Jeff Segal and No. 69 FXDD/SpeedSource Mazda RX-8 GT Turn Thursday’s Opening Practice at Barber Motorsports Park into an All-Out Test Session
BIRMINGHAM, Alabama (April 7, 2011) – Reigning GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series GT-class Champion Jeff Segal, and his No. 69 FXDD/SpeedSource Mazda RX-8 GT teammate Emil Assentato, used Thursday’s opening practice session at Barber Motorsports Park as a full test session for not only this weekend’s Porsche 250 but the balance of the 2011 season.
Segal and Assentato are also the defending GT race winners at Barber and will be looking for their second consecutive victory in the 2:45-minute timed sprint that is scheduled to start at 3 p.m. local time this Saturday, April 9. The race can be seen the following day, Sunday April 10, on SPEED at Noon ET/9 a.m. PT.
“It really was, effectively, a test session for us,” Segal said. “There were some things that we worked on in the off season that we weren’t able to fully figure out, but they were ideas that we wanted to pursue. It’s something that we have tried the last few races, the last few tests, and we are trying to make some headway, but of course it’s never easy. We treated the first session as another test, we made progress, but we are still not ready for that setup in a race.”
We treated the first session as another test, we made progress, but we are still not ready for that setup in a race.
The experimentation left Segal only 14th fastest with a lap time of 1:32.903 (89.125 mph), over a second behind their SpeedSource teammates in the No. 70 Mazda RX-8 GT that set the overall quickest practice pace at 1:31.762 (90.233 mph).
“For now we are going to a setup that is a little more traditional, something that we know,” Segal said. “Looking at the lap time the 70 car did, it was fairly encouraging, I think maybe a little more of that was new tires rather than outright pace of the car, but they were happier with their car than we were, so we will give that a try and see where that puts us for tomorrow.”
Tires remained top-of-mind in Thursday’s practice but not just the new series-standard Continental tires in the GRAND-AM Rolex Series. This weekend’s race event also includes the IZOD Indy Car Series on the schedule.
“Last year the Indy Car rubber that went down on the track had a huge effect on the handling of our car,” Segal said. “It actually made our car probably better in the race and maybe a lot of other people worse, which was kind of interesting. With the Indy Car rubber you know that it could very well change how the car is going to react, but you don’t really know which way.”
-source: jeff segal PR