The American Le Mans Series will complete its 2003 season with the sixth annual Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta Oct. 15-18. In this first-person narrative, JML Team Panoz driver Gunnar Jeannette describes how he drives a lap of the 2.54-mile...
The American Le Mans Series will complete its 2003 season with the sixth annual Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta Oct. 15-18.
In this first-person narrative, JML Team Panoz driver Gunnar Jeannette describes how he drives a lap of the 2.54-mile circuit in the Panoz LMP01 Prototype. The Panoz team is headquartered at Road Atlanta and Jeannette has driven many laps of the circuit in both racing and testing.
"Coming into turn 1 you're in top gear cruising at about 165 mph. You touch the brakes a bit after the 100 board and go down two gears to fourth as you turn the car right and get back on the throttle going up the steep incline of the turn."
"You're flat on the gas nearing the rev limiter in fourth as you crest the hill and angle the car to the left for the turn-in of turn 3. The braking is very tricky here because you're trying the turn the car a bit to the right and also going over the rise which makes the rear of the car a little light."
"As you approach 3 you grab third gear and take a good helping of the curbing at the apex, which puts the right of the car in the air for a bit."
"When the right side comes back down you're pretty much immediately hard on the gas and turning the car back to the left around the long sweeper" before the esses."
"You get fourth gear around this left hander and then fifth just before you dive into the esses. When everything is right this whole section will be flat out and you'll be getting over feeling more than 3G through the esses - three times your own body weight."
"At the bottom of the esses you are approaching turn 5 and need to get the car turned slightly to the right for the turn in while braking and getting the car into third gear."
"Turn five goes uphill quite quickly to the left and is pretty interesting because there is a lot of exit curbing as you leave."
"Back up to fifth gear coming into turn 6 where you'll drop back down to third gear and turn in a bit earlier than you think to make use of this corner's banking. As you exit 6 it's on the gas just for a moment as you're back hard on the brakes for turn 7."
"It's important to get the car slowed down enough here and into second gear early in order to get a good exit onto the back straight."
"It will be all the way up to sixth gear and around 180 mph on the back straight before hopefully hitting the brakes near the 100 board."
"The car will slow down very quickly and pull around 3 negative G's while getting the car down into second gear for the left hand 10a then up to third quickly before the right hand 10b."
"Going through 10b you should be getting on the gas as early as possible as it will now be flat out until turn 1."
"After the turn 10 complex you crest the hill and the track falls away very quickly as you're grabbing gears and accelerating towards turn 12 which will be in fifth or sixth gear flat out around 140mph. That finishes your lap of the very exciting Road Atlanta."