By Tim Morris
Being the subject of a Porsche poster is good for business — the business of motor racing. Porsche likes to recognize winning teams that use its cars by putting them on a poster.
Bodymotion Racing, located in Ocean Township, which competes in the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge Series became the first team to win in the new Porsche Cayman GT 4 Clubsport car when co-drivers Trent Hindman (Ocean Township) and Cameron Cassels (British Columbia/Canada) won the race in Sebring, Florida, in March.
“We were the first team in the world to win in their car,” Bodymotion Racing owner Mike Bavaro said. “It’s a very cool honor.”
That historic win put the professional race car team on the Porsche poster.
Bodymotion Racing’s No 12 Porsche GT 4 has been doing a lot of winning lately on the 10-race IMSA circuit. The series is for street-based sports cars, coupes and sedans that are modified for safety and competition.
The big triumph in Sebring was the start of a three-race win streak that included legendary race tracks in Laguna Seca, California, and Watkins Glen, New York. The team stands fourth in the team points standings, as do co-drivers Hindman and Cassels. Hindman was the overall series champion in 2014, and he’s just 20 years old.
The wins have elevated the profile of the Ocean Township-based team and the attention of its competitors.
“We’re in the crosshairs,” said Bavaro., who lives in Colts Neck. “We have to up the entire program.
“You can’t miss one thing; it’s very, very, very competitive.”
That’s where having a great support team comes into play. It takes far more than car and driver to get to the track and be competitive. It takes scores of workers, as Bavaro said, being in harmony — from those who work on the engine, to data analysis, to the pit crews (no strangers to the weight room) whose ability to change tires quickly and put fuel in the car quickly can be the difference between winning and losing.
Bavaro was a professional driver himself, having competed in, among other races, the 24 Hours of Daytona. He is not an idle owner; he is very involved in all operations of the team. He is in charge on race day of communicating with the driver and crew, discussing strategy and giving direction. During the week, he’s the team’s engine and gearbox builder, chassis set-up engineer and roll-cage welder.
During the week before a race, Bavaro will have up to 36 people working on the team’s cars. Bodymotion also fields a team in the Street Tuner Class. They travel with 10 on the road to their races, which includes the all-important pit crew.
“Everybody is part of the team,” Bavaro said. “We win together and we lose together.”
It takes 100 percent commitment on the part of everyone to be successful.
“You can’t compromise. If you do, you lose,” Bavaro said.
As a driver who still holds a professional license, Bavaro knows the demands racing puts on a driver, especially the endurance races his team compete in that requires two drivers.
“It takes unbelievable concentration,” he said. “Things happen so fast. You have to be so consistent lap after lap.
“This isn’t a sprint; its two and one-half hours.”
The relationship between driver and crew is highly important.
“The communication between crew and driver is the most critical,” he said. “The driver has to be comfortable with the setup — what he likes and what he doesn’t like about the changes.”
Data is kept on every practice session. Afterward, the driver and crew go over the details. The data will tell the driver on what lap he was the fastest in a particular corner. If there are eight corners on the track, they will look at his fastest time in each one. Take them all into consideration, and the driver who comes the closest to hitting those numbers in qualifying is the driver who sits on the pole.
Bavaro and his wife, Margaret, are co-owners of Bodymotion, Inc., an automotive repair business that handles European and American road and race cars and is a Porsche independent repair shop. They’ve been in business for more than 30 years, and it is how he got involved with Porsche racing through the Porsche Club of America (PCA). He won many PCA class championships during his racing days that started in the mid-1980s.
Racing has always been in Bavaro’s blood. As a youngster, he raced go-carts, snow mobiles and stock cars, leading him to eventually race professionally. He preferred road racing, which he said emulates the way they drive.
At 62 years old, his competitive driving days are behind him. But he finds satisfaction winning races in his capacity as owner and team leader.
Bodymotion Racing will go for win No. 4 in 2016 at Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, Aug. 5-7.
The closest stop to home the rest of the schedule for the team is at the Virginia International Raceway in Alton, Virginia, Aug. 26-28.