Lime Rock Park
Autohaus Motorsports Scores Second Place Finish in Lime Rock Park Memorial Day Classic
LAKEVILLE, Connecticut – Autohaus Motorsports’ drivers Jordan Taylor and Bill Lester drove the No. 88 Autohaus Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro to their second podium finish of the season in the Memorial Day Classic at scenic Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, Connecticut in round five of the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16. Following a history making first place finish at VIR just over two weeks ago, the pair drove a fantastic race to finish second behind fellow Team Chevy partners Stevenson Motorsports who claimed the top of the podium in the No. 57 Camaro.
It was an action filled event, the most challenging on the schedule, with practice, qualifying and racing all in one day. The 1.5 mile, 7-turn road course, often called the bull-ring, is one of the more challenging circuits on the schedule. It is especially hard on tires and passing is a challenge. To make things even more interesting, the day began with thundershowers making for wet conditions for the morning practice, only to end with hot sunny conditions for the green flag.
The No. 88 Autohaus Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro began the race from eighth position where Bill Lester qualified the car earlier in the day. A choice to stay true to pre-race strategy by Autohaus’ Pratt & Miller engineer Charlie Ping by forgoing an early pit stop during the race’s only yellow flag helped Bill to gain precious track position, moving him to third place at the end of the yellow. Bill drove clean and strong avoiding several on track incidents in the early laps, turning the No.88 over to Jordan at the 45 minute mark in the top 6.
“I was honestly disappointed with my qualifying,” explained Bill. “I knew I was better than that, and the car was better than that. This being my first time at Lime Rock in a GT car I had a bit of a learning curve, and the rain in the morning put a damper on things a bit. I knew when the race started I had to keep my nose clean, and bring a car back to Jordan that he could close the deal with. The call to stay out during the yellow was perfect; it helped us make up positions early, I was able to keep us near the front. When I did pit, the crew executed perfectly under a green flag stop, so when the other cars cycled through their pit stops we were soundly in the top five.”
With a strategy calling for only one more stop, it was in the hands of young rising star, Jordan Taylor, tasked with turning quick lap times while conserving fuel. It was going to be close and required expert driving by Jordan to complete the race with only one more stop for fuel and tires in the final two hours. Jordan executed flawlessly, caught in GT traffic a lap down, maintaining a race pace that had him closing in on the leaders. A final pit stop a few laps before the race leaders gave Jordan an advantage with some quick laps on new tires, closing the gap and putting the team in second place after the final round of pit stops. Midway through the final stint, the 59 Porsche made his way around Jordan taking second place. Aware of the strategy and the need for fuel conservation Jordan stayed close in third, without pushing, waiting for the perfect moment in the final laps of the race to execute a beautiful pass reclaiming second position for the checkered flag.
“It was truly a team effort,” explained Jordan. “Everyone did exactly what they needed to do for us to make it to the podium again. The car was expertly prepared by the Autohaus team, Charlie made a great call on setup with challenging conditions and executed a smart strategy allowing us to run the race with only two stops. Bill was perfect, brought the car in for me to finish with great track position so I was able to finish in second place. It feels really good to be here on the podium again.”
The team has no time to rest as the schedule has them heading directly to Watkins Glen, New York for round six of GRAND-AM Rolex Series Competition at Sahlen’s 6 Hours of the Glen on Saturday, June 4, 2011.
-source: autohaus motorsports