New Circuit of the Americas in Austin Texas

Austin, Texas – The MINI of Charleston racing team started its 2013 professional racing season at the fabulous new Circuit of the Americas in Austin Texas. The Circuit of the Americas track (COTA) was built last year as the new home for the American venue for Formula 1. The MINI of Charleston racing team competed in the Pirelli World Challenge Series races that were support races last weekend for the premier US visit of the world famous Australian V8 Supercar Series. Just fewer than 70,000 spectators braved the 95+ degree heat to watch two exciting days of racing.

Driving the MINI USA/MINI Financial Services B Spec MINI Cooper, Robbie Davis qualified 2nd for the first race Saturday morning. Robbie got pushed to the outside of the exciting turn one and dropped from the 2nd position on the start, but stayed in the lead pack the entire race, eventually finishing 5th. MINI was well represented as Charlie James in the Saferacer MINI finished 2nd behind winner Ernie Francis Jr. in a Mazda 2. Francis of Davie, Florida became the youngest ever Pirelli World Challenge winner, at age 15. Rounding out the MINI top 10 was Johan Schwartz in his Endurance Karting MINI Cooper in fourth, Davis in fifth and Mike Asselta in another Saferacer MINI finishing 7th.   The Formula 1 track uses some high curbs to keep the quick F1 cars from cutting the corners, but the TCB class cars hopped and jumped over them, occasionally getting launched onto 2 or fewer wheels!

After a ten minute break for a quick tire change or tire rotation, the cars hit the track for the 2nd race of the day. Robbie got a much better start in the MINI of Charleston MINI Cooper and established himself as a front runner in race number 2. At the end of the sprint race, Francis again pulled out a lead on the MINIs on the straightaway (MINIs are required to run an inlet air restrictor cutting the air flow to the engine from 60mms to 33mms). Charlie James of Joplin, Missouri again put the Saferacer MINI in 2nd and Davis made his first ever podium appearance in Pirelli World Challenge with a 3rd place finish.

Sunday’s race featured a PWC trademark standing start (also a first for Robbie), and his 2012 MINI Cooper responded well again putting him in the lead pack, a position he maintained the entire 45 minute race. Joel Lipperini of Pittston, Pa. lead for the first 12 laps before a car in a faster class made a pass on the lead TCB cars in turn one, causing Joel to take a slower entrance than normal. Davis made contact with Lipperini and Joel move back to 4th and was unable to regain the lead draft. Francis also took advantage of the jumble in turn one and took the lead, never to look back. Davis and James ran nose tail for the rest of the race with the podium looking just like race 2, Francis 1st; James 2nd; Davis 3rd.

Leaving Texas, Davis and his MINI of Charleston team is in third place in the driver’s championship standings. The next races in the series will be the Fourth of July at Lime Rock Park in Lakeville Connecticut. The Austin races were filmed by the NBC Sports Network and the COTA race will air June 16th at 5 PM. Set your DVRs!

For Additional information contact Brad Davis at 843 402-6551 or brad.davis@hendrickauto.com. MINI of Charleston is the exclusive supplier of parts required to convert a street MINI into a B Spec race car.

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