Although luckily both drivers escaped injury, both Mustangs were damaged in separate crashes during a race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Salinas, Calif. on May 11. The front of Bell’s No. 50 was destroyed, and the team was forced to work around the clock to repair or replace a large number of parts and other components in order to once again have two cars that are ready to race in the always competitive series sanctioned by the Sports Car Club of America. The doubleheader has attracted 16 GT entries and 23 GTS cars for a total field of 39. Paul Brown/Tiger Racing competes in the GTS class.
The series’ doubleheader is part of a jam-packed schedule of races this weekend on the bumpy 2.1-mile, 14-turn Belle Isle circuit that includes events for the IZOD IndyCar Series and the Grand-Am Rolex Series. The official name of the World Challenge portion of the program is “The Cadillac V-Series Challenge at the Chevrolet Belle Isle Grand Prix of Detroit presented by the Metro Detroit Cadillac Dealers.”
The name is long but the practice time is short. There will be just 20 minutes of practice at 8 a.m. and a half-hour of practice at 6 p.m. tomorrow (Friday) before qualifying at 10:15 a.m. on Saturday. The first 50-minute race follows at 2:45 p.m. Saturday, right after the Firestone Indy Lights race. There’s a 45-minute warm-up session on Sunday at 8:30 a.m. and the second 50-minute race follows at 11:45 a.m., a few hours before the IndyCar race. All times are Eastern.
Bell, of Los Angeles, lost the GTS point lead due to the accident at Laguna Seca and now lies third in those standings behind Peter Cunningham and Jack Baldwin. He would like nothing better than to regain that point lead as a “thank you” to the Covina, Calif.-based Paul Brown/Tiger Racing team for all the extra work they’ve put forth to get the No. 50 Mustang back on the track and proudly displaying the logos of its primary sponsors, eBay Motors and Kenny Brown Performance.
“Laguna Seca was undeniably a huge setback for the Paul Brown/Tiger Racing team and I take full responsibility,” said Bell. “Even though we didn't have the pace to win there I hoped we had the will and the wile, but it was sadly not to be.
“Over these past couple of weeks the team has worked on building the No. 50 back up from a totally destroyed front end and their dedication and sacrifice is humbling for me. I am totally bloody useless in the mechanical department so all I can do to make any sort of amends is to win at Belle Isle.
“I raced here in Indy Lights almost a hundred years ago and then again in Trans-Am. I am so excited to be racing here again, as obviously for Ford it would be a great place to show well.
“Paul [Brown, the team owner], Adam [Cox, the team’s crew chief], Rob [Schnabel, mechanic] and the rest of the team have proved to me over this season that they are a group to be reckoned with and deserve to go on to great things. I just have to do my part to help them.”
This weekend’s races will be the first ones for the GTS class at Belle Isle ever. It will be the first time Moxlow has raced on this course too, but it could be said that he has a bit of a home-course advantage because he’s from nearby Grosse Ile, Mich. He drives the No. 48, which is sponsored by Eaton Steel Bar Company, Trenton Forging, Detroit Motion Co. and Bard’s Tale Beer Co.
“The course at Detroit should be challenging, as is any street circuit,” Moxlow said. “Words that come to mind are bumpy, tunnel vision, street paint, off camber because of the road crowns for drainage, you name it. I personally enjoy street courses very much but the main focus is to keep pace on Saturday but also make sure we have a solid car to enter in Sunday’s race.
“I was born and raised just outside of Detroit in a town (actually an island) called Grosse Ile. I’m excited about this weekend and I’m proud to be part of the event. An estimated $50 million will be brought to Detroit from the Grand Prix!
“Being able to race on the streets of my home city, in a locally built vehicle, in front of the people who built it is truly an honor,” he added. “I am enamored by the 'comeback' of Detroit and being part of it is a unique experience.
“Eaton Steel Bar Company and Trenton Forging are sharing a hospitality tent this weekend. We have more than 120 guests coming. This is a huge deal for us!”
The doubleheader will be streamed live on-line at world-challengeTV.com. Live timing and scoring will be available on world-challenge.com; click on the event heading on the right-hand side of the home page, and then click on the live timing window.
This race will also be shown on the NBC Sports Network from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Eastern time on Saturday, July 7.
If the Paul Brown/Tiger Racing crew has been especially busy these last few weeks, so has the team at Kenny Brown Performance. That company launched a new line of performance Mustangs to some members of the automotive press at Sebring International Raceway in Sebring, Fla., over the Memorial Day weekend, and Kenny Brown also conducted the first of several seminars he’s doing for enthusiasts, installers and wholesalers on chassis and suspension topics.
Kenny Brown Performance's new GT-4RS Mustang and its recently released AGS 4.0 suspension system for Mustangs were the highlight of the weekend. The suspension system is approved for use on the FR500S Mustang in Pirelli World Challenge competition, and its competition suspension components have become standard equipment on several championship-contending cars at the amateur and professional level this year. The GT-4RS Mustang was also sporting some new hardware developed through the technology transfer program on the Paul Brown/Tiger Racing No. 50 Mustang.
Kenny Brown will be at Belle Islle this weekend to support the team and provide extended technical support.
More information can be found on Tiger Racing and Kenny Brown Performance's Facebook pages and at Justin Bell’s Web site at JustinBell.com. The series tweets updates @WCRacing and posts news on world-challenge.com. Bell can be found on Twitter @JustinBellTV and Moxlow is @DMoxlow. The event’s Web site is at DetroitGP.com.
Tiger Racing is proud to be partnered with eBay Motors, Kenny Brown Performance, Lucas Oil, Ford Racing, K&N Filters, Eibach, Baer Brakes, Hawk Performance, One Hour Heating and Air Conditioning, G-Stream, ERP/JRZ, Tremec Transmission, Bassani Xhaust and Wellendorf Performance.
About eBay Motors: eBay Motors, a part of eBay Inc., is the Internet’s largest marketplace for buying and selling all things automotive. The site offers everyday cars for everyday drivers as well as collector cars, motorcycles, auto parts and accessories. eBay Motors is consistently ranked the No. 1 automotive site on the Web by Nielsen/NetRatings. Nearly 4.5 million new and used vehicles have been sold on eBay Motors, and there are more than 22 million automotive parts and accessories available on eBay Motors at any given time.
About Kenny Brown Performance: Kenny Brown, a 25-year veteran in the Ford Mustang performance aftermarket, is legendary for building some of the most technically advanced Mustangs in North America. His critically acclaimed AGS (Advanced Geometry Suspension) high-performance suspension components for street and track-day Mustangs are some of the best and most innovative in the aftermarket. Brown is a well-known celebrity in the Ford aftermarket and has played a critical role in Mustang racing heritage and new product development since 1986. For more information see KennyBrown.com and visit Kenny Brown Performance on Facebook.
About Paul Brown/Tiger Racing: Paul Brown/Tiger Racing won the 2011 SCCA Pro Racing Pirelli World Challenge GTS team championship and propelled its owner/driver Paul Brown to the driver’s championship and Ford to the manufacturer’s title. Based in the Los Angeles suburb of Covina, Calif., it is also involved in the NASA AIX, VSCDA, SVRA and VARA series. It specializes in race car prep, transportation and trackside support as well as exotic and luxury car maintenance and repairs. It is a popular source for carbon fiber and fiberglass work as well as race car parts for Mustangs and other high-performance cars. Please visit its Facebook page at Tiger Racing.
About Justin Bell: “Exuberant” describes Justin Bell. Whether he’s chasing down the race car that’s just ahead of him or chasing down a story, hosting a TV show or developing fresh content for TV or the Web, Bell attacks everything with enthusiasm and expertise. He can be seen behind the microphone regularly on SPEED co-hosting Barrett Jackson, doing race commentary and on the new show ‘Shut up and Drive,” as well as being a special correspondent for jaylenosgarage.com. Bell is very excited about the second season of his show for eBay Motors, the “World’s Fastest Car Show,” for which he was nominated for a Webby award. His racing resume is also quite impressive, as he won the GT2 class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1998 and he has second-place finishes at Le Mans, the Rolex 24 at Daytona and the Petit Le Mans as well. He was the 1997 FIA GT2 world champion driving a Team Oreca Viper. He also has a pair of Trans-Am victories. The son of five-time Le Mans winner Derek Bell, he and his family live in Los Angeles. For more information see JustinBell.com.