Lowe's Fernandez Racing Prepares for Detroit Debut After a six-year absence, racing returns to the Motor City with the inaugural Detroit Sports Car Challenge Presented by Bosch and Detroit Indy Grand Prix presented by Firestone this weekend. The...
Lowe's Fernandez Racing Prepares for Detroit Debut
After a six-year absence, racing returns to the Motor City with the inaugural Detroit Sports Car Challenge Presented by Bosch and Detroit Indy Grand Prix presented by Firestone this weekend. The 983-acre island known as Belle Isle in downtown Detroit will host Round 10 of American Le Mans Series (ALMS) competition with a new 2.096-mile, 14-turn temporary street circuit.
Despite a new track layout, Belle Isle is familiar territory to Lowe's Fernandez Racing driver Adrian Fernandez. Fernandez, who used to live in nearby West Bloomfield, has contested nine races on Belle Isle - he won from the pole in Indy Lights competition in 1992 and made eight Champ Car starts from 1993 to 2001 with a best finish of second in 1998. Teammate Luis Diaz has also turned a few laps on Belle Isle, contesting the 2000 Indy Lights race.
Lowe's Fernandez Racing is currently in the midst of a tight midfield championship points battle and sits only 14 points outside the top three in the standings in seventh place. Fernandez and Diaz have brought the #15 Lowe's Acura Lola home to four top-five finishes to date this season, including two podiums, in their first year of ALMS competition.
Saturday's race will begin at 3:15 pm EST with same day coverage on the SPEED Channel beginning at 9:30 pm EST. The race will re-air on Monday, September 10, at 12:00 pm EST on SPEED.
* Circuit -- 2.096-mile, 14-turn temporary street circuit * Saturday's ALMS race will be 2 hours 45 minutes (3:15 pm ET start) * Driver changes: each driver must complete at least 10 laps and a driver may not drive more than two hours total in the race
* Both Fernandez and Diaz have prior career starts on Belle Isle -- Fernandez with nine (1992-2001) and Diaz with one (2000) * Fernandez is a former resident of West Bloomfield * A first-year team in ALMS competition, Lowe's Fernandez Racing has claimed four top-five results to date -- second at Sebring, fourth at St. Petersburg, fifth at Salt Lake and third at Mid-Ohio * Fernandez and Diaz are currently ranked seventh in the LMP2 point standings, only 14 points outside the top three * Fernandez entered sports car competition in 2006 after a successful career at the top levels of open-wheel racing * Diaz, voted "Driver of the Year" in Mexico in 2006, brings the most sports car racing experience to the team with eight wins in three years of Grand-Am competition
FERNANDEZ ON RETURNING TO BELLE ISLE: "My memories of Detroit are fantastic. I won my first Indy Lights race on a road course here. I lived here for two years in West Bloomfield. It was a local race for me. I went through the different stages of changes with the track. It was a track that I always liked. The last time I raced here was in 2001 so it will be nice to be back."
DIAZ ON BELLE ISLE: "I raced here in 2000 but I don't remember a lot about the track, but both Adrian and I love the street circuits so I am excited for this weekend. Despite our result last weekend in Mosport because of contact, we have a lot of momentum coming into this race. I am anxious to see the circuit. Our goal this weekend is to take home as many points as possible and to be back on the podium again."