Team Olive Garden - University studies recap

Team Olive Garden ready for Fall Semester ALMS after Summer School Session at Old Dominion U. Monterey, Calif. (Sept. 16, 2002) - It wasn't an easy course of study, but then the goal of finishing the year at the head of the class in American Le...

Team Olive Garden ready for Fall Semester ALMS after Summer School Session at Old Dominion U.

Monterey, Calif. (Sept. 16, 2002) - It wasn't an easy course of study, but then the goal of finishing the year at the head of the class in American Le Mans Series (ALMS) championship competition isn't easy either. So, in order to move up in class rankings, Team Olive Garden spent the last few weeks of the summer at university boning up on aerodynamics, thermodynamics, fluid dynamics and mechanical engineering.

The team enrolled at Virginia's Old Dominion University, where the "lab" work was completed in the Langley Full Scale Wind Tunnel (LFST). Located adjacent to NASA's Langley Aeronautical Research Center, LFST is one of the world's four largest wind tunnels.

According to Team Olive Garden boss Gabriele Rafanelli, "Since Mosport we've been working night and day. We've gained a decent percentage in horsepower since then, but I believe our major advance comes from the time in the wind tunnel. We gained a lot of down force and we've cut drag by a major, major amount. Together with the horsepower improvement, I'm optimistic about the last few races."

Team Olive Garden Racing Program Director, Ed Triolo added, "We made large improvements in two areas; managing airflow under the car and a big gain in the flow around the greenhouse. Everyone has burned midnight oil on the project and I'd give the boys an "A+" for the effort times the aero improvement. Frankly, our only deficit right now is that we won't have time for reliability testing our 6.0 liter Ferrari V-12. So we'll finish the season with our proven 5.7 liter engine. Considering the aero efficiency improvements however, it shouldn't be an issue."

So far this season, Team Olive Garden / Coca-Cola Ferrari has three podium finishes in the GTS category. Also, they have thrice captured the IMSA Cup for the top-finishing private team in GTS. In addition, this season's Team Olive Garden Drive Against Hunger Program has provided meals for over 500 needy families in the metro areas where they have raced. In this program, the company works with Second Harvest Food Bank organizations to invite one needy family to an Olive Garden dinner for each lap that the car completes. To date the program has fed well over 12,000 needy people.

-tog-

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Series ALMS