The newly formed Capstone Motorsports team will help John Allen increase his support of his alma mater, with the Colorado-based operation utilizing engineering students from the University of Alabama.
Allen has teamed up with co-driver Kris Wilson for the Pirelli GT4 America season, splitting driving duties of the No. 16 Mercedes-AMG GT4 in the Am class this year.
While having previously been run by Rearden Racing, Allen, a 1979 UA College of Engineering graduate, has elected to build up his own team in part to strengthen the at-track internship program that he started several years ago.
“Sports car racing today is about so much more than just driving fast and flat out,” Allen said.
“Along with driver ability, engineering is the most important aspect of success in today’s high-tech arena of sports car racing.
“We established the internship program a couple of years ago to open this world to UA Engineering students that might not be aware this incredible opportunity exists.
“Establishing Capstone Motorsports is another key step in the growth of both our racing team and the internship program. We can’t wait for the season to get started this weekend.”
The Capstone Motorsports name was chosen to reflect the team’s close ties to the University of Alabama.
‘The Capstone’ is a nickname for The University of Alabama coined by former UA President G. H. Denny when he used the reference, meaning ‘the top stone or high point,’ to describe the University as the ‘capstone of the public school system of the state’ in 1913.
Allen and Wilson recorded six podium finishes in the GT4 SprintX Am class, including class wins at Road America, Sonoma Raceway and Virginia International Raceway last year en route to a runner-up finish in the championship.
A familiar group of experienced crew have joined the team.
In addition to Allen and Wilson, lead Capstone personnel includes engineer Grant Barclay, team manager Kelly Brown and crew chief Eric Madsen.
Rick Cameron is another key part of the engineering department and will serve as the main technical interface with the UA engineering interns on race weekends.
“Starting Capstone Motorsports allows us the freedom to really make the University of Alabama engineering internship program an integral part of the team,” Wilson said.
“We just had a test at Sonoma two weeks ago to make sure we have all our processes in place. Everybody seems to be working well together.
“Most of the guys on the team were with us last year running the Mercedes-AMG, so we have built a pretty good notebook of setups for the car.
“You never know how you’re going to stack up against the competition until you get out there and start racing them, but we have a good foundation, and the Mercedes-AMG GT4 seems to do everything well.
“Only two goals for the year: to win races and the championship. Anything less will be a disappointment.”