Lites: Tom Drewer IMSA Lites L1 test notes

Drewer tests Panoz built Élan Lites 1 car at Road Atlanta. 2008 USA IMSA Lites 2 Champion Tom Drewer has tested with Championship winning team Comprent Motorsport at the Road Atlanta circuit in Georgia, USA. Drewer, who dominated the L2 ...

Drewer tests Panoz built Élan Lites 1 car at Road Atlanta.

2008 USA IMSA Lites 2 Champion Tom Drewer has tested with Championship winning team Comprent Motorsport at the Road Atlanta circuit in Georgia, USA.

Drewer, who dominated the L2 Championship in his first year of competition in North America; qualifying on pole-position for every round, winning 10 from 12 races including his first in both America and Canada and setting 5 new track lap records; was invited by Comprent Motorsport to test the 2.3 litre Mazda powered Élan DP-02 Lites 1 car driven to victory this year by American Jonathan Goring.

Following the test team owner Kevin Kloepfer said:

"I have watched Tom all year. He had an unbelievable rookie season, especially as he was turning up to virtually every circuit without ever even seeing them before the race weekend. From his performances this year and today I am convinced we can repeat our Championship winning performance next year with Tom at the wheel."

Drewer drove Comprent's number 14 machine, completing four short sessions in heavy traffic during open practice for the SCCA American Road Race of Champions.

"This year has been a year of firsts and today is yet another one. I was delighted to be asked by Kevin to test their Championship winning car. We have been watching and congratulating each other all year, and I have developed the upmost respect for Kevin, Comprent and Jonathan, and what they have achieved.

I was very interested to see what the Élan L1 would be like compared to my Championship winning Daily Planet WEST WR1000. The Élan DP-02 is a bigger car and has a real presence on the race track. Like the WEST it is an enjoyable car to drive, but it does have quite a different feel and dynamic though, because it's wider, heavier and has more power and torque.

The most noticeable difference was the gearbox. My WEST uses a ProShift electronic paddle gearshift system. On the downshift I was required to dip the clutch and blip the throttle and therefore had to right foot brake. However, the Élan uses a sequential Hewland gearbox with a traditional gearshift lever, and requires left foot braking. So I had to re-calibrate my brain and left foot.

Today was about acclimatising myself with the controls and unfortunately I never got a clear lap. I had to be very conservative with a mix of cars on the circuit, but it was a great first introduction to the Élan."

Despite the heavy traffic Drewer impressed Comprent's chief engineer Terry Jinks, with his individual split times and speed. Drewer ended the day with a time of 1:22.5.

"It was a day of very trying conditions out there, but Tom immediately showed speed as he set about familiarising himself with the Élan DP02. His lap times dramatically tumbled throughout the four short sessions. I was impressed with his quick adaptation to left foot braking, his consistency and feedback. He showed both the raw speed and the level of maturity it takes to win Championships, just as he has done throughout this year.'

Asked whether this indicates his direction for next year, Drewer remained coy.

"I have not decided my path for next year, but I think progressing to Lites L1 is certainly a possibility.

It would be a logical step and I have certainly enjoyed racing in the IMSA Lites Series this year. It's a very competitive series and being associated with the American Le Mans Series it provides a great stepping-stone to Le Mans prototypes.

I really want to thank Kevin, Terry Jinks and Brandon White from Comprent for the opportunity today. I was totally impressed by Comprent and it would be fantastic to drive for them. We certainly share the same values in preparation, the desire, and the commitment to win. However, I have been presented with a few other opportunities in different categories for 2009 so we'll have to wait and see."

Drewer also shares some racing history with Comprent owner Kevin Kloepfer. Like Kevin, Drewer made his racing car debut in a Formula Vee.

The legendary Athens, Georgia based Comprent Motor Sports team has enjoyed countless successes in both open-wheel and sports car events since its inception in 1988 to the present day including taking both the 2008 IMSA Lites L1 Team and Driver's Championships. Comprent Motor Sports is also affiliated with the Élan Motorsports Technologies as the IMSA Lites customer service representative.

-credit: tomdrewer.com

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series IMSA Others
Drivers Jonathan Goring , Tom Drewer