Grand-Am Road Racing press release
An Interview with: STEVEN BERTHEAU, MARC GOOSSENS, WOLF HENZLER, SPENCER PUMPELLY, JEROEN BLEEKMOLEN
HERB BRANHAM: We have our runner-up GT team, No. 67 Sargent & Lundy Porsche, co-drivers Steven Bertheau, Marc Goossens, Wolf Henzler, Spencer Pumpelly, Jeroen Bleekmolen.
Q. Wolf, can you talk about your closing stint? Obviously I think you had a splitter change right at the end. A lot of the Porsches had splitter problems, and you guys were right in contention but lost a little time on pit road then?
WOLF HENZLER: Yeah, we also had a splitter problem when Jeroen was out, and he also had a big understeer and couldn't do the lap times because of the understeer. We lost -- we got a gap between the leading cars, the 44 and 59, and then we decided, okay, we need a splitter for the end, for the finish, and that was the right decision. Even it took a little bit of time, we tried to put a splitter on at the first yellow -- it was even under green, but it didn't work, so the mechanics, they called, okay, go back, we have to leave the pits. And then later the yellow, we tried again and they managed to put the splitter on, and that was the right decision that helped me at the end to have a good car, a good, balanced car, and yeah, to -- yeah, I tried everything at the end to catch Richard Lietz with the good car, but yeah, I couldn't close the gap. They were just too good and the race was just too short.
Q. So you tried putting the splitter on under one yellow --
WOLF HENZLER: In the beginning they tried to put it on, I think, under green, and yeah, it didn't go as they wanted. So they decided, okay, let's wait for a yellow, and then they put it on under yellow.
Q. Spencer, I referred to you guys a couple times over the weekend as the Buckler Brigade with all of your armada of cars, and Magnus Racing goes and wins the race. What does it say about this field of GT cars that a team like Magnus can go and race head to head with the resources that you guys have and back and forth all weekend long, all race long, to finally come up with this type of a finish as close as it was in a 24-hour race?
SPENCER PUMPELLY: You know, actually as strong as this field was looking at the entry list, I'm actually surprised there weren't more cars on the lead lap. It was such an incredible level of driving talent, well-prepared teams, different variety of cars that were all capable of winning the race, and just to be a part of that was cool.
But I think Andy said it the best: We will never see another race like this. And hopefully we will one day, but this we'll all remember as being one of the best GT fields in history.
Q. Jeroen, you started well at the back of the grade after a rather poor qualifying result and you made a great recovery to be challenging for victory. How nerve-wracking was it?
JEROEN BLEEKMOLEN: Well, you know it's a long race so you know you've got the time to make it up. Especially at the end it was nerve-wracking with all the cars being so close. Suddenly there were five cars on the lead lap, and then anything can happen, another yellow mixes up everything. I had a race two weeks ago in due buy, 24, that was also crazy. It was very close with the top three, really seconds, like here. So two weeks in one month was too much for me, too much, yeah, pressure. But I'm happy that both races went well, and we came close. But it gives us more reason to come back.
Q. How does this second place in the
anniversary, the 50th Rolex 24 count in your career?
JEROEN BLEEKMOLEN: Well, I think this is one of the great historical races you want to win, so yeah, hopefully I'll be back here for the next couple of years and get another shot at it because, yeah, it's one of these races. It's so great to run in the banking with all the traffic, sometimes three, four wide, at those speeds. It's just a fantastic feeling. The way the system is here with the yellows makes it very interesting to the end. So yeah, it's one of the most thrilling races I think there are on the whole calendar.
HERB BRANHAM: Congratulations, guys. Thank you.