July 21, 2020 – Area 81 Racing rode a massive heat wave at VIR over the weekend, as an oppressive summer weather pattern settled in on the east coast. Temperatures soared near the mid 90s, while heat index values spiked to 106 degrees. The team and car endured the challenging heat to finish 2nd and 3rd in Rounds 5 and 6 of the North American Formula 1000 Championship.
Friday’s practice was encouraging as Tim put down lap times near his personal best, set 51 weeks earlier. He smashed his record by 1 second during Q1 and set a new record by 0.7 seconds during Race 1. Qualifying 2nd behind the Mayer Motorsports #77, Tim never locked onto the flag stand as the field rolled down the front straight at the start of Race 1. Both the 77 and 93 cars got the jump at the green flag, but Tim broke deep into Turn 1. He shot up the inside, wheel to wheel with the 93 through the first two turns, accelerating to 2nd place at the Turn 2 exit. He would hold the position to the finish.
The team missed Q2 on Sunday due to an electrical issue but managed to make the starting grid for Race 2. It looked as if the team was in for another 2nd place finish, as Tim chased down the 93 car and took the inside of Turn 1 on the 5th lap. However, it was not to be as the electrical issue reared its head again and Tim surrendered the position a half lap later.
Tim Pierce, driver #81 – “Everyone’s ready to get out of this heat. We were looking forward to a cold champagne shower today. It was brutal! I thought we were going to sneak out of here with two 2nd place finishes, but the battery died and ended the race early for us. I’m proud of my team for working through the heat and giving me a chance to win. Our lap times keep falling, so we’re happy with the improvement. Hopefully we won’t have to battle the heat as much at Summit.”
The team heads to Summit Point, West Virginia on August 14th for Rounds 7 and 8. Thanks to the team, series, sponsors, and competitors for a fantastic weekend.