BOSTON (July 26, 2017) – With only two weekends remaining in the Pirelli World Challenge “sprint” championship, Black Swan Racing will head in to this weekend’s doubleheader at the famed Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course with some very simple keys to improving performance for the weekend.
“At Black Swan Racing, we are all motivated to win and that's our goal every weekend,” stated Pappas. “Unfortunately, everyone’s favorite word, ‘BoP,’ has a strange way of arbitrarily deciding the winner before ever turning a lap. Luckily, we’ve got it all sorted out, and winning should be pretty simple! We just need to follow some simple steps.”
With the series-mandated and SRO-dictated Balance of Performance (BoP) resulting in the No. 54 Mercedes-AMG GT3 being continuously de-tuned in the theory of equalizing performance between cars, the team need only make some basic adjustments to find themselves competitive.
STEP ONE: Just find 80lbs to lose.
With the series progressively adding more and more weight to Black Swan’s No. 54 machine, the team finds itself increasingly at odds with the disparity between their car’s weight vs competitors.
Needing to lose roughly 80 lbs., Pappas has a few solutions.
“Since we’re not allowed to take weight out of the car, all I have to do is lose 80 pounds in the next two days,” stated Pappas. “Unfortunately Mid-Ohio isn’t known for its bounty of plastic surgeons, so I’ll have to lose weight the old fashioned way. For example, I saw a very trustworthy sign by the side of the freeway that said ‘Lose 20 pounds in on week’ and then a phone number, they seem like a good consulting service. I also once drove for a team known for a good supply of Colombia-based diet supplements, so I’ll have to see the latest on whether or not they’re coming this weekend.”
STEP TWO: Just find 6mph top speed.
With increasing restrictions placed on the engine’s intake, effectively choking it from valuable air to produce power, the team has found themselves down as much as 6MPH at the end of the straights at tracks like Road America and Canadian Tire Motorsport.
“Finding a way to force more air in to the engine’s intake is a little more complicated,” continued Pappas. “Then we realized, we just need to hire some of the supposed ‘experts’ found in the forums of a number of racing websites. Our engineer ran some calculations, and if they all talk at once while standing in front of the car, it should supply us enough hot air to gain us about another 50hp.”
STEP THREE: Collectively Beat Our Heads Against a Wall
While the challenges to the current Balance of Performance have gone relatively unanswered, Pappas realizes beating his head against a wall, by himself, may not be the cure.
“One person beating his head against a wall is frivolous, we all know that,” mused Pappas. “Luckily, I have a very loyal crew and decent health insurance, so we’re going to all beat our heads against a wall, together, to see if that makes us go faster. I consulted with some of the best retired doctors from professional football, and they all promise me that repeated and hard contact against a wall should be pretty harmless, so I trust them.”
Official practice for this weekend’s double header will begin on Friday, with Saturday’s Race One occurring at 4:45PM ET, and broadcast at world-challenge.com/streamvideo/ . Sunday’s Race Two will be broadcast same-day on CBS Sports Network at 2PM ET.
ELKHART LAKE, WIs. (June 26, 2017) – Returning to the traditional “sprint” format of Pirelli World Challenge racing, core to the series heritage, Black Swan Racing driver Tim Pappas and the No. 54 Mercedes-AMG GT3 would enjoy a strong weekend, scoring podiums in class during each of the double-header events during this weekend’s fourth and fifth rounds of the Pirelli World Challenge GTA championship. Despite a recent series of balance-of-performance (BoP) required adjustments that had adverse effects on various aspects of the machine, both driver and team would still enjoy strong runs, taking third in both events.
"Overall we're pretty pleased with our consecutive podiums this weekend, despite some of the BoP challenges. Walking away with hardware is always a good feeling, and consistent points is also great for the championship, so all in all we'll take it. The Mercedes-AMG GT3 is an amazing machine that should have really excelled at Road America, but unfortunately the current series-mandated changes to the car put us down by as much as 5MPH at the end of the three fast sections, which is huge at Road America. Regardless, I really enjoyed battling with some of the other competitors, it's always fun when everyone races clean. Unfortunately the way the starts and caution periods worked with the current BoP we weren't able to make a big run to move further, so in that sense we're satisfied with our finish."
Qualifying second in the GTA class for Saturday’s Race One, the challenges for the No. 54 were most evident during race starts and re-starts, with the series-required changes to the engine’s air restrictor robbing it of enough power during the key straightaways to keep pace with the rest of the pack. As the field shuffled through the opening lap, Tim would be caught out in the process, with the power deficit playing a major factor, dropping back to third by time the pace settled. While both driver and machine showed pace throughout the stint, the challenges of low top-speed made the possibility of a run to pass for second nearly impossible, resigning the car to the final podium spot.
During Sunday’s Race Two, the story would follow a similar theme, albeit with a much shorter race. Due to a heavy accident, nearly half the race would be lost to a red flag for track cleanup, giving Pappas virtually no time to make up lost ground, once again taking third place points.
Overall, the weekend would prove vital for the team’s championship efforts, with Pappas now in a fight for top-three honors in the series sprint standings.
With the Pirelli World Challenge taking a break for a few weeks, the return to “sprint” racing will continue in a few weeks’ time, once again joining the Verizon IndyCar Series at the famed Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on July 28-30.
BOSTON (June 21, 2017) – Following three event weekends in the new “SprintX” format, Black Swan Racing and the Pirelli World Challenge will return to the core of the series during this weekend’s double-header at Road America, reverting to the traditional single-driver “sprint” format. Arriving at the historic track in Wisconsin’s resort city of Elkhart Lake, Tim Pappas will take to the wheel of his No. 54 Mercedes-AMG GT3 in the series’ GTA class.
"Returning to Road America is always something we look forward to,” stated Black Swan Racing driver and team owner Tim Pappas. “The long straights, hills, and high-speed corners require a little bit of everything, and we have that with the Mercedes-AMG GT3. The car's torque should really pay dividends up the long hills, and the downforce suits us really well in the long corners. It's always tough to say how you think you're going to perform, there's always changes in BoP and the unique characteristics of each car, but we're confident we can run well. We've taken a few hits in the championship during the first few sprint rounds, so in a way it makes the focus easier for us, we just have to try to win."
Taking to the 4-mile, 14-turn Road America course, the longest of the 2017 season, both driver and team will need to maximize peak performance out of all aspects of the car. With Road America featuring heavy uphill portions, extremely fast corners, connected by some of the longest straightaways in North America, the requirements of the 62-year old track are unlike any other.
A favorite of everyone, Black Swan Racing has had success at the storied venue. In 2010 and 2011, the team took consecutive class victories in the former American Le Mans series, followed by a Pirelli World Challenge class victory in 2014, driving the previous generation Mercedes-Benz AMG SLS GT3. Similarly the layout will most reflect the famed VIRginia International Raceway, where Black Swan celebrated victory earlier this year.
Official practice begins this Thursday, June 22, with a double-header of races in conjunction with the Verizon IndyCar Series on Saturday and Sunday. Race One will take place on Saturday, June 24 at 5:30PM ET, with Race Two on Sunday, June 25 at 10:55AM ET. All races will be streamed live at www.world-challenge.com/streamvideo/
BOWMANVILLE, Ontario, Canada (May 23, 2017) – After setting the pole position for Sunday’s fourth round of Pirelli World Challenge SprintX competition, Black Swan Racing’s attempts to earn their second victory of 2017 would be thwarted by heavy rain. With series officials electing to cancel the race due to safety concerns, the racing action at the famed Canadian Tire Motorsport Park would end in favor of moving the race to a to-be-determined venue on the upcoming calendar.
“We were really hoping to get out on track after the disappointment of Saturday,” stated Black Swan Racing team owner and co-driver Tim Pappas. “Jeroen put in a fantastic lap to earn us pole position, and we were very confident that we’d have a good shot at everything on Sunday. It was the right decision as the weather was really poor, we’ll just have to hope that the venue they move this to suits us well. We would have liked to have rebounded, as Saturday was a frustrating exercise, and one I hope the series learns from and we can move on. On a positive note, the team debuted a new limited edition Jeroen Bleekemolen baseball cap and sold out the initial production run of 12, which suggests the future for BSR merchandise is as bright as the chrome on the #54 Mercedes AMG GT3.”
As part of a double-header weekend of racing, the No. 54 Black Swan Racing Mercedes AMG GT3 arrived at the circuit on the momentum of winning the most recent round in Virginia.
Qualifying eighth in class for Saturday’s first race, Tim would take on opening duties, doing a solid job to begin the event by setting lap-times on par with the class leaders. Not putting a foot wrong during his stint, an inopportune yellow flag would arrive at an awkward moment for the team. Due to a series of misunderstandings on yellow flag procedure, by time the team would re-line up with the field once stops had cycled through, the team found themselves nearly a lap down over confusion with the placement of the pace car. To compound that, the team was handed a pit lane penalty for a timing error, forcing the team even further down the order.
By that point, Bleekemolen had no opportunity to gain ground, opting instead to set the fastest lap time possible, which he would accomplish. This would set the stage for a first-place start on Sunday’s race, which was of course rained out.
While the make-up race is still to be determined, the next round of Pirelli World Challenge SprintX competition will actually begin in just a few days’ time, heading to the treacherous Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, Connecticut. At just 1.5-miles long, the circuit is notorious for close racing and the potential for incidents. The first race will take place this coming Friday, May 26, with the next race on Saturday, May 27. Further details will be announced shortly.
BOSTON (May 16, 2017)- Following a strong ending to the first Pirelli World Challenge SprintX weekend of the 2017 season, Black Swan Racing’s Tim Pappas and Jeroen Bleekemolen will head in this weekend’s third and fourth rounds in search of further victory. After winning the second round of the two-driver sprint category in Virginia, the duo and their No. 54 Black Swan Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 will head north of the border to the famed Canadian Tire Motorsport Park looking to add to their tally, in spite of recent balance-of-performance (BoP) changes to the machine.
“We hope to continue our momentum in to Canada,” stated Black Swan Racing team owner and co-driver Tim Pappas. “The nature of Canadian Tire Motorsport Park is always pretty daunting, and prior to the BoP changes I would have said it’s well suited to our car. With great all-around grip and excellent torque up the hills, the Mercedes AMG GT3 has a great baseline for this type of track. For whatever reason this track has always managed to elude our team, but between Jeroen’s success there as well as the performance we showed in Virginia, I’m hopeful we’ll arrive as a contender but we’ll have to see how the weekend goes.”
As a 10-turn, 2.5-mile circuit featuring fast corners and a long back straight, the high-speed nature of the the circuit, formerly known as “Mosport,” should show well for the venerable Mercedes AMG GT3. As the third and fourth rounds of the Pirelli World Challenge’s SprintX category, which requires two drivers to share duties during their 60-minute events, the addition of Jeroen Bleekemolen to full-season driver Tim Pappas has already proven successful with their commanding victory in Virginia. Since that time, a new round of balance-of-performance adjustments have seen additional weight put on to the car, as well as potential changes to the engine management system. While victory has eluded the team in previous races at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, Bleekemolen has twice visited the top step of the podium following class victories in various IMSA ranks.
For Bleekemolen, a return to such a classic track is one the Dutchman always looks forward to.
“Canadian Tire Motorsport Park is a track we always look forward to visiting,” stated Bleekemolen. “It’s a classic track in the sense that it’s very fast, and very unforgiving. To do well there you really have to be on the edge but also never make mistakes, which is why it’s always such a joy to race at. Our last race together in Virginia was a lot of fun, and I don’t see why we can’t continue the same success in Canada. The Mercedes-AMG GT3 continues to prove it’s a car unlike any other across multiple series, and hopefully we can all continue that in Canada.”
Official practice will begin this Friday, May 19, with a double-header of races occurring on Saturday and Sunday. Saturday’s SprintX Race One will occur at 1:45PM ET with Race Two at 3:40PM ET on Sunday. Live streaming will be available at world-challenge.com/streamvideo