This past Saturday’s BRM race was just like the first race in any series no matter if you are talking real IMSA prototypes or the scale equivalent in that there were teething problems for some, driving errors for others and a few that set the mark to beat.
Being the first race run it was difficult for anyone to know what a good vs. great lap time was. The last BRM series witnessed the first laps ever run in the 4.0 region and everyone could assume this series would be no different. Pre-race preparations varied from installing a new motor for Kevin and his rented Budweiser 962 to pulling the car out of the box and dusting it off for Jim and his Miller killer. There was a rumor starting to spread around the paddock that Ary had some special “legal” modifications to his car that might give him an advantage. There was also a strange button on his controller and an addition to the cables on his controllers. Could Ary be working on some sort of KERS system? Could he have wired a connection between his controllers braking circuit and his car that would store the kenetic energy from his BRM’s brakes? His pre-race times didn’t indicate anything special but everyone knows Ary never shows his full hand until the race.
The first heat had Shawn, Roy and Brian and it didn’t take long to see how fast the cars were going to be for this series with Roy running a 4.007 lap and Shawn running a 4.089 lap. It was shaping up to be a good race between Shawn and Roy right up until Shawn’s car lost power on the Senna esses. The car was push started and only managed to make it back to the pits where the mechanics swarmed over the car immediately. It was discovered that one of the electrical lines to the guide had become disconnected and the motor was starved of electricity.
Meanwhile, Roy and Brian were adding to their lap totals with Roy in the middle lane now having one less car to have to contend with and allowed him to run away with the first heat with a total of 71 laps and his fastest lap of the day.
The lesson everyone should take away from Shawn’s unfortunate mechanical is to always check your motor wire-guide braid connection or upgrade your connection to the now legal screw type connection that comes stock on most BRM’s
This picture shows how the lead wire can come off.
This picture shows the screw-in type of connection that are now legal to run.
The second heat had Brian in blue, Jim in yellow and Shawn in green. The race started without Shawn as he was still working on his car. He was able to complete the repairs and start his race six laps down to Brian and Jim. Jim had the fast car in this heat although once Shawn got in the mix he was matching Jim’s fast pace. Brian was having a difficult time getting his Dauer Shell Porsche to find some traction. The car kept sliding out in the turns and was spending almost as much time sideways as it did going forward. It didn’t help that he was in the blue lane and had to contend with Jim and Shawn’s cars on either side of him. At the end of the heat Jim had 69 laps, Shawn had 63 and Brian had 58.
The third heat had Shawn in blue, Marty in yellow and Jim in green. This could be one of the best races of the day with three of the fast guys all racing at the same time. It could also be disastrous as they are all evenly matched and will inevitably be side by side in the turns at some point. The race started with Shawn and Marty matching each others lap time but where was Jim? One of the fastest runners in the club, it was unusual to see Jim losing time to the others on each lap. It became obvious that Jim had a serious problem with his Miller Porsche 962. At the four minute mark Jim had no choice but to pull the Miller car into the pits. As soon as the car was up on the jacks it was obvious what the problem was. Jim’s motor was done. The usually reliable BRM pink motor had done its last race. It seems that running all of those practice hours combined with last year’s BRM race series and the three hour endurance race was all that motor had in it. I think Jim got his money’s worth out of it but it sure picked a bad time to blow up. The race continued with Marty recording 72 laps to Shawn’s 71.75.
This was a picture of Jim’s Miller 962 just before coming into the pits.
The fourth heat had Kevin in yellow and Marty in green with Jim in blue, sort of. Jim still had the Miller Porsche up on the jacks trying to complete the fastest motor change in BRM racing history. With no one in the middle blue lane Marty and Kevin were left with all the room they would need to treat the 5 minute heat as a 5 minute qualifying session. Marty obviously loved the extra room as he recorded the best ever BRM race lap of 3.91, a 4.001 average over the total of 75 laps. Kevin also had a great run with a race high of 67 laps. Unfortunately Jim was never able to get his Miller Porsche fixed in time to complete any laps.
The fifth heat had Ary in yellow, Marty in blue and Kevin in green. This was Ary’s first race with his new modifications. What would we see from his Kenwood Porsche? The modification Ary had made was revealed almost in the first laps of the race. His modification was a high beam flasher designed to let his slower competitors know he was coming through. Not a bad thing to have on this track with 4″ lane spacing and you are as fast as he is.
The race turned out to be a great battle between Ary and Marty with Marty’s Jagermeister running some super fast laps in the 3.9’s and 4.0’s. It all looked good for Marty right up to the point where the clutch in the Jagermeister 962 started to slip. Lap times show Marty slipping down from 4.0 to 4.2 and continuing to drop. The decision was made to bring the 962 in for a quick gear adjustment. The pit crew did quick work on the gear but it still cost Marty two laps on the clubs 54’ circuit. Ary, like always, never missed a beat and kept driving at his smooth pace to finish the heat on top with 71 laps. Marty was not far behind with 70.76 laps and Kevin with 55 laps as he was trying his best to let the two heavy weights (did I just say that) fight it out.
The sixth heat was highlighted by the battle between Ary andRoy with new racer Kevin trying harder to stay out of the way than to run with either of them. This was one of the best on track battles of the day with Ary in the green lane andRoy in the yellow lane and Kevin letting them race by letting them pass at will. The clear track allowed both drivers to put on a show with Ary running 73 laps toRoy’s 72 and Kevin’s honorable 63.75 laps.
The seventh heat had Ary in blue and Roy in green with Brian in yellow. Coming into this heat Roy was only one lap behind Ary and Ary needed a clean run of 74 laps to beat Marty and win the race. With Ary racing in the blue lane it would be tougher for him to get those 74 laps as he, like everyone who races in blue, would have to pass cars in both the green and yellow lanes. Roy in the green lane should have the best chance to catch Ary and at least take second. Roy was almost guaranteed third as the other competitors either had mechanicals or did not have their best races. What we saw was Ary putting on a show of perfect driving and even better passing giving him a total of 71.3 laps whileRoy had a tougher time and only managed to total 69.06 laps. Brian was driving his best but was dealing with a car that was not cooperating. He managed 65 laps for his final heat.
The final results showed Marty at the top with 217.76 laps, Ary in second place with 215.3 laps and Roy in third with 212.6 laps. Honorable mention goes to Shawn who missed time in two heats with a mechanical and still managed to place fourth with 190.75 laps. He could be the one to watch in the next race. Congratulations to everyone who competed.
Like all first races in a series there were some teething problems for some of the competitors while others were able to set some great times. Everyone knows what lap times they need to run to be competitive. It will be interesting to see if Russell has his Ford Probe ready for the second round. With Russell’s car building and set up skills this could be the car to watch. I am sure the second race in the series will see fewer incidents and closer racing as everyone gets their cars dialed in and gets down to taking the top spot on the podium.