Wilkins, AIM Autosport Bring Momentum and History to Barber

Mar. 29, 2010

J.J. O’Malley, GRAND-AM

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.Mark Wilkins has both momentum and history on his side when he returns to Barber Motorsports Park in the AIM Autosport No. 61 Pacific Mobile Ford Riley for the Porsche 250 on April 10, Round 3 of the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16.

The race will take the green flag at 1:36 p.m. ET, with live SPEED coverage beginning at 1:30 p.m. ET.

Wilkins is riding a streak of three top-five finishes with three different teams in 2010. He finished fifth in the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona, when he and AIM Autosport co-driver Burt Frisselle joined Ozz Negri and John Pew with Michael Shank Racing. AIM Autosport debuted its bright blue Pacific Mobile colors for the Grand Prix of Miami, with Wilkins and Frisselle finishing fourth.

Last weekend, Wilkins joined Level 5 Motorsports for the 12 Hours of Sebring, winning the LMPC class with Scott Tucker and Christophe Bouchut by 46 laps.

“It’s been a strong start to the season, and we’ve got to keep the momentum going,” said the 26-year-old Canadian. “It was great at Sebring to show that the guys in GRAND-AM are at the top of the field and we can go out there into other series and get great results. It also keeps the other guys on the AIM team motivated – they want to show we can win Daytona Prototype races like we did in 2008.”

While the results show only a 15th-place finish in the 2008 Porsche 250 at Barber, that race was a turning point for the team. Former co-driver Brian Frisselle passed both Scott Pruett and Alex Gurney to take the lead, and paced 15 circuits before he suddenly lost power with only 13 laps remaining. In the following event, Wilkins went from fourth to first on the last lap to win the Montreal 200 in the closest finish in Rolex Series history. The following weekend, Wilkins and Brian Frisselle combined to lead 79 of the 82 laps in winning the Crown Royal 200 at Watkins Glen International.

“Once we got that momentum in 2008, we kept plugging away,” Wilkins said. “We had a great, cohesive team that year. We struggled a little bit with our setup last year and got a little bit discouraged. Over the winter, we regrouped and worked to get back that magic we had in 2008. With Pacific Mobile on board and the new livery that Ian Willis and the team did so much work to make the car look good, it gave everybody that little extra push. If we keep working hard, the results will come. I think it’s going to be a really strong season.”

Wilkins is excited about returning to Birmingham, Ala., for the Porsche 250.

“Barber Motorsports Park is one of the nicest facilities for racing in North America. It’s nice and smooth, and we enjoy that,” Wilkins said. “Burt is really excited to get back to Barber. We’re strong there. We’ve got a good car and we know that we can do well there, and the team is motivated to get some awesome results.”

Practice for the Porsche 250 begins at 2:55 p.m. ET on Thursday, April 8, with qualifying at 11:40 a.m. on Friday.

source http://www.grand-am.com

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