During the 2018 season, Team Sahlen, presented by honeybeeBase.com, competed in 3 different endurance sports car series: American Endurance Racing, World Racing League and ChampCar Endurance Series. Each series offered a unique set of car specs and competition rules that the team had to adjust for.
At the end of the year, the team was successful in securing OVERALL Victories in each of the 3 series. Even more, wins were racked up when not always classified in the top class of the series, adding to the count. This achievement was even more noteworthy by the factor of reaching this mark for the third straight year.
Wayne Nonnamaker shared his thoughts – “Each of these 3 series are very strong. Being competitive in all three is very tough. We ask a lot of our crew to accomplish this targeted goal each year. Being able to win in all three, three years in a row is remarkable, and we are proud to have accomplished this goal!”
Over this 3 year span, Team Sahlen has used a variety of race cars to accomplish this mark. Team Sahlen campaigns 4 Porsche Caymans and 3 Mazda RX7s. In total, 5 of the 7 race cars have contributed to the 20 OVERALL race victory tally.
“To win at these long endurance events requires both speed and reliability. Having five different race cars come through to secure Overall Victories I find the most satisfying. The crew does such a fantastic job preparing our Team Sahlen race cars so they can run the full distance, and then to be able to extract the speed from not just one but FIVE race cars is not easy. It is most certainly a gratifying achievement.” – shared Sporting Director Will Nonnamaker.
Beyond the Overall race victories, Team Sahlen has been able to achieve being 1st in Class a total of 28 times as well as 58 class podiums since 2015 in the 3 racing series. Joe Nonnamaker shared his thoughts on this mark – “There are many races where we have been competing in 2 different classes in the same race. Everyone on the team has to keep on their toes as we often have multiple race strategies playing out to try and win in 2 different classes with 2 different speeds of race cars. This means gauging different fuel strategies, pit stop sequences and yellow flag conditions all at the same time for over 7 to 9 hours straight.”
Of the 20 Overall Victories, none of them were carbon copy results. Many of the wins had very interesting dialogues to complement the storyline. Joe Sahlen shared his thoughts – “This year we have seen some of our closest victories. At the Sahlen’s Sports Car Springfest at the Glen, we won by racing 14 seconds on day one and 1 ½ seconds on day two. Then at the recent ChampCar 7 hour event at Pitt Race we won by just 4 feet.”
Team Sahlen’s history in Endurance Sports Car Racing in North America dates back beyond the past two years. In fact, the team’s history spans all the way back to origins of production based endurance sports car racing to 1984. Team Sahlen has been able to race in and secure victories in long wide array of past championships that includes: SCCA Escort Endurance Series, Firestone Firehawk Series, IMSA Sports Car Endurance Championship, Motorola Cup, Grand American Continental Tires Series, and Grand American ROLEX Sports Car Series.
“We have been very fortunate to race in a wide variety of series. And even more fortunate to have secured victories in each of those series. What has been constant throughout our team’s history in sports car racing is that we have always enjoyed the long endurance race format. The three series we currently compete in, American Endurance Racing, World Racing League and ChampCar Endurance Series, embrace this philosophy at their core. Our team can hardly wait for the 2019 season to start up again. We will be working hard in the off-season to hopefully equal or surpass our achievements from these past two seasons. No matter what, you can guarantee that everyone at Team Sahlen will be having the time of our lives racing these long enduros.” – Will Nonnamaker
Stay tuned as we embark on another season, attempting to keep the momentum up throughout 2019.