2013 ALMS/Rolex/Continental Tire Race at Road America
Posted by on September 7, 2013 · 3 Comments
For many years now, several of our Iowa BMW CCA members have attended the ALMS races at Road America in August. They have always had good stories about their adventures of camping in the infield of the track and the excitement of the races themselves.
This year, due to circumstances beyond our control, Becky and I could not attend Oktoberfest or the F1 races in Austin. For many years now, we have attended either one or both of those events annually. But since there was no possibility of attending either of those events this year, I decided it was time to attend the races at Road America. Becky still could not attend, but Kolin gladly accepted my invitation to make the trip across Wisconsin. The activities at the track began on Thursday and concluded on Sunday. We decided to travel on Thursday and watch the practice, qualifying and the races on Friday and Saturday and then return for the Cubs game on Sunday.
For those of you that have never attended an F1 race, access to the cars and drivers is very restricted. The exact opposite is true of the ALMS/Rolex/Continental Series.
On Friday, Kolin and I walked the paddock exploring all of the team’s headquarters and talking with many of the mechanics and team members present. We watched from about five feet away as the mechanics began the process of restoring the Bimmerworld M3 back to racing shape after Paul Dalla Lana put it into the wall in practice. We also walked the perimeter of the entire track and watched for a few minutes at each viewing location to get the perspectives of all 14 corners and view the track differently than we see on television.
We had registered for the Badger Bimmers Car Corral, which gave us a parking and viewing spot near turn 14. The Badger Bimmers group supplied a great box lunch at noon and provided plenty of beverages. The car corral has a private set of bleachers to watch the race from trackside and also a large tent to sit under to get out of the sun, and to watch the race on the large screen TV.
Since this event was the historic first time these series had run at the same time on the same weekend, five classes for Grand Am and five classes for ALMS, the racing began early on Saturday morning with the first race beginning at 8 am with the IMSA Prototype Lites cars and was followed by the IMSA GT3 Cup race. Following these two races and as part of the registration, Badger Bimmers set up private meetings with James Clay of Bimmerworld, Will Turner of Turner Motorsport and the team manager from the RLL team. Each of those leaders talked to our car club group for about 30 minutes and ended with a Q & A session. Following those sessions was the pit lane walk. During that time, each team brings their cars and drivers to the pit lane and allows everyone in attendance to get close to the cars in order to get autographs and pictures with the drivers. Thousands of race fans take advantage of this time to rub elbows with their favorite drivers and teams. Following the pit lane walk, the racing began again with the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge race followed by the Rolex Sports Car Series race which was televised live on Speed TV. This race featured the exciting finish of Bill Auberlen in the Bimmerworld M3 chasing down the Porsche of Patrick Long and a pair of red Ferraris.
Since Road America is one of the most famous race tracks in this country and the racing there is exciting and close to home, our Iowa Club may attempt to put together an event there next year. Watch for more details in future editions of Newswerks for details. If you would like to help plan this event, contact David Brighton at email@example.com.