Lime Rock: Saturday practice report

LAKEVILLE, Conn. -- Trans-Am Series for the BFGoodrich® Tires Cup rookie championship leader Jorge Diaz dominated damp third-round practice Saturday at Lime Rock Park. Diaz, driver of the No. 8 Puerto Rico Grand Prix Jaguar XKR, recorded a ...

LAKEVILLE, Conn. -- Trans-Am Series for the BFGoodrich® Tires Cup rookie championship leader Jorge Diaz dominated damp third-round practice Saturday at Lime Rock Park. Diaz, driver of the No. 8 Puerto Rico Grand Prix Jaguar XKR, recorded a 55.375-second lap around the 1.53-mile, eight-turn road course at an average speed of 99.467 miles per hour.

Diaz switched to dry tires halfway through the session, resulting in the quick effort, his first this season.

"We were really tuning the car to make it turn better," said the affable driver from Puerto Rico. "I think we have the car to where it won't burn up the front tires. The track got better as we ran. It began to dry late in the session. There was one section where it was a little oily, but overall it was a good session."

Diaz hopes his quick time will translate into a good qualifying effort later today.

"We've always been a little conservative," said Diaz. "We're now mixing with the top 10, so we're going to try to go faster right from the beginning."

Stu Hayner (No. Trenton Forging/GMAC Commercial Finance Chevrolet Corvette) was second fastest, ahead of Brian Simo (No. 3 Jaguar R Performance XKR), Scott Pruett (No. 7 Jaguar R Performance XKR) and Tomy Drissi (No. 5 League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Jaguar XKR).

Qualifying for Monday's Trans-Am 100, part of the Mohegan Sun Presents the Lime Rock Park Grand Prix, is scheduled for 4 p.m. today. The Trans-Am 100 is scheduled for Monday, May 26, at 2 p.m.

Lap by Lap Notes:
Conditions: 58 degrees, light drizzle, track is wet

11:15 a.m. GREEN FLAG

Lap 2 Randy Ruhlman (No. 49 Chevrolet Corvette) spins in turn three, stops on track

Lap 3 RED FLAG, all cars brought onto pit lane. Ruhlman re-fires and continues

11:23 GREEN FLAG, Restart

Lap 4 Ruhlman stalls on pit road

Lap 5 Peter Rogal (No. 36 Jaguar XKR) spins drivers right in turn three

Lap 6 Top five: Stu Hayner (No. 2 Chevrolet Corvette, Bobby Sak (No. 10 Chevrolet Corvette), Tomy Drissi (No. 5 Jaguar XKR), Jorge Diaz, Jr. (No. 8 Jaguar XKR), Brian Simo (No. 3 Jaguar XKR)

Lap 9 Hayner sets fast time (1:02.074, 88.733 mph). Rogal reported to have no brake lights

Lap 11 Simo fastest (1:00.485, 91.064)

Lap 13 Garrett Kletjian (No. 20 Chevrolet Corvette) goes into the runoff area in turn one, continues. Scott Pruett (No. 7 Jaguar XKR) sets fast time (58.338, 94.415)

Lap 14 Ruhlman back on track, reports clutch problem. Pruett faster again (58.175, 94.680)

Lap 15 Paul Newman (No. 78 Chevrolet Corvette) behind the wall

Lap 16 Ruhlman retires from session with clutch failure

Lap 19 Hayner fast (57.842, 95.225)

Lap 20 Oil reported on track by John Baucom (No. 86 Jaguar XKR car). Rogal goes behind the wall

Lap 22 Top five: Hayner, Simo, Pruett, Drissi, Sak

Lap 23 Diaz fastest (56.169, 98.061)

Lap 25 Diaz sets fast time for session (55.375, 99.467)

Lap 26 Hayner stops on course, drivers' right

11:50 CHECKERED FLAG

Notebook:

* The two groups for this afternoon's qualifying session will be set by the two practices held yesterday. The practice session held today will not count toward qualifying.

* Wet conditions at Lime Rock Park have forced the Trans-Am Series teams to use BFGoodrich® Tires' full-wet compound g-Force T/A® tires during third-round practice. Gary Blalock, Tire Engineer for BFGoodrich® Tires said the company's wet tires are completely different from its dry compound.

"The teams need to allow the cars to roll as much as possible and maximize the weight transfer," said Blalock. "The wet setup is totally different than a dry one. Our wet tire is quite a bit different than our dry tire. Aside from being treaded, it has a silica mix, which means it is a true wet compound. It's robust enough to hold up on a drying track for a few laps, but you want to get them off pretty quick if it does dry up. Our wet tire has a lower spring rate than our dry tire to help that weight transfer. I've maintained the diameter to be exactly the same as the dry tire so that the ride height and therefore the aero doesn't change.

"It's a totally different tire," he added. "We recommend four or five psi higher than your cold, starting pressure in the dries. They will maintain ride height that way and will maintain better mechanical grip because of the more compliant casing.

Ultimately, however, Blalock is pleased with the results thus far.

"People are going pretty fast on the wet tires here," said Blalock. "They were running around 58 seconds yesterday in the wet. We had people down in the 51-second range yesterday in the dry. A seven-second differential from wet to dry is really good. The conventional delta you see between a good wet performance and a good dry performance is about 10 seconds a lap. That was my target, so I'm happy."

-trans am-

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About this article
Series Trans-Am
Drivers Scott Pruett , Brian Simo , Tomy Drissi , Randy Ruhlman , Paul Newman , Bobby Sak , John Baucom , Peter Rogal , Garrett Kletjian , Stu Hayner , Jorge Diaz