Insight Racing Endures Some Highs and Lows On Race Debut

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PHOTO:Wes Duenkel
Insight Racing Endures Some Highs and Lows On Race Debut

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., 27 January – Making their inaugural race debut, Insight Racing went through the gamut of emotions that racing can offer. The Street Tuner (ST) Class BMW 328i driven by Tyler McQuarrie and Nico Rondet came out of the gates blazing to set the fastest time for its class at the conclusion of the first practice. Conversely, the Grand Sport (GS) Class BMW M3 piloted by Paul Gerrard and Martin Jensen never left the garage during the first practice. Instead they focussed on installing an upgraded differential on the new machine that has so far only been driven in anger over the course of three-day test last week.

Fortunes would turn in the afternoon practice. The ST class 328i, this time with Rondet in the driver’s seat, was forced to return to the garage after only five laps with a blown motor. Meanwhile, Gerrard and the M3 turned their collective first laps at Daytona International Speedway running a conservative program, methodically honing the car’s set up to prepare for qualifying.

Alas, Gerrard was the only of the Insight Racing pair to attempt to qualify for the GRAND-AM Continental Sports Car Challenge Grand-Am 200. Unbowed, the ST car crew sprang to effect a motor change on the 328i, which means it will start Friday’s race from the back of the field.

Gerrard was able to end the day on a high note by securing the 15th starting position in the 32-car GS class field, and thereby attaining one of the team’s early season goals of starting within the top-15. Gerrard’s best lap was his fourth trip around Daytona’s famed road course in which he recorded a best time of 1:59.191 sec.

“It was my first time here at Daytona, and in a GS class car it was so much fun to have this much power. The speeds were impressive, and the 31 degree banking is also really fun. For the first time out, we didn’t no what to expect, and I have to say that I was expecting to get down to a 2:00 minute-flat lap time and in fact we went nearly a second better,” said the English born Gerrard who now resides in Boulder, CO. “We had to balance the need to just get laps on the car with the fact that we don’t want to start the race in the middle of the pack or further back as that can lead to putting yourself needlessly in jeopardy. All-in-all, I’m really impressed and looking forward to the race tomorrow.”

Team co-founders and directors Gil Lynagh and Chris Dillon looked on in admiration of the crews unbending enthusiasm and professionalism.

“Given the challenges that we’ve had throughout the day to prepare the cars, I think that starting from 15th is a respectable result. We’ll continue to develop the GS car to prepare it for the race where I think our drivers, who are not just fast, but have also demonstrated to have exceptional racecraft, will perform well tomorrow afternoon,” said Lynagh. “The ST car was perfect and running well until we had a problem with the engine. We’ve got a spare motor that’s being installed now and we will run well, despite starting from the back. Our focus is score points. We know we have a good ST car, we know the GS car needs to be developed further, and we’ll take the lessons from this weekend and continue to improve. Anytime you start with a new team or new project, you’re going to face challenges. I’m very happy that the team has faced the challenges and worked through them. Our whole mantra is to refine, refine, refine, so I’m very happy and I know that by mid season, we’ll be competing for wins.”

The opening round of the GRAND-AM Continental Sports Car Challenge takes the green flag tomorrow, Friday, January 28 at 1:30 PM EST. Follow the action live at Television coverage airs February 4 at 3:00 PM EST on SPEED.

About Insight Racing:
Insight Racing is entering two cars in the 2011 GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge. The No. 19 Insight Racing BMW M3 will compete in the top “Grand Sport” (GS) class while the No. 18 Insight Racing BMW 328i competes in the “Street Tuner” (ST) class. Both classes race at the same time to make up the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge field. All races are timed duration events lasting 2 hours and 45 minutes. Each driver must take the wheel for a minimum of 30 minutes during the race in order to score points toward the season championship. The team is based in Dulles, Virginia.

About Dinan Engineering:

Founded in 1979, Dinan is well established as North America’s premiere BMW tuner. Dinan develops, manufactures and markets a comprehensive line of high performance products and systems, distributed through a nationwide network of Authorized Dinan BMW Performance Centers that includes select BMW Dealerships and Independent BMW Service/High Performance facilities.

About Grand-Am
GRAND-AM Road Racing, which was founded in 1999, revolutionized major league sports car road racing in North America. As the organization begins its 12th season of competition in 2011, GRAND-AM is universally regarded as one of the world’s most competitive road racing organizations. GRAND-AM is located in Daytona Beach, Fla. on the same corporate campus that is also home to NASCAR, International Speedway Corporation (ISC) and Daytona International Speedway.



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