BBi Autosports is a California-based Porsche tuner that’s known for taking some of Stuttgart’s greatest machinery to the ragged edge. In its latest mission, it built and prepared a Porsche 911 GT2RS Clubsport to take on the infamous Pikes Peak mountain. And immediately started topping the scoreboards. BBi’s owner Betim Berisha tells us the story.
Betim, can you introduce BBi Autosport to the rest of the world? What kind of company is it?
BBi Autosports is a Southern Californian tuning company that specialises in Porsche and especially 991s. We’ve got 11 employees, five lifts and most of the time we have around 15 cars we’re working on. BBi is best known for taking 911s to the limit and having them do things that were previously considered impossible. We’ve built cars that had 1600bhp, took them to half-mile races, we’ve built race cars, street cars, you name it. We take a holistic approach to tuning, in which everything we do to the car is our own build, that’s fabricated in our engine and CNC machine shop or produced by one of our partners.
Pushing things to the limit to see what’s possible is right up our alley. Is that how the Motul partnership came about, this shared spirit?
First off, we’ve been using Motul for a long time, even before our partnership, through our regular service for our customers. When you take apart an engine after 24 hours of track use, you can see a clear difference between the quality of Motul oil and that of other brands. Having Motul in my car makes me sleep better at night. If there is Motul in the engine and gearbox and something goes wrong on the car I don’t have to second guess the lubricant, I know it’s up to the job. We build a lot of turbocharged engines, and for those you need a lubricant that can lubricate an engine and a glowing hot pair of turbos continuously, which really requires the best product.
Where does the love of 911s come from and especially turbocharged 911s?
I’ve always been in love with 911s ever since I was a kid. The great thing about them is that the car has gone through a very natural evolution. What makes them so great is that they offer a reliable canvas to do a great many things. No offence to those cars, but how many Corvettes do you know that can be good off road? The smaller displacement turbocharged engine is really an evolution of the times and, while we used to do a lot of highly-strung, naturally aspirated engines, we have now developed a preference towards the smaller turbo engines.
Speaking of turbo engines, for this year’s Pikes Peak you built an incredible GT2RS!
Thank you. It actually already started life as a GT2RS Clubsport race car, which we turned into a Pikes Peak car. The circuit car is just way to gnarly to perform at Pikes Peak. So, most of our efforts had gone into making the driver comfortable so he could perform on the mountain. We mainly pulled 65 pounds out of the car, redeveloped the suspension and aerodynamics, and on top of that we had to take into account the lack of oxygen at the top of the mountain. So we had to improve airflow in the car, which meant making some slam modifications to the engine as well as developing an all-new exhaust. The race itself started amazingly. The car performed beautifully, and we were the fastest car on the mountain during qualifying. Unfortunately, during the race itself our luck turned, and our race was prematurely ended by a flat tyre. We’ve got unfinished business and we’ll be coming back next year with a two-car effort!
What does Pikes Peak mean to you as an American motorsports’ enthusiast?
Pikes Peak is a unique event. First of all, it’s the timing. Most sessions are run in the early morning. Which means you wake up every day at 2am and the first car is on the road at 5am. You’ve got time to do one or two runs and, when the cars come back down the mountain at 8am or 9am, the road opens, and you go back to work on the car. It’s not a road course. It’s a racetrack on a bumpy canyon road, and that makes it all the more challenging.
© Picture credits: Larry Cheng, BBi