LONG BEACH, Calif. (April 19, 2016)- Following a caution-packed event, Black Swan Racing’s Tim Pappas used a steady approach to take second-place in class during yesterday’s Replay XD Grand Prix of Long Beach, the fifth round of the Pirelli World Challenge. His first race in the series since 2015, the Roscoe’s House of Chicken and Waffles-adorned Viper GT3-R would finish without a scratch, providing yet another Long Beach podium for the team.
“Having not run this car in several months, we knew this weekend was going to be about a patient drive, and we hit all of our goals,” stated Pappas. “Long Beach is always such a fun event, and fortunately we were able to make the schedule work this year. With such limited track time and not a lot of chances to really get in and develop the car, I just wanted to focus on hitting my marks and staying out of trouble, fortunately it paid off and we were able to walk away with some hardware. It was a thrill to have Roscoe’s with us again this weekend, it’s such a staple of the area and we enjoy representing the local community.”
Starting from the ninth row, the No. 54 Roscoe’s House of Chicken and Waffles Viper GT3-R of Pappas was off to a steady start when the green flag fell, avoiding incident in the notorious logjam of Turn One and proceeding on without any hiccups. Managing his time, a lap-three incident would occur right in front of Pappas, using heads-up maneuvering to avoid the carnage and continuing without a mark on the vehicle. With the tricky layout leading to a number of incidents throughout the 50-minute sprint race, Tim would continue his steady drive, slowly climbing his way through the field as the laps wound down. When the checkered flag fell, Pappas found himself second in the series’ GTA category, an impressive achievement considering he hasn’t been in either the machine nor series since 2015.
While Black Swan’s continuation in the Pirelli World Challenge is undecided, the team’s full commitment to the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar championship will continue in just two weeks’ time, with the team taking to the famed Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, where the team looks for continued results in their No. 540 Porsche 911 GT3 R.
LONG BEACH, California (April 12, 2016)- Continuing a tradition that dates back to 2011, Black Swan Racing will make a surprise return to this weekend’s 42nd Annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, carrying the colors of famed Southern California institution, Roscoe’s House of Chicken and Waffles. Competing in the Pirelli World Challenge’s GTA category, driver Tim Pappas will take to the wheel in his No. 54 Viper GT3.R as a strong supporter of the brand.
“Roscoe’s House of Chicken and Waffles is a franchise unlike any other, and we’re proud to support them.” stated Pappas. “They’ve obviously been in the news recently due to some hardships, and we wanted to step up and make sure the fans in Long Beach still had the opportunity to root for one of the most iconic brands in the area. It’ll be strange to see a giant chicken sitting on a Viper, but it’s the least we could do for Mr. Hudson and everyone in the organization.”
Roscoe's House of Chicken and Waffles is a Long Beach, California-based soul food restaurant chain founded by Herb Hudson, a Harlem native, in 1975. It is best known, as the name states, for serving chicken and waffles, both together and separately, although they do offer more traditional menu items as well. With the brand’s increasing popularity over the last 40 years, there are now seven restaurants throughout Southern California. The franchise boasts a celebrity clientele that dates back to Natalie Cole and Redd Foxx, and includes modern day icons such as Snoop Dogg and even President Barack Obama.
With the original restaurant located on Broadway Avenue, just a few blocks away from the Grand Prix circuit, the franchise first found its way to the race in 2011 when the company joined forces with Magnus Racing to take part in the former American Le Mans Series race. With Magnus no longer competing in categories that take part in the event, Black Swan has since taken the honor, placing the famed chicken and waffle icon on a range of vehicles including their Lola LMP2 coupe, Mercedes-Benz SLS GT3, and now Viper GT3.R.
Additionally, the team will showcase two other brands associated with Roscoe’s, Pit Bull Energy Drink and the Seabird Jazz Lounge. Pit Bull, labelled as “the official energy drink of hip hop,” can be found in any Roscoe’s as well as retailers around the country. The Seabird Jazz Lounge serves as Long Beach’s premier jazz club in the region, sharing the the same building as Roscoe’s.
The partnership for this weekend will work purely as a promotional exchange, with Black Swan Racing acting as a major supporter of the Roscoe’s story, endorsing an iconic brand that began with modest means.
Practice for the Pirelli World Challenge will begin this coming Friday, April 15, with the race taking place at 10AM on Sunday, April 17. The Black Swan Racing Roscoe’s Viper can be seen in the Pirelli World Challenge paddock, which is accessible to the public in the event’s convention center.
SEBRING, Florida (March 22, 2016)- Despite running strong times, making no mistakes on track, as well as having zero mechanical issues, Black Swan Racing endured a difficult day during Saturday’s Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring to finish 13th in the GTD category. After receiving two separate penalties for a total of eight minutes, the team retains fourth place in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship as well as fifth in the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Championship. â€¨
â€¨“It’s frustrating to run as well as we did and still finish 13th,” stated team owner and co-driver Tim Pappas. “Sebring is a unique track, but hopefully the challenges we had there will accelerate our learning curve. There’s no beating around it, we made mistakes and they cost us, but we’ll grow from it and move on to the next event. The good thing is on-track we were once again very strong, our pit stops were flawless, and the car was mechanically sound. That plays a strong omen for us as we head in to the remaining nine rounds of the season, and there’s no doubt we’ll be in great shape for the season.”â€¨ â€¨
With Pappas electing to take starting duties, the team made an early decision to run the Massachusetts native through all three hours of his required drive-time, clearing the way for co-drivers Andy Pilgrim, Patrick Long and Nicky Catsburg to drive the remainder of the race. Running error-free, Pappas kept a clean and consistent pace throughout his opening two stints, never putting a foot wrong and quietly managing the car for his co-drivers.â€¨ â€¨
Unfortunately, a caution period late in to his second stint would cause confusion within the team, ultimately leading to the first of their two penalties. Under series rule when under caution, any car in front of the first class-leading car after pit stops can proceed with what’s known as a wave-by, once allowed, where all cars may pass the pace car and re-catch the back of the field, effectively gaining a lap in the process. Under the confusion of multiple cars in different classes making pit stops, the team mistakenly informed Pappas he was cleared to begin a wave-by, which later proved to be incorrect.â€¨ â€¨
The team was eventually called in for a “stop-and-hold” penalty of four minutes.â€¨ â€¨
With Pappas now two laps down as a result, the team would endure the first of two major setbacks in their “12 Hour.”
As his stint came to a close, the race would actually be stopped for two-hours and 15 minutes due to lightning in the area, forfeiting a major opportunity for the team to make up lost ground.
Once the race resumed, it was now up to Andy Pilgrim to carry out his part of the race, doing a masterful job in wet conditions to climb through the field, once again driving without any mistakes and handing the car over to Patrick Long as they passed the halfway point in the race.
With Long now in the car, the team knew that they had strong opportunity to make up time and hopefully find themselves back on the lead lap. However, as Long’s stint progressed, confusion within the team would lead to yet another mistaken call, again on an improper wave-by.
The result was Long would suffer his own stop-and-hold, once again for four minutes, ending all hope of contention for the team.
By this point, the team simply turned to managing their time to the end, putting in Catsburg in for the final two hours, where he would drive a patient session en route to their 13th place finish.
For Catsburg, a challenging event was underscored by the quality of the team.
“An unfortunate day for sure, but there are many great moments from the weekend,” stated Catsburg. “The team did a great job preparing for the event, the car was good, and I think you can see how strong we were between our quality lap times and running without any technical issues. Unfortunately we made two critical mistakes and that cost us, but we will learn and get better as a group.”
For Long, a similar sentiment is shared.
“No one wants to see a race go this way, but it’s the first time the team has been here in several years so it’s understandable,” stated Long. “It’s a very complex system, and combined with the red flag I think a lot of teams were knocked off their normal rhythm. The quality of the team is definitely there. We had a well prepared car, excellent pit stops, and everything was present to have done well. Mistakes happen, and I have no doubt that the team will only get stronger. I’m very proud of what a strong and reliable car we ran.”
For Pilgrim, a chance to return to Sebring was a welcome one.
“We did not get the finishing result we wanted, but we can take so many positives away from the weekend,” stated Pilgrim. “Sebring is massive undertaking and we can take away many more positives than negatives. The car ran flawlessly again, the crew were textbook with every pit stop, the drivers did their part, and the car coming home with barely a scratch on it meant we at least walked away with decent points. This race is one of the toughest in the world and I think we can be proud of the week as a whole. It's a very long season and the team will be better for this experience moving forward. Onward and upward from here.
With the second of four endurance races now behind, the team will turn their attention to the first “sprint” race of the year, the Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix powered by Mazda, taking place at the famed Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Practice begins on Friday, April 29, with the race occurring on Sunday, May 1.
SEBRING, Florida (March 20, 2016)- With challenges ranging from constantly changing weather, to long cautions, to race penalties and more, the No. 540 Black Swan Racing Porsche GT3 R would endure a difficult day during yesterday's Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring. While the team consistently showed as one of the fastest cars in the GTD category, an early-race penalty would end prove costly, forcing the team to go down several laps and ultimately proving insurmountable.
Despite the numerous obstacles, the lineup of Tim Pappas, Nicky Catsburg, Andy Pilgrim and Patrick Long would still manage to see the checkered flag, ultimately being classified in 13th. The team remains a strong championship contender in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, with many of the teams from Daytona and Sebring having a reversal of fortune from their previous event.
A full report will follow shortly.
BOSTON, Mass. (March 14, 2016)- Following an incredible fight to the finish during the Rolex 24 at Daytona just seven weeks ago, Black Swan Racing will head this weekend’s 64th Annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring in pursuit of their second victory at the famed event.
“There is no event in the world like Sebring,” stated Black Swan Racing team owner and co-driver Tim Pappas. “We were lucky enough to win it in 2011, but the level of competition is incredibly high this year, and we’re well aware of the challenge ahead. I think we proved our strength as a team at Daytona this year, had we had just one more lap it would have been a completely different result, and we’re bringing that momentum with us. The team has been hard at work in testing and preparation, and we’re as ready as ever.”
Serving as the second round of both the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship as well as Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Championship, the team heads in to the event as a return of sorts, having been out of IMSA competition for three years before bringing the No. 540 Porsche 911 GT3 R to Daytona in January. Showing the strength of the former two-time series champions, the team proved to be the strongest Porsche during the Rolex 24, finishing second just three seconds away from victory.
Having competed for the last four years in a variety of machines, the Black Swan team will return to Sebring with Porsche, the marque with which they took their 2011 victory. Serving as an airbase during WWII, the long and bumpy surface makes for one of the most unique visits on the calendar, with many features of the 3.74-mile course remaining unchanged in the track’s 64-year history. With the bumps and surface changes creating what is arguably the toughest challenge on both driver and equipment throughout the season, the team will draw on the vast experience of both drivers and crew to bolster their chances.
Opting to keep the team consistent, the Daytona lineup of Pappas and full-season co-driver Nicky Catsburg will once again be joined by Porsche factory driver Patrick Long as well as sportscar veteran Andy Pilgrim.
Catsburg, a winner of multiple endurance events around the world, will actually be making his debut at the famed 12 Hour. No stranger to the requirements of endurance racing, the Dutchman looks forward to the challenge.
“I’m very excited to finally race in Sebring,” stated Catsburg. “The event has so much history, and so many great drivers and teams have won there, that it’s definitely an event we all want to win. Everyone at Black Swan Racing did an amazing job at Daytona, and there’s no reason to think we can’t have a similar result at Sebring. We have an incredibly strong driver lineup, but obviously it’s a very competitive field, so who knows what can happen. I’m very confident we can all show well.”
Long, a former winner of the event, joins the team fully aware of the challenges ahead.
“Sebring is one of those places that you really have to respect,” stated the American. “I’ve been fortunate enough to win here, but I’ve also seen how easy it is for things to bite you, and we’re lucky that we have an extraordinary crew and group of drivers who have all been here before and know what to expect. It should be an interesting race and a lot of strategy at play, with a field this strong it’s going to be a tough race all the way to the end. I’m looking forward to it, and thankful to everyone at the team for the opportunity.”
For Pilgrim, yet another former Sebring winner, adding another victory at the “12 Hour” would be a special moment for the sportscar veteran.
“It’s great to be back at Sebring. Having won the 12 Hour before, I am looking forward to pushing hard for another win,” stated Pilgrim. “This race is a physical all around. It's tough on the drivers as well as on the car. A lot of race tracks get updates and manicures every year to keep up appearances, but not Sebring. Coming back here is like coming back to a craggy old mountain, you love it or hate it for what it is, but it doesn't change and you'd better be ready. The GTD class is very competitive and deep, nobody in Black Swan is taking that lightly, we will be prepared come Saturday. Our result at Daytona is a good testament to our team’s ability, we look to improve on that at Sebring.”
Official practice for the event takes place this Thursday, March 17, with the race beginning at 10:40AM on Saturday, March 19 and ending 12 hours later. Broadcast coverage within the US will run as follows:
10:30AM ET: Fox Sports 1
12:00PM ET: Fox Sports 2
7:00PM ET: IMSA.com
10:00PM ET: Fox Sports 2