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IMSA News And Notes: Road America
Posted by: newsla on Aug 06, 2014 - 03:19 PM
USCR News
IMSA News And Notes: Road America


TUDOR UNITED SPORTSCAR CHAMPIONSHIP
The Race: Continental Tire Road Race Showcase

The Place: Road America

The Date: Sunday, Aug. 10

The Time: 2:15 p.m. (ET)

The Track: 4.048-mile, 14-turn road course

The Race Length: Two hours, 45 minutes
Qualifying (IMSA.com) - Saturday: 5:20 p.m. (ET)

Race (FOX Sports 1) - Sunday: 6:30 p.m. (ET) - SDD

 

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CONTINENTAL TIRE SPORTSCAR CHALLENGE

The Race: Continental Tire Road Race Showcase

The Place: Road America

The Date: Saturday, Aug. 9

The Time: 1:15 p.m. (ET)

The Track: 4.048-mile, 14-turn road course
The Race Length: Two hours, 30 minutes
Race (IMSA.com) - Saturday, 1:15 p.m. (ET) - LIVE

Race (FOX Sports 1) - Aug. 17, noon (ET)

TUDOR Championship Returns To Scene Of Dress Rehearsal

Road America played a key role in the unification of North American sports car racing when it hosted the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón and the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series on the same weekend in 2013.

This was the only time the two series competed on the same weekend at the same venue prior to the debut of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship at the Rolex 24 At Daytona in January.

Last year, competitors from the two series harmoniously shared space in the Road America paddock in a key “first step” since the merger of the two series was announced in September, 2012.

This weekend, though, they will be fighting for position on the historic race track in Sunday’s Continental Tire Road Race Showcase. The two-hour, 45-minute race will take the green flag at 1:15 p.m. CT.

Last year saw the DeltaWing LM12 have its most competitive outing in the ALMS, with drivers Andy Meyrick and Katherine Legge each leading eight laps en route to a fifth-place overall finish (third in P1). The pair return this weekend in a rebuilt DeltaWing DWC13.

The winners from the ALMS GT and Prototype Challenge (PC) classes – which are virtually unchanged in the TUDOR Championship – return this weekend. Dominik Farnbacher and Marc Goossens, who won last year in the No. 91 SRT Motorsports Dodge Viper GTS-R, are now competing in the GT Le Mans (GTLM) class. Their teammates – Jonathan Bomarito and Kuno Wittmer – won the most recent TUDOR Championship race, the Brickyard Grand Prix at Indianapolis, in the No. 93 Viper SRT GTS-R.

Duncan Ende and Bruno Junqueira, last year’s PC winners at Road America, finished second behind RSR Racing teammates Chris Cumming and Jack Hawksworth at Indianapolis.

No. 5 Corvette DP Regains Points Lead With Indy Victory

Joao Barbosa and Christian Fittipaldi’s victory in the Brickyard Grand Prix at Indianapolis returned the drivers of the No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP to the lead in the TUDOR Championship Prototype (P) point standings.

Barbosa and Fittipaldi now lead brothers Ricky and Jordan Taylor by two points (249-247), with three races remaining for the class.

Michael Valiante and Richard Westbrook are riding a streak of four consecutive podium finishes – including a victory at Watkins Glen – to third in the championship standings, 11 points behind the leaders (238).

Fourth with 232 points is Gustavo Yacaman, whose No. 42 OAK Racing Morgan/Nissan led every lap en route to winning at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. Olivier Pla, who co-drove in that victory, returns to join Yacaman at Road America.

Scott Pruett, who co-drives with Memo Rojas, is fifth in the standings with 225 points, 24 behind the leaders.

Fittipaldi and Barbosa finished second in last year’s Rolex Series race at Road America, while Pruett finished fourth and Yacaman sixth.

Tech Corner: Different Prototypes Take Different Approach To Fuel Mileage

Competitors in the four TUDOR Championship classes are ready to tackle the longest circuit on the schedule, 4.048-mile, 14 turn Road America. While many other factors will come into play – including the number and duration of cautions – teams will come to the event looking to play the fuel strategy card if needed in Sunday’s Continental Tire Road Race Showcase.

The Prototype class features three different types of cars, with the Daytona Prototypes, LM P2 Prototypes and the revolutionary DeltaWing DWC13 all taking different approaches to fuel conservation.

VisitFlorida.com Racing owner Troy Flis said that the No. 90 Visit Florida Racing Corvette DP has three different fuel management maps with the Chevrolet ECU.

“Road America is tough, because it’s such a long track that it leads to a pretty big window to make it on fuel,” Flis said. “You need cautions to make it – and you’ve got to manage fuel under caution. We will be taking a close look at our fuel mileage, especially after we got beaten at Indianapolis on fuel. We didn’t manage our fuel mileage under the long cautions early in the race, and that led to us having to take a late pit stop.”

The LM P2 Prototypes have even more to choose from. Extreme Speed Motorsports (ESM) has five fuel maps to on its Tequila Patrón HPD ARX-03b prototypes.

“Our plan is to learn exactly what each map can achieve for mileage,” said Leigh Pettipas, ESM strategist. “This could be a fuel mileage race. We'll have more data once we complete a full day of practice. We ran the HPDs at Road America last year, but our engines have changed since then.”​

The DeltaWing has three fuel settings – maps for full rich, standard running, and under yellow. The car gets the best fuel mileage in the class based on its lighter weight and aerodynamics, and had both Katherine Legge and Andy Meyrick leading eight laps in last year’s fifth-place overall finish at the track.

“We get a good idea during practice what our fuel mileage number is going to be running in standard trim,” said team manager Tim Keene. “The driver can see on the dash the amount of fuel used per lap, so we tell the driver what number they need to hit.”

While the Prototypes have a number of tools at their disposal, competitors in Prototype Challenge (PC) take the old-fashioned approach with their spec ORECA FLM09 chassis.

“The driver’s right foot is the only tool we have,” said RSR Racing chief engineer John Gentilozzi. “We can’t change the engine or throttle mapping, so the driver’s individual technique can make a huge difference. The driver reports a number on the fuel gauge every few laps, and from there we can make an educated guess.”

Road America Traditionally Produced Close Finishes In ALMS Competition

Road America is the longest circuit on the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship schedule.

The 4.048-mile circuit also produced some of the most exciting finishes in the history of the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón – including the two closest overall margins of victory.

In 2012, Guy Smith won the Orion Energy Systems 245 by .083 seconds over Klaus Graf – the closest finish in ALMS history – and part of a streak of nine fantastic finishes at Road America.

Smith and Graf reversed the finish in 2011, when Graf took the checkered flag by a .112 margin – an ALMS record at the time, and the second-closest in ALMS history. Last year saw Graf and Lucas Luhr win under caution by .306 seconds over Tony Burgess and Chris McMurry.

Since Frank Biela won the 2005 event by 3.239 seconds, all of the ALMS finishes have been under 2.5 seconds – including five races of less than one second. Biela won by .400 seconds in 2005, and current Prototype competitor Scott Sharp won by .461 in 2009.

The average finish for the past nine years has been approximately one second, despite races ranging from two hours and 45 minutes to four hours.

The GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series raced fourth times at Road America, in 2000-01 and 2012-13. The closest finish was in 2001’s 500-mile race, when Kevin Doran’s Judd Ferrari of Didier Theys, Mauro Baldi and Fredy Linehard won by 1.602 seconds over the Dyson Racing’s Dorsey Schroeder and Elliott Forbes-Robinson.

Dodge Viper SRT GTS-R Brings Winning Momentum To Road America

Coming off its first GT Le Mans (GTLM) victory in TUDOR United SportsCar Championship competition, SRT Motorsports returns to the scene of its first victory in its return to sports car racing in Sunday’s Continental Tire Road Race Showcase.

A year ago, Marc Goossens and Dominik Farnbacher gave the Dodge Viper SRT GTS-R its first ALMS victory at Road America. Jonathan Bomarito and Kuno Wittmer won the recent Brickyard Grand Prix at Indianapolis to give the team its first TUDOR Championship victory.

The breakthrough triumph followed a pair of double-podium finishes for SRT Motorsports at Watkins Glen International and Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.

Dodge Viper SRT’s victory at Indy snapped a four-race GTLM winning streak for Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia, who had been perfect since giving the new Corvette C7.R its first victory at Long Beach in April. Since then, the No. 3 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R also won at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, Watkins Glen and CTMP.

Porsche North America opened the season with victories in the Florida endurance classics for its two cars. The No. 911 Porsche 911 RSR led by Nick Tandy and Richard Lietz won the GTLM class in the Rolex 24 At Daytona, while the No. 912 Porsche 911 RSR led by Patrick Long and Michael Christensen triumphed in the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh From Florida.

Three teams are looking for their first victory in the competitive class. BMW Team RLL has scored four podium finishes, including three seconds, for the No. 55 Z4 GTE of Bill Auberlen and Andy Priaulx and the No. 56 of Dirk Mueller and John Edwards.

Risi Competizione is coming off the best finish for the No. 62 Ferrari F458 Italia, with Giancarlo Fisichella and Pierre Kaffer second in the Brickyard Grand Prix.

Bryan Sellers and Wolf Henzler co-drive the No. 17 Porsche 911 RSR for Team Falken Tire, with their best finish fourth at Mazda Raceway.

Starworks Motorsport To Enter Honda-Powered DP At Road America

Seeking a second consecutive overall victory at Road America, Starworks Motorsport is entering a Honda/Riley Daytona Prototype in Sunday’s Continental Tire Road Race Showcase.

The team spent Monday in an all-night session at the Windshear wind tunnel, making final preparations for the event.

Drivers for the event are yet to be determined.

The late entry is an addition to the two cars Starworks fields in the Prototype Challenge (PC) class, the No. 7 Under Armor/Bomberg ORECA FLM09 of Martin Fuentes and John Martin, and the No. 8 Martini entry of Mirco Schultis and Renger van der Zande.

One year ago, Starworks won the Rolex Series portion of the Road America weekend, with Brendon Hartley joined by Scott Mayer in a BMW-powered Riley DP.

TUDOR Championship, Etc.

Burt Frisselle will join Eric Curran for the second consecutive event in the No. 31 Marsh Racing/Whelen Engineering Corvette DP. Regular driver Boris Said will be racing at Watkins Glen International in Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race, driving the No. 32 Genny Light Ford for Frankie Stoddard Jr. ...

Olivier Pla is back behind the wheel of the No. 42 Oak Racing Morgan/Nissan. In his most recent TUDOR Championship race, Pla and Gustavo Yacaman led every lap to give the team its first North American victory at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. Ho-Pin Tung drove for Oak Racing at Indianapolis, where the car was damaged in an opening lap altercation that damaged several Prototypes. ...

Alessandro Balzan and Jeff Westphal are coming off their second GT Daytona (GTD) victory of the season, winning at Detroit Belle Isle and Indianapolis in the No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 458 Italia. Westphal is now fifth in the point standings, trailing No. 555 AIM Autosport Ferrari 458 Italia drivers Townsend Bell and Bill Sweedler by 17 points (193-176). …

Leh Keen and Cooper MacNeil, drivers of Alex Job Racing’s No. 23 WeatherTech Porsche 911 GT America, are currently second trailing the leaders by nine points (193-184). …

Alex Davison is looking to make his TUDOR Championship debut this weekend, joining David Calvert-Jones in a Porsche 911 GT America fielded by Muehlner Motorsports. He is the cousin of TRG-AMR Aston Martin driver James Davison.

This will be the third race of the season with Muehlner Motorsports for Calvert-Jones, whose best finish was 15th at Watkins Glen.

Fall-Line Takes Points-Leading BMW M3 To Home Track

Fall-Line Motorsports will take a 15-point lead in the Grand Sport (GS) point standings to its “home race” this weekend at Road America. Trent Hindman, who co-drives the No. 46 Trim-Tex/Cirrocco Ozzimo BMW M3 with John Edwards, holds a 15-point lead over No. 6 Stevenson Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro Z/28.R co-drivers Andrew Davis and Robin Liddell.

Fall-Line is based in Northbrook, Ill., while sponsor Trim-Tex Inc. is based in Lincolnwood, Ill. – ensuring that the team will have plenty of support at Road America.

After scoring his first career victory early this season at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, Hindman overcame a mid-season slump with a fourth-place finish at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park and second at Indianapolis to regain sole possession of the lead in the championship.

A year ago, Hindman finished seventh in his debut at Road America – two positions behind Fall-Line owner Mark Boden and David Donohue in the team’s No. 46 BMW M3.

After opening the year by finishing 24th at Daytona, Davis and Liddell have won three races for Stevenson, at Sebring, Watkins Glen and Indianapolis. Andy Lally and Matt Bell also won for Stevenson, leading the field at CTMP in the No. 9 Camaro Z/28.R.

Defending Road America GS winners Matt Plumb and Nick Longhi will be looking for a reversal of luck. Plumb was tied for the GS lead before finishing ninth at CTMP – a race in which the car collected in a final-lap melee – and then scored zero points at Indianapolis when the No. 13 Rum Bum Racing Porsche 911 lost its engine on the opening lap.

Who’s Next In Street Tuner?

The Street Tuner (ST) class has seen eight different winners in nine races – with new faces in victory lane in the four events since Andrew Carbonell and Randy Pobst went back-to-back at Sebring and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

Corey Lewis and Cody Ellsworth gave Berg Racing its first victory at Indy in the No. 50 REDCOM Labs Porsche Cayman, one race after Remo Ruscitti and Adam Isman took Autometrics Motorsports to the top of the Continental Tire Challenge podium for the first time in the No. 04 BBA Accounting/DE Labs Porsche Cayman.

Daytona winner Eric Foss has regained the ST point lead with podium finishes at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park and Indianapolis Motor Speedway following a mid-season slump. He and Jeff Mosing may drive a different car at Road America. Murillo Racing practiced an ex-Bodymotion Racing Porsche Cayman at Indy and may race that car this weekend.

If they do, their regular No. 56 Mosing Motorcars BMW 328i may be used as the team’s No. 65 entry for Brent Mosing and Tim Probst, whose car was badly damaged at CTMP.

Brothers Wayne and Will Nonnamaker have finished second in three of the last four races in the No. 42 Team Sahlen’s Porsche Cayman. Wayne Nonnamaker is now second in the standings, trailing Foss by six points (206-200), followed by Mosing (105 points) and BimmerWorld’s Greg Liefooghe and Tyler Cooke, who have 186 points each.

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