Lowe's Fernandez Racing Prepares for Northeast Grand Prix Drivers in the American Le Mans Series are looking forward to their first tours around the newly paved Lime Rock Park circuit this weekend when Round Five of competition -- the...
Lowe's Fernandez Racing Prepares for Northeast Grand Prix
Drivers in the American Le Mans Series are looking forward to their first tours around the newly paved Lime Rock Park circuit this weekend when Round Five of competition -- the American Le Mans Northeast Grand Prix -- takes place in rural Connecticut. The aggressive $5 million repaving and upgrade project included a circuit facelift, a new entrance and two new spectator areas.
Lowe's Fernandez Racing's Adrian Fernandez and Luis Diaz are ready to return to the saddle following a seven-week break in the schedule. Their time off included a successful two-day test at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course last month with newly-signed third driver Michel Jourdain Jr. who will make his debut with the team at the Petit Le Mans in October.
Fernandez and Diaz recorded their best finish of the season in the last race at Salt Lake City where, after holding the overall lead for 25 laps, the duo fell victim to contact and an unrepresentative fifth-place result.
* Circuit -- 1.51 mile, 10-turn permanent road course
* Saturday's race will last 2 hours 45 minutes with a 2:05 EST start
* A driver may not drive more than two hours total in the race
* This is the second appearance for Lowe's Fernandez Racing at Lime Rock
* Fernandez and Diaz started sixth overall last year after qualifying was canceled due to thunderstorms; the pair encountered a rare mechanical problem in the race (left rear suspension failure) and were classified 25th overall
* Following four rounds of ALMS competition, Fernandez and Diaz sit 10th in the standings, 21 points outside the top five
* The team claimed their best result of the season at Salt Lake City in May with a fifth-place finish and have started on the front row in the last two events
* Fernandez and Diaz claimed three podiums and six top-five results in their ALMS debut last season
FERNANDEZ ON THE MODIFIED CIRCUIT: "I am really looking forward to seeing all the work they have completed at Lime Rock. Last year was my first time here and it was one of the bumpiest tracks that I had ever driven. That combined with the concrete patches which had zero grip made it a real challenge to set up the car. The improvements should make a big difference. Despite our problem in the race last year, I really enjoyed coming to this event and also the fan support. We've had a few weeks away from the race track which has allowed me some family time [son Niko was born in May], and now it is time to get back to business."
DIAZ ON APPROACHING THE MIDPOINT OF THE SEASON: "We have been knocking at the door a lot and hopefully this is the weekend that we get the job done. The car we had at Salt Lake City was unbelievable. It was so good. I am really excited about getting back on track this weekend and I'm looking forward to the remaining races. We had two podiums and a fourth-place result in the final six races last year and now, with a year's experience, our expectations are for wins. We should have a strong second half of the season."
About the Drivers:
Adrian Fernandez... enters second season of ALMS competition claiming three podiums and six top-five finishes in 2007 debut... is a veteran of 12 years at the top levels of open-wheel competition, winning in both Champ Car (CART) and IndyCar Series (IRL) competition... debuted in sports car competition in 2006, winning the Mid-Ohio Rolex Sports Car Series race and claiming four additional top-five finishes... began competing in select NASCAR Busch Series events in 2005, driving for Team Lowe's Racing and Hendrick Motorsports... finished fifth in the IndyCar Series championship in his inaugural season in 2004 with three wins... missed the 2000 Champ Car championship crown by only 10 points, finishing second in the series to Gil de Ferran... has garnered numerous awards over the years including "Athlete of the Year in Mexico"... named one of Mexico's 300 most influential people by a national magazine in 2006... 44 years old from Mexico City...resides in Scottsdale, Ariz., with wife Catalina, daughter Valentina and son Niko.
Luis Diaz... enters second season of ALMS competition claiming three podiums and six top-five finishes in 2007 debut... entered sports car competition in 2004 netting eight wins in the Grand-Am series over three years as well as Rolex Sports Car Series Team Championship honors in 2006 and a second-place result in the driver championship co-driving with Scott Pruett... was named "Driver of the Year" in Mexico in 2006... won the Mexico Formula 3 championship in 1998... earned Rookie of the Year honors in the Indy Lights Pan-American Championship, Mexico Formula 3 Championship and Formula Reynard Series Mexico... U.S. open-wheel success includes a fourth-place finish in the 2002 Atlantic championship... began racing go-karts at the age of 12, winning several national championships... 30 years old from Mexico City... resides in Toluca, Mexico, with wife Carolina... nickname is "Chapulin" (Cha-poo-leen) which means grasshopper.
About the #15 Lowe's Acura ARX:
* Powered by the 3.4-liter Acura LM-V8 engine
* Chassis is the Acura ARX-01b, the latest version of the ARX-01a chassis which was developed by HPD [Honda Performance Development] through a technical partnership with Wirth Research in England
* Tires are Michelin
Lowe's Fernandez Racing Key Personnel:
* Tom Anderson, co-owner/managing director (founded Fernandez Racing with Fernandez in 2000)
* Steve Miller, general manager (eighth year with the team; reunited with Diaz who he worked with in 2000 in Indy Lights)
* Mike Sales, team manager (as a chief mechanic, has had a decade long relationship with Adrian Fernandez which includes victories in Champ Car, IndyCar Series and Grand-Am competition)
* John Ward, race engineer (is in is ninth year as a race engineer for Adrian Fernandez; designer of many Eagle chassis for Dan Gurney's All American Racers including the Eagle Mk III IMSA GTP car which won the Twelve Hours of Sebring in 1992 and 1993)
* Tony Leith, chief mechanic (eighth season with the team; was a lead and chief mechanic in ALMS in the late '90s with Panoz Motorsports)