Insight Racing Shows Real Potential in Barber Qualifying With Both Cars in Top 10

Insight Racing Shows Real Potential in Barber Qualifying With Both Cars in Top 10

BIRMINGHAM, Ala., 8 April – It may be only their third race, but the potential that insiders knew possible is being confirmed on the track. In qualifying for the GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge Barber 200, Insight Racing driver Jeff Westphal put the No. 18 BMW 328i in the fourth position on the ST Class grid in his first-ever run at Barber. Teammate Paul Gerrard landed the No. 19 BMW M3 on the ninth starting spot among the GS Class field. The result marks the best combined qualifying result for Insight Racing, which is making its rookie campaign in GRAND-AM competition.

Westpahl’s best effort stopped the clocks in 1:41.823 sec, good for an average speed of 81.272 mph around the 2.3-mile, 17 turn road course. This is Westphal’s first visit to the track and Saturday’s Barber 200 will mark his first-ever series race start.

“The iRacing(video simulation) really helped a lot,” said Westphal about his pre-event preparation. “When I got here I already had the layout figured out, and most of the references. I just had to find a couple more, and even with the limited amount of track time, I’m still able to feel pretty confident. We haven’t had as much track time here as we would have liked due to yellows and some other issues, but overall the car feels fast and well balanced. It’s a long race tomorrow, and anything can happen, but I’m feeling pretty good about our chances to turn in a solid performance. The team did a great job and I’m excited about how we’ve started this weekend.”

It wasn’t just the debutante who was pushing the team to new heights as the Grand Sports (GS) class machine also netted a best-to-date qualifying run with the No. 19 entry. Making the most of the clear track, Gerrard turned in one lap during the Continental Tire’s “golden” period, the narrow window where the tires offer their peak performance. After which, he was satisfied enough with to park for the rest of the 15-minute session. During the tire’s golden period, it is essential that the driver make clean fast run, or risk spoiling the opportunity. Gerrard did exactly that, and his quickest lap was recorded at 1:37.865 sec. to average 84.606 mph.

“The car felt really good, even though it’s early days with the team and all of the things that we’re going through to put all this together. It’s nice to feel like we’re making some really good progress with the car,” said Gerrard. “We’ve typically been qualifying 15th so to be only eight-tenths off the pole is fantastic.”

Gerrard went on to underscore how much more important the race is than qualifying, adding that a good starting position gives a much needed advantage, particularly at a place like Barber.

“I was here last year and it’s just a notoriously messy race with lots of crashes to entertain the fans, but from a driver’s perspective, you’ve just got to be on your best the entire race because there’s just stuff happening everywhere,” adds Gerrard. “The track is very hard to pass on because it doesn’t really have any substantial straightaway, so a lot of the passing tends to be a little bit on the desperate side, and that leads to a lot of full course yellows. So it’s really all about being consistent and making sure the car keeps the tires under it for a full stint. Then it’s down to a good driver change, getting back out in good track position and keeping clean to wait for that last yellow before there’s that last sprint to the end.”

The GRAND AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge Barber 200 from Barber Motorsports Park gets the green flag at 11:30 AM Central time, Saturday, April 9. Follow it live on grand-am.com.

Matt Cleary
Sunday Group Management
media
www.sundaymanagement.com
317.908.2975 (m)

Melissa Dickson
Insight Racing
Director of Marketing
P: 419.778.9117

Based in Indianapolis, Sunday Group Management is a leading motorsports management and communications consulting firm.

Sunday Group Management works with clients in a variety of motorsports categories, including NASCAR Sprint Cup driver AJ Allmendinger, Riley Technologies, GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series organization Michael Shank Racing, Continental Tire, and several teams and drivers in Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge competition.

For additional information: www.sundaymanagement.com, , www.facebook.com/sundaygroup, or twitter.com/Sundaygroup

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