BRILLIANT DEBUT MARED BY CRASH FOR CORSA ZYTEK AT PETIT LE MANS BRASELTON, GA (October 4, 2008) -- The Corsa Motorsports Zytek 07S was off to a radiant debut at Road Atlanta in the Petit Le Mans, but a horrific crash leaves the team wondering...
BRILLIANT DEBUT MARED BY CRASH FOR CORSA ZYTEK AT PETIT LE MANS
BRASELTON, GA (October 4, 2008) -- The Corsa Motorsports Zytek 07S was off to a radiant debut at Road Atlanta in the Petit Le Mans, but a horrific crash leaves the team wondering what could have been. One hour and fifty minutes into the race, and X minutes into Stefan Johansson's run, the No. 48 Zytek 07S experienced a suspension failure entering Turn 12 at nearly 240kph. He was unable to make a right-hand turn nearing the start-finish. The car hit the Turn 12 barrier head on, ending the car's run and leaving it lifeless in a tire stack halfway up the wall. Johannson was running second in the Le Mans Prototype 1 class and fourth overall at the time.
"I don't know what happened, so there's not a lot to say," Johansson explained shortly after exiting the car. "I felt something snap. I think it was the left front. I came down the hill and everything was fine. I tried to turn but the car kept going straight. I've had a few like this before."
Johannson quickly exited the car and suffered no injuries despite the hard impact.
He inherited the car and position from Johnny Mowlem who was at the wheel for the start of the race. A combination of great driving, good strategy and good fortune had allowed him to move to the Corsa Zytek near the front of the field after starting seventh in LMP1 and 17th overall.
"The car's race pace was incredible," he explained after his stint in the car. "I was able to pass with ease and Alan McNish in the Audi was the only one able to pass me. I felt like things were going well."
However, on-board communication was sporadic during his stint. Mowlem was unable to hear his crew in the pits, but followed instructions from the pit communications board on the front straight-away to make his second pit stop about an hour and a half into the race. "Oh man! We're in fourth," he questioned and exclaimed after exiting the car and taking a moment to gather himself and check the time monitor. "I had no idea what was going on because I couldn't hear you guys that well. That is awesome! I just knew that I needed to keep driving hard."
Despite the misfortune of wrecking the car, the team was encouraged by its run and is looking forward to continued development of the chassis and engine program with Zytek.
"We've got a commitment to be at Leguna Seca, so our crew is going to be hard at work this next week and a half to reassemble the Zytek and get it ready to race; we're hopeful we can make it happen. Only time will tell," said Steve Pruitt, team principal and owner. "The goal today was simply to finish the race. We opened incredibly well, so it's disheartening to see the team work so hard and then something misfortunate like this happen. Our crew and drivers have been outstanding this week and have all worked hard to get the new LMP1 program in place. That effort is evident and I am thankful for it."