Spencer Pumpelly is a Laguna ZF clutch performer

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Flying Lizard Audi driver fourth in TUDOR Championship points

Spencer Pumpelly, who drives the No. 45 Flying Lizard Motorsports Audi R8 LMS (above) with Nelson Canache Jr. and is currently fourth in TUDOR United SportsCar Series GTD driver point standings, has a fondness for Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, site of this weekend's race.

"I love visiting the Monterey area and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca is one of the nicest facilities we run at during the season. I have won there several times in various series, so I have fond memories of the place. I really like the downhill section through Turns 9 and 10. Both corners are high-speed and feature some banking that really makes the car feel stuck to the road. They both flow a little differently from the typical flat corner and I enjoy that."

The famous Corkscrew isn't as tough to navigate as it looks, he said. "The Corkscrew gets a lot of mentions when people talk about Laguna Seca, but in reality it is one of the slower corners on the track, which makes driving it seem much less dramatic than it looks from outside the car. The tricky part is that you can't see the apex on the right just past the hill so it requires some trial and error before you have confidence that you are headed in the right direction. In the Audi, I like to sit very low so that makes finding your way over the crest even tougher."

What is his best memory about racing at Laguna Seca? "I have too many good memories of victories with great co-drivers like Duncan Ende, Dr. Jim Norman and Peter Ludwig to think of one," he said, "but there is one trip that stands out - the Continental Challenge race there in 2012. The race was great, as always. But, I didn't have a ride for the Rolex race so I was able to watch for the first time as a spectator. I made the trek up to the top of the hill by the Corkscrew and was able to see almost all of the track. It was the first time I realized how fan friendly Laguna is."

Like its core business in worldwide automotive vehicle production, ZF applies the same core service approach at the race track. ZF motorsport engineers will work in concert with several racing customers at the track every weekend. From onsite shock dyno testing and verification, to suggested baseline settings, as well as consult on clutch plate material and life cycles. "In March's Sebring 12-hour race, we had 22 cars out of a 42 car entry list that used one or more components from ZF. At the same time, we had to support another field of 32 Porsche Cup cars that used ZF shock absorbers and clutches exclusively on every car," said Mehmet Ozerman, motorsports manager of ZF Race Engineering. "Not only does this make for a large customer base, it also means that ZF's own race team needs to work efficiently so they can get their cars and drivers to the finish line. In this way, each member of the ZF team has his own race against time throughout various steps of the pre-race process. It is easy just to sell parts from behind a computer or order desk and ship them to racing teams. We prefer to be at the track working in partnership with our customer teams to assure that they are getting the maximum performance from ZF dampers and clutches. Not only are we working with our teams and building relationships, but we are also gathering data to improve our original equipment products that drive through the streets of cities on every continent."

Flying Lizard and ZF Racing

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About this article
Series TUSC
Article type Preview
Tags audi, flying lizard, imsa, laguna seca, mazda raceway, melson canache, spencer pumpelly, tudor, zf

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