Mid-Ohio: Genoa Racing qualifying report

Genoa Racing's Montecalvo Qualifies Fifth In LMPC Class for Saturday's American Le Mans Series Race at Mid-Ohio LEXINGTON, Ohio, Aug. 6 - Frankie Montecalvo is a fast learner as well as a fast driver. Although the 19-year-old racer from ...

Genoa Racing's Montecalvo Qualifies Fifth In LMPC Class for Saturday's American Le Mans Series Race at Mid-Ohio

LEXINGTON, Ohio, Aug. 6 - Frankie Montecalvo is a fast learner as well as a fast driver.

Although the 19-year-old racer from Highlands, N.J., only had three laps in a Le Mans Prototype Challenge (LMPC) car before a testing session at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on Thursday afternoon, less than 24 hours later he successfully qualified fifth in that class for Saturday's Mid-Ohio Sports Car Challenge, a two-hour-and-45-minute race that is part of the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patron.

Driving the Zionsville, Ind.-based Genoa Racing No. 36 which he'll share with Christian Zugel of Holmdel, N.J., Montecalvo turned the 2.258-mile, 13-turn road course in a time of 1:17.973 on his ninth and final lap in the qualifying session Friday afternoon for an average speed of 104.251 miles per hour.

Genoa Racing is continuing its association with Green Earth Team Gunnar (GETG) for this race. The bright-red Genoa Racing machine has been transformed to match the vivid green "flora and fauna" color scheme GETG uses on its primary car, the No. 99, to promote GETG's environmentally-focused partners: G-Oil, Bayshore Recycling of Keasbey, N.J. and the Zais Group.

"This is my first race in a LMPC car," Montecalvo explained Friday after the qualifying session. "Three laps at Miller Motorsport Park was all I had in a LMPC car before the test yesterday. But I think the car is great. It has more power than the cars I'm used to driving. This is my first time driving a car with a paddle shifter, and the carbon brakes are different from what I'm used to. It's a different feel, but I really like it. Plus I like Mid-Ohio; it's a fun car and a fun track!

"I think the hardest thing to get used to was the carbon brakes, because they're so good," he added. "They're Brembos, and they stop really well.

"For my qualifying lap I had a little traffic, but it wasn't bad," he noted. "The car got better and better as the session went on. I think the car could have gone faster if we would have stayed out there longer, but we wanted to save our Michelin tires for the race.

"So far everything has gone well," he summarized. "I had a little spin in testing yesterday, but that's all. We didn't have any damage. Let's hope that continues!"

The team's manager and engineer, Thomas Knapp, is doing double-duty here this weekend. In addition to guiding Genoa Racing's ALMS effort, he's also the engineer for the Genoa Lights car that is running in the Firestone Indy Lights race here on Sunday.

The ALMS' team's crew chief, Steve Ragan, is also helping that effort a bit, as he made the seat for that car's new driver, David Martinez. Like the ALMS car it also carries the number 36, but the Lights team is sponsored by Quamtel and the Racing for Mexico program.

There is an ALMS autograph session scheduled for 11 a.m. to noon Saturday at each team's transporter in the ALMS paddock area. Along with getting Montecalvo and Zugel's autographs, fans can see if they can spot Otto the Otter on the right-front corner of the car's cockpit, and Nemo the Clownfish, who rides on the car's hood.

-source: genoa racing

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Series ALMS
Drivers David Martinez , Christian Zugel , Frankie Montecalvo