Comprent all fired-up for Lime Rock. Athens, Georgia based Comprent Motor Sport will field it's complete five car IMSA Lites 1 line-up at this week's American Le Mans Series North East Grand Prix, Connecticut. Returning to...
Comprent all fired-up for Lime Rock.
Athens, Georgia based Comprent Motor Sport will field it's complete five car IMSA Lites 1 line-up at this week's American Le Mans Series North East Grand Prix, Connecticut.
Returning to the Comprent squad for Lime Rock is the matching red, white and black Park1 cars of father and son duo David and Wayne Ducote (New Orleans, LA), and Charlie Sheers (Houston, TX), who steps back into his US Builders' car for his first outing since Sebring.
It's a welcome return for Charlie, who had to put his Championship hopes on hold to recover from a minor yet potentially life threatening blood clot. Although cleared to race at last month's New Jersey race, Charlie delayed his return to be present for the birth of his new baby boy.
"I probably shouldn't say this, but not racing at New Jersey was a tough decision to make," said Charlie with a smile. Continues...
"I love racing IMSA Lites and I'm ecstatic to be finally making my return to the championship. Sitting out the last couple of months have been extremely frustrating, but I guess my son's birth does only happen once.
I can't wait to mix it up with Tom and Jonathan. I conducted a short test in the car at Texas World Speedway the other week and was immediately back in the groove. It looks like the team, and especially those two, have made quite a progression.
The entire team should be up the pointy end of the grid at Lime Rock."
Asked weather having another child will slow him down, Charlie disagreed.
"Quite the opposite I think. I'm on a high right now, I'm fired up. I've been given a clean bill of health, my wife and I are the proud parents of another perfect baby boy, and I get to jump back in my racing car."
Comprent's regular drivers, Australian and 2008 IMSA Lites 2 Champion Tom Drewer (Adelaide, AUS) and Jonathan Gore (Franklin, TN) are also fired up.
Drewer is coming off the back of his best performance of the year. The young Australian hot-shot took Comprent's first pole position of 2009 at New Jersey with the fastest lap of the weekend and went on to dominate the first half of the Round 6 race before a safety car closed the field.
"We proved we have the speed in New Jersey. The No. 1 Daily Planet car was where it should be; up the front.
We had a great qualifying session. A great race start and while we controlled the race until the pace car came out, we just didn't quite have the setup for the second half of the race. We were just off the podium, and that was frustrating given the qualifying performance. We learnt a lot though and I'm more determined than ever.
I know a win is just around the corner now and I want to be the one to get Comprent's first win of the year."
So does Jonathan Gore, and he's also looking to make up for New Jersey.
The young-gun from Tennessee is hoping that was his low point of the year and is looking to return to the podium reaching form he displayed in Utah.
"I would say Jersey was a weekend of consolidation, just collecting what points we could. Not what I wanted after Utah at all, where I scored Comprent's first podium of the year and consistently ran up the front, all weekend.
The car wouldn't respond all weekend, which we later determined to be damaged dampers. But I've put all that behind me now and I'm focused on one thing, more podiums for the No. 24 Foretravel Motorcoach car. "
During Comprent's extensive preparation process the team found that internal damage to the rear damper canisters on the No.24 car had been caused by a lack of clearance between the spec Élan DP-02's dampers and the rear deck-lid.
Comprent's owner Kevin Kloepfer has successfully partitioned IMSA allowing modifications to how the rear deck lid is mounted and preventing the possibility of this problem occurring to any IMSA Lites 1 competitors in the future.
"With Jonathan, New Jersey was very frustrating because I know he was driving that car well," said Kevin.
"On the other hand Tom showed great pace, the kind of speed that won us the 2008 IMSA Lites 1 Team and Drivers' Championships.
With the Ducote's and Charlie back we've got even more firepower and I'm looking forward to hopefully having all five cars up the front."
Comprent and the IMSA Lites presented by Frisby Performance Tire first appear on the Lime Rock circuit for practise at 10.40am Friday, July 17. Qualifying occurs later that day, while Race 1 and Race 2 will be on Saturday, July 18.