After completing Jim Russell International Racing Drivers School in 1973 at the age of 18, working for them as a mechanic to pay for his course tuition, Chet and Johnny Kastner, managing director and chief instructor encouraged him to further his training. With in one year working three jobs and raising the necessary capital to put forward a plan, competing in F.B SCCA Club Events with the assistance of Chet and Johnny Kastner providing him the contacts and leads Avik was able to compete in the 1975 European F-3 series. Unfortunately due to personal family issues he had to return to the states competing in only 4 out of 8 scheduled races with two DNF’s due to mechanical issues and two top 10 finishing results. This experience was very valuable to him emphasizing the importance of preparation.
“He has a saying, in racing you need to start and finish races, and then the results will come”.
Avik took a ten year leave from personally driving race cars and focused on building up a business preparing and maintaining formula cars for others. He returned to racing as a driver again in 1986 – 1999 competing in SCCA regional and national events in F-Atlantic, S2000, and American Indy Car Series, accumulating over 48 podium results an additional 118 top ten finishes, including several lap records, divisional regional and national top three championships.
The year 2000 was a good round number for him to consider retirement from driving after 15 years and over 240 race entry’s. He continues to this day assisting others in following their passion and his, open wheel road racing. Providing driver coaching, race prep and track support.
Raced sports cars as an amateur and a professional throughout the United States and Canada. His career as a racing driver spans more than 120 amateur races and 16 professional sports car races, primarily in Porsches.
Bernheim drove to a first-overall finish in 16 races, and first-in-class in a dozen more, and qualified in pole position numerous times. He took first place overall in the 2006 Grand Am United States Sports Car Invitational at Laguna Seca, a pro invitational race, after setting a production car lap record at California Speedway the previous season. He twice raced in the grueling Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona, the world famous, twice-around-the-clock professional endurance race.
He was the 2005 Touring Car Racing Association GTS national champion, and was the 2005 Porsche Owners Club GT1 national championship runner-up.
Under Bernheim’s leadership, his team’s drivers achieved 5 additional season championships as well as dozens of overall and class wins, and poles – all in Porsche racing cars.