Sebring Highs and Lows

Martin Barkey and Brett Sandberg face adversity in Sebring race

Caledon East, March 23, 2018

The AWA racing team with drivers Martin Barkey and Brett Sandberg took lessons learned from the IMSA Sebring official test and applied them going into the Sebring race event. After the first session it was apparent from the drivers debrief sheets that we rolled off the trailer with a killer MBRP Mustang GT4 and could focus on fine tuning going into qualifying and the race.

Under the tent at AWA Racing Team. Photo @Matt Blasi

Martin Barkey took the wheel for his first IMSA GS qualifying session of 2018 and put it together when it counted. Earning P9 in this 28 car field, a mere 0.2 seconds off P3 over a 2:00+ lap, is a good indication of just how tight the competition is.

Prepared, confident and focused. Martin Barkey suits up for qualifying. Photo @Matt Blasi
Martin Barkey on route to P9 in his first IMSA GS qualifying of 2018. Photo @Ford Performance

The drop of the green flag saw Martin Barkey challenging for position and making some well executed moves. Barkey advanced as high as 4th before pitting a straight and true Mustang GT4 at the 50 minute mark for 4 tires, fuel and driver change.

Martin Barkey moving up the field to P4 in his opening stint. Photo @Jordan Lenssen

Brett Sandberg who had shown great pace leading up to the race, wasn’t able to showcase what he could really do. By lap 2 of his stint, straight line speed had dropped 5mph and the Mustang’s V8 was no longer firing on all cylinders. Despite multiple system resets and a quick inspection in the pits, the only option was to continue running off pace in hopes of collecting as many points as possible. In what turned out to be a race of attrition, staying in the game netted a P14 finish and made the most of a difficult situation.

AWA Technicians Andrew Stittle and David Sibbitt complete final pre race checks. Photo @Matt Blasi

The team now works to understand the failure and regroup for round 3 at Mid Ohio in May.

Brett Sandberg showed great pace leading up to the race but engine issues didn’t allow him to capitalize on race day. Photo @Matt Blasi

Catch all the action from Sebring On Sunday, March 25, tune in to FS1 at 9:30 AM ET for the second round of the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge, the Alan Jay Automotive Network 120 at Sebring International Raceway.

Tim White and Andrew Wojteczko working to make the most of a difficult situation. Photo @Matt Blasi

Be sure to follow along on the team website at, on Instagram at awaracingteam and on Facebook at AWAracingteam. Also be sure to check out for all of your performance exhaust needs. Do you want to get behind the wheel? Email for details.

Photos by Matt Blasi, Jordan Lenssen and Ford Performance.