KMW Motorsports with TMR Engineering Increases Momentum ahead of TCR Debut

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

The 2019 Michelin Pilot Challenge season will kick off this Friday with the four-hour BMW Endurance Challenge at Daytona International Speedway. KMW Motorsports with TMR Engineering is keen on a strong performance as the Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR makes it's North American debut with the No. 3 car of Alex Popow and Alex Papadopulos and the No. 5 of Tim Lewis Jr. and Roy Block.

Throughout the winter months, Block and Lewis Jr. have put in over 1000km of testing the pair of Guliettas as they worked on developing team chemistry and dialing in a strong baseline for the season.  No stranger to the IMSA paddock, Block will be entering his fourth season in the Michelin Pilot Challenge and second in TCR. After taking a ten-year hiatus to start a family, this will mark Lewis Jr's return to competition full-time. The last time the Floridian competed was in 2008, driving a Pontiac GXP by Pratt and Miller in the Grand-am Rolex SportsCar series.

While the No. 3 Guilietta didn't take part this month's Roar Before the 24, both Popow and Papadopulos were able to log their first laps just days later at Palm Beach International Raceway. Throughout the one-day test, 19-year old Papadopulos showed tremendous strides in his first time not only driving the Guiletta, but driving a front wheel drive car. Once paired with sports car racing veteran, Popow, the duo will be ones to watch at the 3.56-mile Florida circuit.

KWM Motorsports with TMR Engineering may be a new name to most IMSA fans, the group breaks up into many familiar pieces. With a partnership that spans 30-years, Louis Milone [TMR] and Kevin Wheeler [KMW] have been part of the driving forces behind many programs including Champion Racing Audi, Rebel Rock Racing, and RS1. The duo - along with the engineer of the No. 3 car, Marcos DeLeon - most recently supported Compass Racing's championship-winning Audi RS3 LMS TCR program.

This week's event marks not only the IMSA debut, but the North American debut of the Alfa Romeo Gulietta TCR built by Romeo Ferraris S.r.l of Milan, Italy. In an effort to support the program, Romeo Ferraris' designer and constructor, Marco Ferraris, along with his lead engineer, Matteao Moro will be on site throughout the weekend.

The KWM Motorsports with TMR Engineering team will kick things off Thursday, Jan. 24, with a full day of practice and qualifying. Cars will take the stage for the BMW Endurance Challenge Friday, January 25, at 12:05 p.m. ET, with the race broadcast set to air Wednesday, Feb. 6 on NBCSN.

Driver Comments:

Alex Popow | Driver No. 3 Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR - "I'm very excited to head to Daytona after driving the car for the first time. The car is very fast and also easy to drive, so I'm sure we will be contenders for some wins. The KMW - TMR team with the Alfa Romeo and the Michelin tires together is a very good match. My co-driver Alex Papadopulos also drove the car for the first time in what was his first time in a front wheel drive car. He impressed every one of us with his lap times and just how fast he adapted to the car. We are on for Daytona- keep an eye on us “

Alex Papadopulos | Driver No. 3 Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR - After spending the day testing the Alfa Romeo for the first time with TMR Engineering I’m very confident headed into Daytona. I was initially worried to see how I would adapt to the front wheel drive system, but by the end of the day I was shocked with the car’s handling and braking. I look forward to Daytona and I think we will be a force to be reckoned with.”

Tim Lewis Jr | Driver, No. 5 Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR - "It was great to be back after ten years away from the sport. The Alfa Romeo has been a great car right out of the box the team did a fantastic job of getting right to work and improving the car within every test. We need to find a little bit of top end speed and we will be right in the mix. I have no doubts that the KMW and TMR boys will give us a perfect car come race time."

Roy Block | Driver, No. 5 Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR - "I'm very excited to enter the season with a new team and racing platform. I'm entering my fourth year racing in IMSA and having seen both highs and lows understand how competitive this series is. I believe we will be very competitive starting at Daytona this week."