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Popow and van der Zande Land Second Place at Laguna Seca

Alex Popow started the No. 8 ORECA FLM09 in 3rd position, and in his first-ever PC qualifying session at Mazda Raceway, Mark Kvamme qualified 7th. At the start, Alex gained a position to race second, staying close to the race leader for the majority of his stint. He completed his drive time and handed the wheel to van der Zande in 3rd, and by excellent pit stop work, the No. 8 car left the pits side by side with the race leading No. 52 car, with the race series giving the lead to the 52. The battle for the top spot on the podium continued on and came down to the final lap, with the No. 8 Starworks car finishing just 1.736 seconds behind the leader. The No. 88 of Kvamme and Ashley Freiberg had a clean race, but lacked speed, finishing in 7th place.

Quotes

Renger van der Zande
I just want to win, and we were second today. I’m happy, and it was a cool race and a real fight. We had the leaders beat in the pit stop, but in the end, we had to give the position back. Otherwise, it would have been a win, but that’s not an excuse. I lost a position to Stephen Simpson on the restart, and I was a bit unlucky there. It was a shame, otherwise I could have challenged Tom Kimber-Smith in the 52 from the beginning. I had to burn up my tires to pass Simpson and get close to Tom again. We should be happy with a 2nd place, but we’re hungry for that win. Winning is fun, so we’re working on that for next time.

Alex Popow
Another sweet and sour finish today. It’s sweet because we got a second place finish, but that’s not what we’re here for. We’re here for a win. We were fastest in every practice. In qualifying, I couldn’t make it better. We fought the car a little bit everywhere. At least we’re leaving here closer in the championship. Now we’re just two points away, and first and second are tied for the lead. We arrived here in second place, and now we’re in third, but only two points away. The championship is getting even better. We still have a lot of races to go in this championship, so we’ll see what happens.

Mark Kvamme
I had a lot of fun. I did my fastest laps of the weekend during the race. I still have a lot to learn. The team did a great job setting up the car. The most important thing is I had a ton of fun.

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Starworks Motorsports Climbs to Second in Championship Heading into Laguna

Saturday at the Long Beach Grand Prix, Starworks Motorsport picked up its second podium of the season in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. Co-drivers Alex Popow and Renger van der Zande finished 2nd in the No. 8 ORECA FLM0 in 2nd, climbing from 3rd to 2nd position in the Prototype Challenge Championship following their 3rd place finish at the Twelve Hours of Sebring in February. Teammates Mark Kvamme and Ashley Freiberg earned a top-5 finish in their first street race together in the No. 88 Popcorn Sutton ORECA FLM0, and both while rookies at Long Beach’s street circuit.

A crash brought Friday’s qualifying session to a close early, not allowing drivers and teams to receive the allotted time needed to qualify. The field was assigned to start by points, with Popow and van der Zande in 2nd, and Kvamme and Freiberg in 7th. Popow made a strong show in his stint, keeping the car clean from the typical street course carnage, and not only keeping his position, but pulling away from the rest of the field as he chased Miksha Goikhberg. Twenty-one laps in, after impressively holding his starting position, Kvamme reported to the team his car suffered hard contact from behind. As he pressed on, the team determined the damage was minimal and ordered him to stay on track and keep fighting for position.

As the required minimum drive time was met and pit stops cycled through, Popow pitted in 2nd, giving the No. 8 to van der Zande, and Freiberg took over from Kvamme in 5th. In the No. 8, van der Zande rejoined the field in 4th, but in nine minutes had worked his way up to 2nd position. Lapped traffic hindered van der Zande for many laps, holding him back from perusing the class leader. A caution came out with 30 minutes to go, allowing the 3rd place car of Kyle Marcelli to catch up to van der Zande. As the field went green, the two battled for position, with the Starworks Machine taking 2nd place in class. Freiberg and the No. 88 Popcorn Sutton ORECA FLM0 finished 5th.

Starworks Motorsports currently sits 2nd in the Prototype Challenge class, 8 points behind JDC-Miller Motorsports. The next round of the championship will commence at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, California, April 29 – May 1. The race will air live, Sunday, May 1 at 6:30PM Pacific on FOX Sports 2.

Peter Baron

Second place was a good result for the No. 8 car. They’ll earn good championship points heading into Laguna. The most exciting thing of the day was to see Mark do so well in his first street race. The No. 88 had a problem-filled first day, and rebounded to get some good momentum. It’s nice to see that car finish well.

Alex Popow
It’s sweet to come out of here with 2nd place, but it’s not what we wanted. We were aiming for a win, but we struggled with the set up and didn’t perform as well as we expected. We lost a lot of time out there fighting the car and made it work for as much as we could. We held Kyle Marcelli’s car to the end, and had a decent finish. We’re still in the points battle and we’ll keep going. We have a 4th, a 3rd and now a 2nd, so Laguna means we’ll have a first place.

Renger van der Zande
It was a very enjoyable race, and I’m not used to fighting like that all the time. I’m not sure we had the pace to win today, and even the P3 car was a lot quicker. It was a good fight with Kyle Marcelli, and we probably both crossed the line a little bit. In the end, we didn’t go off by touching cars. I enjoyed the fight and I hope he did as well. I think P2 was the best we could have done. Alex drove a fanstastic stint, and was very fast. With so little track time, we rolled the dice on set up and it worked. All in all, P2 is great for points.

Mark Kvamme
That race was a lot of fun. The team did a great job in practice, and a car hit me in qualifying. The team did a great job getting the car together for the race. It was a ton of fun. It was my first real time on the track. That was the most laps I did in any stint. The car came together well at the end, and I’m very happy.

Ashley Freiberg
Finishing 5th in our first PC race is a big accomplishment for us. We’ve had a few battles along the way with different mechanical issues popping up during testing and practice, as well as Mark getting hit from behind in qualifying, but everyone worked hard and continued to fight to earn this result. Mark drove a great stint considering how little seat time he has, and I fought through a throttle pedal issue in my stint. I am proud of the result and feel optimistic that we can continue to build on this and have a great year together. I’m ready for Laguna!

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Starworks Motorsports Rebounds to Take Third at 12 Hours of Sebring

After an exhausting 12 Hours of Sebring filled with highs and lows, Starworks Motorsports earned its first podium of the season, finishing on the third step with Renger van der Zande, David Heinemeier Hansson and Alex Popow. The podium puts van der Zande and Popow in third place in the IMSA WeatherTech Championship standings, just six points away from the lead.

With completely new electronics systems just installed in the No. 8 and No. 88 ORECA FLM0s, the Florida based team felt confident of a strong weekend ahead for the 12 Hours of Sebring.

The No. 88 of Renger van der Zande, David Heinemeier Hansson and Alex Popow started P5, and the No. 88 of Sean Johnston, Maro Engel and Michael Lyons started in P7. Despite treacherous weather conditions, including a two hour rain delay, the team raced strong, keeping the cars clean to be there to battle for the lead in the end.

Both cars remained in the fight running in the top four at the halfway point when trouble struck for the No. 8 of van der Zande. The driver reported a possible flat tire, and pitted for the crew to inspect the PC car. The car when back to the garage for repairs, returning five laps later in 7th. From there, the trio pushed hard, despite chances of a podium seeming impossible. With each caution, they gained back lost ground, carefully picking off their competitors.

With four hours to go, the 88’s problems began, with Johnston first reporting an issue with the fuel pump while running third. The team brought it back to the garage and brought the car back out in 7th with three hours to go. In the final hour, a brake failure ended the race early for the No. 88, as Maro Engel pulled the car off to safety.

In the end, the perseverance of the No. 8 led the car to a podium finish, moving them up to third in the championship points. The team next competes at the Grand Prix of Long Beach, April 15-17. Popow and van der Zande will return to the No. 8, while Mark Kvamme and Ashley Freiberg will race in the No. 88.

 

Renger van der Zande
Third place is nice, especially for the championship. We’re 3rd now, and it’s a good effort. I cannot say I’m really happy, because without the failure on the right rear, we would have been fighting for the win in our class. It’s something that’s a shame, but third place at Sebring is always nice. I’m happy with it and it’s still a long season ahead. We’re doing well and getting there slowly.

David Heinemeier Hansson
It’s nice to finish on the podium, but it’s very frustrating to know we had great pace, perhaps the best pace, and then a bolt takes us out of the contention. But we never gave up, and here we are after being six laps down, we get to stand on the podium, so that’s pretty cool.

Alex Popow
It’s a sweet and sour run. We got third place after fighting back a lot. It’s not what we wanted. We knew we could be fighting for a win. At the beginning, we were looking good, just hanging in there. We recovered a little bit, went to the front, when to the back. We were just playing that strategy of keeping the car until the end. The rain played a big role. We were good in the rain, but also one broken bolt put us six laps back. That was the end of our first place fight. The beginning of a fight to try to recover and make a podium. It was almost impossible, but not completely. We had some luck and were able to make it to third place. We’re not happy about a third place, but it’s better than saying out of the race. We’re gaining points for the championship, we’re still fighting until the end of the season.

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Starworks Motorsports Modifies Driver Lineup Heading into Sebring 12 Hour

After a difficult few weeks, Starworks Motorsports will return to Sebring, Florida with a two car effort for the 64th Annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Field by Fresh from Florida. In late February, one of the team semi-tractor trailers was stolen from the Popano Beach race shop and was eventually found late that night, abandoned in the Everglades, thanks to a tip from a follower on twitter. The team also had to send one of its ORECA FLM0s back to Germany when it reached its maximum time allowed in the United States. Once re-imported, the car had a new motor installed, as well as a complete replacement of all electronics.
“Despite all the struggles of the last month and a half, I think we are ready to get our first win this season,” said Starworks Motorsports owner Peter Baron. “I believe we have the two strongest lineups in our class.”
The team won the event 2012 class with drivers Ryan Dalziel, Enzo Potolicchio and Stephane Sarrazin. Heading into the second race of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, Starworks will slightly modify its driver lineup from Round One at the Rolex 24 at Daytona.
Driving the No. 8 ORECA FLM0 will be full time drivers Alex Popow and Renger van der Zande. David Heinemeier Hansson will replace the Daytona lineup of Jack Hawksworth and Chris Cumming, for this event as well as Sebring. Between Popow, van der Zande and Heinemeier Hansson, the No. 8 car represents one Sebring win (Popow) and four podium finishes.
“I’m extremely happy to also have David Heinemeier Hansson in our cars for Sebring and the Petit,” said Baron. “There is no doubt David is one of the fastest silvers out there currently. He was second last year and he’s back to get the win.”
Three Sebring rookies will run in the No. 88 Popcorn Sutton ORECA FLM0, with Daytona drivers Sean Johnston and Maro Engel. Forced to withdraw due to a prior commitment, full season driver Mark Kvamme will be replaced by British racer Michael Lyons. Most recently, the 25 year old finished 2nd in the Blancpain Endurance Pro-Cup in 2015.
“It’s unfortunate that Mark Kvamme could not make it, he will be extremely missed,” said Baron. “We’re happy to introduce Michael Lyons to IMSA racing as he fills in for Mark. Michael comes to us with an exceptional record and a great deal experience in prototype cars.”
“I was thrilled when Peter called me with the opportunity to fill in for Kvamme,” said Lyons. “I’ve known of Starworks for a long time after seeing their success in Europe winning WEC and Le Mans in P2 back in 2012. I’m really looking forward to making my debut race in the United States at such an iconic event as the Twelve Hours of Sebring! With the strong teammates I have in Sean and Maro we should stand a good chance.”
“I believe we have the two strongest lineups in our class,” concluded Baron. “I believe if we can avoid any luck either good, or bad we have two cars that are serious threats for the win.”
The drivers and crew just completed a one day test at Sebring International Raceway in the No. 88, and will resume official practice sessions Thursday, March 17th. The Twelve Hours of Sebring will begin Saturday at 10:40am. For schedule and viewing information, visit imsa.com.

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Starworks Motorsports Perseveres Amid Disappointment at Rolex 24

Hopes were high for Starworks Motorsport heading in to the 54th Rolex 24 at Daytona, the longest endurance event on the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s 2016 schedule.
Fielding two Oreca FLM09s in the Prototype Challenge, the team had two strong driver lineups, capable of a podium result. Disaster struck for both cars, taking one completely out of the race, and the other far behind the leaders in 4th position.
“Naturally, the 24 hours was a wide range of emotions,” said Starworks Motorsport owner Peter Baron. “We were devastated that we had two solid efforts to win in the PC class, and both of those were over by the early evening.”

The No. 88 car of Sean Johnston, Mark Kvamme, Felix Rosenqvist and Maro Engel started 6th, but at the hour and a half mark, had moved up the field to run 3rd. In hour three, while running in the top three, the car rejoined the field on cold tires and lost control, requiring 30 minutes of repairs at the garage. The car rejoined, but just several hours later, went off course and had contact with the wall. The impact pulled out a mounting point for the nose cone, causing tub damage that would end the race for the car in hour eight of 24.

The No. 8 car of Alex Popow, Renger van der Zande, Chris Cumming and Jack Hawksworth started in 7th, but made its way up to 3rd in the first hour. At the end of hour four, disaster hit. As evening settled on the track, the No. 8 car stalled in the middle of turn one. As Chris Cumming worked with the team on the radio to try to get the car started again, the Delta Wing drove directly into the back of the Starworks Machine, lifting the car off the ground and causing the first major caution of the endurance event. Cumming was released from the medical center with a concussion, unable to participate in the remaining 20 hours of the race.

Cumming’s ineligibility to race, created an imbalance in the driver rankings, an important item for the No. 8 car to need in order to earn valuable championship points. Cumming, a Bronze, was needed as one of the car’s armatures, racing with Silver driver Alex Popow and Gold drivers Renger van der Zande and Jack Hawksworth.

“Our first thought was to get Alex back out there for the five hour minimum so that he and Renger could get points for the season,” said Baron. “After Alex got out of the car, we had a conversation about what we should do. First option was to retire, pack it up, and save cost. Second option was to add a silver driver to the car, but adding a new driver to the car would jeopardize a finish and risk the ar. The third option was to let Alex and Renger, the two full season drivers, finish the race, and unfortunately not use Jack.”

Determined to race to the end and earn valuable championship points, the team went with the latter option, with Popow and van der Zande sharing the driving duties for the remaining 19 hours. Sunday afternoon, the exhausted duo, with the support of a determined team, finished 4th in class. In addition to fielding two entries, Starworks Motorsports also supported the No. 50 Highway to Help prototype car, which finished the race in 8th position.

“Being Daytona, you just can’t give up,” said Baron. “As easy it is to throw in the towel early on, we just don’t have that spirit. I cannot tell you how proud I was of the team on the cars we presented for the race. We had crash damage, but no mechanical issues from flawless preparation for all three cars. Unfortunately, a sad Monday follows the weekend, but 4th is a result we can build on for the championship run for the 8 car.”

The next event on the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship will take place at Sebring International Raceway for the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh From Florida, March 16-19. The driver lineup will shift slightly, with full time drivers Alex Popow and Renger van der Zande returning to the No. 8, and David Heinemeier Hansson joining as the third driver. In the No. 88, full season entry Mark Kvamme will again be joined by Sean Johnston and Maro Engel. For event information, visit imsa.com.

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Starworks Motorsport Announces IMSA Full Season Lineup

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., (January 7, 2016) – In preparation for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s first series-wide test, the Roar Before the 24, Starworks Motorsports has announced its full season lineup for the 2016 season. The Pompano Beach, Florida based team will return to compete in the Prototype Challenge (PC) class, running the No. 8 and No. 88 Oreca FLM09s.

“We’re confident 2016 will be a strong year for Starworks,” said Team Owner Peter Baron. “For the first time since the new integrated series, we have been able to get our programs sorted for the season with two cars before the holidays. This has allowed us to plan and prepare for the upcoming season, which has been a weakness of ours for the last two seasons.”

Starworks veterans Renger van der Zande and Alex Popow will return as the two full-season entries for the No. 8 car, with Jack Hawksworth and Chris Cumming joining the team for the 24 Hours of Daytona. Hawksworth, who will run 2016 in IndyCar with AJ Foyt Racing, and Cumming were previously teammates, winning the IMSA Brickyard Indianapolis race in the LMPC class in 2014. No stranger to endurance podiums, 24 Hours of Le Mans winner and WEC Championship winner David Heinemeier Hansson will join van der Zande and Popow for the 12 Hours of Sebring in March and Petit Le Mans at the end of the season.

After most recently competing in the Ferrari Challenge, Mark Kvamme joins the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship as the only full season driver for the No. 88.Coming off a highly successful 2015 season where he claimed FIA F3 European Championship,Felix Rosenqvist will come on board for the 24 Hours of Daytona. After winning the 2012 IMSA GT3 Cup Callenge in 2012, Sean Johnston took his talents overseas to Europe where he went on to finish 2nd in the 2015 Blancpain Endurance Series’ 6 Hour at Paul Ricard, then winning the 24 Hours of Barcelona overall. FIA GT Cup 2015 World Champion Maro Engel and Johnston will join Kvamme to compete in the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup (NAEC), the four endurance races on the 2016 calendar: The Rolex 24 at Daytona, 12 Hours of Sebring, Six Hours of the Glen, and Petit Le Mans. For the remaining seven sprint races of the season, Kvamme will be joined by Ashley Freiberg, BMW of North America Scholarship Driver. In 2014, Freiberg became the first woman to win a race in the Continental Tire Sportscar Championship, at Daytona International Speedway.

During the winter, two more significant additions were made to the team lineup. Tom Brown, previously an engineer from PC and GT Le Mans team CORE Autosport joined the Starworks ranks, along with Kent Holden, who had previously been the crew chief at Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates since the team’s inception.

“We have fantastic line ups all year in both cars, and have made massive improvements with the team in the off season,” concluded Baron.  “With all that we have accomplished in the winter months, I strongly feel we are now the team to beat in 2016.”
 
 Driver Quotes

Renger van der Zande // Full Season // No. 8
I am delighted to go racing again under the Starworks banner. I have built a great relationship with Peter and the whole crew. I feel that the last two seasons flew by and we are ready for a lot of success together in 2016. The Daytona 24 Hour line up is very solid and all the drivers seem in line with the same approach to attack this amazing event. To be racing together with Alex for the rest of the season is making me very excited as well. The races that I raced with Alex were a win or a podium so that is a good track record to keep up.

Alex Popow // Full Season // No. 8   
Not available for comment.

Jack Hawksworth // 24 Hours of Daytona // No. 8
I am really excited to be joining the Starworks team and be returning to the IMSA paddock and the Daytona 24. I know the preparation will be top draw and all the ingredients will be there for us to have a real run at winning this thing. I’m also looking forward to racing alongside Chris (Cumming) again who I have driven with on multiple occasions for the past two years, and joining Renger and Alex both of whom I have competed against. I can’t wait to get back to work this coming week at the Roar.
 
Chris Cumming // 24 Hours of Daytona // No. 8
When Peter and I began talking about this year’s Rolex 24 at Daytona and the driver lineup he was putting together, I think I needed about five seconds to say yes!  Renger, Jack, and Alex are all the strongest teammates a person could ask for, and with Peter and the rest of the Starworks team behind us, I think we’re going to be one of the cars to contend with.

David Heinemeier Hansson // Sebring, Petit // No. 8
It’s a real pleasure to join Peter’s Starworks squad alongside Alex and Renger for Sebring and Petit. I’ve been on the podium at Sebring three times, but have yet to win, so getting another crack at it with a strong line-up is a treat. I’m really looking forward to driving the revised LMPC car as well. Especially pleased about seeing 30 pounds disappear from the engine. After a whole season battling a heavy engine affecting balance, I’ve intimately aware of just how much better a car can drive when weight is taken out up high.
 
Mark Kvamme // Full Season // No. 88
I am honored and a bit nervous to be on such a fabulous team so early in my racing career.  Peter has assembled a group of professionals that are focused on one thing and one thing only – winning!

Felix Rosenqvist // 24 Hours of Daytona // No. 88
Daytona has always been a dream for me to drive since I’d visited the year years ago. It will be something completely new for me, but I think it’s the absolute best way to kick off the year. The race is so intense, and you really have to keep your eyes open all 24 hours. I think we can go for the Rolex as we have a strong driver line-up and winning mentality in the team!

Sean Johnston // NAEC Races // No. 88
It’s with great excitement that I’ve been able to put together a deal with Peter and the Starworks team for the 2016 NAEC Season.  After three seasons of racing primarily over in Europe, I’m ready to come back to the U.S. and show everybody what I’ve learned!  I raced at Daytona in an LMPC car last year, and am stoked to have a full season in front of me in this equipment.  And to be able to do this with Maro Engel, (my Blancpain Endurance Series teammate last year) is awesome, and I’m looking forward to getting to know and working with Mark Kvamme as well.  This feels like a really strong lineup to me, and I’m excited to see what kind of results we can produce together this season!

Maro Engel // NAEC Races // No. 88
Racing at the Daytona 24h has always been something I’ve wanted to do, and to be able to do it with Starworks and Peter Baron is a great feeling for me as their success speaks for itself. I am already looking forward to getting to work with the team and my team mates to hopefully add to the team’s successes. I would also like to thank Mercedes-AMG for allowing me to take this opportunity. I have heard so much about American racing and the fan culture that I can’t wait to get a taste of it myself now.

Ashley Freiberg // Sprint Races // No. 88
I am thrilled to be able to drive with Mark Kvamme in the Starworks PC car for the sprint races this year! I had spent time with Mark last summer while he was racing in Ferrari Challenge, and I think he will surprise some people this season! To also be a part of a team as top-notch as Starworks is very exciting to me and I look forward to working with everyone this year!

About Starworks Motorsport
Established in 2010 by Peter Baron, Starworks Motorsports is a sports car racing team based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The team entered the history books in 2012 by becoming the first LMP2 Champions in the World Endurance Championship (WEC) and the first North American team to win an FIA World Championship in 46 years. The team also won the 2012 GRAND-AM North American Endurance Championship and led with the most laps in a Daytona Prototype. These milestones concluded an incredible Rolex Series season, with victories at the 12 Hours of Sebring, 24 Hours of Le Mans, the first Rolex Series race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, plus a second place finish at the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona, and a third in the Six Hours of the Glen. Alex Popow won the Jim Trueman Award by a landslide and the team was crowned Sports Car Team of the Year by the SPEED Channel. The team came fourth in the 2013 GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series (DP) and also competed in two ALMS races (one as RSR Racing) in the LMPC category.

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