The #2 Starworks Motorsport BMW-Riley of Alex Popow and Ryan Dalziel has won the 2013 Brickyard Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in spectacular fashion and for a second time by the team. It is the teams fifth straight podium and the 2 car continues to lead the 2013 Rolex Sports Car Series team championship on 229 points (with a 10 points lead). With todays result, the team also takes third place in the three-round North American Endurance Championship.The teams sister 8 car of Pierre Kaffer and Brendon Hartley drove a near perfect race had it not been for an issue with the exhaust from half race distance meaning that they had to settle for a fantastic, yet disappointing, P4 finish.At the beginning of the week Starworks announced its return to BMW power. The 2 car was fitted with the new BMW 4.5 L engine, whilst the #8 Starworks had the current 5L power plant. The crew and Dinan Cars worked tirelessly to fit the new engines in time for the weekend and to run what were essentially familiarisation laps during the free practice and qualifying sessions. On Thursday the 8 car qualified P8 with Pierre Kaffer behind the wheel, while Alex Popow qualified P12 in #2 Starworks.Following an alleged jump start to the Brickyard Grand Prix this evening, Alex Popow served an early drive through penalty in the 2 car from P7 to run P13. Pierre Kaffer in #8 Starworks made a good start and was soon running in P7 as the field settled in to the first stint of the three-hour endurance race. Pierre then led the pack as the other teams pitted while the race was under its first full course caution, however he lost out to those on new Continental rubber to fall back to P3 at the re-start.
Alex charged up to P9 and had enough BMW power to attack and take P8 and then the #99 Corvette for P7 before the second full course yellow was shown. The 2 cars scheduled driver change to Ryan Dalziel came when the DP pit road opened with just under 2 hours of racing remaining. As the race went green, Pierre moved up to P9 while Ryan the hit the gas to take P7 from Kanaan in the #02 Ganassi.The race continued under a third yellow for 20 minutes during which time Ryan was in P5 and Pierre in P7. With 1 hour 32 minutes remaining, the race restarted with Ryan now up to P2 and all over the back of the #10 Corvette ahead and Pierre in P8 in the #8 Starworks.
Brendon Hartley took over from Pierre for the last hour of competition when the pit road opened for all classes under the fourth caution of the day. When the lights went green, a hard fight between the leaders led to contact between Angelelli and Allmendinger, allowing Ryan to take over P1 with 49 minutes left on the clock. At the last round of pit stops, Brendon took the race lead in the 8 car while Ryan brought the #2 Starworks in for fuel only. With the pit stops over, Ryan was running in P2 behind the non-stopper #77 Barrichello and Brendon was on a charge in P8.With less than 20 minutes remaining everyone was in fuel conservation mode, but no one more so than race leader, Barrichello. He had to pit allowing the #2 Starworks team strategy to play out and Ryan to take lead of the race. As darkness descended over the 13-turn Indianapolis Motor Speedway track Brendon Hartley fought, with a damaged exhaust, from P7 up the field to an amazing P4. Ryan Dalziel kept on pushing in the 2 car to cross the yard of bricks at the chequered flag to win the teams second Brickyard Grand Prix and its first top step of the podium for 2013.Peter Baron, Team Owner: I am so thrilled for everyone; this win is great. We cant thank everyone at BMW North America and Dinan Cars enough for getting us here in a week. Our crew was also unbelievable to get to grips so quickly with a new engine, a different handling car and the drivers were all amazing too. It feels so great that we are kissing the bricks again and now, with a 10 points lead in the Championship, this win could not have come at a better time for our title bid.Alex Popow, #2 Starworks: Its amazing, a real come back! We come back to Indy and I have my second victory and my second here! I want to thank BMW and Dinan who put us back on top; its been a crazy week and it feels very good. The whole team has worked very hard and I am very happy that it has paid off for them and for our championship fight going forward. Brendon Hartley, #8 Starworks: I dont know how we managed what we did with a broken exhaust! The car was fantastic; it had so much pace and the team did an awesome job to get the BMW engine in the car in such a short period of time. I am very proud to be part of the team and really happy for the 2 car for their win, but am obviously disappointed that we were not with them on the podium, as we should have been had we not have had our issues.Pierre Kaffer, #8 Starworks: The boys did a very good job once again. With the new BMW engine they adapted really well. Unfortunately, we changed our gear ratios for the race which turned out to be not a good idea, and we had delimiter on straight, then a broken exhaust, so we were lucky to finish this race really! I am really enjoying the DP car and am very happy for Alex and Ryan. It is a great result for the team with P1 and P4, and I am pleased with our performance and with Brendons race. It could have obviously been better for us and we could have been on the podium, but I will hopefully be back in a DP car soon! Thank you to all the Starworks guys.The Brickyard Grand Prix was also the third and final round of the 2013 North American Endurance Championship (with the Daytona 24 & Six Hours of The Glen). The #2 Starworks with Alex Popow came third in the Championship with 39 points, only one point behind Action Express Racing and winners Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates on 44 points.
The next round of the Rolex Series is the VisitFlorida.com Sports Car 250, Road America, Elkhart Lake, WI on August 8-10, 2013 at 5:00 PM ET and shall be broadcast on SPEED (LIVE).