While out at Mid-Ohio for the Diamond Cellar Classic, Continental Tire and Rolex series races this last weekend I spent some time talking to I-MOTO crew chief Tom Badger. While talking about the cars, and what they can and can’t modify on them, I noticed that they run the stock shifter assembly and shift knob. While the rules dictate the stock shifter assembly, cables and linkage must remain OEM, there was no rule requiring the knob to stay stock. Well, it just so happened that I had a few with me so, I offered one up for them to test during the final practice session on Friday. Once he felt it he was instantly intrigued and agreed to put it in a car but, he had to get approval from the drivers first. He then proceeded to forewarn me that the drivers are very finicky and picky about what the crew changes on the cars and that if they chose not to use it, that I shouldn’t be butt hurt. I totally understood and the offer was pitched to a few of the drivers who really liked the look and feel but, graciously declined. Then, driver of the #31 car Pierre Kleinubing got a hold of it, and agreed to try it during practice. Needless to say, I was pretty thrilled.
So, I helped one of the crew members get it installed and off Pierre went, on to the track for practice.
He was out on the track for several laps and then came in to change drivers, and so the crew could collect some data from the car. As soon as he climbed out, removed his helmet and safely gear he came right over to me with a huge smile on his face and big thumbs up for how much he like the improved performance of the shifter with the JBR heavy knob installed. He was air shifting like he was banging through the gears to demonstrate to me how much better it was. I was just ecstatic.
It wasn’t long after that Tom came by, leaned in and quietly asked me if I had two more and that the other drivers had to have one now too. We laughed and headed back to the paddock where we installed them in the 30 and 32 cars.
Tom and I discussed other areas of the car that JBR manufactures parts for and we hope that this is just the beginning of our relationship with I-MOTO Racing.