RSR Motorsports Adds a Honda Civic to the Daytona Lineup

Discussion in 'Racing MINIs' started by Nathan, Jan 23, 2012.

  1. Nathan

    Nathan Founder

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    Hot off the wires from RSR...


    DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.—On Wednesday, RSR Motorsports will take delivery of their new Honda Civic SI, just two days before the GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge season opener at Daytona International Speedway. The Honda will join RSR’s three MINI Coopers in the ST class, carrying sponsorship from Cruise America, Thor Motor Coach and USLED.

    Owen Trinkler will be making his 80th start in the series when Friday’s race gets underway. He’ll be driving the No. 197 RSR Motorsports Honda with Chris Puskar. Trinkler made his series debut in a Honda, and got his first series win in the marque, as well.

    “The Honda will be a good car for Daytona,†Trinkler says. “It’s a bit of a change for the team, and we’ll implement some things we’ve done with the MINIs to see how well it translates. Our engineers have been looking at this car for a while, and it’s a perfect addition for us.â€

    Meanwhile, the RSR Motorsports crew has continued to work on development of the team’s three MINI Cooper S entries. Ron Farmer and Jason Hart, who co-drive the No. 196 U.S. LED MINI Cooper S, have been especially busy this off-season with testing.

    Hart says, “We’ve made huge strides in the drivability of the car. At the Daytona test, we seemed to pick up some time, and the car got even easier to drive. It’s a lot easier to drive than last year. We also had some issues last year at Daytona with the brakes and the shifter, and RSR has completely taken care of those issues. The car is perfect.â€

    Farmer and Hart were rookies in the series last year, and they both are looking forward to their return now that they are familiar with the series, the tracks, and the car. “Last year we had some self-induced bad luck and I learned a lot from that. Between that and the fire at Watkins Glen, we were grateful to still come in 16th at the end of the year. This year, I’m going to be a better driver—more defensive and more aware—and our goal is to finish every race. We want opportunities to get on the podium,†Farmer says.

    “I’m really excited about qualifying for 2012 to see how far up the charts we can get in qualifying,†says Hart. “Ron has been so dedicated to getting faster, and the team has done the same with the car. There’s so much confidence on the team.â€

    In addition to the No. 197 Honda and the No. 196 MINI, the RSR Motorsports line-up at Daytona includes young guns Kyle Gimple and Corey Fergus in the No. 198 MINI. Team owner Randall Smalley will be in the No. 195 MINI.

    As a rookie, Fergus is in the same situation that Farmer and Hart were in last year. RSR is known for fostering young talent, and Fergus says, “I was interested in joining the series and I talked to RSR. I hit it off really well with them: I really liked the guys and everything seemed to click well.â€

    Fergus carries sponsorship from The Fergus Companies, while Gimple recently inked a deal with Resolute Security Group and will support the non-profit Families for HoPE.

    The RSR Motorsports crew has an extra challenge this weekend. Following the race, they will act as pit crew for the No. 82 Dick Greer Racing Porsche in the 50th GRAND-AM Rolex 24 at Daytona.

    Catch RSR Motorsports in the BMW Performance 200 at Daytona International Speedway on Friday, January 27. The 2.5-hour race starts at 1:30 p.m. ET. Keep up with the team online at RSR Motorsport / RSR Racing.

    RSR Motorsports is sponsored by Cruise America, Thor Motor Coach, US LED, MINI USA, Pilot/Flying J Travel Centers, Performance Friction Rotors, OS Giken Racing Clutches and Limited Slip Differentials, Midway Ford Truck Sales, Mini North Scottsdale, Performance Speed Tech, and Carbotech Pads.
     
  2. CHKMINI

    CHKMINI Club Coordinator
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    My affection for MINI in racing has dropped dramatically over the off season. First there is support lacking from MINI with the WRC series and now our Grand Am team is moving on to rice rockets. One Civic this year and 3 replacement Civics next year?? That's my prediction.
     
  3. B.A.D.

    B.A.D. Club Coordinator

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    This was not the replacement that I was expecting for the #197 car. Especially after listening to the Compass360 team complain all of last season about how Grand Am was crippling them with restrictions.
     
  4. Minidave

    Minidave Well-Known Member
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    If ya can't beat 'em........?????
     
  5. Crashton

    Crashton Club Coordinator

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    I have nothing against a Civic especially one that is raced. What really bugs me is my favorite driver is not on the MINI team this year. I'll be cheering Sarah on even though she now drives for another team.
     
  6. Blainestang

    Blainestang New Member

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    Hopefully this car does better than the 2012 Civic that was in last year's finale at Mid-Ohio... That thing seemed to be bringing up the rear the whole time.

    I agree with CHKMINI though, I hope this isn't an indication of where things are going for RSR.
     
  7. Crashton

    Crashton Club Coordinator

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    I believe RSR got an extension to the life of their MINI's. They may be looking for another steed to race in the future. The Honda has been competitive when not saddled with the penalties the Honda's carried in the last race.

    I too hope to continue to see RSR MINI's up front.
     
  8. minimark

    minimark Well-Known Member

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    Considering all the time and money RSR has spent trying to race the MINI all this time, one would think MINI would have at least given them a Coupe to play with....

    Either way, if Mini stops racing in Grand Am, Honda will not be where I hang my hat.
     
  9. B.A.D.

    B.A.D. Club Coordinator

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    I remember talking to Randy last year about racing an R56 and it seemed that he wasn't very keen on developing another race car for them without any support.

    I don't blame RSR for moving on. I think they got two extensions to race the R53 (last season and this season) and showed MINI how competitive they could be. In the end, it would seem that MINI USA is showing that they would rather put their money towards other marketing ventures.
     
  10. CHKMINI

    CHKMINI Club Coordinator
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    I was there during that conversation and agree with you Brian. MINI doesn't understand the racing stage any longer just as they don't understand their buyer demographic.
     
  11. Blainestang

    Blainestang New Member

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    Or maybe they DO understand their buyer demographic and we don't?

    If every single person who cares about MINI Grand-Am racing promised never to buy another MINI, how many sales would MINI lose?

    I *wish* that there were more people who cared about it, but I don't think there are very many, unfortunately.
     
  12. Nathan

    Nathan Founder

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    I think MINI does understand their demographic all to well and well...many of us that are big time race fans are just not it any more.

    Just take a look at the latest MINI Accessories catalog for 2012. I took a gander at the online one. There are 9 pages with 20 items per page of clothing and other tchotchkes. Contrast with 7 JCW Performance items.

    I like MINI as a car...not as the hipster lifestyle they are trying to foist upon me. Those euro cut shirts they have so many of...well I think them for that cause when you look at a MINI Hoodie at $97 with a Euro slim fit and a M/A Hoodie at $59 with a real person living in the US fit... need I say more.
     
  13. CHKMINI

    CHKMINI Club Coordinator
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    They completely ignore the older buyer who loved the brand when it wasn't cool to love it. The demographic that can afford to buy a new MINI every two or three years. Repeat customers that spend money on dealer service and accessories. They think all MINI buyers wear skinny jeans, drink Starbucks and know nothing about how the car works. (OK, off my soapbox now, blood pressure back to normal for an old guy, I'll be better in the morning) :aureola:
     
  14. Nathan

    Nathan Founder

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    Oh..and keep this in mind too.

    MINI currently runs in the second tier of a second tier support series for the "big time" Rolex Prototypes. As racing series goes it's not exactly sexy like WRC...oh wait..they screwed us there too.
     
  15. minimark

    minimark Well-Known Member

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    So what, this forum going to become "Happening Hondas"?

    MINI COOPER FOR THE WIN!!
     
  16. Steve

    Steve Administrator
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    Let's keep in mind this is technically speculation given lack of any word whatsoever from RSR on their plans beyond this season. Granted, if they've already been granted two years of extension on the R53s, some sort of change is almost certain, but for all we know they haven't made up their own minds yet.
     
  17. CHKMINI

    CHKMINI Club Coordinator
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    Great point Steve....
     
  18. minimark

    minimark Well-Known Member

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    2 + 2 = ?

    ...and they may be doing what any smart team would do if they were contemplating a brand change to a more supportive brand. Run one and collect data this season in preparation for next...;)
     
  19. sdmidget

    sdmidget New Member
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    Have some more BACON ... :crazy:
     
  20. ScottinBend

    ScottinBend Space Cowboy
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    Well whatever RSR decides to do......good luck!
     

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