Mooresville, NC (30 January 2014) – After publicly launching the team with an event at Daytona Nissan, Tim Bell Racing made its competition debut at Daytona International Speedway last weekend as the team fought back from a mid-race setback to take the checkered flag with the No. 28 Tim Bell Racing Nissan 370Z.
Bell teamed with co-driver Dane Cameron for the 2.5-hour BMW Performance 200 as the duo made their first start together in IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge competition.
“The weekend went really well—it was a big undertaking to have our first race be at Daytona, but it was good to get this weekend under our belt as a team,” said Bell. “We have a good group of guys who bring a lot of experience but it was the first time for them to be all working together and it went well. I think Brian (Richards, team manager) was a big part of that and how smoothly things went this weekend on the team side.”
The Daytona event, which also marked the launch of the new IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, saw the team establish what it hopes to become a template for involvement in the future.
“We had our team launch at a Nissan dealership and they did a great job to get customers out to the event,” said Bell. “We hosted test drives in the street cars and were doing giveaways. There were some ticket and hospitality packages that the customers could get for the weekend. It turned out to be more successful than we had even planned and we had to go back to the track and get more tickets to keep up!”
Bell opened the race from behind the wheel and after getting spun out by a competitor at turn five in the opening stages of the race, recovered to move the car up to run in second position before the team had to deal with a fuel leak from a series mandated fuel fitting noticed during the driver change. The team diagnosed a leaking fuel line and made repairs as well as a driver change. Cameron returned to the field several laps down but had strong pace as he brought the car home 19th in the GS Class running order.
“It was a good weekend, even though that was not the result we were hoping for,” said Cameron. “But it was a very productive weekend. I was able to get really comfortable with the car and we made a lot of progress in a very short amount of time. It was also good to get to know the guys on the team and see everyone working together and pushing in the same direction. The 370Z is really fun to drive, and it was good to confirm the potential that this platform has. We got a lot of data and we’ll hopefully be able to build on that when we get down to Sebring.”
“We learned so much this weekend and even though we were hoping to come out of the weekend with more points, it was good to come out of the gate with a competitive car,” said Bell. “I really want to thank Nissan for their support. The car was great—the way it managed tires, and how balanced it was all weekend long. We just had something go wrong with the fuel line and even though it was a small issue, this is such a competitive series that you have to have everything go right. It was good to be the top finishing Nissan 370Z and we are already looking ahead to Sebring in a few weeks!”
Photo Credit: Tim Bell Racing