PRIMETIME FIGHTS TO THE END, ALMOST.... October 4th, 2008 Petit Le Mans, Atlanta Georgia- After a long season of building their GT2 effort, Primetime arrived at Road Atlanta with one thought in mind, "Top Ten". Although a busy week lied ahead...
PRIMETIME FIGHTS TO THE END, ALMOST....
October 4th, 2008 Petit Le Mans, Atlanta Georgia- After a long season of building their GT2 effort, Primetime arrived at Road Atlanta with one thought in mind, "Top Ten".
Although a busy week lied ahead of the GT2 privateer team, (who also runs three IMSA Lites cars in the ALMS support series), they had high hopes of a strong finish for the ten hours as their best finish this year was a fifth in the 12 Hours of Sebring. Electing to take a pass on the scheduled two day pre-event test, the team would start their week slightly off pace from the other high dollar teams.
The Viper would turn it first lap at Road Atlanta under the new GT2 configuration on Tuesday with a new version of their Hankook race tires as well as a new team sponsor, "Popular Science Magazine". The result was an immediate 2 seconds faster than the previous tires that the team had run at Detroit. Unfortunately, these would only be for testing purposes as the quantities were not intended to last the weeks practice as well as the race. In order to conserve tires, Hankook and Primetime engineers decided to practice on the older version while saving the new spec for race day.
As the week progressed Primetime would jump from the intense effort of the Viper, over to the extremely competitive IMSA Lites series where team owner and Viper driver Joel Feinberg, along with teammates Jarrett Boon and Anthony Nicolosi were looking for some time on the podium. Feinberg in his 0x9b21n DP-02 would battle the entire week to hold his concentration as to which car he was in, "It's much harder than it looks" said Feinberg. "In the Viper you have to brake way early and roll the speed through the corner, where in the 0x9b21n I feel like I can brake 300 feet later and power through the apex. The two cars have about 1500 lbs and 300 hp difference between each other, making it very difficult to make decisions without thinking first". Feinberg would continue the week running within a second of the pole and would find his way to the podium for the 9th time this season.
Back to the Viper, Primetime continued working towards finding a comfortable race setup for the 10 hour endurance race, keeping in mind that speed is not the only way of winning this type of race. While the driver duo of Feinberg and Hall had closed the gap on the pole sitter from 5 seconds down to 3 seconds throughout the week's practices, there was a high level of confidence that this team might find another top-five finish.
On a beautiful Saturday morning, perfect for racing, the Primetime team led by Feinberg would take the green flag starting 13th in class, looking to battle their way through the field for the next ten hours. It didn't take long before some of the over aggressive teams had found themselves out of the race due to mechanicals and crashes. Within the first half of the race, seven teams had retired their cars and another handful of teams, "including Primetime" would fight mechanical issues throughout the remainder of the race. The #11 Viper had suffered multiple issues requiring the team to spend a total of almost an hour in the pits fighting things like power steering, throttle stick, and flat tires. As the team pressed on, grunting their way through the race, more and more teams would fall by the wayside. Day soon turned to night and drivers Feinberg and Hall, along with the entire Primetime team had battled through every ounce of adversity that the day had thrown their way.
With less than two hours remaining, car chief Frank Parzych made the decision to replace the power steering pump in order to avoid a possible on track incident. As the race clock counted down Primetimes chances of a top ten were getting smaller by the minute. Once Hall had gotten the Viper back on course, he would just need to take the checkered in order to secure a top ten finish for the team. As luck would have it, the venomous bite of the animalistic Viper would leave the #11 car stranded in turn one, with only 27 minutes on the clock. The car had suffered its fifth driveline failure of the season with a broken inner CV joint on the right rear. As the team in the pits watched their car on TV get rolled behind the wall outside of turn one, it was another defeating blow to the efforts of the dedicated men and women of Primetime. On a dark Saturday night after 280 laps, and 9 hours and 14 minutes of racing, Primetime would fall back 4 positions and settle for a 13th place finish.
"This is a bittersweet result for our team" said Joel Feinberg, "while we didn't end up with what we had hoped for, we still found over nine hours worth of positives. This team has continued race after race to develop a GT3 car into what we drove today, which is light years ahead of where it started. With the help of our partner Hankook, we have been able to take a race car that was built for 1 hour races, and over the season turn it into a contender. My focus has been to develop this car for the future, not just for one season".
The teams' next stop is the Monterey Sports Car Challenge at Laguna Seca on October 18th, where the two man team of Feinberg and Hall will face the final 4 hours of the 2008 American Le Mans Series at the historic 2.23 mile circuit for round 11 of the American Le Mans Series.