Long Beach: Drayson Racing race report

Drayson Racing Shows Quickness at Long Beach American Le Mans LONG BEACH, CA., USA - Drayson Racing drivers Paul Drayson (London/Gloucestershire, UK) and Jonny Cocker (Guisborough, Yorks, UK) again proved the quickness of the No. 8 Drayson...

Drayson Racing Shows Quickness at Long Beach American Le Mans

LONG BEACH, CA., USA - Drayson Racing drivers Paul Drayson (London/Gloucestershire, UK) and Jonny Cocker (Guisborough, Yorks, UK) again proved the quickness of the No. 8 Drayson Racing Lola with Judd Power in today's American Le Mans Series of Long Beach (CA). Drayson, starting the 100-minute race, impressed all with a strong start and equally quick, nearly one hour stint racing the car up to fourth overall. Cocker, who finished the race, continued to display the impressive speed of the closed-cockpit coupe holding the fastest race lap for an extended portion of the event. The UK-based team took the chequered flag sixth in the Le Mans Prototype (LMP) class and second in the Michelin® Green X® Challenge.

The team's first pit stop did make the organisation's day more challenging. Under a full-course caution, Drayson brought the car in directly behind the two LMP entries which bracketed the Drayson Racing pit stall. With the Cytosport Porsche ahead and the Highcroft HPD entry behind, the Drayson-entry had no room to position its car correctly in the pit stall. This forced the crew to manoeuvre the car back-and-forth to make it parallel with the pit wall and within reach of the refuelling hoses. Once complete, the stop went without further incident and Cocker took his turn behind the wheel for the race's final 42 minutes.

Cocker immediately went on the offensive turning very quick lap times. His effort in returning to the top five came to an end with less than 10 minutes remaining, however. While overtaking a GT2 class competitor on the outside line, the driver of the production-based car clearly did not see the two-time British GT champion. Cocker was forced wide and into the tyre-barrier. The resulting damage included: a rear wing, the nose and the left-side mirror. The Dale White (Bozeman, MT, USA) managed operation did a remarkably quick fix to replace those parts and return Cocker to the track for the closing moments of the event.

United Kingdom and European viewers can see the event on Motors TV at 18:03, 25 April.

Elspeth, Lady Drayson, Owner/CEO: "At this level of world-class racing everything has to run perfectly to achieve a podium finish -which unfortunately was not the case today. Nevertheless, the Long Beach street race has again shown the pace of the car and the drivers against the works teams and we have a lot of positives going home tonight."

Paul Drayson, Owner/Driver: "I had great fun racing on the streets of Long Beach today. The team had done a great job setting up the car for the tight narrow circuit and I was able to have a great race and make up places as the race went on. It was very crowded on the circuit - and a lot going on with various on-track incidents leading to debris and fluids on the track that all made the experience seriously intense. I feel that I have made another good step as a driver today which will give me a lot of confidence for the rest of the season. I so love this car. The Lola chassis is just wonderful; it really communicated the grip level as the track conditions changed and that gave me the confidence to push and keep it off the walls. As for the Judd V10; every time I exited the hairpin, I couldn't help grinning I had so much power behind me. The perfect combination."

Jonny Cocker, Driver: "Paul did a fantastic opening stint. He made a few positions up and was driving absolutely fantastically. Exactly what we could have hoped for. Just a brilliant job. We had a really tricky pit stop with the car being out of position. We had to manoeuvre the car to fuel it and we lost a lot of time there. Once we got going we had lost position and almost a lap. I also had a coming together with one of the Porsches and just tagged the tyre barrier and that was that. We had to pit again. We showed we can stay ahead and lead these races on pace but one mistake and that's it. Could have been and should have been and wasn't."

Dale White, Team Manager: "You do everything you can to prepare for these pit stops but the conditions are so tight in pit lane on a street course there are things you can't control. We got caught-out on that stop and it likely cost us a podium. Even more frustrating is it erased the advantage we had from Paul's great opening stint and put Jonny in a very difficult position. I was very pleased with how everyone rallied and performed a brilliant stop to repair the damage. Today can be categorised as the best and worst for us on pit lane."

-source: draysonracing.com

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Series ALMS
Drivers Paul Drayson , Jonny Cocker