Press Notes 1-12: Friday 24 October, 1997 1. GOOD MORNING and welcome to Day 1 of the VISA Sports Car Championships at Laguna Seca Raceway. The weather is expected to be sunny and warming up by afternoon. 2. ON HAND TO SERVE YOU THIS ...
Press Notes 1-12: Friday
24 October, 1997
1. GOOD MORNING and welcome to Day 1 of the VISA Sports Car Championships at Laguna Seca Raceway. The weather is expected to be sunny and warming up by afternoon.
2. ON HAND TO SERVE YOU THIS WEEKEND ARE: - LAGUNA SECA RACEWAY: Mary-Ellen Wright-Rana - PROFESSIONAL SPORTSCAR RACING: Ed Nicholls, Director of Communications Bruce O'Neill, SportsCar Press Assistant Patricia O'Neill, SportsCar Press Assistant Tom Leix, SportsCar Press Assistant
3. TELEVISION COVERAGE: Both the Exxon World SportsCar Championship and Exxon Supreme GT Series Presented by Virgin Interactive races will be shown live. Sunday's Exxon World SportsCar Championship finale will be on Speedvision while Saturday's Exxon Supreme GT Series finale will be live on FOX Sports Net.
- EXXON WORLD SPORTSCAR CHAMPIONSHIP: SPEEDVISION: 10/26 3:30 pm (LIVE) Pacific Time 10/27 1 am EST 10/27 1 pm EST FOX Sports Net 12/03 Motor Sports Hour by Chevrolet (Check local listings)
- EXXON SUPREME GT SERIES PRESENTED BY VIRGIN INTERACTIVE: FOX Sports Net 10/25 12:30 pm (LIVE) Pacific Time SPEEDVISION 11/1 1 pm EST 11/1 9 pm EST 11/2 1 am EST 11/3 1 pm EST 11/7 1 pm EST
4. SPORTSCAR ON THE INTERNET: SportsCar press notes, driver quotes, timing and scoring and race results will be available on the SportsCar website. Saturday's Exxon Supreme GT Series race and Sunday's Exxon World SportsCar Championship race will be broadcast live over the internet via the SportsCar web site: www.professionalsportscar.com.
5. ENTRY LIST CHANGES
- EXXON WORLD SPORTSCAR CHAMPIONSHIP CAR CHANGE #3 ADD Eliseo Salazar/Santiago, Chile, Fermin Velez/Barcelona, Spain #16 ADD Rob Dyson/Pleasant Valley, N.Y., DELETE Butch Leitzinger, State College, Pa. #03 ADD Bill Auberlen/Redondo Beach, Calif.
ENTRY LIST changes continued:8A.
-EXXON SUPREME GT SERIES PRESENTED BY VIRGIN INTERACTIVE CAR CLASS CHANGE #3 GTS-1 NEW ENTRY Chevrolet Monte Carlo, Rudy Revak/Los Gatos, CA, Ross Thompson/Phoenix, AZ #5 GTS-3 ADD Boris Said/Carlsbad, CA, Matt Cohen/New York, NY, Mark Simo, Carlsbad, CA and DELETE Eduardo Pellarano & John Paul Jr. #6 GTS-3 ADD Derek Hill/Santa Monica, CA and DELETE Butch Leitzinger #10 GTS-3 ADD Boris Said/Carlsbad, CA and DELETE Butch Leitzinger #11 GTS-1 NEW ENTRY Chevrolet Monte Carlo, Ross Thompson/Phoenix, AZ #16 GTS-1 NEW ENTRY Ford Thunderbird, Bob Carter/Danville, CA and Ray Kong/San Jose, CA #13 GTS-1 NEW ENTRY Lotus GT1 Turbo, Jan Lammers/Holland, Mike Hezemans/Holland #26 GTS-3 ADD Mike Conte/Seattle, WA #32 GTS-1 NEW ENTRY Lotus GT1, Fabian Giroix/Paris, France, Jean-Denis Deletraz/Geneva, Switzerland #66 GTS-1 ADD Andy Wallace/Aylesbury, England, DELETE Johnny O'Connell, Jeff Purner, Butch Leitzinger #77 GTS-3 ADD Bill Auberlen/Redondo Beach, CA and DELETE Tony Renna #84 GTS-1 NEW ENTRY Pontiac Grand Prix, Chris Neville, Scottsdale, AZ #96 GTS-1 ADD David Brabham/England, Eric Bernard/France, DELETE Johnny O'Connell, Jeff Purner, Doc Bundy, Butch Leitzinger #97 GTS-2 NEW ENTRY Porsche 911 Turbo, Dirk Layer/Vail, CO, Cort Wagner/Los Angeles, CA #98 GTS-1 NEW ENTRY Exide Batteries/Automotive Ford Thunderbird, Jack Skibo/Chico, CA , John Young/Woodside, CA #05 GTS-3 NEW ENTRY Porsche 911, Jorge Trejos/San Jose, Costa Rica, Tim Ralston/Portland, OR
6. EXXON SUPREME GT SERIES PRESENTED BY VIRGIN INTERACTIVE - PRACTICE #1 8 am, GREEN FLAG drops to start the one-hour practice session. Session runs without any major incidents. Fastest in each class are: GTS-1: #96 Panoz GTR1 of Brabham/Bernard GTS-2: #61 Porsche 911 Turbo of Konrad/Ham GTS-3: #7 BMW M3 of Quester/Duez Missing from the first practice session - as well as from the rest of the weekend - is the #01 Rohr Porsche 911 GT1 for drivers Andy Pilgrim and Allan McNish. The car was damaged in testing yesterday and cannot be repaired at the track. Pilgrim clinched the GTS-1 driver championship at Pikes Peak International Raceway last month and has won the previous four races (Mosport with Dorsey Schroeder and Las Vegas, Pikes Peak and Sebring with Allan McNish).
7. EXXON WORLD SPORTSCAR CHAMPIONSHIP - PRACTICE #1
10:00 am, GREEN FLAG starts a one-hour practice session for Exxon World SportsCars. The session runs without incident. The Dyson Racing Ford R&S MK III entries are the fastest cars in the one-hour session with almost identical lap times. The #16 Ford was fastest with a time of 1:19.501 - 3D101.34 mph, followed by the #20 car's lap of 1:19.517 - 101.32 mph. The #27 Lista Ferrari 333SP wasn't far off the pace with a best lap of 1:19.534 - 101.30 mph while the #30 MOMO Ferrari was another 200/100ths of a second behind with a lap of 1:19.555 - 101.27 mph. Andrea Montermini, who co-drives the #30 Ferrari with Antonio Hermann, said the track became more slippery the longer the session went. "The mjore rubber the cars laid down, the slippier the track became. Usually, it's the opposite." Montermini also said that "we have a lot of work to do. We're way off on our setup. We've tried three different tire compounds so far and haven't found anything that works yet." Montermini has registered four pole positions this season and has turned in the fastest race lap in seven of 10 events. There are two more practices sessions this afternoon prior to Saturday morning's qualifying session.
8. EXXON SUPREME GT SERIES QUALIFYING
GTS-3: Bill Auberlen, of Redondo Beach, CA., driving the #10 BMW M3, has dominated this class all season and continued to do so in the 15-minute qualifying session. Auberlen had a best lap of 1:29.465 - 90.055 mph. It's Auberlen's sixth pole of the season. The #76 Porsche 911 Turbo of Murry/Matthews was second fastest qualifier with a time of 1:29.858 - 89.661 mph, while the #7 BMW M3 (Quester/Duez) was third with a time of 1:29.987 - 89.532 mph. BMW will provide a separate sheet containing driver quotes.
GTS 2: Nick Ham, in the #61 Porsche 911 Turbo, was the fastest qualifier with a best lap of 1:27.332 - 92.254 mph, followed by the #97 Porsche 911 of Layer/Wagner with a time of 1:28.306 - 91.237 mph. It was Ham's third pole of the season. DRIVER QUOTE: Nick Ham: " It was a good lap; I'm still shaking. I left nothing on the table." When asked if they would go back out when the qualifying restarted, Franz Konrad decided not to, to save the tires (teams have to start the race on the same four tires they used in qualifying). "After all," Ham said, "I can't go any faster." His race strategy: "Go fast and have a good pit stop." He added, "I'm feeling really happy for the team."
GTS-1: The #66 and #96 Ford Panoz GTR1s dominated the session, turning in laps more than two seconds faster than any other cars on the circuit. Andy Wallace, of Aylesbury, England, will start from the pole, after turning in a lap of 1:20.665 - 99.879 mph. It's Wallace's third pole of the season. David Brabham, in the #96 car, was second, just 2/1,000ths of a second back with a best lap of 1:20.685 - 99.854 mph. Brabham is the son of Sir Jack Brabham. The #66 Panoz, which didn't start last week's race at Sebring, Fla. after Doc Bundy crashed it on the final turn of the final practice session, is using the updated engine that the #96 Panozhad last week when it was the fastest car on the circuit much of the weekend.
DRIVER QUOTE: Andy Wallace: "We had a problem with the brakes earlier in the day, but it's been fixed. The brake pedal is solid, the car stops really well. The balance is quite good - we've got a bit of understeer, which is perfect for the race. The engine, which is the latest engine, is very, very, very good. The best one I've ever had. Pole position is nice for everybody, especially the crew because they didn't have any sleep last night at all. We've got to turn it into a win tomorrow." DAVID BRABHAM: "We've got a really good race car. We've been working with a different absorber setup for this car and it seems like we've got good potential for tomorrow's race." 9. EXXON WORLD SPORTSCAR CHAMPIONSHIP - PRACTICE #2
The #20 Dyson Racing Ford R&S MK III is the fastest car in the session with a lap of 1:19.229 - 101.69 mph, while the #16 car, the other half of the Dyson team, dropped from first to fourth place. Ferrari 333SPs were second and third with the #30 MOMO of Montermini/Hermann moved up to second place with a lap of 1:19.478 - 101.37 mph, followed closely by the #3 car of Salazar/Velez, which had a lap of 1:19.976 - 100.74 mph. The #03 BMW URD of McCarthy/Auberlen, which stalled on the starting grid last weekend at Sebring, Fla., didn't make it to the track. The session, otherwise, was uneventful.
10. EXXON WORLD SPORTSCAR CHAMPIONSHP - PRACTICE #3
The teams used this session to determine the final setup on the car in anticipation of Saturday morning's short practice and then qualifying session. Many of the teams experimented with different springing and tire compounds. Andrea Montermini, who said earlier in the day that his #30 MOMO Ferrari 333SP team had a lot of work to do to get the car ready, snuck under the checkered flag as the session ended and took advantage of the clear track to record a lap of 1:17.988 - 103.30 mph, 1.5 seconds under what the rest of the field had been doing all day. The #16 Dyson Racing Ford R&S MK III, which had been fastest in session one but just fourth fastest in session two, moved back up to second place with a lap of 1:19.402 - 101.46 mph. The other car, #20, was third fastest (1:19.550 - 101.27 mph).
11. EXXON SUPREME GT SERIES PRESENTED BY VIRGIN INTERACTIVE - PRACTICE #3
The half-hour session was the final warmup for all three classes prior to Saturday's one-hour, 45-minute race, which begins at 12:30 pm. The Ford Panoz GTR1s were first and second in the session with the #66 car of Doc Bundy and Andy Wallace turning in the fastest lap with a time of 1:20.665 - 99.879 mph. The #96 car was just 2/1000ths back with a lap of 1:20.685 - 99.854 mph. The two new Lotus entries moved into third and fourth positions but they were more than two seconds slower than the leaders. The GTS-1 Ford Mustang Cobra of Canada's Scott Maxwell and Jason Priestley of Los Angeles moved up to fifth place. Priestley is the star of the hit TV series Beverly Hills 90210. He isn't the only actor on-site this weekend. Craig T. Nelson, star of Coach, is co-driving the #2 WSC Ford R&S MK III.
12. This concludes today's Press Notes. Good night!