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Race Recap: 2018 WRL Sportscar Showdown @ Barber Motorsports Park


The World Racing League visited Barber Motorsports Park on August 17-19 for the “Sportscar Showdown.” Barber is located outside of Birmingham, AL and is a 2.38 mile course commonly referred to the “August Nationals of motorsport” due to its gorgeous grounds.

Friday was a short test day. My co-driver Jason Workman and I decided to do the bare minimum and we just turned a few laps before parking it for the remainder of the day to save the car. We were happy with the car’s performance and the grip of the Federal Tires we were using this weekend.

Saturday was a nine-hour race and Jason took the green flag to run a double stint early on. He managed to get us an eight-lap lead and first in class before handing the car over to myself. Only fifteen minutes in to my stint I smelt gear oil and a few laps later the cockpit was filling with smoke. I had to pit where the team diagnosed a bad differential which forced us behind the wall for a repair. It was just bad luck as the issue was with a small part in the differential and not anything the team could have prevented beforehand.

Not all was lost though, it took the team two hours maximum to replace the differential and have the car back on the race track. We decided to restart the car with our third driver for the weekend to allow him to get seat time and up to speed. I jumped back in the car to drive until the end where we finished fourth which was good enough for some championship points.

Sunday morning came and we had seven hours of racing ahead of us. I would be driving a double stint in the morning as the track runs a mandatory “quiet time” from 11:00-12:00 so I’d start with three hours of driving. The green flag flew and I got a good start. Almost too good to be true as I think I caught half the field sleeping! (See video) I managed to get the lead on the first lap and continued building upon the lead during my stint.In endurance racing it’s so important that you find a level of fast consistency that’s easy on the car and driver. I truly got into that zone in my three-hour stint and turned the car’s fastest lap of the race while feeling like I was on a Sunday drive. In racing we say smooth is fast and this was a prime example of that.

Overall the three hours flew by and it was flawless. By the end of my three-hour stint I got us a five lap lead over the rest of our class and put us in a good position to finish up the day at the restart. My work was done, so I had a small lunch and cheered on my co-drivers as the race restarted.

Hunter took the green flag at the restart and continued our lead before handing the car over to Jason who would drive until the end. At the end we took the checkered flag in first place and lead every single lap of the seven hours. It was a flawless race for us and the entire team. We gained valuable championship points and another win for the 2018 season. The only downside to a dominate weekend like this is I barely have any stories to tell!

Our next race is scheduled to be in New Orleans later in September which is also the championship round of the WRL-Southeast Championship. The World Racing League Championship will be held in December in Austin, TX.

#mazda #mx5 #mazdaspeed #wrl #barbermotorsportspark

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© 2020 by Simon Tibbett

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