AIM Autosport Chasing Two Championships in Ten Hours at Petit Le Mans
- Sweedler and Bell looking to capture Patron North American Endurance Cup and TUDOR Championship in GT-Daytona
- Formula Drift driver and Ferrari Challenge driver coach Conrad Grunewald to join Sweedler and Bell at Petit Le Mans
September 29, 2014 (Toronto, Ontario) – Petit Le Mans, the 10-hour / 1000 mile endurance classic that will close out the TUDOR United Sportscar Championship, could see AIM Autosport’s drivers Bill Sweedler and Townsend Bell celebrating a championship at the checkered flag.
But for AIM Autosport, the green flag will have extra significance as by simply taking the green flag at the start of Petit Le Mans, AIM Autosport will clinch the Patron North American Endurance Cup team championship for the GT-Daytona class. However, both drivers will be gunning for the NAEC driver’s championship which they would clinch by meeting the minimum driver time requirement during Petit Le Mans. However, in the season-long TUDOR Championship’s GT-Daytona driver championship, they enter the weekend at a seven point deficit to the championship-leading BMW .
Closing out the season with one of the longest races on the calendar is an opportunity that the team is looking forward to.
“It seems the longer the race, the better we do, and that’s evidenced by the fact that the team has a commanding lead in the Patron North American Endurance Cup,” said Sweedler. “AIM Autosport should be super proud of their yearlong accomplishments – especially when you consider the level of competition in the GT-Daytona class. But we are still aiming for highest honor – the GT-Daytona TUDOR Championship. We are anticipating a very challenging and very long race on Saturday. It’s no secret we’ve really struggled to match the pace of the other cars in GT-Daytona right now. But Petit Le Mans is not so much about pace as it is about staying out of trouble and keeping our nose clean for the entire race. ”
Teammate Townsend Bell echoed Sweedler’s thoughts of aiming at the TUDOR Championship.
“It’s a great testament to the team that they have virtually locked up Patron North American Endurance Cup team championship,” said Bell. “It’s been the team’s performance in the endurance races that has put us in the position to potentially win the season championship. We have a big job ahead of us, but if can execute like we have in the other races I’m confident in what the team can do on Saturday. ”
Joining the team for Petit Le Mans will be Conrad Grunewald. Grunewald, who spends most of his time behind the wheel of a Ferrari as a coach, is most well-known for piloting at 1000 horsepower Chevrolet Camaro in the Formula Drift Pro Championship. Grunewald is also a highly sought-after coach in the Ferrari Challenge series as well as the Ferrari Driving Experience.
“I am really looking forward to driving with Bill and Townsend at Petit Le Mans,” said Grunewald. “I have been lucky enough to work with AIM Autosport in the past and it is going to be great to finally drive for them. They have done a phenomenal job all season to put themselves in a position to win a championship, and my goal is to help them do that by going as fast as I can and keeping the Ferrari in one piece.”
Guiding the team for the endurance classic will be AIM Autosport engineer Ian Willis. Willis led the AIM Autosport team to a GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series championship with a Ferrari in 2012, and is well aware of the challenges that lay ahead of his team at Petit Le Mans.
“I’m excited to see how the race will Petit Le Mans will play out,” said Willis. “Our track record in the long races this year has been very good – with a win and two second places – and we’ll need another race like that to have a shot at the championship. I’m happy to have Conrad joining Bill and Townsend in our Ferrari – he will surprise a lot of people with his speed. It will take a full team effort to get back on the podium and win a championship – or two – this weekend.”
Petit Le Mans will be shown on Sunday, October 4 at 3:00 PM ET on FOX Sports 2, with live coverage beginning at 11:00 AM ET on IMSA.com. A rebroadcast will be shown on Sunday, October 5 at 8 AM ET (check local listings). Qualifying will be streamed live on IMSA.com beginning at 4:20 PM ET on Friday, October 3.