On Friday, New Jersey-based Bodymotion Racing announced their 2017 racing plans. As in 2016, the team will field two entries in the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge. One will be a Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport in the Grand Sport (GS) class, while the other will be a regular Porsche Cayman in the Street Tuner (ST) class.
For the Cayman GT4 Clubsport, the lineup is unchanged. 2014 GS Champion Trent Hindman will return to the No. 12 along with teammate Cameron Cassels. For the 21-year old Hindman, 2016 may have been the most successful year of his career. Despite missing the season opener at Daytona, Hindman (along with Cassels) won the first three races they competed in (Sebring, Laguna Seca and Watkins Glen) and finished on the podium six times. That performance was good enough for Hindman and Cassels to finish joint third in GS points.
Outside of the No. 12, Hindman won five races and claimed the 2016 Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America Pro-Am class championship. Finally, Hindman reunited with Fall-Line Motorsports and won the SCCA GT2 National Championship at Mid-Ohio in September.
In the ST entry, 22-year old Devin Jones will return to the No. 31 Porsche for his second year in the car. However, he will have a new teammate. Replacing Jason Rabe will be Drake Kemper, who drove part-time for ALARA Racing in 2016.
Jones is happy to be back in the No. 31 for 2017.
“I couldn’t be more excited to be back with Bodymotion for the 2017 season,” Jones said in a press release. “I believe in this team and the people within it. We had a solid season last year but we want more. Many improvements have been made during the off season and we are more determined than ever. I believe with the support from VeriStor once again in 2017 our Cayman can fight for a championship this year as we better our top five results from 2016.”
For NASCAR fans, note that Jones has one career start in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. As an 18-year old back in 2013, Jones raced in the Kroger 250 at Martinsville in his own truck, but using the number and points from Sharp Gallaher Racing. With sponsorship from the aforementioned VeriStor, Jones started 26th and finished four laps down in 24th.
As a result of Friday’s announcement, Kemper will have his first full-time ride in the CTSC. He’s grateful for the opportunity, but deferential to those who helped him get here.
“First off I need to thank Mazda for being my racing family for the last four years,” Kemper stated. “They allowed me to start my professional racing career. That being said, I’ve been racing Porsches since day one. My first racecar was a Spec Boxster, I absolutely love Porsches and racing a mid-engine Cayman in ST is going to be an absolutely awesome, but comfortable transition for me. What better team to sign with than Bodymotion [Racing]. They understand the platform in-and-out, racing in both GS and ST. The knowledge the team’s crew and drivers have will be a huge advantage for us this season. I fully expect that with hard work and dedication, we can win this championship. I’m so excited to enter a full season of the CTSC and race among some of the best drivers in the country. This is a huge honor, and I’d like to humbly thank Bodymotion [Racing] for this opportunity.”
With Rabe and Jones driving, the team finished fifth in ST points in 2016 with a second-place finish at Watkins Glen in July as the team’s best. Rabe won his first career pole at Road Atlanta in September to close out the season. In this tweet, you can see Rabe talking to us prior to the season-ending Road Atlanta 150.
— Phil Allaway (@Critic84) December 30, 2016
Kemper started three races in the ALARA Racing No. 34 Mazda MX-5 in 2016. The results didn’t show his pace (his best efforts were a pair of 18th-place finishes at Road America and Road Atlanta), but he was quick. At Road Atlanta, Kemper qualified second in ST. Also, you could not miss Kemper in the paddock, as he had his fire suit designed to look like a tuxedo, including a non-screenprinted green bow-tie and pocket square at the 5:30 mark of this Periscope video.
As for Rabe, he was recently the subject of an interesting feature at IMSA.com that talks about his drive to have a career in motorsports, which included a stint where he lived in his car in New Jersey. He has not announced any plans for the 2017 season as of yet.
The 2017 IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge season begins on Jan. 27 with the BMW Endurance Challenge at Daytona. The round at Daytona International Speedway is one of two four-hour races on the schedule.