Mexico City: AIM/Doncaster Racing preview

long haul AIM Autosport will travel 5165 miles to compete in the March 3 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series race at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City. Walter Ristucci, AIM's transporter driver, has prepared a turn-by-turn plan that...

long haul

AIM Autosport will travel 5165 miles to compete in the March 3 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series race at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City. Walter Ristucci, AIM's transporter driver, has prepared a turn-by-turn plan that details his 167-hour round trip from the race shop in Woodbridge, Ont., through one Canadian province and six U.S. states to Mexico City. Steve Hedrick will meet him in Laredo, Texas, and the two will alternate driving stints in the series convoy to Mexico City.

The AIM transporter will cover a lot of miles this season, carrying the No. 61 Lexus-powered Riley Mk XI car that is sponsored by Exchange Traded Gold, Barrick Gold Corporation, RBC Financial Group and Telus' Mike Network. The two series races in California will be even further than the Mexico trip -- 5382 miles to Monterey and 5253 miles to Sonoma.

fave track

Brian Frisselle of Lynchburg, Va., will share Mexico driving duty with AIM lead driver Mark Wilkins of Toronto. Frisselle qualified on the front row for the 2006 race, just one of the reasons the event is his favourite of the 14-race season. He noted, "It's a great place to race, the fans are so enthusiastic, the food is excellent. It's probably my favourite event of the year, just because it's such a fun atmosphere to race in."

He believes mastering the final turn on the 2.5-mile road course is the key to speed: "It's a long-duration, high-speed corner and it leads to the biggest straightaway, so you're going to have to be quick out of that corner and you're going to have to have a good chassis. It's a very complicated, technical course with a lot of turns, so your car's got to be handling well."

new and improved

Doncaster Racing will join AIM on the Mexico grid, entering the No. 17 MineStar / Tim Hortons Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car in the GT class. The car has been rebuilt since the Rolex 24 At Daytona in January and also sports a new 2007-specification suspension. "It's another signal that we're improving the car all the time," noted Doncaster principal John Lacey.

Dave Lacey and Greg Wilkins, both of Toronto, will alternate driving stints in the two-hour 30-minute race. They finished seventh in class last year, their first start at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.

"The track is very technical, so you have to get the car to the right place on the track to set it up for each of the esses. You need to be in exactly the right place for the last run out of the esses to get the speed on the straightaway," Wilkins said. "We were really competitive [in 2006] -- with all the pro drivers in front of us, we were the first of the 'amateurs', so that's not a bad result."

-credit: aim autosport

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Series GRANDAM