Elkhart Lake, Wis. - Lotus Alex Job Racing (AJR) will start the Road America Road Race Showcase at Elkhart Lake's Road America from the fifth row tomorrow, Aug. 18.
Townsend Bell (San Luis Obispo, Calif.) had the wheel of the No. 23 Alex Job Racing Lotus Evora GT for the 15-minute qualifying session. The Californian turned in a lap time of 2:07.177 that will have him and teammate Bill Sweedler (Westport, Conn.) starting from the fifth row in GT. The duo have been working diligently in practice trying out new front down force pieces on the Evora GT looking to improve the balance of the car around the four-mile, 14 turn undulating road course located 30-minutes north of Milwaukee.
"It is hilarious how the top cars in our class find two to three seconds from practice to qualifying," Bell said. "We don't have any magic tricks. You know it is coming, but it is always shocking to see what they have in the bag. With the Lotus we are keeping our heads down, focused on incremental development. We keep making gains. We have made an improvement on overall car balance this weekend. If we can keep on our development path, reminding ourselves that this is a science project year, then we will be proud of what we are doing."
Sweedler likes the Road America circuit, but it can also bite you.
"Although Road America is one of my favorite tracks on the ALMS schedule it can also bite you," Sweedler said. "I was focused on improving my segment time from the exit of Turn Eight through The Kink, and I got a little too heavy footed in the Carrousel and put it into the gravel. I dirtied the track and angered the crew a little. We are searching for that high-speed balance and we are getting better. Greg (Fordahl, team engineer) and the guys are doing things with the nose to improve the handling and it is working. These incremental gains are adding up."
Alex Job, team principal, has his team taking small steps each race weekend.
"This weekend we are really focused on getting some front down force on the car," Job said. "We are experimenting with a couple of different nose configurations that are giving Bill and Townsend a little more confidence in the high-speed turns. We are making small gains every weekend that are keeping us within sight of the GT Class field. But the big gains won't come until the off season with the Lotus."
Source: Alex Job Racing