Laguna Seca: The Racer's Group qualifying report

The two Porsche 911 GT3 RSRs of The Racer's Group qualified today for Saturday's ALMS Laguna Seca race, with Patrick Long turning the team's fast lap of 1:27.050. He will start tomorrow's four-hour race in 8th position on the GT grid. Long, ...

The two Porsche 911 GT3 RSRs of The Racer's Group qualified today for Saturday's ALMS Laguna Seca race, with Patrick Long turning the team's fast lap of 1:27.050. He will start tomorrow's four-hour race in 8th position on the GT grid. Long, driving the #66 New Century Mortgage/Monster Cable Porsche, will race for the first time at Laguna Seca on Saturday, and will face a daunting challenge as darkness falls over the race tomorrow evening.

"Having never raced here before, I'm excited to get out there," he said. "I've driven Skip Barber cars here and a couple of street cars, but racing the circuit is going to be great. We're all a little uncomfortable with the darkness here -- the lights aren't very good and it makes a challenging circuit even more so. Thankfully, it won't be a disadvantage, we're all in the same boat here."

Pierre Ehret qualified the #67 Flamingo Resort/TRG Porsche in 1:27.998, good for 11th position on the GT grid. Earlier in the day, Pierre set the fastest lap of practice for TRG with a 1:28.148, at an average speed of 91.401 mph. He and teammate Bobby Julien steadily dropped their times around the undulating California circuit, taking advantage of years of TRG setup data. "It was great to see Bobby learn the circuit so quickly," he said, "but it's a great track to have to learn. I was happy with my times at night, but it's eerie because with the darkness you can't see the edges of the pavement or the apexes of the turns. I'm comfortable on the track at night, but we'll see who adjusts to it most quickly tomorrow. The four-hour format is interesting as well, because it may mean one driver does two stints and the other does one. It all depends on how the race unfolds, but it'll be wonderful to get out there and race."

Team owner Kevin Buckler said, "We've worked hard this weekend to get the setup right, and we've found that the Porsche 911 GT3 RSRs react differently to this track than last year's GT3 RS es. Our crew has worked really hard to build good racecars for the drivers, and I think they've done very well at it. The important thing for this race will be our four-hour strategy. With the nighttime racing and the unusual length of the event, it's going to be very challenging, but we've got a good car and we're ready to race."

The 2004 American Le Mans Series has its final race October 16th, at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, in Monterey, CA. The race will be broadcast on NBC on Sunday, October 16 at 2pm ET.

-trg-

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About this article
Series ALMS
Drivers Kevin Buckler , Pierre Ehret , Patrick Long , Skip Barber