ACI Motorsports is one of a few teams that take on the challenges of running in multiple series on an SRO Motorsports America race weekend. The team runs in the premier Fanatec GT World Challenge America powered by AWS series and Pirelli GT4 America series.
The two series are known for close racing and deep fields. Points battles often come down to final rounds and race wins are hard fought for throughout the 14 rounds of racing. To be competitive means to be a well-oiled machine that is capable of learning and adapting quickly. ACI Motorsports has shown these elements as it opened the season with podium finishes in both series and collecting accolades as it goes.
A key to ACI Motorsports' success is in the people that make up the team. Team Principal Curt Swearingin works with eight drivers and four cars each SRO America weekend. He’s supported his gentlemen drivers with some of the most well-respected, and winningest, drivers in sports car racing to elevate his team’s capability.
“Andrew Davis, Francis Selldorff, Spencer Pumpelly, and Kay Van Berlo have been indispensable to our team,” Swearingin said. “Their experience and coaching has shaped our approach to each race - each driver is extremely adaptable and simply put, fast. Their knowledge and feel for car setups have been a great advantage; their help has been huge for the team and the Am drivers.”
Building on the foundation of people has allowed Swearingin to get ahead in learning the nuances of the current series the ACI Motorsports team competes in. While Fanatec GT World Challenge America and Pirelli GT4 America run different cars entirely, the team has found similarities in the competition.
“While GT4 and Fanatec require somewhat different mindsets, the two are remarkably similar in terms of competitiveness and strength of the field,” Swearingin said. “Both are very challenging; the difficulty for both sides is the learning curve for elements that we haven’t had much experience with, pit stops especially. Our time in GT3 Cup, Sprint Challenge, and Carrera Cup haven’t incorporated these pieces but it has been fun to learn, grow and adapt to this new environment.”
While ACI Motorsports is always a top team on the grid, its success didn’t come at the hands of lady luck. Swearingin noted the ample preparation has paid dividends. The challenges faced during the season are minimized in part to large overtaking done prior to the 2023 season kicking off.
“In hindsight, the greatest challenge that we’ve encountered was the initial preparations for the SRO season,” Swearingin said. “ACI was founded in 2016, and we’ve much experience with single-make racing, but the foray into SRO came with a significant learning curve.
“As we’ve talked about before - the two series are so competitive, and since our goal is always to come out on top, we had to do serious work in order to ensure that we were up to speed. I think we were able to do that - our debut came with podiums, and while there were some setbacks during the Sonoma event, we definitely came out swinging and ready for more.”
Focused forward, Swearingin sets aside the learning curve when chasing the championship.
“Our goal is always to win championships,” Swearingin said. “Unfortunately, some bad luck has affected us, and we've made some mistakes, but we’ve identified where we need to improve and feel confident that we can attack this uphill battle and dig ourselves out of the disadvantaged position we currently find ourselves in. ACI is motivated and focused, and we feel that we can run up front with the best. But as always, we need to prove it on track; and we are determined to do just that.”
ACI Motorsports and SRO Motorsports America get back to work at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin Friday, Aug. 18 through Sunday, Aug. 20. The break in the schedule allows teams to regroup and for others to take on the CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa.
The endurance event takes place at Circuit de Spa Francorchamps takes place Thursday, June 29 through Sunday, July 2. Watch the CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa on YouTube via the GT World page. Join the community and conversation as Ash Vandelay hosts the Twitch stream on the SRO Motorsports page.