Road Atlanta II: JML Team Panoz practice report

Speed Channel crew try their hand at Panoz pit stop. This weekend's Petit Le Mans can certainly be won and lost in the pits but the commentary team from Speed Channel found out today that the work by the crews in pit lane is tougher than it ...

Speed Channel crew try their hand at Panoz pit stop.

This weekend's Petit Le Mans can certainly be won and lost in the pits but the commentary team from Speed Channel found out today that the work by the crews in pit lane is tougher than it looks.

Speed Channel's commentary team including Leigh Diffey, Bill Adam, Calvin Fish, David Hobbs, Bob Varsha, Martin Haven, Andrew Marriott and Brian Till swapped places with the Panoz crew before the night practice session to try changing a set of Michelin tires on the #11 Panoz.

While the commentary team performed admirably in their pit lane "audition", the JML Team Panoz outfit is not set to add any new recruits to their pit stop squad for this weekend.

Both the #10 car of Olivier Beretta, David Saelens and Max Papis, plus the #11 machine of Gunnar Jeannette, Scott Maxwell and Benjamin Leuenberger performed strongly in the two daylight practice sessions today.

Olivier Beretta set the fastest time in the #10 car to finish 4th fastest at 1 minute, 14.263 seconds. The only problem of the day was a brake-balance issue during the second practice session which delayed the Panoz for several minutes.

Scott Maxwell set the 7th fastest time in the second session, stopping the clocks at 1:15.456 in the #11 car. Today was the first on-track sessions for the second Panoz after Gunnar Jeannette suffered an accident on his out lap yesterday.

Both Panoz machines will take part in tonight's two-hour night practice session to get accustomed to the dark conditions which the drivers will face at the checkered flag on Saturday.

OLIVIER BERETTA
"The car is going very well but we are still fighting some power understeer issues.

"We will have about 30 minutes tonight before it goes dark and there is another session tomorrow to try to get a better balance in the car before qualifying.

"We had a bit of a brake-balance problem in the second session, but everything is OK now and I am looking forward to running tonight."

SCOTT MAXWELL
"We were playing catch up today but the set-up wasn't too bad at all.

"We started a bit blind but we will sit down with the engineers and the guys from Michelin and I am confident we can find some more time tonight and be closer to the lead pace.

"We have been struggling a bit with understeer but we are working in the right direction to make the car strong for the race."

DAVID SAELENS
"Oli and Max drove in the morning session but unfortunately my stint in the car didn't go as well as I would have liked.

"We had a brake balance problem and I couldn't get the speed out of the car that I would have liked.

"The mechanics worked on the car and fixed the problem before Oli got back in and we ended up fourth fastest.

"I am looking forward to driving tonight because it will be the first night session we have done since Le Mans."

GUNNAR JEANNETTE
"The guys did a great job in repairing the car and I was able to get a few laps in without any major problems which was great.

"It was good to get back in the car but there were several red flags in the first session and we didn't get as many laps in as I would have liked.

"The guys have made some improvement during the day and everything is continuing to move in the right direction which is great."

MAX PAPIS
"Everything is running well to plan and tonight's session is really just for a final check to make sure everything is OK.

"The car is definitely better from the last time I drove it at the Atlanta Grand Prix and the goal will certainly be to aim for a podium finish and complete the year on a high note.

"The team has done a really good job throughout the year and this weekend is looking strong as well."

BENJAMIN LEUENBERGER
"I got in the car for the second practice today and it was actually my first time around Road Atlanta in traffic.

"I have tested here before, but not under conditions like these.

"The track is still very dirty and slippery so you have to be very careful.

"Our car isn't that good yet but we have been working hard and I think we will fine by the time qualifying comes around."

-pmg-

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