RLR ALMS SQUAD CHASING POINTS AT ROAD AMERICA
The American Le Mans Series season has been a learning experience for the first-year Rahal Letterman Racing GT2 program, but one that has been filled with strong performances and rising potential despite the fact that the team is still seeking its first series victory.
The freshman ALMS effort has hit its stride over the last month and has posted season-best finishes in two of the last three races. That trend nearly continued at Mid-Ohio as the team's Porsche 911 GT3 RSR ran a faster race lap than the best time posted by the GT2 winner, but an electrical problem prevented the team from challenging for the win.
The team will look to get back to the sharp end of the grid this weekend, and will do so on one of the most daunting racetracks in the United States as the 4.048-mile Road America layout plays host to the ALMS cars.
This weekend's Generac 500 is the eighth stop on the 12-race ALMS schedule and returns the sportscars to one of the most challenging tracks in all of racing.
"Road America is one of my favorite tracks so I can't wait to drive the Porsche there," Milner mused. "We continue to learn a lot about the car at each event; what works and what doesn't work. We've shown to have a competitive car in practice and the race but can't seem to put a race together. Everyone is working hard to do the very best and the results have to come soon. Unfortunately, the Ferraris will be very hard to beat. They were fast at Road America last year so I expect this year to be no different."
As was the case at Mid-Ohio, the veteran Kelleners may be taking a few tips from his younger teammate about getting around the four-mile monster that is nestled in the Kettle Moraine region of Central Wisconsin. Despite having more than a decade's worth of experience in sports cars, Kelleners has never competed at Road America. Milner has but one ALMS race under his belt at Elkhart Lake, but it came last year as he paired with Gunnar Jeannette in GT2 competition. The team can make up a bit of ground this week since the four-hour event means that there are three addition points available per position. Points are paid to 10th place, with each spot worth three more points than are awarded for events under four hours.
"I have only been to the track one time and I didn't even get to race because the car broke down before I got my turn behind the wheel!" laments Kelleners. "This track seems to be more of a power track than most of them that we run on, so perhaps that will help us narrow the gap to the Ferraris."
The driver duo of Kelleners and Milner are currently in sixth place in the GT2 class pilot points, but are just four digits out of a tie for fourth. The RLR team has never raced a sports car at Road America, although the Ohio-based team has a long history at the track through the IndyCar/Champ Car efforts of the team and co-owner Bobby Rahal, who started on the pole there in 1986 and '91. RLR last won the pole at Road America in 2001 with Kenny Brack and last competed there in 2003 with Michel Jourdain Jr.
This weekend's race takes place on Saturday afternoon beginning at 4:00 p.m. local time. The race can be seen on a tape-delayed basis on Sunday, August 12 at 2:30 p.m. ET on NBC.