Here at Racing to End Alzheimer’s and BimmerWorld, we see racing as a lifestyle. We compete professionally but, for many of our team members, these races are the culmination of a lifetime of dedication to high performance cars, fast straightaways and burnt rubber. This week, we would like to take some time to highlight a friend of ours who lives and breathes motorsports, and who competes at the highest levels of iRacing.
Carrying the colors
Trent Brown is a race engineer who has played a pivotal role in our team’s success. Starting in 2014, Trent and his fellow Roush engineers came on board to build BimmerWorld’s IMSA racecar engines. In 2018, he took over as race engineer for the Racing to End Alzheimer’s ST car that was running in the IMSA series. That season, which ended in a championship, was a special one for all of us, and there is no way it could have happened without Trent Brown.
So, when Trent reached out to us this summer about representing r2endalz in Roush Performance’s Endurance Invitational Series iRacing events, we jumped at the opportunity. Because his grandfather lived with dementia in his later years, Trent noted that the mission of Racing to End Alzheimer's appeals to him on a personal level. As he put it, “the pieces kind of fit together” for him to carry our colors and continue expanding the visibility of our cause.
The siren call of sim
Because of the pandemic and ensuing stay-at-home orders, sim racing has become an increasingly popular sport. The ultra-realistic, virtual racing events are action-packed, adrenaline-fueled matchups; and the Roush endurance races this year have pitted an impressive roster of professional drivers against talented amateurs at simulations of the most iconic racetracks in the world.
This is no walk in the park. Virtual races feature manufacturer spec Ford GT GTLM vehicle models, weather changes, rubber buildup on the track, exact replica shifting points, complicated pit strategies, and the need for multiple drivers in endurance events. It’s an extremely sophisticated world that demands skill, focus, dedication – and a certain amount of luck.
A season filled with surprises
Although Trent has spent most of his career behind the wall, 15 years of sim-racing experience have allowed him to mix it up pretty well with the professional drivers participating in the Roush endurance races. He and his iRacing teammate, Paul Gibson, have performed well in the first four events of the series despite some unique challenges.
At Spa, the team was forced to adapt to connection issues caused by raging thunderstorms. They managed to bring it home in 7th despite a last-minute personnel change. Then, at Suzuka, Trent and Paul were making a run for the podium when they ran into steering wheel connection issues. Needless to say, the resulting inability to turn was detrimental to their standing. As Trent put it, “When the car only goes straight, we hit the wall hard!”
At the Circuit de Barcelona Catalunya, a glitch forced the car to pass under a caution, giving the team a black flag and crucial penalty. Add in a miscalculated pit strategy at Le Mans, and the Roush series has been “a season full of weirdness.”Just for the joy of it
Despite the setbacks, Trent and Paul have consistently shown that they are one of the fastest teams on the track, and their chemistry is unmatched. Cousins and former best men at each other’s weddings, the duo practices together constantly, blocking off at least 20 hours for pre-race prep.
The time invested makes them a better team, but for Trent, iRacing means more than just winning races. “My role has always been to optimize a racecar for the driver. This league has been a total role reversal for me. Switching over to the driving perspective and driving with the same guys that I’d normally see on a screen on top of a pit box…it’s just a lot of fun.”
We are proud to have our Racing to End Alzheimer's livery on Trent and Paul’s car for Roush Performance’s Endurance Invitational Series, including all the loved ones’ names that had been registered as of their first race!
The event is exciting, it’s challenging, and it gives us even more opportunity to interact with the sport we love. Thank you, Trent – and here’s to a life dedicated to, and sustained by, all things racing.