Thursday, June 20, 2013
Mini of Charleston driver Robbie Davis, who grew up in Summerville, made his first-ever podium appearance in the Pirelli World Challenge last month.
The MINI of Charleston racing team started its 2013 professional racing season at the new Circuit of the Americas track in Austin, Texas.
The track was built last year as the new home for the American venue for Formula 1. The MINI of Charleston racing team competed in the Pirelli World Challenge Series races that were support races for the premier US visit of the world famous Australian V8 Supercar Series. Nearly 70,000 spectators braved the 95-plus degree heat to watch two exciting days of racing.
Driving the MINI USA/MINI Financial Services B Spec MINI Cooper, Davis qualified second for the first race Saturday morning. Davis got pushed to the outside of turn one and dropped from the second position on the start, but stayed in the lead pack the entire race, eventually finishing fifth.
MINI was well represented as Charlie James in the Saferacer MINI finished second behind winner Ernie Francis Jr. in a Mazda 2. Francis became the youngest ever Pirelli World Challenge winner, at age 15. Rounding out the MINI Top 10 were Johan Schwartz in his Endurance Karting MINI Cooper in fourth, Davis in fifth and Mike Asselta in another Saferacer MINI finishing seventh.
After a 10-minute break for a quick tire change or tire rotation, the cars hit the track for the second race of the day. Davis got a much better start and established himself as a front-runner in the race.
At the end of the sprint race, Francis again pulled out a lead on the MINIs on the straightaway Charlie James of Joplin, Missouri again put the Saferacer MINI in second and Davis made it to the podium with a third-place finish.
Sunday’s race featured a PWC trademark standing start (also a first for Davis), and his car responded well again to help put him in the lead pack, a position he maintained the entire race. Joel Lipperini of Pittston, Pa. lead for the first 12 laps before a car in a faster class made a pass on the lead TCB cars in turn one, causing Joel to take a slower entrance than normal. Davis made contact with Lipperini and Joel move back to fourth and was unable to regain the lead draft. Francis also took advantage of the jumble in turn one and took the lead. Davis and James ran nose to tail for the rest of the race, which ended just like race 2 with Francis in first place, James in second and Davis in third.
Davis and his MINI of Charleston team left Texas in third place in the driver’s championship standings. The next races in the series are scheduled for July 4 at Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, Conn.