After rounds five and six, the midway point of the SCCA Pro Racing Pirelli World Challenge season, Tiger Racing's Paul Brown has once more reclaimed GTS Driver's Championship lead, and in doing so has helped to increase Ford's lead in the Manufacturer's Championship. The weekend, like the roller-coaster that is Mosport International Raceway, had its ups and downs, but Sunday ended on a high note with Brown taking the checkered flag.
Reclaiming the championship lead at the mid-season break was precisely what Tiger Racing's crew needed to keep the fire stoked for the rest of the season according to Brown.
Paul Brown's second win of 2011 at Mosport positions him back on top of the SCCA Pro Racing Pirelli World Challenge season.
When asked about how the Lucas Oil/K&N Mustang Boss 302S was performing, Brown said, "Ford Racing has done such a good job with this new Boss Mustang program that it makes my job easy. The more I drive it, the more comfortable and the faster we keep getting. I would have to add that it was our ERP, custom valved, JRZ shock package that really helped us win this weekend too. This was Brown's second win of the 2011 season on the challenging track located north of Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada.
Halfway through the season, Paul Brown has led the most laps in GTS, has put in the fastest race lap five out of six times, qualified on the front row six out of six times, has three poles, two wins, one second place and is leading the Championship. The team is looking forward to a bit of a break, but also plans on some testing, media events and then getting back into it at Mid-Ohio.
Besides having Lucas Oil/K&N Mustang Boss 302S performing at its peak, Brown also credits his JRZ shock package for the win at Mosport.
You do like Mosport, what is it again that suits you so well about that venue?
"Mosport is one of those gut check tracks. In fact, the first time I raced there back in 1994, I slide my car off track and went over a tire wall. Luckily, we didn't do that this year! The track has a tremendous amount of character and I often describe it as a roller coaster for your car. It has huge elevation changes, with diving off-camber corners, rolling into hard uphill breaking, followed by a winding straight. Our Boss 302S has reached 147 mph at the end, before a fast sweeper into some "Esses," then back on the short front straight to do it all over again. It is very much a rhythm track. If you get it wrong, you lose a bunch of time, or can damage a car very quickly, as I found out years ago."
When he's not racing Brown busies himself attending media events such as the weekend in Tulsa, Oklahoma at the 37th Annual Mid America Shelby and Ford Meet.
"Once you connect with the track, it becomes a pretty special place as you're rolling though the countryside, up and down the hills, through the woods and then you think, Mosport dates back to the early days of the thundering, big block, Can-Am cars like McLaren and Lola, and the screech of Formula 1 with Surtees, Stewart and Clark... what a time that must have been. Sometimes I feel privileged to be at these tracks. You almost feel like you become part of history. It's pretty cool."
Talk a little about those new ERP shocks, how much are you enjoying them?
"The guys at ERP (Eisenlohr Racing Products) are the US importer of the JRZ racing dampers and have been great to work with. ERP works directly with the factory in the Netherlands and we've been working together to develop a new shock package for the Mustangs. There are many cars in our series running the JRZs, but we are the only team using them on the new Boss Mustangs, and I think it's paid off. We also have JRZs on the K&N G35 that I drive in Redline's Pro Time Attack series, and I'm leading that championship as well... coincidence?"
"We have spent extra time examining every aspect that might give us that extra tenth a lap. Not only have we done this with JRZ, and helped them develop new parts for the Mustang, but we have also done this with Baer Brakes, who developed a new caliper for the class. Fluidyne upgraded our cooling system and Bassani added a 3" exhaust and free flowing mufflers, to name a few more."
"We've even spent time with the guys in K&N's race shop testing filters just to get that extra three horsepower. At this level, you can't just do what everyone else is doing, you need to do it for yourself and work outside the box.
How's it feel to regain the points lead before the break?
"The season so far has been a roller coaster and to take a break on the up side of things was really the morale boost we all needed. After falling out of Saturday's race with a mechanical issue, we lost the championship lead by 30 points. That was a big hit."
"I knew what I had to do on Sunday. I've won all kinds of races, in all different series, but this one was different. After the ups and downs of the season and the tireless work that the crew has put into this effort, it was the payback that we all needed to keep the fire alive."
When do you get back to racing?
"At this point in my career, I try to keep in a car as much as I can. We just did the Tulsa event for fun, then I jumped in a 1975 Alfa Romeo FIA prototype and spent the weekend testing at Pocono, prepping for a vintage race coming up in September. This weekend I'll be driving the K&N G35 in Redline's Time Attack and Pro Track Challenge to see if we can keep K&N on top there as well. After that we head back to the Midwest to make some required changes to the Boss 302S, do some more testing and then head to Mid Ohio Sports Car Course for the next two rounds of the Pirelli World Challenge Series. It's been a pretty crazy year so far, but I'm not sure I'd have it any other way."
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