Lime Rock: de Ferran Motorsports preview

On form de Ferran Motorsports targets further success at Lime Rock Park Pagenaud and de Ferran won in Utah After a two-month summer break de Ferran Motorsports is back in action next weekend (17-18 July) as the American Le Mans Series reconvenes...

On form de Ferran Motorsports targets further success at Lime Rock Park
Pagenaud and de Ferran won in Utah

After a two-month summer break de Ferran Motorsports is back in action next weekend (17-18 July) as the American Le Mans Series reconvenes at the scenic Lime Rock Park circuit near Lakeville in Northwest Connecticut. Having won the previous two rounds staged on the streets of Long Beach and at the at the impressive Miller Motorsports Park in Salt Lake City, the No. 66 XM Radio de Ferran Motorsports Acura ARX-02a starts Sunday's spectacular American Le Mans Norteast Grand Prix showdown as one of the favourites for further success.

Last year's event at Lime Rock not only attracted record crowds but also witnessed Acura's maiden victory in the ALMS - a result team owner and driver Gil de Ferran is keen to emulate in 2009.

"Although we have won the last two races, it almost feels like the start of a brand new season - hopefully, though we can pick up from where we left off in Utah," said de Ferran who believes his team will come back even stronger after the mid-season hiatus. "This really has been our first break since we first set up the team a little over a year a go as over the winter we were busy transferring from 2008's LMP2 programme to the current LMP1 programme. We have used the time to tidy up our processes, procedures and support equipment, which, hopefully, will further improve our performances on the race track," he added.

Victories in Lime Rock, though, are always hard-earned. The tight nature of the twisty ten-turn, 1.53-mile circuit puts huge demands on drivers as well as their cars.

"Even though Lime Rock is a permanent road course it's probably the tightest race track we go to. When you are in one of the faster prototypes such as the Acura, dealing with some of the slower traffic poses an enormous challenge and that's something that could very well determine the outcome of the race. It's certainly going to be an interesting, action-packed weekend," predicted de Ferran.

The former Indianapolis 500 winner and twice IndyCar champion shares the pacesetting No. 66 XM Radio de Ferran Motorsports Acura ARX-02a with young French ace Simon Pagenaud, one of the hottest properties in international sportscar racing. The highly rated 24-year-old from Poitiers arrives back in North America after competing in last month's running of the Le Mans 24 Hours classic where he was on target for a possible podium finish before his Peugeot 908 prototype was destroyed in a night time crash while being driven by a team-mate.

"It's going to be a very different race to Le Mans," remarked Pagenaud. "Lime Rock is a very short lap with lots of slow, technical corners. It requires lots of focus. As Gil says, the key is to use the traffic to our advantage without taking too many risks. The team has been working hard during the break and I'm really looking forward to getting back into the Acura. We have the momentum and everything is looking good but it's never easy to keep winning, so we must keep on pushing.

The American Le Mans Northeast Grand Prix will be won and lost in a spectacular two hour 45 minute showdown staged on the challenging 1.53-mile circuit on Sunday afternoon. The fast and furious action starts at 2.05pm with live TV coverage on the Speed channel from 2.00pm EDT.

-credit: dfm

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About this article
Series ALMS
Drivers Gil de Ferran , Simon Pagenaud