Mazda’s Successful day at St. Petersburg

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The nirvana of competing in the American LeMans Series has finally calmed down to the point I could sit and write a few words.  The B-K Motorsports BP Mazda team fielded a successful LMP2 entry in this past Saturday's ALMS Acura Sports Car Challenge of St. Petersburg.  This story is not only one of running a trouble-free race on the streets of St. Pete, but also of a major comeback from a destroyed race car that ended our Sebring season opening effort in heart wrenching fashion only three weeks prior.

With renewed focus and team spirit, our crew gave Ben Deviln and myself a fast and reliable race car.  We had only two practice sessions to re-baseline our Yokohama tires, Lola chassis setup, and Mazda MZR-R engine.  Ben was generous with his time to coach me around the St. Pete street circuit, a track I had not yet raced on.  Compared to other street circuits, this one must be one of the best in North America thanks to a smooth surface and great corner variety.  While dangerous, there's still something special about racing so close to concrete walls and getting away with it (most of the time).  

Ben Devlin started the race putting in a great 45 minute stint.  His time in the car gave the team further evaluation of what our car needed to get faster.  When it was my turn to drive, I was calm but focused.  I had waited such a long time for this day, it was really special.  Everything you can imagine about driving this car in this type of race happens, and so much more.  From managing the race pace, traffic, radio communications, caution periods, restarts on cold tires, buttons to push, its all pretty cool.  Certainly, with more experience, much of this will be trivial and old hat.  But today, I'm a rookie, and that means enjoying quite thoroughly all the little details.

We finished 7th overall, 6th in class.  We are hungry for more, but this is a great way to come back from adversity and set a tone for the coming season.  Catch us as we go to slay more giants.

Thanks for your support.

Gerardo Bonilla


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© Gerardo Bonilla 2015