ATLANTA – It came as a surprise to many when Starworks Motorsports announced they’d sit two races leaving many questions in the wake of the decision. However, there is more to the story than outsiders may know.
Starworks Motorsport team owner Peter Baron took some time out to answer questions about his teams’ sudden decision to sit out for two events and return later in the season. The Audi race team was working with a lot of unknowns this season.
Baron says that the updated EVO kit has probably seen teams struggle but it could also be the factors that are outside of their control that may have also affected the small team.
“It’s a bit of a shame,” Baron said. “You have only seen Audi’s running well in the rain, or when they are off cycle in a race. We race for our sponsors, and we want to be competitive for them. As a team, we made the decision to withdraw from Canadian Tire Motorsport Park and Lime Rock Park and spend July trying to improve what we can for the remainder of the season.”
The decision was also related to their primary sponsor, Vertical Bridge. With their sponsor not having a primary market at CTMP or Lime Rock, saving their sponsors’ resources was weighed in the decision. Especially when the team must begin looking towards 2020.
The Audi R8 LMS GT3 EVO has shown results but the hopes of a caution that never came ended the strategy.
“We tried to stretch our fuel window as much as possible and hope for a full course yellow in the final stint,” Baron said. “This would result in one less pit stop than the rest of the field in hopes that would get us our first podium of the season, but unfortunately the caution flag we needed never came. Although we led for 30 minutes of the race, the next car behind us, rapidly closed the gap to us in no time.”
Starworks was also able to have some early season success. A ninth-place finish at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course came through a lot of adversity. They suffered contact with another car on track and then had a drive-through penalty to contend with which mired their progress. Their next best finish came at Belle Isle.
At Belle Isle, Starworks took home a sixth-place finish utilizing what they were strongest with. The sixth-place finish came from strategy calls on pitlane and some excellent stops by the Starworks crew.
“Any success we’ve had this year has been from us over performing in every way possible to overcome whatever setbacks we’re given heading into the event,” Baron said. “Our guys perform at 100 percent with every race, and it’s disappointing that our results don’t show that.”
The frustration of the season though comes in the form of those results they aren’t seeing. For those who aren’t aware, this is the same team that has won at Le Mans and been a WEC and IMSA champion marking their long history of being competitive on track.
“That’s what makes this year such a struggle,” Baron said. “We’ve done everything on our end to be in the fight, but unfortunately, we just haven’t been in the competition this year. But we’re not giving up yet. We’re determined to work with the series and Audi Sport Customer Racing to make sure we have the competitive package that our team and fans deserve.”
The commitment to fixing the issues the team has had this year isn’t just limited to Starworks. During the race at Watkins Glen, the team was working closely with Audi Sport Customer Racing and Land Motorsport to pinpoint the issues they have seen this year.
“Audi Sport Customer Racing is giving us their undivided attention until the issue is discovered and sorted,” Baron said. “We’ll spend the remainder of the month evaluating everything possible to become competitive for the remainder of our races.”
If you’re a fan of Starworks, there is nothing to worry about. The program has not lost their focus on getting their car back up front and contending for wins.