The St. Petersburg Grand Prix is more than just a race; it's a celebration of a sport that draws all types of fans from the Tampa, St. Petersburg, Florida area, and a local entry of Team ACP Tangerine is part of that draw.
Steve Weber has made St. Petersburg his home for the last few years as he grew a software company. Now that he is comfortable allowing some free time, Weber has reacquainted himself with his love of racing and connected with Ken Goldberg of Team ACP. The pair have similar tales of becoming teammates, with Goldberg taking a break from motorsports before starting Team ACP Tangerine with co-owner Catesby Jones.
Weber and Goldberg also have similar goals, good results and plenty of fun.
“I’m approaching this season with the mindset to get back up to speed and find what fits best,” Weber said. “I will compete in the U.S. and Europe with different race formats on different tracks across four series. From there, we’ll figure out 2024, but this year, I’d like to aim for top three finishes and fight for a few wins.”
“I also want to enjoy this, which is why I’m with ACP and SRO. It’s about the people, the series, the equipment, and communication; ACP does it all well. We all have options for what we do with our free time, so this needs to be worth it. I’m excited to join SRO because it is fan-friendly and accommodating.”
Goldberg / Jones always have their team principal and driver hat on to keep their team light-hearted and hard-working.
“I want to see us fighting in the top three and, of course, have everyone be safe,” Goldberg said. “I think our team is one of the best places for drivers wanting to get into or back into racing. It’s all about finding the proper core of people to help the team and the drivers grow.”
“You have to find people who make a commitment to the team, and you reciprocate that commitment. We keep it fun. It only takes a couple of races to find the good people and know if things will work.”
The duo is representing BMW in a pair of BMW M4 GT4 race cars. Team ACP Tangerine is a significant customer team of BMW with its global racing program. The brand itself is as much a part of what Goldberg described as their sport, hobby and addiction as anything else.
“We’re basically like brand ambassadors,” Goldberg said. “I’m a big BMW fan. I’ve driven them for a while. I had a BMW M240i, then a BMW M2 CSR, and now I have four BMW M4 GT4s, as well as 4 of the new models of M4 GT4 cars being built. We have a great relationship with them and appreciate all they do for us. In the U.S., we can receive the second round of cars when they’re delivered next month, but in Europe, we’re part of the first round of teams who receive their cars.”
Goldberg runs the No. 12 Team ACP/ All County Paving National M4 gt4 BMW. He is proud to be behind the wheel of a race car representing his company, All County Paving, which also supports and sponsors Team ACP. Weber is behind the No. 152 Tampa Bay Air BMW wheel. The latter sponsor is very local to the track. The SRO paddock backs up to the Tampa Bay Air hanger space—delighting the owners.
“Ron Methot is a great friend and supporter,” Weber said. “I started using Tampa Bay Air Charter when I moved to St. Petersburg. They came highly recommended. They fly Pilatus PC12s, which is great for getting me to all the races and quick trips to relax all over the Bahamas. Ron is a big sim racer himself. He loves watching our races and following the team. It’s a great sponsor to have.”
With his sponsor next to the track, Weber expects a high volume of people to join in the festivities of the Grand Prix week. He’s anticipating 300-400 people visiting Team ACP at the track. Goldberg jested the Weber house would be team hospitality for the weekend. Though with the extensive guest list, it feels part truth.
“We’ve hired a friend to act as a host to help and the team always travels with their Chef,” Weber said. “After attending the race for the last 20 years, I’ve invited everyone to sit in the car and visit the team. My wife told me to be careful how many people I invite out, but it's true if you come by, you can sit in the car. I want everyone to have fun and see it up close.”
“I’m walking the track this week since it's mostly set up now. I noticed that Turn 3 and Turn 4 had to be repaved from the apartment complex they had built. There were some plumbing issues after they built it.”
In addition, to track walks, Weber and Goldberg take plenty of time on the simulator learning tracks as fast and as well as possible before arrival. The two are planning to run select GT America powered by AWS races, but upon appearing at those races, Team ACP Tangerine will be prepared and ready to compete.
Weber, Goldberg, and GT America powered by AWS kick things off Friday, March 3, for the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. Competitors face back-to-back races Saturday, March 4, and Sunday, March 5. To watch the races live or on replay, subscribe to the GT World YouTube page.