SECONDS OUT, ROUND SEVEN... Houston, Tx, August 13, 2009. In the on-going title fight that is the current GT2 Championship, the main contenders are ready to step into the ring once again for round seven of the American Le Mans Series. In the...
SECONDS OUT, ROUND SEVEN...
Houston, Tx, August 13, 2009. In the on-going title fight that is the current GT2 Championship, the main contenders are ready to step into the ring once again for round seven of the American Le Mans Series.
In the red corner, the Houston-based Risi Competizione Ferrari F430 GT of Jaime Melo and Pierre Kaffer will once again be sparring against the Porsches, BMWs and Corvettes that make up the most competitive and close-fought class of the series. As at Mid Ohio, there are seven cars each with two professional drivers in their line up which can potentially win GT2 and -- as always -- Risi relishes a challenge.
Road America's 4.05 mile, European-style layout is popular with almost everyone in the field, and features a series of single corners without tricky or technical combinations, including the notorious "Kink", with useable curbs which can help to reduce lap time. This is the highest speed (state side) track visited by the teams and speeds of around 160mph (260kph) are reached three times a lap.
The longer track will help separate the prototypes from the GT cars which engineers predict should preclude some yellows, reduce traffic and reduce the LMP's urge to attempt high risk passes. Its disadvantage, however, is that it doesn't yield many practice laps so it will once again be a challenge for Road America newcomer, Pierre Kaffer, to get up to speed and learn the circuit with the limited practice time available.
"It won't be easy for us, like at Mid Ohio," says Jaime Melo. "The competition has caught up to the Ferrari, and we need a good strategy and better luck than we had at Ohio with safety cars to help move us forward. Being so close between so many people can be a good thing -- it could work in our favor; we shall have to wait and see.
"It's quite a difficult track to set up a car for," continues the Brazilian. "It's long and you need to have a good set up for both slow and high speed corners, bumps and kerbs as well. It takes time to set up the car but we have a good base so I am sure each time we go out we can just improve the car."