Gerardo joins BP, Mazda, and B-K Motorsports for 2008 ALMS Season

Each of us has a story to tell.  We all have a few special components of our lives.  Family, friends, and doing something special with our time on this earth.  As kids, we tell our parents we want to be astronauts, firefighters, actors, doctors, professional video game testers, or similar.  As we grow older, our teachers, family, and friends shape us into who we are today.  

I had some amazing teachers in my life.  I'll never forget how my English teachers taught me the importance of communication.  It would be many years before I understood their lesson.  I'll also never forget the lesson taught to me by George Hopkins of the Cadets Drum and Bugle Corps who always told us,  "If you get up and go to work every day, it will all work out."  

It is with tears in my eyes that I write to you today to share with you that it has indeed worked out.  My greatest dream has come true.  I have been hired by Robert Bach, owner of B-K Motorsports, to drive the BP Mazda LMP2 prototype in the American LeMans Series.  I also grow my relationship with Mazda, a company who's products I have driven on the street and race track for 14 years, and start a relationship with Mazda's valued partners, BP, Castrol, and Yokohama.  I join with a phenomenal co-driver in Ben Devlin.  The two of us will campaign the entire American LeMans season, while Raphael Matos, a Champ Car Atlantic and Star Mazda champion, will join us for the longer races at Sebring and Atlanta.  

The journey to this day began 18 years ago, the day I first drove a go-kart.  It would be many years of waiting before taking the Skip Barber 3-Day Racing School, and again many more years before ever driving in one of their races.  I filled the time with autocrossing and the occasional kart race.  A few driver search competitions placed me near the top, but never enough to earn scholarships.  I knew nothing of sponsorship.  One day, on the advice of a great friend named Nort Northam, I joined Skip Barber as an instructor.  My life changed forever thanks to the learning I gained as a teacher, and by surrounding myself with the highly experienced race drivers who worked there.

I found ways to raise the support needed to compete in the Skip Barber's Regional series, and then three seasons of Skip Barber Nationals.  Season 2 of Nationals was the infamous one where I spun off the championship to Marco Andretti.  You never forget a lesson like that, and with that confidence, won the National Championship in 2005.  There was never a doubt in my mind I wanted to go to Star Mazda and chase the Mazda Ladder System.  In 2006 Star Mazda was a roller coaster ride of many important lessons, winning the opening race, then fighting through a season of highs and lows to finish 6th in points.  In 2007, at the last minute, I signed with B-K Motorsports to run their IMSA Lites car, also powered by Mazda.  I learned a great deal more winning this championship by working with the team in a capacity beyond just driving the car.   

I have found balance in life, racing and teaching.  I choose to teach, and will continue to teach, because it balances the raw war of competing at the pro level.  I love racing and teaching equally.  I would not do one as well without the other.  

The list of names of people I wish to thank for helping me get here is too long for this email.  But, I must thank God for strength and guidance, my family for their unconditional love, my friends for always being there when I need them most, my coaches for telling me exactly what I needed to hear at just the right time, my students for working hard and trusting me, my teammates and crew for their endless work, and my investors who took the risk and paid the incredible cost of tuition to shape what I am today.  And of course, thanks to Robert Bach, John Doonan, Robert Davis, Mazda and its partners for trusting me. 

Come and see the BP Mazda Team race this coming Saturday, March 15, 2008 at Sebring!  Or catch us on SPEED Channel, with a green flag at 10:05 AM Eastern time!

Gerardo Bonilla

© Gerardo Bonilla 2015