Thursday, June 13, 1996
9:30 p.m. after third practice session
QUALIFYING NOTES AND QUOTES
GETTING COMFORTABLE AT LE MANS was the top priority for the Doyle Racing Oldsmobile Riley & Scott team as the second day of practice and qualifying for the 24 Hours of Le Mans unfolded today at the Circuit International du Mans. All three drivers -- IMSA WSC points leader Wayne Taylor, IRL co-champion Scott Sharp, and 1994 IMSA GTU champion Jim Pace -- reported considerable progress in setting up the Riley & Scott Mk-III for the high-speed 8.45-mile road course that winds through the French countryside.
Conditions today in Le Mans were warm and sunny, which accounted for the generally slower times than yesterday's practice. Taylor turned a best lap of 3:51.888 (211.136 kph), an improvement of .138 seconds over his best time yesterday. Taylor was the seventh quickest driver in the session.
"We made some substantial improvements in the driveability of the car," reported lead driver WAYNE TAYLOR. "The mechanical grip is much better, and we're going faster using less engine rpm. The next item on the agenda is to work with the Pirelli engineers to select a tire compound that complements the hot conditions.
"We're happy with the car's performance, especially in light of how many miles this engine has run in testing and practice. A good qualifying time depends entirely on getting a clean lap without traffic -- following a slower car through the Porsche curves can cost you five seconds on the lap time."
The 4.0-liter Motorsport Aurora V8 currently installed in the Riley & Scott Mk-III has been used for practice and qualifying in the Daytona and Sebring races, Le Mans pre-qualifying, and three qualifying sessions at Le Mans -- all without an overhaul or teardown! A fresh Motorsport Aurora V8 is slated to be installed tomorrow for the 24-hour endurance test that begins at 3:00 p.m. Saturday.
"Our focus is on the race setup, not on qualifying," remarked crew chief Mark Scott. "I think it's a mistake to work on a qualifying setup when you can spend the same time developing a race setup. Traffic on the course has a big impact on qualifying times, but you can't do anything about it. On a clear lap, I think we'd be about as quick as the qualifying leaders."
JIM PACE turned three laps at 3.59, 3.58, and 3.59 during his stint. "I'm starting to feel a lot more comfortable with where I am on the track, and I'm beginning to get a rhythm through the Porsche Curves," Pace explained. "The car feels really good in the high-speed curves."
SCOTT SHARP ran laps at 3.58, 3.57, 3.57, and 3.56 to close out the session. "The car is dramatically better under braking after the changes the crew made this morning," said Sharp. "The rear is still a little loose off the slow turns, but nobody is better than [team engineer] Bob Riley on dialing in a chassis."
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