Sebring 2014 Race Report

Posted on: March 17th, 2014 by Martin Plowman

Martin Plowman took the checkered flag in sixth position in the Prototype Challenge category in this weekend’s 62nd Annual 12 Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh from Florida. Plowman was racing with BAR1 Motorsports in the #88 car, his first race with the team.

Plowman qualified the car seventh in class during Friday’s qualification session, though he started the race in sixth position due to a fellow PC car moving to the back of the grid.  He had a successful start, pushing his way to fifth position in class before handing the car over to teammate Tomy Drissi after twenty-eight minutes in the car.

At just over two and a half hours into the race, the #88 car was involved in an on-track incident, with very significant left rear damage including a broken suspension and a fully-damaged floor. The team took the car back to the paddock to make repairs and drove it back to the pits two hours later at four hours and thirty-six minutes into the race.

Plowman was given the wheel for a few laps to shake down the car and assess its drivability as the team was unable to replace the floor, which makes up most of the downforce on a race car.  After determining the car was drivable, he handed it over to teammate Doug Bielefeld.

Bielefeld and Drissi traded the car back and forth before Plowman took the final three stints, all in the dark of the night. The #88 was showing its wear through the late afternoon and evening with a broken steering rack and leaking brake fluid, and the team worked during each pit stop to minimize the damage. Plowman continued to pick up speed as the track cooled and brought the severely damaged car to the finish line in sixth place, a truly honorable finish after a challenging day.

Martin Plowman, driver: “They say 12 hours at Sebring are tougher than 24 hours anywhere else, and today proved it. I’m really proud of the BAR1 Motorsports team, as well as Tomy and Doug, for never giving up and pushing it to the finish line. To finish at Sebring in good conditions is challenging, and these guys had heart today with all the struggles thrown at them.

“I’d like to thank [team owner] Brian [Alder] for trusting me to lead his team at such a short notice. I feel like I adapted quickly to these cars despite almost no track time before the race. While I felt like I did a solid job under the circumstances, I know that given time to work with the engineers more, I can help get their setup back into the winners circle. I would love to be able to do more races with BAR1 Motorsports and help them get back onto the podium where they belong, although I know my own future is dependent on the funding available. Brian and his sponsorship team are working really hard to keep me in the car, so I will hope something comes through!”

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