The American Le Mans Series Leaves the Confines of the Baltimore GP For the Vast Virginia Countryside
While Baltimore is a street circuit surrounded by concrete walls and made up of primarily low-speed corners, VIR is a permanent road circuit made up of several high-speed corners, lots of elevation changes, and is surrounded by grass and trees. A circuit that was once referred to by Paul Newman as "Heaven on Earth", Duncan Ende is looking forward to the challenges of the 3.27-mile circuit at this weekend's Tequila Patron VIR 240 - in the first visit for the American Le Mans Series to the track.
"VIR is amazing fun in a prototype," said Ende, who took part in the ALMS test held at VIR earlier this year. "Having driven there before in GT-class Porsches, it was quite a rush to come to a track like VIR and go 20+ seconds a lap faster than I ever had before. It's a really fast track with a ton of fast corners, and the uphill esses in our Prototype Challenge car are a real rush. Managing traffic will be difficult in a few spots, but I'm looking forward to the challenge."
Ende goes to VIR after scoring his second podium of the year with teammate Henri Richard in the no. 25 Dempsey/Silicon Tech Racing Prototype Challenge car. The duo scored their first podium for the first-year Dempsey Racing program at Lime Rock Park, and would like to get more in the final two races - the four-hour race at VIR and the 10-hour Petit Le Mans.
While the team has had winning pace in the long races, a podium result has so far eluded them.
"It was unbelievable to score the podium at Baltimore because, frankly, the weekend had started so poorly," said Ende. "The race didn't start well either when Henri got hit hard from behind by a GT car. But the car survived, he put in a great stint and the team had a great plan which helped get us on to the podium. It's a bit of a shame that we haven't gotten a podium yet during the longer races because we were doing really well at Sebring and Laguna Seca but didn't put it together in the end. I think we are in a really strong position to do well here to close out the season. And with an awesome track like VIR it will be a great time no matter what."
Source: Duncan Ende media