KMW Motorsports with TMR Engineering Toils More than Two Years to Claim First TCR Win
By Godwin Kelly
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – After nearly three years of hard work and development, along with solid race strategy and a bit of luck, Alfa Romeo scored a history-making victory in the rain at iconic Road America.
Competing in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge Road America 120 on Aug. 7, the No. 5 KMW Motorsports with TMR Engineering Giulietta Veloce scored its initial Touring Car (TCR) class win and secured Alfa Romeo’s first-ever series triumph.
“This win means so much to the team,” said Louis Milone, who co-owns the operation with fellow veteran engineer Kevin Wheeler. “Most of the core members have been together for 15 years, some even longer. We have worked on factory programs and won races and championships for decades. It was always a bucket-list item to put a pro racing trophy on the wall with our own names on the entry list, and now we have achieved that.”
Roy Block and Tim Lewis Jr. co-drive the No. 5, with Lewis bringing the win home during the final stint in a wet two-hour race.
“This was just a phenomenal day for the team,” Lewis said. “This is our 26th race together. Two and a half years of running together and just honing our skills and learning to work together as a team; finding the best guy for each positon on our team, and just execute at every race. It’s a great feeling to finally get to that top step.
“Just grit. I mean, you just don’t give up. The first year, the second year and even the beginning of this season, we got kicked in the teeth a few times. Louis just has a never-give-up attitude. He just kept digging and digging and digging. It paid off.”
Milone has seen plenty of success in top-level sports car racing, including serving as team leader of the Audi team that finished first and third overall at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2005. “Bored” of equipment steeped in racing success, he took on the Alfa Romeo challenge at the beginning of 2019 and his team is the sole brand representative in the Michelin Pilot Challenge.
“Up until 2018, we worked with Audi,” he said. “We were the Audi factory team from 2000 to 2008 with Champion Racing. I knew a guy with two Alfas but his funding didn’t work out, so I bought them from him. These cars were built for sprint racing, like 30-40 minutes at a time.
“When we started running them two to four hours, we were having a lot of little mechanical problems. We led a lot of laps in 2019 and in 2020. We should have won a lot of races. We’ve been up front at Daytona every single year. We were leading both races at Mid-Ohio and lost our turbocharger in both races.”
KMW Motorsports and Alfa Romeo worked together in the offseason to provide the necessary upgrades.
“We told them if they could deliver everything we asked for, we’d buy a couple of cars for 2021,” Milone said. “They did it. They built us a special car.
“We haven’t had a single mechanical problem this year. Our only poor finish was at Daytona and that was due to an accident, not reliability. … If we had gotten that top-three at Daytona, we’d probably be leading in championship points right now.”
As it is, Block and Lewis are tied for second in the TCR standings, 190 points out of the lead with three races remaining. Block said all the hard work is finally paying dividends.
“The last two and a half years has been quite the battle for us in getting the car to where it needed to be,” he said. “What we see now are the results of a lot of people working really, really hard over a long period of time in just about every aspect of the program. We’re just thrilled. We’re humbled. This feeling is incredible.”