April 4, 2021 – Area 81 Racing’s Tim Pierce circled the calendar when it was announced that the North American F1000 Championship Series was coming to Carolina Motorsports Park in Kershaw, SC. Tim knew it was likely that he would be the only competitor in the series to have driven an F1000 on the 2.27 mile road course. He would fight pollen clouds and freezing temperatures to bring home two 3rd place finishes in Rounds 1 and 2 on Easter weekend.
CMP, now under new ownership, was repaved in August 2020 and it was expected to produce blazing fast lap times. Although the team had not competed there since 2014, Tim held the F1000 track record and knew that his experience would be an advantage early on. The team spent the private test day on Wednesday testing a developmental electronic paddle shifting system. It was a gamble that would pay huge dividends throughout the season if successful. It would also negate Tim’s experience advantage, as the other competitors became more comfortable with the track. The team decided to scrap the paddle system after the first Thursday test session was again unsuccessful. After switching to the lever, Tim immediately dropped 2 seconds during the second test session and another 2 seconds during the third test session.
After qualifying 4th for Race 1, Tim spun at the exit of Turn 11 but recovered without losing position but the first group of cars were out of reach. Tim was able to make the pass to 3rd before the caution shortened checker was shown due to multiple cars off course. Race 2 was much more exciting, as Tim qualified 6th but immediately gained a position at the green flag. He set his sights on the #93, the sister JDR to Tim’s #81. The two cars and drivers were well matched as he chased for several laps. Tim made a move on the inside of Turn 8 set his sights on 3rd.
Tim Pierce, driver #81 – “First I have to give a shout out to the new track ownership. CMP was always a fun layout but the new surface is amazing! I can’t wait to come back next year. This is technically our home track because it’s only a 2.5 hour tow from my garage. I knew the familiarity with the track would be an advantage, but we thought a working paddle system would be a more long-term advantage. Unfortunately it didn’t work out. We were wearing shorts on Tuesday and Wednesday. It was 32 degrees on Thursday night and 31 degrees on Friday night. We’ve never seen a race car throwing green rooster tails of pollen. My crew called me in during a test session because they thought I was losing fluid, but it turned out to be pollen.”
The team is finalizing plans to attend Mid-Ohio on April 30th. If those plans do not materialize, the next event will be at Barber on May 20th. Thanks to the crew, series, sponsors, and competitors for a fantastic weekend.