From Sea to Shining Sea LONG BEACH, CA April 13, 2007 - The trip from Florida to California has solidified how competitive the American Le Mans Series is this year. Different oceans but both races run on palm tree-lined streets, with today's...
From Sea to Shining Sea
LONG BEACH, CA April 13, 2007 - The trip from Florida to California has solidified how competitive the American Le Mans Series is this year. Different oceans but both races run on palm tree-lined streets, with today's top six qualifiers within a second of each other. Dyson Racing qualified sixth and seventh in LMP2 with Chris Dyson and Guy Smith in the #20 lined up behind Butch Leitzinger.
"Two-day race weekends present a unique set of challenges," said Chris Dyson. "We had forty-five minutes this morning to learn a new track with a new car before qualifying this afternoon. You have to compress a lot into a short period of time." Added Guy Smith, "In one session, you are learning the circuit and getting a feel for the car at the same time. So when you qualify the car, you are not going to take too many gambles."
Butch Leitzinger went into more detail on how you approach a new track: "You have very little grip the first couple of laps. The tires are cold and there is little rubber laid down. So you push the traction control up to maximum. Even with that, it will still jump out on you a couple of places and your heart rate goes up and you hope that Rob is not watching that corner on the TV! It takes about three laps to get heat into the tires before you can start pushing it. What takes the most time is figuring how much momentum and speed you can carry through the corners. On a road course you can take a few more chances - you might go off on the grass a little bit but on a street course the concrete walls restrain you on how long it takes for you to be fast. During all this, you are trying to figure out the whole time where the car is at a disadvantage, where you are losing time, and what exactly the car is doing so you can communicate that with Peter Weston, our race engineer. After about ten minutes, you come in, download all that to Peter, make some changes and than go out and see if it has improved in places it needed to improve and has not hurt it in places where it was already OK. The race ends up becoming your primary focus as you convert what you learn into a car that is comfortable and race fast."
The Grand Prix of Long Beach, Round 3 of the 2007 American Le Mans Series, is scheduled for 4 p.m. PT on Saturday, April 14.