TRV's Schroeder, St. James and Volk Drop Out of Petit Le Mans Early
BRASELTON, Ga., Sept. 18 - Problems with the engine management system struck the TRV Motorsport team of Jeret Schroeder, Lyn St. James and Tom Volk Saturday in the Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta. The Supreme Exhaust System Products/Purity Farms/Racer Parts Wholesale/Goodyear Riley & Scott Chevy #95 retired from the 10-hour enduro with about a third of the event complete, completing 65 laps and finishing 48th overall.
"Our Chevy engine is very strong, and our engine builder, Todd Hertel of Clements Racing Engines, has gone above and beyond the call of duty," said a very disappointed Volk, the team owner as well as a driver. "It's a problem with our engine management system. It's the same problem that we had in the final round of qualifying yesterday. To say that we're all disappointed is putting it mildly."
Schroeder took the green before giving the steering wheel to Volk followed by St. James. Each got a few laps in, but none completed a full stint.
"Lyn got the worst end of the deal; the engine was sputtering and cutting in and out and it got to the point where it was not only dangerous, it was undriveable," Volk noted.
The problems started almost immediately. After qualifying 17th in the 49-car starting field, Schroeder pulled into the pits 5 minutes after the green waved when a warning light on the dash came out. That proved to be a false alarm. He rejoined the field and soon started to run laps at about the same speed as he had qualified.
About 15 minutes later he was back in the pits though, as another light warned of a fuel pick-up problem. The TRV team quickly had him back on his way, but about 20 minutes later Schroeder was back in the pits again with undiagnosed electrical problems. This time the team pushed the Riley & Scott out of the pits and back to the garage area, pouring over the car for 50 minutes.
When the car returned to the track Volk was behind the wheel, and after about 45 minutes he returned to the pits so St. James could have a turn. "I just got a few fast laps in before the engine started to falter, and it got progressively worse," Volk said. St. James nursed the car around the track for about 40 minutes before she was forced to bring it back into the pits and the garage area around 2 p.m.
"About the only positive thing I can say is that between the car and engine updates, we now can run laps comparable to all but the factory teams," Volk said. "If we can get this problem solved with our engine management system, maybe we'll finally be able to show some results for all the expensive updates we've done this year."
"It's a real shame, because the engine is really strong and this isn't even Todd's best engine," Schroeder added.
"We were all set for a good day; Dick Simon's expertise combined with our Goodyear tires got us really hooked up," St. James said. "It's a shame that we weren't able to show what we could do."
Pep Boys Indy Racing League team owner Dick Simon, who has fielded Indy cars for St. James, served as the team's engineer this weekend in the absence of the team's regular engineer, John Greene.
"Dick said that he'll help us out at Laguna too, which is a plus," Volk added.
The Laguna event is another American Le Mans Series race that is slated for Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey, Calif. on Oct. 10. If things go well there the team may also compete in a race on the streets of San Diego on Nov. 7.
Highlights of Saturday's Petit Le Mans are scheduled to be broadcast from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern time Sunday on NBC.