HALLIDAY AND FIELD LOOK TO RETAIN SERIES LEAD IN ROAD AMERICA The American Le Mans Series' most successful female driver ever, Liz Halliday, heads to round seven of the championship this weekend at Road America, Elkhart Lake (WI), straight after...
HALLIDAY AND FIELD LOOK TO RETAIN SERIES LEAD IN ROAD AMERICA
The American Le Mans Series' most successful female driver ever, Liz Halliday, heads to round seven of the championship this weekend at Road America, Elkhart Lake (WI), straight after competing in two horse-riding competitions in the UK at both Wilton and Aston-Le-Walls.
Liz's two professional sporting careers naturally leads to a busy life but one her current lead in the LMP2 category drivers' standings of the American Le Mans Series shows that it has yet to have anything but positive side-effects.
This weekend at Road America, Liz and her Intersport racing team mate, Clint Field, will try to retain and hopefully increase their slender five point advantage over the factory Porsche entry of Sascha Maassen and Lucas Luhr.
For the duo to even be in contention at this stage of the season, let alone be leading the championship with just four rounds of ten remaining, is a stunning achievement given that their small, privately-entered Intersport Racing outfit is pitched head-to-head against the might of a multimillion dollar, in-house factory effort by Porsche.
Despite being thrown into this lion's den, Intersport has performed admirably, focusing on reliability where they perhaps lacked speed and achieving an outstanding run of three wins, one second and two third places in the season so far. Reliability has indeed turned out to be the Porsche Spyder's Achilles heel and Intersport's intelligent strategy has to date worked beautifully.
At Road America this weekend, the Intersport squad hopes that recent progress on the car's raw speed, as well as a natural affinity for what has become one of America's most loved circuits, will help maintain the pressure on their LMP2 class rivals, , "The place is awesome," says Liz, "Last year, I drove there for the first time and loved it -- it became my favourite track in the US. It's really long, fast and challenging, with some of the best corners in the world."
Last year Halliday showed her bravery when her engine caught fire mid-race. As she headed straight for the pits the blaze expanded and she was forced to evacuate. With the car stranded on the uphill approach to the pit-lane, it soon started to roll backwards until Liz, concerned that it would end up in the path of cars at full racing speed, ran behind to hold it in place until safety marshals arrived to extinguish the flames.
Liz said: "It was one of the more hairy moments of my career and although the flames coming out the back were pretty worrying, I was more concerned that if the car rolled back too far it was going to create a major accident. I just did my best and I am glad it worked out. The team did a superb job to rebuild the car because we went out and won the next race!"
With seemingly better luck on her side this season, Liz hopes that no such problems will interrupt her charge to keep the Porsches at bay this weekend.
Practice and qualifying takes place on the 18th and 19th of August, and the race itself begins at 2pm on Sunday 20th of August.