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ZF Motorsports Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca Newsletter
Posted by: newsla on Apr 30, 2014 - 04:36 PM
Sports Cars
ZF Motorsports Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca Newsletter

Spencer Pumpelly drives the No. 45 Flying Lizard Motorsports Audi R8 LMS with Nelson Canache Jr. and is currently fourth in TUDOR United SportsCar Series GTD driver point standings. The Atlanta resident explains his fondness for Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.


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Spencer Pumpelly
Where does Laguna Seca rank among your favorite tracks?

"It's up there. I love visiting the Monterey area and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca is one of the nicest facilities we run at during the season. I have won there several times in various series, so I have fond memories of the place."

What particular corner of the circuit do you like the most?

"I really like the downhill section through Turns 9 and 10. Both corners are high-speed and feature some banking that really makes the car feel stuck to the road. They both flow a little differently from the typical flat corner and I enjoy that."

What does it feel like to drive your Audi, when hooked up, down through the Corkscrew?

"The Corkscrew gets a lot of mentions when people talk about Laguna Seca, but in reality it is one of the slower corners on the track, which makes driving it seem much less dramatic than it looks from outside the car. The tricky part is that you can't see the apex on the right just past the hill so it requires some trial and error before you have confidence that you are headed in the right direction. In the Audi, I like to sit very low so that makes finding your way over the crest even tougher."

What is your best memory about racing at Laguna Seca?

"I have too many good memories of victories with great co-drivers like Duncan Ende, Dr. Jim Norman and Peter Ludwig to think of one, but there is one trip that stands out - the Continental Challenge race there in 2012. The race was great, as always. But, I didn't have a ride for the Rolex race so I was able to watch for the first time as a spectator. I made the trek up to the top of the hill by the Corkscrew and was able to see almost all of the track. It was the first time I realized how fan friendly Laguna is."

What portion of the track do you feel will be the strongest for the Audi?

"The Audi is a great handling car and Laguna is all corners, so we should be strong through most of the lap. I think the downhill section I mentioned through Turns 9 and 10 should suit us very well."

ZF Motorsports, it's about the service

Like its core business in worldwide automotive vehicle production, ZF applies the same core service approach at the race track. ZF motorsport engineers will work in concert with several racing customers at the track every weekend. From onsite shock dyno testing and verification, to suggested baseline settings, as well as consult on clutch plate material and life cycles.

"In March's Sebring 12-hour race, we had 22 cars out of a 42 car entry list that used one or more components from ZF. At the same time, we had to support another field of 32 Porsche Cup cars that used ZF shock absorbers and clutches exclusively on every car," said Mehmet Ozerman, motorsports manager of ZF Race Engineering. "Not only does this make for a large customer base, it also means that ZF's own race team needs to work efficiently so they can get their cars and drivers to the finish line. In this way, each member of the ZF team has his own race against time throughout various steps of the pre-race process.

"It is easy just to sell parts from behind a computer or order desk and ship them to racing teams. We prefer to be at the track working in partnership with our customer teams to assure that they are getting the maximum performance from ZF dampers and clutches. Not only are we working with our teams and building relationships, but we are also gathering data to improve our original equipment products that drive through the streets of cities on every continent."

Corkscrew - What's In a Name

Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca is a favorite of racers and fans worldwide. Many focus on one specific section - officially Turns 8 and 8A or, more commonly, The Corkscrew.

The Corkscrew is one-of-a-kind in motorsports and here is what makes the hard-left, hard-right combination so spectacular:

At the apex to Turn 8 (the lefthander and entry to The Corkscrew), the elevation change is a 12 percent drop.

By the time a racecar reaches the apex of Turn 8A (the right hander), the elevation is at its steepest - an 18 percent drop.

"When the track was built, the blue prints were drawn up after the work was done, they followed the topography of the land," said Gil Campbell, Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, CEO and general manager. "When at the top of the hill, the construction boss told the bulldozer guy 'get down this hill anyway you can, the paving guys will follow you, I'm going to lunch.' Hence the Corkscrew was born."

The Corkscrew drops 59 feet between the entrance of Turn Eight to the exit of Turn 8A - the equivalent of a five and a half story drop - in only 450 feet of track length.

From Turn Eight to Turn Nine, the elevation falls 109 feet, or just over 10 stories.

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