Laguna Seca: Prototype drivers - voices of Monterey

VOICES OF MONTEREY: THE PROTOTYPES The Corkscrew at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca gets plenty of attention when the American Le Mans Series rolls into the circuit for the Monterey Sports Car Championships presented by Patrón. It's one of the...


The Corkscrew at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca gets plenty of attention when the American Le Mans Series rolls into the circuit for the Monterey Sports Car Championships presented by Patrón. It's one of the aspects that make the season-ending event so special. There are plenty of others that Series drivers look forward to this time each season, especially in the prototype ranks.

Butch Leitzinger, Dyson Racing
Porsche RS Spyder (LMP2)

"It's a lot like Lime Rock and some other places in that it's got a great history. I mean I think it's been around over 40 years. The circuit itself is legendary for one thing. The Corkscrew has probably been in every photo album of sports cars book just because of the beauty of it and the obvious challenge. I've been racing there since 1991 or somewhere around there and every time on my first lap going around the track I'll think 'You know, I've been here for 20-odd years, I know where to turn.' And I always on the first lap get it completely wrong! You can't see the turn until it's already too late to do anything about it. The only way you can get through it is by timing and by memorization. So it's a place where it's not easy to learn right way."

Chris Dyson, Dyson Racing
Porsche RS Spyder (LMP2)

"I think there's no prettier place to be in the United States in October than Monterey. It's one of those tracks that's great for the fans and it's a good challenge from a driver's perspective. And the sort of day into night backdrop really is fitting for the end of a season. We've had tremendous races there the last few years. So in terms of bringing the curtain down on the season, it's a wonderful place to end the year."

Gunnar Jeannette, Corsa Motorsports
Zytek 07S (LMP1)

"Laguna is definitely one of the nicest places we go to over the year. The atmosphere in the Monterey and Carmel areas is absolutely fantastic. It's always a very, very crowded race from a spectator's standpoint. So I think it's a pretty nice place to finish off the season.

"There's a lot of really medium speed corners, a lot of slow stuff also. But it's most famous for the Corkscrew! It's pretty much the biggest roller coaster ride we drivers go on in the year. You drop down into it and you're actually turning in not being able to see where you go. Your stomach kind of drops into your throat for a quick second. And still while not being able to see where you go to, you have to kind of commit to full power. So it's pretty exciting, it makes for great racing and the fans there definitely get behind it.

Over the last couple of years the Series has definitely been growing and growing, and the fan base has been getting larger and larger. And one of the places we've noticed that the most has been out at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. As a driver it's always great to see a full crowd coming to watch your race."

Ben Devlin, B-K Motorsports
Lola B08/86-Mazda MZR-R (LMP2)

"Laguna's obviously a big part for us; it's one of the greatest races we do on this circuit. We always look forward to it. It's a great setting and location for us. It's also very difficult and very demanding with the track surfaces changing minute to minute with the sand and the dust and the surroundings. So it's very difficult it can be very cold in the mornings and very warm in the afternoons; the track changes massively through the day. For the first time through the Corkscrew you're wondering where you're gonna go, and the next minute there's a big buzz going down. It really adds to the whole theme of the track.

"We're not in any championship contention, but obviously it's Mazda Raceway and our home track for Mazda so it's really important for us to show well. We'll have maybe a little bit more fan base there, a little bit more corporate side of things. Everyone's really good on that and they understand the difficulties we're against and stuff and it's something we look forward to in stepping up to the challenge."

Gerardo Bonilla, B-K Motorsports
Lola B08/86-Mazda MZR-R (LMP2)

"Laguna's unusual because it's a counter-clockwise race track and most tracks are clockwise. So your body gets used to a certain thing, the car setups are used to a certain thing. When you go there, things are a little awkward at first. Visually it's a very nice track - a favorite track for many drivers. There's a lot of fast turns and the famous Corkscrew that everybody talks about. But really the separator for the better drivers and the newer drivers tends to be faster turns like Turn Nine, Turn 10, Turn Six...there's a lot of excitement there."

Marco Werner, Audi Sport North America
Audi R10 TDI (LMP1)

"Everybody's speaking about the Corkscrew. It's a fantastic corner - really a blind corner. I like it. It's very, very difficult. It's a big challenge every weekend and every lap is a big challenge. The sand off the surface is sometimes a problem. Not every lap is the same with the sand on the track. It's a little bit slippery sometimes. But as well it's a big challenge. I prefer a little bit more the other tracks with more grip and use the downforce a little bit more."

Lucas Luhr, Audi Sport North America
Audi R10 TDI (LMP1)

"Well I think the main thing is the Corkscrew. It's world famous; everybody knows the Corkscrew. The track is a good layout. For my taste it's a little bit slow. It could be a little bit quicker, but it's always nice to come there. If you go out to the paddock you see all the scenery and everything. It looks pretty and I think everybody in the paddock looks forward to Laguna because it's the last race. A long season ends there and it's the perfect place to end the season."

The final round of the 2008 American Le Mans Series is the Monterey Sports Car Championships presented by Patrón from Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. The four-hour race into darkness is scheduled to start at 2:45 p.m. PT on Saturday, October 18. NBC Sports will air the race from 2 to 4 p.m. ET on Sunday, October 19. XM Satellite Radio's Channel 144 will air the race from 4 to 8 p.m. ET on the same day. Live video of qualifying will be available on starting at 3 p.m. PT on Friday, October 17. American Le Mans Radio will have live coverage on, which also will feature Live Timing & Scoring.

-credit: alms

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About this article
Series ALMS
Drivers Butch Leitzinger , Ben Devlin , Lucas Luhr , Gunnar Jeannette , Marco Werner , Gerardo Bonilla , Chris Dyson
Teams Dyson Racing