Before the start of the 2022 racing season, Brent Mosing and Tim Probert were looking at other series outside of IMSA and considering whether they may fare better elsewhere. The pair, who are both Bronze-rated drivers, knew they could not continue to compete with the rising level of competition in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge. As they weighed their options for next season, IMSA announced the Bronze Cup for MPC and made their decision simple.
They are not the only duo who are driving in Michelin Pilot Challenge because of the new Bronze Cup class. Ramin Abdolvahabi and Rob Ecklin of Automatic Racing both signed on for a full season with their attention focused solely on the Bronze Cup.
An increase in competitive, young talent mixed with gentleman drivers whose primary career in life is not racing forms an interesting dynamic in the series. Mosing and Probert, who are both in their 60s, began to question if they could continue to improve at the same rate as the rest of the field.
“I just don’t know how much better at our age and with the time that we have to put into the sport, how much better we could get,” Mosing told RACER. “We truly were looking at other series this year, and they popped up with this Bronze Cup which grabbed us.”
The creation of the Bronze Cup surprised Probert, but it quickly began to make sense to him. Prior to joining IMSA as president, John Doonan oversaw Mazda’s Motorsports operation in North America. This included the Mazda MX-5 Cup, which introduced its own Bronze Cup subclass.
“After thinking about it, John (Doonan) probably drew on his experience there and also looking at some of the other series where it’s actually worked quite effectively to bring additional drivers into the sport,” Probert said.
The addition of the class could also lead to an increase in the entries, because it reduces the cost for both drivers and the team. Rather than having one amateur-rated driver who brings the cash and another pro-rated driver who does not, the team can have two paying drivers, splitting the cost for all involved.
“The Bronze Cup just brings another dimension to us and really creates additional interest,” Mosing said. “I think it will potentially bring more Am-rated pairings into the sport because it essentially lowers the cost for participants if both of you are paying your share rather than having you pay for the whole team.”
Probert and Mosing had two top 10 finishes last season and usually enter each race targeting either inside or just outside the top 10 as a good result. The change to Bronze Cup does not mean they have forgotten that goal, nor does it mean they ignore the other, non-Bronze Cup cars.
“Hell no, we’re comparing ourselves to everybody. We want to do as well as we can,” Probert said. While acknowledging he and Mosing may not beat the other drivers on sheer pace, he takes pride in the fact that the team minimizes its mistakes, stays penalty-free, and spends little time in the pits.
Last season, the No. 65 Murillo Racing team won an award from Michelin for spending the least amount of time on pit road of any competitor in the series. Every member of the team’s crew was given a free set of Michelin tires as a prize. It’s little victories, such as that reward, or a clean race, that keeps the team going.
“We told ourselves that as long as we are having fun, we’re going to keep doing it,” Mosing said. “Every year we’ve come back, and this year is no different. Now this year, we did go back to our team owners, our wives, and get permission to go back. But IMSA has brought us back over and over again because of the way they run things. They really run a good show and they really seem to care about the way everybody feels and the way everybody races.”