PWC

Autobahn: Series GT practice one report

Pobst Leads Morning SPEED GT Practice at Autobahn Country Club JOLIET, Ill. (July 24, 2009) -- Randy Pobst, of Gainesville, Ga., was fastest in morning practice for Round Six of the SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge GT Championship. Andy ...

Pobst Leads Morning SPEED GT Practice at Autobahn Country Club

JOLIET, Ill. (July 24, 2009) -- Randy Pobst, of Gainesville, Ga., was fastest in morning practice for Round Six of the SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge GT Championship. Andy Pilgrim, of Boca Raton, Fla., and Eric Curran, of Easthampton, Mass., were second and third quickest, respectively, in preparation for Sunday's World Challenge GT Grand Prix at Autobahn Country Club Presented by Blackdog Speed Shop race, part of the Harrah's Autobahn Grand Prix Presented by Mazda weekend.

While this is the series first visit to Autobahn Country Club, just outside of Chicago, in Joliet, Ill., Pobst has had considerable experience at the 18-turn, 3.56-mile road course as a driving instructor. The three-time series Champion is a fan of the track's street-course-like feel.

"I like tracks with a lot of corners, like Sears Point and Mid-Ohio, and that's how Autobahn is: lots of corners and no long straighaways," Pobst said. "It's a lot like a street course, it's not quite as tight, but it's similar."

Pobst is quick to point out that his quickness at Autobahn has more to do with the all-wheel drive setup on his No. 1 K-PAX Racing Volvo S60 than his previous track time. Both Pobst and teammate Pilgrim, feel the Volvos will be strong this weekend at the twisty Autobahn circuit.

"I've run this track a lot, but it's not so much about my experience at this track as it is the Volvo being well suited to tight corners with the all-wheel drive," Pobst said. "World Challenge is an interesting situation, because the cars are so different and have quite different capabilities. The Volvo gets great traction off of tight corners, but, for example, Watkins Glen didn't have any tight corners. Most of the other good cars are a lot faster than us down the straightaway, but that's a rules adjustment. It makes for interesting competition, because we have less power, but more traction. We also have plain old good handling. The K-PAX/3R team is so good at setting up cars."

The K-PAX/3R team had the car setup right from the start of the one-hour session, as Pobst's fourth lap was the fastest of the session, a 2:27.095 (87.127 mph). Pobst would continue to come in and make changes for the remainder of the session, but was unable to improve his time.

"We did a lot of adjusting in this session, because I didn't run the last test session on Thursday," Pobst recalled. "We thought we had a transmission issue and, fortunately, it turned out to be relatively minor. This morning, we ran the whole session. We ran hard in the beginning to get a base line feel for the car. We took out some of the changes we made yesterday, but then decided we didn't like that too much. We also did a lot of tire testing, because I think we still have a lot to learn about these Toyo R888s. We were in-an-out, in-and-out for a while."

While Pobst's fast lap came early in the session, teammate Pilgrim continued to improve his times throughout. Driving the No. 8 K-PAX Racing Volvo S60, Pilgrim finally climbed to the second spot with a 2:28.022 (86.581 mph).

After hanging outside the top five for much of the session, Curran waited until the closing moments of practice to pick up the pace. Driving the No. 30 Whelen Engineering Chevrolet Corvette, Curran ended the session third-quick with a 2:28.121 (86.523 mph).

Coming off a podium finish at Watkins Glen, James Sofronas, of Newport Beach, Calif., was fourth in morning practice. Sofronas turned a 2:28.260 (86.442 mph) in the No. 14 Global Motorsports Group Porsche 911 GT3.

Current point leaded Brandon Davis was fifth in the No. 10 Applied Computer Solutions/Sun Micro Systems Ford Mustang Cobra, entering a 2:28.301 (86.418 mph).

Watkins Glen race winner Dino Crescentini (Porsche 911 GT3) was sixth.

Missing in action since Sebring, Tim McKenzie has returned to World Challenge GT this weekend with his Porsche 911 GT3 and was sixth on the timesheets.

Tony Rivera (Porsche 911 GT3), Brian Kubinski (Chevrolet Corvette) and Gunter Schaldach (Dodge Viper) completed the top 10.

The second practice session of the day is scheduled for 2:40 p.m. (CDT). Live timing and lap notes are available at www.world-challenge.com. The series can also be followed on Twitter at www.twitter.com/SPEEDWC.

-credit: scca pro racing

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About this article
Series PWC
Drivers Andy Pilgrim , Randy Pobst , Eric Curran , Tony Rivera , Brian Kubinski , James Sofronas , Tim McKenzie , Dino Crescentini , Brandon Davis , Gunter Schaldach
Teams Blackdog Speed Shop , Global Motorsports Group