Multiple caution periods prevent a top five finish.
ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (August 10, 2014) – DeltaWing Racing Cars’ success streak at Road America continued today, with the revolutionary DeltaWing coupe finishing sixth in the Prototype class and eighth overall in the Continental Tire Road Race showcase, race nine of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.
Only four weeks out from a fire that meant rebuilding a chassis, the team was happy to return to the site of the best finish for the DeltaWing roadster, a fifth place finish in last year’s American Le Mans Series event. The team hoped for even more today, with the four-mile Road America layout showcasing the coupe’s aerodynamics and straight line speed. Given the car’s fuel efficiency, the team had planned a two-stop pit strategy, with drivers Katherine Legge and Andy Meyrick managing fuel consumption without giving up on-track speed throughout the early stages of the 61-lap event. But a total of six caution periods meant the leaders were able to save fuel as well, negating the innovative coupe’s advantage.
Legge started the race in ninth position, passing cars on the each of the opening two laps and battling her way into fifth overall. Taking over the wheel on lap 23, Meyrick came out of the pit lane in eighth and worked his way back into fifth by lap 44. Calculating both the coupe’s fuel mileage and the probable pit strategy of the leaders, the team kept Meyrick on track as long as possible, coming in for their final stop for fuel and tires with just 39 minutes remaining in the two-hour, 45-minute contest. Returning to the fray in 24th overall, Meyrick used the straight line speed of the DeltaWing coupe to carve his way back through the field, getting back into the top 10 overall while enjoying a heated battle with the #01 DP for the final seven laps. The quick lap of the race came on lap 31, with a time of 1:59.718.
Katherine Legge: “We’re happy with the finish, happy to be sixth in class. We were able to use the car’s straight line speed to pass – every restart, we passed cars and we were able to run fast times even while saving fuel. We were legitimately up to fifth during my stint, which really shows the pace of the car. We just got unlucky with the yellows, we really should have finished in the top five overall, given the fact that we have better fuel mileage and were saving fuel.
“The team did a great job, we had good pit stops and can learn from this. Today’s race shows us what we have to do at Petit Le Mans. We’ll take the positives and make some changes and aim for a podium at Petit.”
Andy Meyrick: “It’s great to get a good finish. We’re really happy with the job the team has done, to rebuild the car from the ground up and to get a top-six position here. We got unlucky with the yellows, which meant we couldn’t maximize our fuel mileage, we were on for an even stronger finish if we’d been able to do so. But we ran some good laps, and got a good finish, so that’s something to build on. The car is strong in the places you want it to be strong, it’s got good traction, good straight line speed and raced well. We need to keep the reliability and try to get a good finish at Petit as well.”
Team Manager Tim Keene: “I’m proud of the whole team. Getting a good result today is encouraging for everyone. We still don’t have the outright pace of the cars that are winning at the moment, but we’re getting closer. Our goal is to take the next step before Petit – we’ll test in September, make some changes to get more performance out of the car, keep our heads down and keep working. The drivers did great, the pit crew did really well, the restarts were very good for us – once we were able to pass cars that were quite a bit quicker than us in outright speed, it took them quite a while to get around us, if they were able to get around us. Pruett had a faster car than us at the end and he had nothing for us, so all that is encouraging. If we can make another gain like this, it’s looking good for the last race of the car in this configuration. After that, we’ll move on with more development next year which should be significantly better than where we are now.”
Managing Partner Don Panoz: “The car ran the whole race without any problems, which is great. It’s a shame we had so many yellows, since as we’ve said, the horsepower for this car is technology and if we don’t have the chance to use the technology, it makes us uncompetitive. Because we had the yellows and everyone else was able to save fuel, our technical advantage was lost. But the team performed well – they did a great job to build the new car, so I’m quite pleased with the job everyone did and with how the car ran.”
The DeltaWing Racing Cars team will finish the inaugural TUDOR United Sports Car Championship season at their home track of Road Atlanta, at the Petit Le Mans October 2-4.