BAM! (British American Motorsport) will start 11th on the GT grid for the Petit Le Mans, after a disappointing qualifying session at Road Atlanta on Saturday. Lucas Luhr was starting his first hot lap when he was forced off-track by a GTS car entering the track from pit lane. The off slowed the No. 43 YES Network Porsche 911 GT3 RSR to a best lap time of one minute 24.560 seconds on the 2.54-mile track. Luhr will share driving duty in Saturday's 10-hour, 1000-mile race with Leo Hindery, Jr. and Adam Jones.
"After five years, that is the worst qualifying I've ever had in American Le Mans, for a couple of reasons," Luhr said. "The car wasn't really right. We had a problem this morning with the shifter cable, so we couldn't have a really good solution for the setup. We took a guess and the guess was obviously not right.
"[A GTS car] was exiting the pits and drove right in front of me! Rather than run into him and have two cars destroyed, I decided to just miss him and went into the dirt. That was the beginning of the end - the tires were all dirty and the car was messed up. I flat-spotted the two front tires, so I think we'll start on new tires from the back, which gives us a little bit more advantage in the first few laps. Then we should be back in the top three, four or five."
Leo Hindery, Jr. received a new learning tool on Friday. BAM!'s technology strategist Jim Malicki videotaped a lap of the track from a golf cart. Hindery's co-drivers Lucas Luhr and Adam Jones then provided sector-by-sector commentary about the best racing line.
"Sitting with Adam and Lucas is itself a learning exercise, but then Jim Malicki went out and video'd the track. So parts that I've been historically slow in, I've got a better feel for them all of a sudden," Hindery said. "I'm more optimistic about this race than I have been in the past."
Adam Jones had a surprise visitor Thursday evening - his father Allan flew to Atlanta from England to attend the Petit Le Mans. The last-minute trip took 16 hours.
"My family have always been a close support to me; I wouldn't be where I'm at today if it wasn't for them," Adam Jones said. "They come to as many races as possible, but I was really shocked to hear my dad when he said he'd decided to come out. For him to turn up and be here for this one is pretty unreal. It's good to see him here; he supports me, as ever."