Bodymotion Racing Looking for Consistency in Grand Sport
Thursday, June 29, 2017

Just three races into the 2017 Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge season and it’s already been a roller coaster ride for the No. 12 Bodymotion Racing Porsche Cayman GT4 team.

Returning as co-drivers, Trent Hindman and Cameron Cassels have proven to be a fast duo in the Grand Sport (GS) class, as evidenced by their win in the season-opening BMW Endurance Challenge at Daytona. The race was Cassel’s first at Daytona International Speedway after joining the team at Sebring in 2016, and the series’ first four-hour endurance race.

“That win, especially at Daytona with it being a four-hour race, was definitely a bit unexpected for us at Bodymotion,” said Hindman. “We ran a pretty strange strategy compared to what I think most teams were going to run. Ultimately it worked, and not really to our surprise. We’ve got a brilliant engineer in Mark Manning up on our pit box. He’s incredibly good with preparing a strategy. It was a bit of a surprise, but given how hard all the Bodymotion guys work, how hard Cameron worked, it was definitely well deserved.”

As promising as the first race was, the No. 12 team quickly found themselves in trouble during the second race of the year at Sebring International Raceway. Hindman and Cassels salvaged a 10th place finish after mechanical issues put them behind the wall for a few laps. However, the team was quick to rebound at Circuit of The Americas, finishing third behind two McLaren GT4s.

“At Sebring, we didn’t really get a chance for a proper feel of what these two-hour race formats are like,” Hindman said. “COTA was our first true test of that, we were up against really phenomenal competition again the McLarens.

“We expected [the McLarens] to be strong. They’re fast and you have a handful of good drivers and good teams running those cars this year, so we were expecting them to do quite well and expecting them to be hard to beat. We just want to minimize the amount that they’re going to find the top step of the podium throughout the rest of the year, so again for us it’s going to be about consistency.”

Heading into Watkins Glen this weekend, the team is hoping to find some consistency and widen their six-point championship lead. This could be as good a track as any for the team to meet those goals, as Hindman and Cassels brought home the GS win at Watkins Glen last year.

“We’re able to use some of what we learned last year, but there are so many different variables it’s hard to have any translation.” said Hindman. “I think the best approach that anybody can have, at least what we at Bodymotion, have is just show up and try to learn as much as possible in the two hours of practice and qualifying, take every advantage and we’ll go from there.”

Upstate New York Represented Well in Street Tuner Class This Weekend

A number of drivers are especially looking for a strong performance this weekend in the Continental Tire 120 at Watkins Glen International, with a trio in the Street Tuner (ST) class calling Upstate New York home.

Tyler Cooke, driver of the No. 84 BimmerWorld Racing BMW 328i resides in Monticello, while both Stevan McAleer, driver of the No. 25 Freedom Autosport Mazda MX-5, and Aurora Straus of the No. 18 RS1 Porsche Cayman live in Cold Spring.

“I’ve known Tyler for years now and Stevan taught me stick shift so he’s the reason I’m in a car in the first place,” said Straus, who made her Continental Tire Challenge debut at Watkins Glen last year. “I think there’s a general understanding not just among the people who live in the northeast, but also among all the competitors that your friendships off the track don’t necessarily carry onto the track. But everyone’s really friendly with each other and its actually nice to have familiar faces on and off the paddock.”

Cooke’s sentiments mirrored that of Straus’.

“We’re all good buddies outside of the track but on track, the friendships have to go aside and you have a job to do,” said Cooke. “We all know once we show up with the helmet on, we’re not really friends anymore. We’ll help each other out if we can, but when it comes down to the last lap and we’re going for the same position, you have to think about yourself.

“Watkins Glen is a really cool track with how it flows and the new pavement has really helped improve the place, really helped the racing. It’s definitely up there on the challenging list as well because it’s an old-style track where the walls are really close to the track. You have to carry the speed in there knowing that if something happens, it’s going to be a pretty hard hit.”

Watkins Glen is particularly sentimental for Cooke, whose father was diagnosed with cancer one week before Tyler made his first start at his home track in 2013. Cooke’s father was unable to attend the race and passed away a few months later.

Between the three drivers, McAleer is the only one who has reached the top step of the podium at Watkins Glen, winning ST in 2013 and 2015.

But for Straus, who quietly sits fifth in the championship standings with co-driver Connor Bloum, this weekend at The Glen is the first time she returns to a track where she has previously competed.

“It’s the first track I’ve been to this entire year that I have experience, at least in the Modspace No. 18 that we’re driving,” Straus said. “It’s really nice to have a track that I know well. Connor and I are a young team and we’re still getting our feet on the ground but we both are very comfortable at Watkins, we have the speed and the car is really well set up. It’s a matter of time before things come together for us so and I’m really confident in our ability to make that work at Watkins Glen in particular.”

The Continental Tire 120 goes green at 2:25 p.m. ET on Saturday.