car and blasted to third before the end of one lap around the 2.459-mile, 10-turn road course. He held third until lap 27, with about 1:20 remaining, but rose from fourth to second about four minutes later when the driver who passed him for third got a flat tire and he passed the driver who had been second.
 
Jones was still second when he pitted under the full-course caution around lap 36 for his co-driver, Drake Kemper of Thermal, Calif., to take over. The pit stop was an impressively quick one and Kemper took the lead at that point. He led from laps 37 through 40 and then dropped to third. He dropped to 13th when he served the penalty, which was for bumping into a changed tire during the pit stop, but he was able to battle back to ninth at the checkered. 
The Bodymotion pit crew welcomed a pair of Canadian Forces military veterans, Corporal, AVN Tech Darryl Abelung and Corporal, AVN Tech Fetrat Ali. They were invited this weekend to observe the new program by an up and coming, not-for-profit organization called Operation Motorsport (see www.operationmotorsport.org). These CF veterans are part of the ill and injured roster and may become eligible for participation in Operation Motorsport in future races. Bodymotion Racing instructed and trained Mr. Eric Schnaithmann, who is a local import auto repair shop who has volunteered his facility and time to pre-train candidates for the program. Mr. Schnaithmann actually participated during team practice and in the actual race. Eric’s duty was to wave the pit sign during the race to stop the cars in the proper position in the pit box.
 
A condensed broadcast of the race will air on Fox Sports 1 from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. Eastern on Saturday, July 15. Other information is available on imsa.com.
 
After competing at two of the longest circuits on the schedule in the last two weeks, the series will tackle its shortest road course when it visits Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, Conn. July 21-22. Following that race the series visits the longest track on the circuit, Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis., on Aug. 3-6.
 
Post-race quotes follow:
Trent Hindman, co-driver, No. 12 Bodymotion Racing Porsche Cayman GT4:
“That was a tough one. It was a bit rough for Cameron. He had a bit of contact early, just racing hard with the other Porsche Caymans out there. Unfortunately he got the front-end alignment knocked out a bit there, but no big deal. It happens. He soldiered on. 
 
“By the time we came into pit lane and made our pit stop we went down a lap, which was unfortunate. I went straight out of the pits trying to push hard right away. I’m not too sure what happened on the apex out of Turn 3, but the right front of one of the Minis and the left rear of my car met. I still need to see the replay. It was just unfortunate. My apologies to those guys for whatever happened. I’d like to see what exactly it was because I thought I left that car plenty of room. But it’s racing and it is what it is. 
 
“That really messed up the left rear of our car. We had some pretty loose components on the left rear. But we were able to finish. We were able to bring home points, which is what this is all about. We’re in this for the long haul. I’m just a bit disappointed because we had the winning car; we had the best car. We worked hard on its balance last weekend and all this week during testing and practice. We really got this thing dialed in so this is unfortunate. I feel bad for all the guys. We’ll move on to Lime Rock.”
 
Cameron Cassels, co-driver, No. 12 Bodymotion Racing Porsche Cayman GT4:
“It was a hard race. I think we had a great car today but had a bit of contact on lap one Turn 1 with one of the C.J. [Wilson] cars that did something to the front end. From there we just kind of had to hang on. Unfortunately towards the end of that stint the McLarens were super strong. I think at one point they were 43 seconds ahead of the next car and we got a lap down. But we’ll take the points we did receive and move to the next race.”
Mike Bavaro, team owner:
“The No. 12 car did well. We finished sixth, which keeps us in the points lead, so we’re pleased with that. 
 
“The No. 31 car led the race for awhile and we were in third place for a good amount of time. Unfortunately the cars that pitted in front of us pitted in the back of their box and when our guy had to leave, he made a sharp turn and hit one of the tires that had just been taken off, so we had to do a drive-through penalty, which put us back to 13th. However we got a top 10 out of the race in the end so we salvaged the day and we’re pleased to move on to our next race at Lime Rock still leading the points in GS.”

HINDMAN: CTMP Debrief

Trent-Hindman-Mosport-CTSCC

 

Canadian Tire Motorsport Park is arguably one of my personal favorite tracks when speaking about the 2017 IMSA schedule.

Back in 2011, I had the tremendous opportunity to drive for local legend Brian Graham and his Formula Ford 1600 team, where we spent many weekends up at CTMP, logging laps and learning how to drive a racing car. Since then I have always looked forward to this event.

Unfortunately CTMP has not been very kind to us these last few years and that trend continued this weekend.

After figuring out exactly what bit us at The Glen, I certainly was looking forward to some form of redemption this past weekend. With the Glen and CTMP being relatively similar tracks (lots of high speed, long duration, high lateral loading corners), lessons learned from the previous weekend were sure to apply.

I was feeling very confident in what we had after the initial testing on Thursday afternoon since we seemed to have such a strong car right from the start.

This was fantastic because it allowed us to focus on performance over the long runs as well as making some very minor adjustments for tuning to the track conditions. Even when looking at how Friday’s official practice sessions went for us, I think we were clearly just as strong, if not the strongest car, from turn 8 to turn 6… very encouraging.

From that point forward I would not climb back into the car until race day, which was fine by me since Cameron seemed to be on a roll in terms of becoming consistently quicker.

I knew what we had in terms of performance with the car and I was very comfortable with that, even after watching how Practice 2, 3 and even qualifying unfolded with a few cars going much quicker than we did, but that was no surprise to me. We focused on our consistency and pace at the end of a stint.

Our race on Saturday afternoon was difficult and disappointing to say the least. On lap 2, Cam and another GS car made side to side contact in turn 1, which in turn, broke our steering rack (no pun intended).

That particular incident was nothing more than just some hard racing, simple as that. I was not too concerned with the news that there was a problem with the front end of the car since Cam was at least able to hold his position and still had some pretty decent speed despite the broken rack (not yet known to us at the time).

Just as it looked like we would be able to work through it, we eventually went a lap down when we made our pit stop/driver change.

The weekend was looking so positive up to that point that it was difficult to accept that winning the race was going to become a whole lot more challenging than it already was. From prior experience and knowing how races in the CTSC can unfold, I knew there was still a shot as long as I got in the car and pushed.

At least to me, as soon as my race began, it was over just as quickly. Pushing hard out of pit lane, I immediately approached ST traffic on the exit of Turn 2 and took the lane that was available on the inside upon entry of Turn 3.

Well before track out of the corner, the right front of the Mini met the left rear of our car and unfortunately spit the ST car into the wall at the exit, ruining their race while causing some pretty significant damage to our car.

At the time I was frustrated more than anything because our day just went from bad to worse and basically sealed our fate for the final hour of the race.

Afterwards, I was able to find James and Nate (the drivers of that Mini), and Luis (owner of the Mini JCW team) to make sure James was ok, and luckily he was. Not a happy camper, obviously, but physically fine.

Two races in a row now I have had to adapt and use a conservative, defensive mindset mid-race, rather than focusing on attacking for a victory.

This one hurt even more than the Glen because I believed that we had a very competitive car moving onto race day. I feel for the Bodymotion crew, our supporters Trim Tex and Delaware Investments, and Cam, for failing to capitalize on such a strong weekend up to that point.

We are still a full two weeks away from Lime Rock and I already want to get back at it. We had a great car there last year and I expect the very same this year, especially with all of the lessons learned over the past ten days.

If there is one positive to come out of this last weekend at CTMP, it is the fact that our championship position is the very same leaving as it was when we arrived. It certainly could have been a whole lot worse considering how eventful the race was for us.

For now though, it is time to reset, refocus, and plan on how to attack the final five races of the 2017 Continental Tire Challenge season.

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