After a learning day today, Nathan Swartzbaugh and XM SATELLITE RADIO VICI RACING are looking for a strong showing in the IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge at Road America this weekend This weekend's IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge race at Road America - in ...
After a learning day today, Nathan Swartzbaugh and XM SATELLITE RADIO VICI RACING are looking for a strong showing in the IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge at Road America this weekend
This weekend's IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge race at Road America - in Wisconsin - will be the penultimate round (the final race takes place at Monterey on 14- 16th October) of the inaugural season. Since kicking off at Road Atlanta in April (a race that XM SATELLITE RADIO VICI RACING comfortably won) the series - which features similar specification Porsche Type 996 racers - has visited the tracks at Mid-Ohio and Portland, each time supporting the highly-prestigious American Le Mans Series.
For the third time this year 20-year old Nathan Swartzabaugh will be driving the no 17 XM SATELLITE RADIO VICI RACING Porsche GT3 Cup racer, and after his abrupt exit on lap 2 last time out (which saw him effectively relinquish his title ambitions), the rapid youngster will be looking for a much better result at Road America, where a field of 20 Porsches in expected to take part. Nathan was in an upbeat mood earlier this week as he left for Road America. "I feel like I have become an exponentially better driver since becoming a part of VICI RACING. I learned a great deal from the last IMSA Cup weekend in Portland, and Ron, Robert, Alfred, Freddy, and Bill are all guys I'm constantly learning loads from, not to mention that they are just great guys to work with."
Road America - which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year - is a four-mile permanent road course with fourteen turns. Situated half way between Green Bay, Elkhart Lake and Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the famous race track is reached by a seven mile access road, and covers 626 acres of land. "It's always a quick and demanding track," comments VICI RACING's Commercial Manager Bill Colleran, "It should give Nathan's talent a good chance to shine through, and once he overcomes his lack of familiarity with it he should be in contention for a decent result."
Earlier today (Thursday) three free practice sessions were organised to allow the IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge runners to acclimatise themselves on the Road America circuit. The team's German youngster Alfred Renauer (who won round 1 of the IMSA Cup) was on hand, and he ran six laps in the Porsche GT3 Cup racer before handing over the car to Nathan.
For Nathan, today was to be his first experience of the track, and with rain falling during the first 45 minute session, the young Californian was forced to work steadily during the 30 minute, second and third sessions, to learn the track, as well as working on setting up the car.
"We endured poor weather conditions during the first practice, and Nathan is still learning the track since he is totally unfamiliar with it," commented Team President Ron C. Meixner after practice. "We have been mainly working on the set-up and wing adjustments, and Nathan is now turning in low 1 minute 20 second lap times, and is improving consistently."
"Tomorrow we will have two more open practice sessions, which should allow Nathan to settle in much better, before we tackle qualifying," added Ron - himself a former international sportscar driver who counts driving the legendary Porsche 962 in the Le Mans 24 Hours amongst a long list of achievements - before concluding, "The weather seems like its going to be a bit unpredictable this weekend, which makes achieving a good set-up and learning the brake points for Nathan a bit more complicated."
IMSA GT3 CUP CHALLENGE RD 4 - ROAD AMERICA - EVENT SCHEDULE
Round four of the 2005 IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge - presented by Michelin - is scheduled to start at 1715 CDT on Sunday August 21st at Road America (immediately following round 7 of the American Le Mans Series', the 2 hour 45 minute, Generac 500). The IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge race will last for 45 minutes.
Before the race takes place, however, the IMSA GT3 Cup teams will have two 30-minute long free practice sessions at Road America tomorrow (19th August), the first starting at 1045 CDT, with the second scheduled at 1600 CDT. The 30-minute final qualifying session will take place at 1205 CDT on Saturday, August 20th.