GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing driver Jon Fogarty says the team is still on track to have a solid season despite a heavy crash at the last race at Road America that forced the team to purchase a new Porsche 911 GT3 R.
Fogarty had qualified third and was three-wide with two other competitors heading towards Road America’s Turn 5 when contact sent the No. 99 Porsche hard into the wall, causing significant damage to the tub and forcing the team to scramble to find a new chassis ahead of the next round at Mid-Ohio.
Speaking from Utah Motorsports Campus where the team was conducting a shakedown test with the new Red Dragon on Wednesday, Fogarty told Sportscar365 that the timeline from identifying the extent of the damage to securing a replacement car was a short one.
“We had the guys from Porsche at our trailer immediately when they brought it back on the roller at Road America and they were pretty certain that the tub was damaged,” Fogarty said.
“We knew pretty immediately what cars were out there. We had people in the paddock as resources as well to basically tell us where to look for cars, what teams had them.
“Pretty quickly the decision was made to go out and get a good-condition used car that day, and we were able to nail one down with Alex Job. We picked it up, brought it to our shop, and the crew went to work.”
Fogarty said the car was close to being ready to go and the engine had recently been refreshed by Porsche, but the team still had plenty of work to do to make sure the car was ready to make their scheduled test in Utah this week.
“A lot of work for the crew, obviously,” said Fogarty. “The car comes looking pretty prepared but with all modern race cars there’s little odds and ends you need to take care of.
“Our data guy has probably been burdened by the biggest load. A lot of wiring and those sorts of issues that are team specific and always seem to have bugs. We were able to run more or less trouble free so all in all, great job getting us back on track quickly after Road America.
“Fortunately Terry Wilbert, our team manager, has 15 years in the auto-shop business so he can paint. He did some paint work and everyone jumped in and did what they needed to do for it to run for this test.
“It was a lot of work. Even though the car was in great shape when it was delivered, we had a lot of our little bits that we wanted to put on there, some cockpit driver comfort things that needed to be transferred across. A lot of little odds and ends.
“All in all, just a lot of moving parts but everybody pitched in and it all worked out.”
While the tub did sustain damage, Fogarty said the team discovered that there were still quite a few salvageable parts and pieces off of the car that crashed at Road America.
With a replacement tub on the way, the team will soon have a full spare car at their disposal, helping to mitigate some of the burden.
Fogarty indicated that despite the size of the crash, it hasn’t proved to be that big of a setback for the team.
He said biggest disappointment was the missed opportunity for a solid result at Road America at and being forced to miss a scheduled test at Mid-Ohio.
“I wouldn’t call it huge, and a lot of that is we have a team owner who is committed and willing to step up and get back on track, and obviously that costs money,” he said. “Beyond that, I would say it’s not a very big setback.
“We were going to go straight from Road America after the race to Mid-Ohio to test for two days, so we missed that, but everything else is on schedule.
“These two days at Utah [Motorsports Campus], they stayed the same and we’re making the most of it. We’re going to load it up and go down to COTA and we’ll be testing there next week.
“Only the Mid-Ohio test is what we missed, which is too bad because we’re going to be racing there next, but everything else is on target.
“The disappointment was huge because we were having a good weekend at Road America qualifying third. But it only strengthens our resolve.
“We had a great result right within our reach and I think everybody is really eager to get that back. I know I am. It’s not what you want but thanks to a good team owner and a great crew it’s not a huge setback.”