Tim Munday – On That GT2 Win At Le Mans
And Wider Issues
taken a little while to pin BAM!’s Tim Munday down to look
back at the AJR/BAM! win at Le Mans, but Gary Horrocks
finally completed the task at Portland’s ALMS race.
retire on that!” That is Tim Munday’s view of Le Mans
2005, where his BAM! Team joined forces with Alex Job Racing to
win the GT2 class. “I guess I can call it quits and bask in
the glory now!”
Tim was a part of the Dick Babour effort that won
the same class five years ago, but the car was then disqualified
when post race inspection found the fuel tank to be too large. “In
many ways, our race in 2005 was very reminiscent of that race. We
led every lap and had no problems. It was fuel and tires and nothing
else. Every stop was that way. It’s just that this year it
turned out OK. There was no repeat of that so-called fuel tank problem.”
factor in this win is that BAM! was not supposed to be there at
all, as they were not on the invited list, or even the list of alternatives.
Why was BAM! not on the initial list?
don’t really know. We, as in BAM!, met all of the criteria
to be accepted. Last year we did the race as a team, but instead
of being under the BAM! name we did it in conjunction with Orbit,
as the invite was under the Orbit name. Even though we were clear
that it was a BAM! effort, it was recognized by the ACO as an Orbit
“Thankfully for us, Alex Job had an invite
that he was not able to take up owing to some funding issues. So
we got together and with the help of Porsche, we got it all to work
out, but in the end, it was classified as an AJR effort, because
that is who the entry is for. So, the credit and the automatic entry
for 2006 will still be for AJR.” Thus, even though they have
had success under the Orbit banner and also with AJR, BAM!, is in
essence a team that does not exist in the eyes of the ACO.
But, in many ways, BAM! almost did not exist this
season. “It was January and we still didn’t have a deal
secured for the 2005 season. I remember sitting down one Friday,
saying that if we didn’t have a signed deal by the end of
that day, that would be it. I’d have to lock the doors. Thankfully
the deal came through that afternoon, and here we are.”
Here, is what
became an exclusive deal to run and develop the Yokahama ADVAN tires
for the GT2 class Porsches in the ALMS. The goal is to have a tire
developed and ready for customers by the end of the season. So far
in ALMS competition, wins have not yet happened, but as indicated
by the results at Infineon and Portland, considerable progress is
being made. Nevertheless, the Yokahama tires were ideal for Le Mans.
“It appeared under the conditions that we were running, the
Yokahama tires were actually quicker than the Michelins. At Le Mans,
even though it was hot, the nature of the track allowed the tires
to sufficiently cool on the long straights and to hold up very well.”
In what at first may have been viewed on the surface
as a disadvantage, the Yokahama tires actually became an advantage
in the end.
Unfortunately for Tim, this deal came about just
as the ALMS introduced limits on test dates for teams. “We
as a team were allowed six dates and we have nearly used those up.
Additional dates are allowed for the tire manufacturers and also
the car constructors, so maybe we can still get a few in, but time
is getting to be tight.”
But despite the testing limitations, Tim feels that
the tires are getting better suited for the American tracks. The
progress has been slowed by race accidents and the logistics of
having tires produced in Japan, but progress is being made, especially
towards the heat issues.
indications were that the traditional black/red ADVAN markings were
a one off at Infineon, it is now possible that this color scheme
may continue for a good part of the remainder of the year. You can
be sure that Yokahama is proud of its success at Le Mans and is
anxious to let the public know about that success.
Leo Hindery was instrumental in getting your team
where it is now, but he is becoming a rare breed, being a gentleman
driver, isn’t he?
went into Le Mans, knowing that it would be his last race, so winning
it for and with him was pretty special. It is unfortunate that it
appears that there is just no space for gentleman drivers such as
him anymore. The ALMS has become too competitive and too expensive
for a driver such as himself. But it isn’t just the ALMS.
Grand Am, which was supposed to be a more affordable formula, is
becoming too expensive and competitive for gentleman drivers.
“Here in the States, 80% of the possible funding
goes into NASCAR, 10% into the open wheel series (IRL and Champ
Car) and we in the ALMS are left to fight over the last 10%, with
Grand Am and other series such as SPEED GT. This is a difficult
country to develop a series such as the ALMS. The desired demographics
are the Target and Wall Mart crowd. The crowd that is into NASCAR.
Sportscar racing has always had a higher and more limited demographic,
that is more difficult to sell.”
may not be as noticeable is also the absence of the European teams
that had been running in the ALMS (Tim having some fun at Sebring,
left). Yes, there is the LMES, but Tim also believes one of
the problems facing the European teams is the conditions of the
tracks, which are notoriously rougher here.
a car over from Europe and you will be hopeless here. The tracks
are so rough, but that is an advantage for the US teams when they
head over there. They’ve had to deal with the worst. Driving
on a smoother European track all of a sudden becomes easier. Look
at the success that the US (ALMS) based teams have had over there.
But it must be remembered, the competition here is tougher than
anywhere in the world.”
Making a car faster can be an expensive proposition,
but another way of making a car faster is the driver, and with the
addition of Wolf Henzler to the driver line-up, BAM! has been granted
the use of one of the brighter “unknown” up and coming
stars in the sportscar world.
“He was brought to us by Porsche, with the
understanding that he would drive for us this year. So far he has
shown some impressive speed, and it is my understanding that if
things go well for him, there is a good chance that he might be
considered for a position with the factory in the future.”
As to the future, Tim is unsure. He has doubts and
concerns about the sport, but unlike fans, this is his livelihood,
not a distraction. He feels that sportscar racing, in particular,
is very cyclical, and “good series last 10 years or so and
the lesser series generally last less.” It is not that the
good series go away, but they have to go through some changes. So,
what would Tim do if he was the king of sportscar racing?
“I’d take the money and retire to a
warm island somewhere! Really, it is not an easy place to be in.
It appears that the production-based classes are where the future
is. I don’t know, but maybe scrapping the prototypes and going
production-based, like the FIA series, is the way to go. But then
again, you have Porsche jumping into the prototypes now. How many
are they going to sell? Do they expect the customers to come out
of the GT2 class or are they expecting them to come from other places?
I just don’t know.”
to question that comment regarding the prototypes – but Tim
Munday is a GT man. Obviously there are many questions
to be answered about the future, but for now, Tim can be content
with owning the team that was a part of the GT2 class win at Le
Mans in 2005, even if the ACO doesn’t quite recognize that.