Leighton Reese looks to reverse past problems in Cleveland

Trans-Am Race for the BF Goodrich Cup - Round 5 - Cleveland, Ohio Leighton Reese Returns to Trans-Am Series at Burke Lakefront Airfield, Cleveland Eden Prairie MN: Leighton Reese and his Banner Engineering racing team will move on to Cleveland...

Trans-Am Race for the BF Goodrich Cup - Round 5 - Cleveland, Ohio

Leighton Reese Returns to Trans-Am Series at Burke Lakefront Airfield, Cleveland

Eden Prairie MN: Leighton Reese and his Banner Engineering racing team will move on to Cleveland and the shores of Lake Erie for Round Five of the Trans-Am Series for the BF Goodrich Cup. On Friday June 29th Burke Lakefront Airport will be closed to air traffic and the Trans-AM and CART racecars will take over.

Reese and his team are going into the 5th race in a deep hole. With only 18 points for the season, Leighton is not even considering trying to catch the Series points leader John Miller, who has 103. The goal is to finish in the top ten at the end of the season. Reese is 32 points out of 10th position, but the Banner Racing Team won the Rolex award last season, for accumulating the most points in the final 6 races, so the team feels that this goal is attainable.

Leighton Reese hasn't had a lot of success at the Cleveland track in the past, but they are confident that they are ready to change that trend. The team spent a day at a local circle track doing some 160 laps to test their set-up. The Minnesota track has a wide variety of lumps and bumps and allowed the team to set up for the bumpy Cleveland track, which is constructed out of large concrete slabs. There is a distinct bump each time the car moves from one slab to the next.

"The Banner Engineering Corvette has a lot more down force," Reese explained. "That should help a lot on this particular course. The CDS data acquisition guys will be important at Cleveland. The track is bumpy and track time is limited. We have to have a good setup before we even get there and improve from there."

Moving from the close, concrete lined, confines of the Detroit Belle Isle circuit to the wide-opened spaces of a 2.1 mile airport course can make car setup interesting and driving difficult. Running on very wide concrete runways in a totally flat expanse make finding reference points difficult. And the bumpy surface shakes the car and constantly affects the car's suspension geometry.

What is it like racing at the airport? "Imagine looking at a reference point 2000 feet away," Leighton Reese commented. "But you are sitting on the floor. There are no trees, no fences, and no references for corner turn in and braking points. It is very easy to miss your corner entry or carry too much speed into a turn. The big sweeping turns here require good technique."

"Being an airport the runways and taxiways are crowned," Reese continued. "So many of the turns have negative camber as you go from one runway to another. The corners are long and sweeping and you tend to be in the turns a long time."

The team will work on a very tight schedule when arriving in Cleveland on Thursday afternoon. The teams arrive before 7 am Friday and the airport is closed to air traffic soon there after. The Trans-Am teams take to the track for the first practice at 10:15 am. The Trans-Am Series 100 presented by Simple Green will be held on Saturday June 30.

The 99 mile Trans-Am Series 100 presented by Simple Green will be the second of three Trans-Am Series for the BFGoodrich Tires Cup races to be broadcast by CBS Sports. This Saturday's race will be broadcast on a one-day taped delay basis on July 1 at 5:00 (EDT). The upcoming Trans-Am Series race, the Wine Country 100, will be broadcast live by CBS on July 21 from Sears Point Raceway.

-LRR-

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About this article
Series Trans-Am
Drivers Leighton Reese