Mahopac, NY- SMR Racing will be back for its third season in the F2000 Championship Series with Tim Paul in the no. 06 CellMark Paper Van Diemen. Again teaming with Glenn Phillips and GTP Motorsports, the squad hopes to improve on their sixth place Championship effort in 2011.
Paul is hoping to build on his breakout 2011 season, that saw a podium at Lime Rock, two top fives and six top tens, along with a near win at VIRginia International Raceway in the rain.
“The goal for 2012 is to podium at every track we run and see where that puts us in the second half of the schedule, and then make adjustments and decisions appropriate to that situation,” said Paul. “Hopefully we'll be hunting for the Championship.”
The offseason for SMR was highlighted by a winter trip down to Sebring.
“This year will take lots and lots of effort. We went to Sebring just for seat time, and we've really worked on our communication as a team, between Glenn, Michael (Witson), my crew chief, and I. It’s going to be a good year,” Paul added.
After many years of Sprint and Midget oval racing on asphalt and dirt, the SMR team tackled putting together an F2000 Championship Series effort from scratch in 2010.
Paul had never driven a formula car, or even driven a road course before, deciding to switch gears and join the F2000 Series.
Always a threat while driving different cars on different tracks, the first year of road racing proved difficult, but educational.
In 2011 the combination of GTP, SMR, Paul's growing confidence in the car and talented young crew chief Michael Witson's experience in setup and repair began to pay off.
Paul and the SMR team ran the SCCA Sebring club races on the Hoosier F2000 spec tires and setups in early January of this year and brought home a second place trophy before what the team described as an “ill-advised brake-check by an Atlantic car” in the second race took them out before the green flag.
“Plenty of experience was gained in Florida,” noted Paul.
For 2012 SMR, hopes to run a two-car team and is considering several drivers for at least part-time entries in the identically prepared bright orange and green second car.
The 14-race, seven-weekend 2012 season starts at VIRginia International Raceway, April 12-15.