Drayson Racing Qualifies 3rd for Monterey Championships
SALINAS, CA, USA - Drayson Racing earned its highest-ever American Le Mans Series (ALMS) qualifying position today in preparation for tomorrow's Monterey Sports Car Championships. In only the programme's second race since stepping from the GT2 class to Le Mans Prototype 1 (LMP1), two-time British GT Champion Jonny Cocker (Guisborough, Yorks, UK) set the third-quickest time (one minute, 12.434 seconds) in class with the new Lola Coupe-Judd V10. The time, turned on his eighth lap of the 2.238-mile, 11-turn Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca circuit, held as the fifth-fastest time overall in the 20-minute session. Paul Drayson (London/Gloucestershire, UK) and Cocker will share the No. 88 Drayson Racing Lola with Judd Power in the ALMS season-finale on Saturday. The four-hour, "into darkness" event will start at 2:45 pm (PT).
The early portion of the weekend had been a bit of a struggle for the team. While the Lola B09/60 closed-cockpit chassis and 5.5 litre Judd V10 powerplant are well known entities, this endeavour is the first time the two have been paired in the top sports car division. With the new effort have come developmental hurdles; most of which are centred on the car's elaborate electronics package. One-by-one, often in record time, the Dale White (Bozeman, MT, USA) managed team has faced and conquered each. However, yesterday's test session and today's first practice both were beleaguered by a traction control issue that kept Drayson and Cocker's speeds down considerably. However, the solution was found prior to the second practice session allowing each driver his first clear, trouble-free laps in the car this weekend.
Once with its full array of traction control features, the two were able to fully exploit the 650+ horsepower Judd engine. This allowed time to be sliced away leaving the team second in class in Practice 2 and third in qualifying. Expectations are high as the car has proven its speed. 10 October's race will give the Drayson operation four additional hours of knowledge in preparation on a full out assault on the 2010 season. Drayson Racing will compete in the full, nine-race ALMS season.
Paul Drayson, Driver/Owner: "Fantastic drive by Jonny; great to be P3 in class in only our second LMP1 race. Great job by everyone and we're well placed for a strong race here tomorrow."
Jonny Cocker, Driver: "I think a really good run considering this is only our second qualifying with the P1 car. The difference to the Acuras is pretty respectable when you take into account the short time we've had the car. I'm looking forward to next year as I think we'll be able to put a real challenge to the guys at the front. All of us are learning huge amounts every session. I'm looking forward to the race now. I think we should have a really good result."
Dale White, Team Manager: "We had some struggles with the electronics early but we didn't just try and work around it. We worked to solve it and that made a big difference in qualifying. With the proper traction control Jonny was able to push the car and we got a good time as a result. We still have a long way to go but we're here to learn this weekend and we are doing that. That is what is critical for this programme right now."