California Homecoming For Creation Founder
Monterey, 14th October 2004 - The visit by the Creation Autosportif team to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca this week is a very special one in the eyes of the team's co-founder, Mike Jankowski, as it marks a homecoming for the Californian entrepreneur.
Raised in San Diego, Jankowski acknowledges that it is a dream come true to bring his team to his home state and he is confident that the "Blue Rocket", the DBA-Zytek prototype, will be perfectly suited to the challenges of the 2.238 mile track and is a potential race winner.
The 4-hour race which starts at 4pm on Saturday is the final round of the 2004 American Le Mans Series and marks a significant 'first' for the popular circuit as the race will run into the hours of darkness. Drivers will circulate twists, turns and undulations -- including the legendary "Corkscrew" section, a series of left-right turns running down a tall hill -- aided only by the beams of their headlights and whatever ambient lighting there is around the circuit.
For one of the team's two drivers, Frenchman Nicolas Minassian, it is a welcome return to a track he visited while driving for the Chip Ganassi Racing Champ Car team in 2001. "It is a great place and I'm really pleased to be back here. The track is very challenging technically and the dust always adds an extra element into achieving a perfect lap, but it has a good selection of high and low speed turns and then, of course, there is the "Corkscrew"..."
Jamie Campbell-Walter, Minassian's British co-driver, is also looking forward to making his Laguna debut: "I arrived on Monday and saw the track for the first time on Tuesday. One of the organisers took me around the track in a Mazda 4x4 with Nic in the back giving me a running commentary on braking distances and so on. We think they are similar for Champ Cars to our prototype. I'm looking forward to it obviously and we've got quite a lot of time to learn our way round before Saturday's race. Hopefully, after our Road Atlanta misfortunes [where a rare engine failure brought a premature end to the DBA's race] the car should be reliable for four hours and we'll be right up there."
Despite only being able to fit the final two races of the ALMS into the team 's busy European racing schedule, Creation has entered into the spirit of US-style racing with great enthusiasm. The DBA-Zytek was one of a small selection of cars from the series which took part in yesterday's "Mini Le Mans" pre-race promotion in downtown San Jose, and both Minassian and Campbell-Walter were present to drive, meet fans and sign autographs.
Practice begins this afternoon, with one hour of night running between 6.15-7.15pm tonight (PDT). There will be further practice and qualifying tomorrow (Friday) before Saturday's race.