Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Pirelli World Challenge: M1 Racing to field Audi R8 for Walt Bowlin starting at Toronto

M1 Racing Press Release

DALLAS — M1 Racing is pleased to announce a new corporate partnership with Tampa Bay Jaw Surgery that includes fielding Walt Bowlin's Audi R8 LMS ultra in the Pirelli World Challenge Championship's GT-A class.
Bowlin, of Tarpon Springs, Fla., is the 2012 Star Mazda expert class champion and a practicing oral and maxillofacial surgeon. The GT-A class, which debuted this year, recognizes gentlemen drivers that compete in the GT class.

Bowlin plans to make his World Challenge debut in the doubleheader that is part of Honda Indy Toronto July 18-20 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

"I chose to race in World Challenge because it has the top sports car drivers in the world, representing the world's finest sports car manufacturers," Bowlin said. "I feel that sponsors in World Challenge obtain great exposure via their excellent TV package.

"My goal for this season is very simple — get faster every weekend," he added. "Another reason that I chose World Challenge is it's a sprint race. It's an all-out scramble to the finish, and very much like what I'm used to in the Formula Mazda championship."

"We've always enjoyed working with Walt," said Paul Mata, owner of the Dallas-based team. "I'm very interested in seeing what he can do in a car that is a better fit for him physically than a Pro Mazda car."

Bowlin is 6 feet 3 inches tall.

Married and the father of two girls and one boy, the 51-year-old driver is a graduate of East Tennessee State University (Bachelor of Science), Loyola University (Doctor of Dental Surgery) and the University of Chicago (Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery).

In addition to Tampa Bay Jaw Surgery, Bowlin's #23 Audi will be sponsored by Jet Concepts.

The team is very excited about its new car. Since its inception, the success of the Audi R8 LMS has been significant throughout the GT3 racing format worldwide, including victory in the GT class in the 2013 edition of the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

M1 Racing and Mata are best known for their work with formula cars, especially in Star Mazda and its successor, the Pro Mazda Championship. The team will continue its work in the Mazda Road to Indy development series in addition to tackling World Challenge.

Bowlin drove an M1 Racing-prepared Pro Mazda car to Expert class victories in the Pro Mazda doubleheader last July on the 1.755-mile, 11-turn temporary street course at Toronto.

When he returns this year for the World Challenge portion of the program he'll have just two 30-minute practice sessions at 9:15 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. on Friday, July 18 prior to qualifying at 4:35 p.m. that day. The standing start for the first 50-minute race is slated for 11:25 a.m. Saturday, July 19. The second half of the doubleheader is scheduled to get the green flag at 12:15 p.m. on Sunday, July 20. He'll be one of 13 drivers in the GT-A class.

The races will be broadcast on the NBC Sports Network on Sunday, Aug. 10 at 1:30 p.m. Eastern, with a rerun on Saturday, Aug. 16 at 12 a.m. Eastern. Live timing and scoring will be available on the series' Web site at world-challenge.com.

The team's Web site is at m1racing.co, while updates are posted on the team's Facebook page.

Bowlin said that his work schedule might stand in the way of him competing in certain World Challenge events on occasion. Funded drivers wishing to explore opportunities to drive the Audi in races in which he can't participate may get more information by contacting Mata at pmata77@gmail.com.

About Audi of America and the Audi R8 LMS/ultra

Audi began a new chapter in 2009 with the introduction of the Audi Sport customer racing program. For the first time it was possible for motorsport customers to acquire a race car designed for customer racing events. Since its inception, the success of the R8 LMS has been significant throughout the GT3 racing format worldwide, including victory in the GT class in the 2013 edition of the Rolex 24 at Daytona. The Audi R8 LMS shares more than 50 percent of its parts with the Audi R8 street car, including the naturally aspirated V10 5.2-liter engine, the Audi Space Frame and a variety of other components.

Audi of America, Inc. and its U.S. dealers offer a full line of German-engineered luxury vehicles. AUDI AG is among the most successful luxury automotive brands globally. Audi was a top-performing luxury brand in Europe during 2012, and broke all-time company sales records in the United States. Through 2016, AUDI AG will invest about $17 billion on new products and technologies.

Visit audiusa.com or audiusanews.com for more information regarding Audi vehicle and business issues.

Photo credit: M1 Racing