[Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared in the May 2021 issue of Grassroots Motorsports.]
Possibly there’s nonetheless room for the actual small efforts in IMSA. Gino Manley–by way of day the used automotive supervisor at a dealership in Jacksonville, Florida–and a bunch of buddies made it to this yr’s giant weekend at Daytona, using an Audi RS3 within the Michelin Pilot Problem race this previous January.
Gino works with AOA Racing, an Atlanta race condo outfit. “We run a couple of MX-5 Cup vehicles–ex-Skippy vehicles–that we hire for monitor days and run basically in WRL,” he explains. Final yr, the workforce had the chance to shop for a used TCR Audi. They deliberate to run it with Global Racing League.
“When we had the automobile,” he continues, “we discovered it was once nonetheless IMSA eligible.” Funded co-drivers allowed the workforce to run the Audi ultimate yr on the Petit Le Mans and season-ending Sebring race.
“This yr I truly sought after to do Daytona,” Gino continues. “I’m Jacksonville-based, and it’s my house monitor.” However he couldn’t to find any funded co-drivers, so about two weeks ahead of the development, he pulled the plug at the effort.
Two of his buddies, using coaches Patrick Wilmot and Andrew Pinkerton, posed a query: In the event that they raised the naked minimal to hide prices, may the 3 of them run at Daytona?
Gino Manley, within the balaclava, and his buddies had an concept: Why now not race their used Audi at Daytona all the way through the massive IMSA weekend? In order that they did. Images Credit: Motorsport Media
“So ultimate minute, we amassed small bucks from sponsors, oldsters, buddies and our financial savings,” Gino says. “We neglected the access closing date as a result of we didn’t have sufficient to go into by way of the Friday ahead of the race.”
John Doonan, president of IMSA, authorized the overdue access. “He in fact got here by way of and offered himself and mentioned IMSA wishes extra of this,” Gino notes.
“We had no spares,” he explains, “and may simplest have the funds for 4 units of tires. The tires we did apply on had been tires we completed Sebring with ultimate yr. We don’t have a hauler; we’ve got a 2005 GMC dually that draws a undeniable enclosed trailer.
“We got here down figuring out we didn’t have sufficient staff to do it and located volunteers after we were given right here. Via happenstance, we bumped into Johnny C., proprietor of 9 Lives Racing, and he turned into our gas man.
[Shop Visit: Nine Lives Racing]
“We didn’t have an engineer or strategist, so Pinkerton known as the method. Our engineer was once a democracy: We’d make a setup exchange and put it to a vote since none people truly knew what to do.”
The workforce’s transponder acted up all the way through qualifying, so that they began the 4-hour contest ultimate: seventeenth on grid. Via the top of Gino’s stint, they had been working fourth at school. “Patrick Wilmot were given in and for roughly an hour battled for P4 and saved us within the most sensible 5,” Gino provides. “A gas force factor rained on our parade, and we limped house to P7. Nonetheless an ideal consequence, however we all know we had a podium.
“We did this race most likely on 1 / 4 the finances that all of the different groups did. However we had a good time and are pleased with what we completed.”