Autohaus ready to attack

Motor sports generally see huge corporate involvement around the globe and Cayman is making steps in that direction.

Gary Huggins

Bromfield turned many heads with his A200.
Photo: Matthew Yates

Autohaus has announced this week that it will be fielding a car to compete in the monthly Time Attack races.

Local racer Gary Bromfield, who normally races a red Acura Integra, has been designated to be the official driver of the car.

The vehicle is a black 2007 Mercedes-Benz A200 Turbo. The car has a four cylinder, 2034CC turbocharged engine that makes some 190hp. The $29,000 car has a six-speed manual transmission, a front-wheel drive layout and weighs some 2,810 pounds.

Bromfield raced the car at the last Time Attack on 25 September. Bromfield did well with the car, posting a time of 61.563 seconds. That mark was the third-best time in the front-wheel drive division.

In fact Bromfield raced the stock car to within ten seconds of established racers like Peter Jurgens, Keith P. Tibbetts III and Wayne Kirkconnell in their modified sports cars.

The Time Attack races are put on by the Cayman Motor sports Association at the end of every month at Jay Bodden’s property on Sparky Drive.

President of Autohaus Christian van der Bol explained how Autohaus was able to get in agreement with Bromfield.

Van der Bol said Bromfield came by the establishment and wanted to test-drive the car with the intention to buy it.

Bromfield, whom van der Bol has known for some time, asked if he could race the car at the next Time Attack event and both men came to an agreement.

As van der Bol states he was not put off by Bromfield’s request.

‘The car is really a fun and zippy car to drive. It is a little unique looking but it’s just ahead of its time. It is unbelievably safe with many benchmark concepts and world firsts.

‘Of course Gary, an autocross junkie, asked if he could run it and I said sure.’

Initially Bromfield was met with a chilly reception by local racers. The crowd could be heard snickering and joking about the car’s place at the race. Some even joked that it looked like Gary was talking on his cell phone using the car’s hands-free device during a run.

By night’s end Bromfield’s performance left van der Bol and many race regulars impressed. Among them was the Unlimited Class winner on the night Gary Huggins.

Huggins mentioned that since the A-Class did so well that he would see about getting a BMW 1 Series out to race to teach the A200 a lesson.

Bromfield, who is related to the Bromfields in the education system, explains how his sponsorship deal with Autohaus is currently set-up.

‘Basically Chris is giving the car to me to race. He will keep the car, do the upkeep of it and most likely have it on display on the Autohaus car lot.’

Bromfield went on to say that though the details and specifics are yet to be worked out there are plans to modify the car and race it internationally.

‘Though it’s technically Chris’s car I have a say in what modifications are going to be done to the car. Some of the things we’re looking to do is put on are larger sway bars [to keep the chasis rigid through the turns], Brabus lowering springs and new tires.

‘I would like to see the car go abroad to race in places like the Dover race track in Jamaica but we’ll have to work that out.’

Meanwhile Time Attack organizers say the event could see a potential ‘corporate class.’

Aside from Bromfield racing the Autohaus car, there was a presence by two other companies.

Paul Bodden Heavy Equipment donated an automatic Volvo S40 for the race and Automotive Art sponsored the modification and maintenance of it.

The plan for that car is reportedly to offer it to other companies so that they can have five employees run the car in a separate class at a regular Time Attack event after going through a ‘skills day’.

Two Automotive Art employees, in Shaun Mitchell and David Terry, were the first to race the turbocharged car.

Word of Bromfield’s performance even reached Aaron Bernardo of Eurocar. Bernardo would say the company has a Renault Clio V-6 that is expected to be raced at the next event.

Van der Bol has already gotten positive feedback in the automotive industry about his involvement in the local racing scene. He says he hopes other European cars come out to compete to offer competition to the Japanese cars.

‘We just have to get the Audi guys to join up so we can improve the ‘diplomatic relations’ between the Europeans and the Japanese because there may be war on the horizon.

‘All I can tell everyone is to bring it on because we will be ready.’