Road America: Intersport Racing race report

INTERSPORT RACING FINISHES 3RD AND 4TH AT ROAD AMERICA Elkhart Lake, Wis.- Intersport Racing had yet another very encouraging race Saturday at Road America, as the No. 37 Very Berry Exotics Lola B06/10 AER of Jon and Clint Field and Richard...

INTERSPORT RACING FINISHES 3RD AND 4TH AT ROAD AMERICA

Elkhart Lake, Wis.- Intersport Racing had yet another very encouraging race Saturday at Road America, as the No. 37 Very Berry Exotics Lola B06/10 AER of Jon and Clint Field and Richard Berry led eight laps en route to a season-best seventh place overall finish. The team's No. 30 Lola AER of Ryan Lewis, John Faulkner and Gregor Fisken soldiered home to a fourth place in-class result after overcoming a variety of issues during the four-hour race.

Jon qualified the No. 37 Cellulosic E85-powered prototype in eighth, and as always, produced some fireworks at the start. He rocketed his way up to the third position on the first lap, and set his sights on the two leading Audis. However, when the first caution of the race came out ten minutes in, the Brian Alder-led crew elected to bring Jon in for an early pit stop. He restarted in 11th, but quickly gained ground by the second yellow, when most of the leaders made their stops. This put Jon in second at the restart. As the green flew, he drove to the front, passing the LMP2 Penske Porsche of Romain Dumas for the overall lead. He held the top spot for eight laps, until getting passed by the Lucas Luhr-driven Audi. Jon's brilliant drive brought back memories of his strong run at Miller Motorsports Park, when he also led a number of laps while holding off the factory Audis.

The No. 37 car remained in the top-five overall before pitting for tires, fuel and a driver change at the one-hour and 20-minute mark. Team owner, and Jon's son, Clint, got behind the wheels of the Lola. Clint drove two flawless stints running inside the top-10 before handing over to Richard Berry with about an hour to go. Berry kept the AER-powered prototype out of trouble, making one final stop for fuel only with 35 minutes remaining. From there, Berry benefited from two late-race accidents by other contending prototypes, giving the No. 37 machine a seventh place overall finish, third in LMP1.

Intersport's No. 30 car of Ryan Lewis qualified in 13th but charged up the leaderboard to seventh in the early stages. Lewis' impressive drive was slowed by a spin in Turn 8 followed by a trip through the gravel at the Carousel. The E10-powered car made it back to the pits for service, as Lewis handed the reigns over to John Faulkner. Faulkner drove the following two stints, but had a handful with a broken left mirror and no radio communications.

By lap 60, Faulkner was signaled in for service while the team tried to make repairs to the radio. They were unable to rectify the problem and sent the car back out. However, he came back in the pits five minutes later to serve a 60-second stop-and-hold penalty for a supervisor working on the car during that last stop. This cost the team even more time, dropping them to 14th. Just fifteen minutes later, Faulkner beached the Kumho-shod car in the gravel trap at Canada Corner, bringing out a full course caution.

After getting a pull by a safety crane, Faulkner returned to the pits and handed the car to Gregor Fisken. The Scotsman rejoined but quickly ran into trouble with flapping bodywork. Still without radio communication, Fisken did his best to fix the problem from the cockpit, but was unable to. He was black flagged a few laps later for the bodywork, giving the team the opportunity to make repairs in the pit lane. Luckily, the crew got Fisken back out to complete the race, finishing 19th overall and fourth in the LMP1 category.

Quotes:

Jon Field (No. 37 Very Berry Exotics Lola B06/10 AER): "The car was really good at the start. The AER engine was very strong, and the car felt a lot better up front than it did at Salt Lake City. We had a pretty good setup, which was great. The back end wasn't as loose, but I was paying attention to the traction control and not overusing the rear tires. Traffic caught me out a little bit there, but I was able to keep some people behind me in the corners. Overall it was a great day for the entire team as we showed once again that we can play with the big boys."

Clint Field (No. 37 Very Berry Exotics Lola B06/10 AER): "Our run was really good. We had a really good car today, as Dad showed that it could run up front. The tires probably weren't the best, but that's all we had. We were running out of tires at the end, so it was tough for us. In the first half of the stint, we could really hold on to those guys. I passed a Penske car and the B-K Motorsports car and pulled away from a bit after that. We're happy that we finished as we had some misfortune this weekend. The engine held together. At the end of the day, it's a seventh place finish, ahead of a couple of other prototype entries, so it's good. The soft Dunlop tires in the first five laps or so are just unbelievable. The straightway speed of the AER engine is also amazing. It was a good and exciting start. So we'll go to Mosport with some high hopes."

Ryan Lewis (No. 30 Lola B06/10 AER): "We were running in front of the Penske car and as well as the B-K Motorsports entry and one of the Dyson Porsches. It was good. There was a little bit more pace in the car as it was, especially when we got out in front and could run low 1:51s pretty easily. I was quite happy with the Kumho tire, but the car just started to oversteer a little bit. Towards the end of my stint, I made a silly mistake thinking about something else and didn't bring my [brake] pads up after going through Turn 7. This locked the rear [tires] up and I ended up turning the car into Turn 8. That lost me some time. After that I was playing catch-up and coming into the Carousel, I was looking at the GT2 cars in front of me and just got my left rear a bit wide on the marbles. It dragged me out wide into the gravel. But it was a good day for the team and I'm looking forward to heading to Mosport."

John Faulkner (No. 30 Lola B06/10 AER): "When I got in the car I had a few challenges. The left mirror was broken. About two laps into it, the radio went out and was flapping on the floor, so I had no ears. We soldiered on and they gave me a meatball sign to come in. When we came in for a splash of fuel, the mechanic took the whole radio box out and we got a stop-and-go penalty for it. Other than that, the car was working well. The new Kumho tires we were on were very consistent and we were turning very good laps. At the end, coming down to Canada Corner, I got a little bit off line and locked up the brakes and just barely didn't make the corner and went into the gravel bed. But I was pleased with the overall performance of the car."

Gregor Fisken (No. 30 Lola B06/10 AER): "It was a little frustrating in the end because it was just cautions, cautions, cautions. When I went out in the car, I had an issue with the cockpit surrounds. The screws had come loose. I thought I had it pushed down while under the safety car, but once I got going, it started flapping again. The aerodynamics was horrible because of this. Down the straight, the car was disturbed by it. Eventually we got black flagged for it, which was a bit of a relief. The radio wasn't working at all from the beginning, and I saw that race control black-flagged me, so I came in. From there, it was driving with no left mirror, so I couldn't see what was coming up on my inside. I was trying to get little runs of two or three laps, but then the safety car came out again and again. While there were no record-breaking lap times, it was really good to bring the car home. I had a thoroughly good time with the team. We've all had our little incidents but it was really nice to finish fourth in class."

-credit: ir

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