Posted (01/23/2012) -
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.—On Wednesday, RSR Motorsports will take delivery of their new Honda Civic SI, just two days before the GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge season opener at Daytona International Speedway. The Honda will join RSR’s three MINI Coopers in the ST class, carrying sponsorship from Cruise America, Thor Motor Coach and USLED.
Owen Trinkler will be making his 80th start in the series when Friday’s race gets underway. He’ll be driving the No. 197 RSR Motorsports Honda with Chris Puskar. Trinkler made his series debut in a Honda, and got his first series win in the marque, as well.
“The Honda will be a good car for Daytona,” Trinkler says. “It’s a bit of a change for the team, and we’ll implement some things we’ve done with the MINIs to see how well it translates. Our engineers have been looking at this car for a while, and it’s a perfect addition for us.”
Meanwhile, the RSR Motorsports crew has continued to work on development of the team’s three MINI Cooper S entries. Ron Farmer and Jason Hart, who co-drive the No. 196 U.S. LED MINI Cooper S, have been especially busy this off-season with testing.
Hart says, “We’ve made huge strides in the drivability of the car. At the Daytona test, we seemed to pick up some time, and the car got even easier to drive. It’s a lot easier to drive than last year. We also had some issues last year at Daytona with the brakes and the shifter, and RSR has completely taken care of those issues. The car is perfect.”
Farmer and Hart were rookies in the series last year, and they both are looking forward to their return now that they are familiar with the series, the tracks, and the car. “Last year we had some self-induced bad luck and I learned a lot from that. Between that and the fire at Watkins Glen, we were grateful to still come in 16th at the end of the year. This year, I’m going to be a better driver—more defensive and more aware—and our goal is to finish every race. We want opportunities to get on the podium,” Farmer says.
“I’m really excited about qualifying for 2012 to see how far up the charts we can get in qualifying,” says Hart. “Ron has been so dedicated to getting faster, and the team has done the same with the car. There’s so much confidence on the team.”
In addition to the No. 197 Honda and the No. 196 MINI, the RSR Motorsports line-up at Daytona includes young guns Kyle Gimple and Corey Fergus in the No. 198 MINI. Team owner Randall Smalley will be in the No. 195 MINI.
As a rookie, Fergus is in the same situation that Farmer and Hart were in last year. RSR is known for fostering young talent, and Fergus says, “I was interested in joining the series and I talked to RSR. I hit it off really well with them: I really liked the guys and everything seemed to click well.”
Fergus carries sponsorship from The Fergus Companies, while Gimple recently inked a deal with Resolute Security Group and will support the non-profit Families for HoPE.
The RSR Motorsports crew has an extra challenge this weekend. Following the race, they will act as pit crew for the No. 82 Dick Greer Racing Porsche in the 50th GRAND-AM Rolex 24 at Daytona.
Catch RSR Motorsports in the BMW Performance 200 at Daytona International Speedway on Friday, January 27. The 2.5-hour race starts at 1:30 p.m. ET. Keep up with the team online at www.RSRMotorsports.com.
RSR Motorsports is sponsored by Cruise America, Thor Motor Coach, US LED, MINI USA, Pilot/Flying J Travel Centers, Performance Friction Rotors, OS Giken Racing Clutches and Limited Slip Differentials, Midway Ford Truck Sales, Mini North Scottsdale, Performance Speed Tech, and Carbotech Pads.