Theys Qualifies Second in Doran-Lista DORAN JE4 Lexus For Tomorrow's Grand Prix of Miami HOMESTEAD, Fla., Feb. 27 - Friday afternoon Didier Theys of Scottsdale, Ariz. waited until his Goodyear Eagle tires and his Lexus engine were warm, picked a...
Theys Qualifies Second in Doran-Lista DORAN JE4 Lexus For Tomorrow's Grand Prix of Miami
HOMESTEAD, Fla., Feb. 27 - Friday afternoon Didier Theys of Scottsdale, Ariz. waited until his Goodyear Eagle tires and his Lexus engine were warm, picked a good spot in traffic, and then recorded a lap in 1:14.159 (111.652 mph) to qualify second for tomorrow's Grand Prix of Miami Grand American Rolex series race at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
His Doran-Lista Racing DORAN JE4 #27 was just one of four Lexus-powered cars to qualify in the top five for tomorrow's 250-mile race on the 2.3-mile, 11-turn road course.
Scott Pruett's pole-winning lap (1:13.375 or 112.845 mph) was an automatic new track record because the track has been altered since David Donohue ran a 1:16.982 (112.234 mph) to win the pole here last February.
"The weather today was perfect to run fast," Theys said. "We could use the softer compound of Goodyear tires, and the engine likes these temperatures. I couldn't get another second out of it, but we're in good shape, I think."
Theys also spoke of the improvements that Toyota Racing Development, Lexus and Doran-Lista Racing have made since the Doran-Lista DORAN JE4 debuted last year. "There has been a big improvement of the driveability of the engine and the electronics," he explained. "We have worked hard to get the best mapping and the best fuel management for the engine. From the hairpin corners to the fast corners, every acceleration has to be smooth, and we've improved that a lot.
"We definitely have more horsepower than we did when we started, but we've made improvements in other areas too, like the suspension, the shocks, the springs...we improve every time out," he added. "The faster lap times you're seeing are just the program's normal development."
The Lebanon, Ohio-based team was fourth-fastest during Thursday's practice session with a 1:16.179 (108.691 mph) and also fourth Friday morning with a 1:15.817 (109.210 mph). It moved up to third in Friday afternoon's practice session with a 1:15.381 (109.842 mph).
Jan Magnussen is co-driving with Theys here this weekend. It is his first start with this team, his first time driving a Daytona Prototype, and his first time driving at this track.
"So far I'm very happy," Magnussen said prior to quals. "It's hard to come to a new team, a new car, and a new track, but this team works really well together. Everybody is trying to make it easy for me, and every lap I do I get faster. I'm sure that by the race tomorrow, we'll have a good chance of winning."
When asked what the team has concentrated on since practice opened here yesterday, team owner Kevin Doran said "We've worked a lot on our shocks and done some aerodynamic tuning. Things are going good."
The three other DORAN JE4s in the field qualified third (Michael Shank Racing); seventh (G&W Motorsports) and 14th (Bell Motorsports). The latter lost an engine here Thursday, but it should be all set for tomorrow's race too.
The event will be broadcast on SPEED at 4 p.m. Eastern time March 7.
For more information, see Lista's Web sites at www.lista.com and www.listaintl.com, and Doran-Lista Racing's recently revamped site at www.doranracing.com. Jan Magnussen's Web site is at www.janmagnussen.com. Zippo live timing and scoring will be featured on www.grandamerican.com during tomorrow's race, which begins at approximately 3 p.m. Eastern time.