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MARCH ON: AN INSIDE LOOK AT THE SCHEDULE CHANGE

Current events have left the global motorsports paddock with caveats in the 2020 schedule. Performance Tech Motorsports is finding normalcy amidst the haze.

The LMP2 race season consists of eight event weekends across nine months. Each event requires at minimum one day of travel each way, three days spent at-track and ten days of preparation for each car. The Performance Tech crew is taking this unexpected schedule change in stride and using the extra time to their advantage while in the shop.

“We are actually really busy right now,” lead mechanic, Mike Berk said. “We haven’t had a real offseason in the past three years, so we’ve been using this time to step back, assess all of the work we have and tackle it.”

Berk is one of the team’s full-time employees. As lead mechanic on the No. 38 Centinel Spine LMP2 he notes that there is never too much time to prepare a car. Extra time to delve deep into preparing each car is a luxury in motorsports, particularly when running one car in the IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship and three cars in IMSA Prototype Challenge.

“This week I just finished assembling the LMP2 car,” Berk said. “It got a complete teardown, rebuild and new wrap. On top of that Gibson sent over a new engine so I took apart the whole rear of the car to insert that. After this, I’ll be changing the fuel cell in the car. Depending on whether a track is counter-clockwise or clockwise we have to adjust which side the cell goes on for each race.”

“On average it takes me two full weeks to prep the LMP2 by myself. That is counting on there being no parts delays or mechanical roadblocks along the way. I take apart the car, order the parts, and put it back together by myself if we’re in a time crunch. An endurance prep and a sprint race prep are very similar which is nice because now I can give the car a general prep, so it is ready at a moment’s notice for whatever race we head to next.”

Berk is joined in the shop by four other mechanics as well as Team Principal, Brent O’Neil. Together they can be found working on upward of six cars each week with club events filling time between IMSA weekends. Even with most race events being postponed a car must be regularly cared for and run to ensure it is in tip-top shape. Maintaining O’Neill’s full fleet at the Deerfield Beach headquarters is a full-time job in itself.

“While I work on the LMP2 car the four other full-time guys are working on the LMP3 cars and private customer cars,” Berk said. “Cameron’s LMP3 car is getting a new engine so they’ve spent the past week working on that. On top of that, the other three LMP3 cars need a full race prep so they are ready for whatever comes next. One of our private clients’ Ginetta prototype and historic cars needed work so we will keep busy with that as well.”

Once the preparations are complete Berk has compiled a lengthy to-do list for the shop in the coming weeks. Spending 20 weeks on the road a year can take a toll on small projects that are easily pushed to the side. Under Berk’s guidance, each project has been itemized and is set to be completed by May. Without a doubt, Performance Tech Motorsports is a well-oiled machined set to weather any storm.

“On top of all of our normal race prep and client work there is a ton of things around the shop to be addressed,” Berk said. “With a schedule as hectic as ours, there are a lot of things that get pushed to the side. We’re taking this time to finish up small work projects, shop organization, and paperwork. Brent is super smart and runs a good business so even during a crazy time like this we can figure out how to keep pushing forward like we always do.”

Performance Tech Motorsports cannot speculate when the regularly scheduled season will resume. The situation is being closely monitored by the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) in conjunction with the Center for Disease Control and the World Health Organization. The team will relay updates as they are released.

Source. Performance Tech Motorsports

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