After challenging Lime Rock, team is ready for challenge of Road America
Los Angeles, Calif. - The Road America circuit in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin is a favorite for most drivers in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship and it is no different for the drivers of the no. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 458 Italia, Bill Sweedler and Townsend Bell.
Despite their underwhelming finish at the previous race at Lime Rock, where the Ferrari was damaged in an incident, Scuderia Corsa is only ten points out of the lead in the team championship while Sweedler and Bell are the same distance behind the driver's championship. Showcasing how competitive the GT-Daytona field is, there are four teams within ten points of the championship lead.
No matter what the situation, every driver looks forward to racing at Road America,
"Road America is an unbelievable race track, and it's one that I really look forward to each year," said Sweedler. "Townsend and I had a pretty good, trouble-free run together at Road America last season. At the time, the rules were really holding the Ferrari back on pace but the car was very good as the race went on. We have a little bit of a similar situation this time at Road America but if we can stay out of trouble and get the most out of our Scuderia Corsa Ferrari, we'll have a really strong finish and a good day in the points."
Bell is also excited to compete this weekend at Road America, a circuit where he has competed in multiple racing series and particularly enjoys in a Ferrari.
"No matter what the situation, every driver looks forward to racing at Road America," said Bell. "It's one of the best circuits in North America with fast, challenging corners - exactly where you'd like to race a well-balanced car like the Ferrari. This could be a track that really suits us right now, and we'll have to take advantage of that. We've had a couple of races where we had really bad luck but we are still right in the championship mix."
Taking advantage of the strengths of the Ferrari will be important for the team as it aims to move closer to the GT-Daytona championship lead.
Road America Technical Analysis
by Joe LaJoie, Engineer of the no. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 458 Italia
Road America is another track with lots of history going back to the 1940's. It used to be six miles, and it remains just over four miles long. Overall, the track has several performance challenges with at least three long and start straights, at least three big braking zones, elevation changes, and turns that are low, medium, and high speed. It takes a good compromise of overall balance, gears, downforce and drag to get a good lap time. Strategically, one must pay careful attention to the fuel. The last turn is at the bottom of a hill, and if you run low on fuel there you may not make it back to the pits!
Turn One - This is a significant brake zone and is relatively fast at 80mph. The best guys can pass here.
Turn Three - Slightly slower than turn one. The car should exit well here for the second longest straightaway.
Turn Five - The second longest straightaway can be as fast as the main straightaway and leads into one of the slowest corners on the track making it an important brake zone. It can be a good place to pass if the car can handle the initial bumpy brake zone and then trail brake in deep. If the car is good on the curbs, the apex and exit curbs can be used. Good slow-speed traction will help you up the hill to turn six.
Turn Seven - Hurry Downs is close to 100mph. A well-balanced car will help the driver minimize his throttle lift and get down to turn eight quickly.
Turn Eight - The slowest corner on the track leads into the important Carousel.
Turn Nine to 10 - the Carousel is a fast, long right-handed sweeper that leads to the back straight. The turn requires good support, good balance, and the proper differential settings to allow the driver to squeeze the throttle and accelerate.
Turn 11 - The Kink is a little bit like turn seven but considerably faster and more important. The car is going well over 110mph, and any mistake can put you in the guardrail and probably out of the race. Go too slow and you will get passed at turn 12.
Turn 12 - This is Canada Corner, another great place to pass. After the third fastest straight, the bumpy brake zone has a dog leg to the left Trail braking is a great advantage here. Good power down is required to keep cars behind you and get up the hill and over the paddock tunnel.
Turn 14 - This is the last turn, which comes onto the main straight. The entry is a little tricky because of how the track leads into the turn. If the car is good on curbs, the apex and exit curbs can be used to go quicker.
Front straightaway - It is long and uphill, and the car needs to be aerodynamically efficient to get good top speed. The gearing and power must be good to get up the hill quickly.