Darren Law charged from one lap down to finish second in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series race at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Saturday. Law, of Phoenix, and his co-driver, David Donohue of Malvern, Pa., benefitted from a smart team strategy that maximized tire performance on their No. 5 Action Express Porsche-powered Riley Daytona Prototype.
Donohue drove the first half of the two-hour 45-minute race. He started sixth on the 32-car grid and raced as high as third, but dropped back to ninth as his single set of tires lost grip on the hot 2.3-mile Florida track. Law took over at the halfway point, returning to the track 11th, one lap behind the race leader. With two sets of tires remaining in the team's allotment, Law was able to work his way carefully through the field to take second place with just four minutes remaining in the race.
"It feels great!" Law said. "Our strategy was that David would run as long as he could, and he ran one set of tires the whole time. It was tough for him; the car just got slower and slower as the tires went off. But the advantage was we still had two sets of brand-new tires. The Rolex Series allows only five sets of tires per race weekend. When we run at tracks that are harder on tires, we really have to manage sets and manage how we drive to be competitive at the end of the race. We were conservative in practice and it paid off in the end.
"It was totally, totally a tire-conservation race. It really depended on how hard you drove the car. If you pushed too hard, you would over-use the tires and lose grip. You really had to control yourself and have patience in how you drove the car. It was important to not drive it in [to the corners] too hard, as well as be careful how you applied throttle. It rewarded the patient driver who didn't let the competition go to his head.
"I was a little worried. When David fell off the pace, there really wasn’t much he could do. The tires were done and we lost a lap. But I got back in and I at least got my lap back. Then a yellow [caution] flag moved us around to the back of the field and I just worked my way through from there. I was making sure I didn't cook the tires. People were over-driving – they started to fall back and then I just picked them off.
"It's a big deal for us because we had such a great run going at Daytona, at the Rolex 24 in January, and mechanical problems got us. This weekend, we weren’t sure how good our car was going to be at the start of the race, but our team and engineers got it right and we were running with the Ganassi and SunTrust teams right to the finish. This series is so competitive and both of those teams are consistently up front. We were right there, so it felt really good. We proved it again this weekend – we have the team and the package; we just need a trouble-free run."
20+ in 2011
Darren Law will compete in more than 20 sports-car races this year. The versatile Phoenix driver races the No. 5 Action Express Racing Porsche-powered Riley Daytona Prototype in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series. He also competes in the American Le Mans Series GT class, driving the No. 44 Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 RSR.
Darren Law depends on CDOC for all his racing, safety and performance equipment. The company's expertise and equipment help him maintain peak performance on track. CDOC is a world leader in the distribution of more than 100 performance lines. (cdoc.com) Law is also supported by OMP Racing, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of racing safety equipment and tuning accessories with a catalog of more than 4,500 different items. (ompamerica.com)
– darrenlaw.com –