St. Pete: Kumho race report

Intersport Racing and Kumho take 3rd in LMP1 at Acura Sports Car Challenge of St. Petersburg New LMP1 tires perform well in debut RANCHO CUCAMNOGA, CA,...Intersport Racing and Kumho Tires took third place in the LMP1 class at Saturday's running...

Intersport Racing and Kumho take 3rd in LMP1 at Acura Sports Car Challenge of St. Petersburg
New LMP1 tires perform well in debut

RANCHO CUCAMNOGA, CA,...Intersport Racing and Kumho Tires took third place in the LMP1 class at Saturday's running of the Acura Sports Car Challenge of St. Petersburg (FL). Drivers Jon Field, Clint Field and Richard Berry completed 112 laps on the 1.8-mile street circuit in the second race of the 2007 American Le Mans Series (ALMS) season.

Intersport debuted Kumho's new LMP1 race tires, which performed well throughout the race. The tires, size 330/680R18 front and 370/710R18 rear, provide nearly two more inches of contact patch on each corner of the car than the P2 tires that Intersport ran in the first race of the season.

During the race, driver Clint Field posted lap times that were quicker than his qualifying time. In just its second race with a new engine, car and tires-and without yet holding a private test session-that's a good sign that the team is coming to grips with the car and tires.

"We're getting more comfortable with the car," said Field after the race. "We had a good race car and the tires held up beautifully. It was really impressive to see in their first race out that they were really consistent and they didn't fall off much, which is good to see. It's definitely something to build on. We're looking forward to getting some more compounds and constructions that will help us be more competitive."

Kumho motorsports manager Rudy Consolacion was pleased with the performance of the new LMP1 tires. "Our LMP1 tire program just came to life about six weeks ago," said Consolacion. "We haven't even had a chance to test them yet; the St. Pete race was the first time the tires have been run. All things considered, we're pleased with their performance.

"We're starting the season with four races in six weekends, so there's little time to test," noted Consolacion. "We plan to have a few more LMP1 compounds and constructions to try out at Long Beach and Houston, and then we'll do some proper testing."

In LMP2, the B-K Motorsports Mazda-powered Lola was impressively quick in the new car's second race. During the race-morning warm-up, drivers Jamie Bach and Ben Devlin both turned laps that were quicker than the car's qualifying time. In the race Devlin was nearly two seconds a lap quicker than the qualifying pace, evidence that the team is figuring out what the car needs to go fast.

"We're really pleased with the tires," said Devlin after the race. "They came in straight away during the first stint and held out really well. There were a couple of laps where I thought they'd gone off a little bit, but that actually cleared up. I think it was just dust or oil on the track or something like that. They were working really well and we were looking to run a double stint on them."

Unfortunately, an electrical problem ended the team's day on lap 26, when the car stalled on-course and would not re-start. "Anytime you develop something new you're going to go through some growing pains, and that's what we're going through right now," said John Doonan, manager of motorsports team development for Mazda North America. "We've had zero private testing so far. We're testing in public and sometimes that's hard for people to swallow, but that's the way it is. The tires were fantastic. The car was handling the best it's handled since we got it. We'll head to Long Beach and Houston with smiling faces and then we'll have some time to do some testing before the Salt Lake race."

-credit: kumho

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About this article
Series ALMS
Drivers Ben Devlin , Jon Field , Clint Field , Richard Berry