Positive Prototype Test for Marsal
Sebring, Fla. March 21, 2012 –Fresh from the announcement that he was joining the American Le Mans Series sprint events in 2012, Michael Marsal geared up for his Long Beach Grand Prix debut with a full day of testing the Dyson Racing No. 20 Lola B09/86-Mazda at Sebring International Raceway this week.
Marsal had previously driven the high power, high downforce machine in a brief test earlier this year, and was eager to build on that experience as he prepares for the demands that the narrow but quick 1.968-mile temporary Long Beach street circuit will put on him and co-driver Eric Lux. The bumpy track surface that makes Sebring such a drivers challenge was ideally suited as Dyson Racing worked to acclimatize the new driver pairing and develop a range of set up strategies for the April 14th event.
“I was pretty pleased with where my times were, and more so with how much we improved through the day,” said Marsal. “Eric (Lux) has a lot more time in prototypes than I do, so he’s a good reference for me and I think we are going to be a good pairing this year. We’ve both come out of GT machines and been friends for years, so it’s exciting for us to be driving together. I think it’s going to bring even more competitiveness out of us both!”
Efficient teamwork and lap after lap reliability of the proven Lola machine saw Marsal and Lux make the most of the track time with a long day of running for Dyson.
“Besides just working on continuing to get more of a feel for the car, the other big thing was to just get to spend some time with the team and work through our changes and get used to how we all approach everything,” said Marsal, who will be completing his college studies this spring. “I was impressed with the Dyson Racing guys-there is a tremendous amount of focus and even though we were ‘just’ testing, everyone was right on top of things and we were able to make a lot of progress.”
The Sebring facility, which was fresh from hosting the huge 60th Anniversary Sebring 12 Hour event, was a fertile feeding ground for thousands of birds, who were feasting on the leftovers from the big event. Marsal hadn’t given the extra attendees much thought, until they made their presence known.
“I was going down toward the hairpin, and had just clicked into sixth gear when I could see the Audi ahead of me come to a complete dead stop, well ahead of the turn. It took everything I had to slow down in time, but thankfully I did because there were what looked like thousands of birds, right on the track and it would have been a mess. That was not what I was expecting!”
Marsal’s busy race schedule will see him next head to Barber Motorsports Park outside of Birmingham, Alabama for the GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge event March 29-31 before traveling across the country for his ALMS debut on the streets of Long Beach, California April 13-14.
The Barber GRAND-AM event will broadcast April 8 at 12:00 PM (ET) on SPEED and the ALMS Long Beach event will be televised April 14 at 7:30 PM (ET) on ESPN 2.