Bonilla Signs, Then Wins With, B-K MotorsportsMar 23, 2007
Friday, March 23, 2007 LAKEVILLE, Conn. – Just before the Sebring 12-Hour weekend, instructor Gerardo Bonilla, the 2005 Skip Barber National champion and 2006 Star Mazda Expert Champion, signed with B-K Motorsports to drive in the 2007 IMSA Lites Championship. The team, based in Saukville, Wis., is fielding a multi-car effort in the 2007 IMSA Lites Championship, as well as running the factory Lola Mazda LMP2 entry in the full American Le Mans Series for 2007, going head to head with the formidable Penske, Dyson, Andretti-Green, Fernandez, and Highcroft teams.
Bonilla’s IMSA Lites teammates are Mishael Abbott [SBRS-trained] and Kurt Roehrig, a highly regarded shock engineer who started with Skip Barber.
Bonilla spoke highly of B-K Motorsports: “Bob Bach, Steve Levinsohn [a former Barber Saab/Barber Dodge engineer and crew chief] and the rest of the staff are very passionate about racing. They have the right people and have shown me they are willing to do what it takes to win a championship. I’m looking forward to working with my new teammates and the rest of the B-K Motorsports team. I owe a lot to Skip Barber and my investors for this fantastic career opportunity.’’
‘‘We wanted to have a driver like Gerardo all along, but it wasn’t until recently we learned he was available for 2007,’’ commented Levinsohn, B-K Motorsports team manager. ‘‘Sometimes these things just work out. Obviously, we’re thrilled to have him.’’
Bonilla immediately impressed: In two the IMSA Lites openers at Sebring, in race one he took pole and won handily in his Elan DP02, beating Tonis Kasemets, a former Champ Car driver and Champ Car Atlantic standout. (Abbott and Roehrig were a solid fifth and sixth, respectively.) The starting grid for race two was determined by each driver’s fastest lap in race one, so Bonilla was gridded P2 alongside Kasemets. On a wet track, Bonilla followed Kasemets, who built a bit of a lead, but following a full-course caution, Bonilla went for the lead on the re-start and made it stick, getting his second Lites win of the weekend.
Bonilla had finished second to Marco Andretti in the 2004 Skip Barber National, returning the following year and wining the title. In 2006, Bonilla won his debut Star Mazda Series race at Sebring with Andersen Racing and went on to finish sixth overall.
Bonilla also officially launched his newly updated website, www.gerardobonilla.com.
Rick Roso, pix byTodd McCall & Craig Anderson