American Le Mans Series driver, Liz Halliday, heads back to her home state of California this weekend for the final round of the season at Mazda Raceway, Laguna Seca. The Monterey Sportscar Championships, as the event is known - in deference to...
American Le Mans Series driver, Liz Halliday, heads back to her home state of California this weekend for the final round of the season at Mazda Raceway, Laguna Seca. The Monterey Sportscar Championships, as the event is known - in deference to the circuit's local town - will mark an exciting climax to what has been a spectacular season for Halliday and the Intersport Racing team.
In the nine races so far the private Ohio-based squad have won three times, had one second place, four thirds and one fourth. Against the might of the two-car entry from the Porsche factory team, they led the LMP2 class championship for the entire first half of the season and still have a mathematical chance of taking the Drivers' title this weekend, despite two of the Porsche drivers enjoying a slight points advantage.
For Halliday and co-driver Clint Field to take the series title, not only do they need a win this weekend, but they also require a seventh-place finish (or lower) by Porsche driver Sascha Maassen and either a fifth or sixth-place finish by his team mate Lucas Luhr. A tall order by any stretch of the imagination, especially since Porsche appear to have now found reliability to match their ever-dominant speed, but experience suggests that if Intersport can just keep piling the pressure on their rivals, then they might just break.
The Laguna Seca event is not a long race by endurance standards, just four hours, but the eleven-turn, anti-clockwise, 3.6km circuit is as notoriously demanding as it is rewarding, as Liz Halliday explains: "Laguna is one of those famous circuits that every driver looks forward to racing on. It's up there with Spa, Monaco and Road America as a highly revered drivers' circuit. I've now raced their twice, both in a Porsche GT2 in 2004 and last year with Intersport in our Lola LMP2. I've always loved the challenge of the place but I have yet to get a great result there. I plan on doing my best to put that right this weekend."
The thought occurred that perhaps Halliday is looking forward to the off-season more than most, thanks to the huge demands of pursuing both a racing career as well as that of an international equestrian competing in Three-Day Eventing: "You must be kidding me! If anything it's the other way around -- I much prefer being busy and enjoy darting around between races and horse events. It's the winter that worries me the most as I'm not very good at time off! Having said that, I'm sure I'll appreciate the break when the time comes -- so long as we finish the season on a high this weekend. There's nothing better than going into the winter with the satisfaction of a fantastic result in the final round."
The race on the West Coast of America's most spectacular permanent racing circuit, buried in the hills which overlook Monterey Bay, will take place this Saturday, October 21st at 14:45pm.