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Brass Monkey Racing to run two cars with support by Nissan North America
Nissan is about to get back into North American motorsports in big way, competing with a pair of GT-R’s in the 2010 World Challenge GT Class. The cars will be run by Brass Monkey Racing, with assistance by Nissan North America, and will debut on the weekend of March 26-28 in St. Petersburg, FL, competing alongside Corvettes, Vipers and Porsches.
The two cars will be piloted by two-time series winner Tony Rivera and rookie Steve Ott.
Brass Monkey Racing first competed in the World Challenge series last year using a Porsche GT3, winning its first race and finishing third overall.
“We’re very excited to bring such an iconic car to the North American professional road racing scene,” Brass Monkey Racing Team Owner A.J. Brass said. “After such a successful season in 2009, finishing third in the Championship and winning in our very first race, we look forward to the challenge of bringing an entirely new platform to World Challenge. With Nissan’s assistance and great engineering and driving, we expect to contend for the 2010 Drivers’ and Manufacturers’ Championships.”
“Many of the cars in the series have serious modifications to the engines and drivelines from the stock vehicles,” Brass said. “The beauty of the GT-R is that it is an amazing platform to start with and we are able to utilize all of the stock internal components and drivetrain. With the exception of some of the approved series aerodynamic items and an effort to bring the car down to a competitive weight, the car will remain incredibly stock compared to most of our competition.”
Nissan last competed in the World Challenge several years ago in the lower Touring Car class, using a Sentra SE-R Spec V model.
Official release after the jump:
After a consistent season with five trips to the podium in six races, Huntington Beach, California native Brandon Davis finally took the checked flag this past weekend at Mid-Ohio in his Applied Computer Solutions/Sun Microsystems Ford Mustang Cobra.
Davis started from pole and had excellent competition from the K-PAX Racing Volvo S60 driven by Andy Pilgrim, until lap 17 when Pilgrim’s car suffered mechanical issues.
“I think Andy [Pilgrim] would have been tough, had he stayed around,” said Davis. “Getting out front, I was able to breathe a little bit and just run laps. When I saw that Andy dropped out, I was able to conserve tires a little bit.”
“After being so close for so long, it feels great to finally win this year. We’ve been on the pole but in the races, we just didn’t have the pace to win. So it feels pretty good.”
Rounding out the podium was Tony Rivera, of Missouri City, Texas, and James Sofronas, of Newport Beach, Calif, both driving Porsche 911 GT3s.
The win for Davis further solidifies his lead in the Drivers’ Championship with 733 points, leading Safronas with 656.
Full race results after the jump:
[Credit: Mark Weber, World-Challenge]
DP7 Racing, the team behind the lone Lamborghini Gallardo in the SPEED World Challenge GT series has just hired on World Challenge veteran Chip Herr to pilot the exotic racer for the remainder of the season.
Former NFL quarterback Dan Pastorini, who was scheduled to pilot the car for the season, will stay on as a part of the DP7 Racing team. The DP7 Gallardo did not compete in the first race of the season at Sebring, however, the team had intended to run the car but after a dismal showing during the practice sessions (with the slowest tie in the field) the Lambo never even made it to qualifying.
“After Sebring, I felt we needed someone with experience that can give the necessary information to the crew in order to maximize the performance of the DP7 Gallardo GTR,” said Pastorini. “I had a chance to visit with many drivers, but Chip is a special individual with all the ingredients to accomplish what team owner Betty Johnston and I wanted and that’s to make this program successful.”
Herr, being a big football fan was eager to accept. “NFL Football has been a huge part of my life,” Herr said. “But I weigh 135 pounds and I’m 5’5″. I was going to have to find another sport to try and become a professional.”
“To be asked to work with Dan Pastorini and the DP7 crew is a dream come true for me. Yes, DP7 is an excellent organization and the Lamborghini is a great car, but holy smoke, Dan Pastorini wants ME to drive HIS car!”
Last year Herr was featured as “One of the Dynamic Dozen in North America, by Grass Roots Motorsports magazine, which said he was a driver to watch in the coming years. He has 11 years of racing experience with a great deal of time in the World Challenge Touring Car series, having earned six poles and topping the podium six times.
Herr is also signed on this year to race in the Touring Car series in the Mazda6 of Tindol Motorsports.
The DP7 Racing team is hoping that with a marketable young driver with “rockstar good looks” the team can secure sponsorship. The car is already a great marketing platform as, “Nothing looks better on the track or generates more interest and excitement than our Gallardo GTR,” says Pastorini.
“There is one driving force behind any race team and that’s sponsorship, without it you simply cannot succeed,” said Pastorini. “The addition of Chip will allow me more time to focus on securing the necessary sponsorship for our program. We have all the ingredients of a winning team and the addition of Chip will only make our presence stronger when we come to Long Beach.
The second race of the World Challenge season takes place this Sunday, April 5th at Long Beach.
Seth Thomas, piloting the No. 38 BimmerWorld/GearWrench BMW 328i, jumped into the lead off the standing start during the first race of the 2009 World Challenge Touring Car series and never looked back.
With a qualifying run that landed him in 2nd, Thomas used the BMW’s rear-drive advantage to get a quick lead on pole-sitter Pierre Kleinubing in the front-drive RealTime Acura TSX and after just three laps had put just over a second between the two cars.
“I didn’t expect that kind of advantage going into Turn One,” Thomas said. “The BMWs have rear-wheel drive and they launch really well off the start. Pierre [Kleinubing] has a lot of experience starting up there and I expected him to be tough and get a little better launch. The way it worked out, I went into the brake zone for Turn One and looked in the mirror and saw the gap. I just thought ‘just maintain that and see what we can do.’”
Kleinubing and RealTime teammate Kuno Wittmer attempted to chase Thomas down, but after Whitmer retired due to mechanical problems, the race belonged to the Bimmerworld team, taking the podium 2.563 seconds ahead of the RealTime Acura.
“I’ve been coming here for many years,” Thomas said. “I always had good success at Sebring in the BMW Club stuff I did. Then we came to World Challenge and things went a little haywire. After last year, it’s definitely redemption here. Last year, we should have started on the pole but a technical infraction got us in trouble and we had to start from the back. I felt like this year was going to be the year.
“I keep telling everybody, there’s no words that can describe winning. It’s the best feeling. We’ve worked so hard to get here and it’s finally happened.”
Kleinubing admitted he pretty much lost the race right at the beginning thanks to an overly eager right foot.
“Halfway through first gear I spun the tires pretty badly on the big painted stripe and lost a little bit there from first to second. [Thomas] pulled a huge gap at that point. Every time I’d get a little closer, he seemed to answer and pull it back out. I just did what I could and finished second.”
Kleinubing states that he was eager to get to the next race where he will pilot a brand new TSX. At Sebring, only RealTime owner/racer and defending series champ Peter Cunningham had one of the new TSXs on the track and finished in 9th place after loosing body work in an incedent.
Privateer team DP7 Racing builds Gallardo racer for SPEED World Challenge Series
One of the best finds at the 2008 SEMA Show was this Gallardo racecar at the Performance Friction Brakes booth. Built by DP7 Racing, this one-off custom racecar is set to take on the big boys in the SPEED World Challenge Series in the GT Class, competing against Corvettes, Vipers and Porsches.
The car makes 570hp and 450 ft-lbs of torque and weights just 2,800-lbs – a significant reduction from the stock curb weight. As well as stripping out the entire inside of the car, the Gallardo gets additional weight reduction through the extensive use of carbon fiber parts, including a new carbon hood, trunk lid, bumpers and fenders.
No decision has been made on if the Lambo will run a RWD or AWD setup, as there are advantages to both. (The removal of the factory AWD system will certainly help in the weight category, although AWD may come in handy as SPEED World Challenge is one of the few pro motorsports series that still uses a standing start.
The car will be piloted by former NFL quarterback Dan Pastorini, a man who also has had a career as a professional drag racer.
Official Spec Sheet after the jump: