Mosport: Drayson Racing qualifying report

Drayson Racing Overcomes Mosport Practice Incident to Qualify 4th BOWMANVILLE, ONT, CANADA - After a dramatic repair was required to the No.8 Drayson Racing Lola Coupé with Judd Power following a collision during the final practice earlier...

Drayson Racing Overcomes Mosport Practice Incident to Qualify 4th

BOWMANVILLE, ONT, CANADA - After a dramatic repair was required to the No.8 Drayson Racing Lola Coupé with Judd Power following a collision during the final practice earlier today, Drayson Racing qualified fourth for tomorrow's Grand Prix of Mosport. Despite the unknown of the repaired car, Jonny Cocker (Guisborough, Yorks, UK) wasted no time in attacking the 20-minute Le Mans Prototype (LMP) qualification session here at Mosport International Raceway. Paul Drayson (Gloucestershire, UK), who shares the closed-cockpit racer with Cocker, will start the two-hour and 45-minute American Le Mans Series (ALMS) tomorrow afternoon.

Cocker charged deep into Turn One of the wickedly quick 2.459-mile/3.95-Km, 10-turn road course on his first flying lap. He promptly achieved the fourth quickest time of one minute, 7.482 seconds. During the run, the United Kingdom-based operation returned to the pits to lower the air pressure in the Michelin tyres with less than 10 minutes remaining. Cocker was on his flying lap when a fellow competitor stopped on track requiring a red flag and ending the session.

In Practice Two, immediately proceeding qualifying, whilst finishing his last few laps, Cocker exited Turn One at speed. At the same time a LMPC class competitor was leaving pit lane and blended onto the racing line earlier than permitted by regulation. Cocker, unable to avoid the LMPC, made contact with the right side damaging the under-tray and side pod. The crew worked feverishly to make the needed repairs in time to run the time trials. The car pulled onto pit lane five minutes prior to the session start.

The issue in the second practice magnified the challenges of multi-class competition. Whilst other racing series are suffering from low car counts, the ALMS is thriving. The Grand Prix of Mosport has the largest ALMS entry list since 1999. The 30-car field has presented an issue here in Mosport's relatively short pit lane. In an effort to reduce problems similar to those which cost Drayson Racing a chance at a Grand Prix of Long Beach podium in April, the sanctioning body has implemented a new set of pit rules for this event to minimise crowding. Unlike previous events where the classes were pitted in groups, this pit lane sees LMP and GT entries positioned in alternating pit boxes.

To further reduce the risk of an overloaded and dangerous pit lane during yellow flag periods, LMP and LMPC class entries will stop on the first lap the pits are open during a caution. GT and GTC cars will stop on the second lap. Cars may stop at any time under green flag conditions. The new pit lane rules provide another tool in the arsenal of team manager/strategist Dale White (Bozeman, MT, USA). Although creating less of an overall footprint on the environment, the second-generation E85 bio-ethanol which powers the Judd V10 does not provide the mileage of the traditional petrol cars and therefore must stop more often.

Paul Drayson\\Owner/Driver: "The car suffered considerable damage to the floor and side-pod during the shunt at the end of practice 2. It was a major challenge for the crew to replace the parts, set up the car and check it over in time for qualifying. But they did a superb job and we were there with just a few minutes spare allowing Jonny to qualify the car well in fourth-place."

Jonny Cocker\\Driver: "After the issues that we have had during the second practice session I feel happy with the performance. We missed out on valuable practice time and as a result were slightly on the back-foot going into the qualifying session. During the session we made a change to the car which was positive but couldn't show the true potential due to an early end to the session. The team did a great job to have the car ready and now we can look forward to the race. I can't wait!"

Dale White\\Team Manager: "That really shows that racing is a string of events. You have an issue in one session and it impacts everything that follows it. 'Could' and 'should' don't mean much in racing. What means something is the performance of this team! To turn the car around so quickly, to have it on pit lane for the start of the session was really impressive. For Jonny then to step in there and go after it like he did also really impressed me. That is what you have to do if you want to compete in the ALMS. Great job by everyone."

-source: drayson racing

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About this article
Series ALMS
Drivers Paul Drayson , Jonny Cocker