Having barely drawn breath since finishing 4th in class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the British-based Californian sportswoman Liz Halliday, heads to Lime Rock, Connecticut, this weekend to continue her title chase in the American Le Mans Series,...
Having barely drawn breath since finishing 4th in class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the British-based Californian sportswoman Liz Halliday, heads to Lime Rock, Connecticut, this weekend to continue her title chase in the American Le Mans Series, in which she currently leads the LMP2 class drivers' standings with her team mate Clint Field.
On the back of two wins already this year (Sebring and Houston) expectations are high for Lime Rock, although even Liz admits it will be a big challenge, "This will be my first visit to Lime Rock," says Liz, "and there is very little practice time so I don't expect things to be easy. Having said that, the great thing about getting to the end of a race as long and gruelling as Le Mans, is that you end up doing nearly a full season's worth of mileage in just one event, which is really useful in terms of getting fully dialled in to the car and just feeling very at one with it. So when I get to a new track like Lime Rock, I can concentrate all my efforts on learning the circuit without being in any way distracted by what's going on with the car."
Liz will be helped in her preparations by professional race instructor Bruce MacInnes, a Lime Rock specialist, who will help tune her into every little nuance of the 1.53 mile circuit, "I came across Bruce through Lynn St. James [female ex-Indycar racer] and I'm sure he'll help me up to speed quicker than I would otherwise. All circuits have their little secrets so Bruce's experience here will be invaluable."
Far from putting her feet up between Le Mans and Lime Rock, Liz has been flat out with her other sporting career as an international equestrian, having taken part in a one day event at Salperton Park, in Gloucestershire, England, as well as making a guest appearance in a promotional event for the British Military--
The "Kingsley Challenge" was originally set in the 19th Century by the Kingsley Club, a Worcester College, Oxford Gentleman's Club, when Henry Kingsley won a wager that he could run a mile, row a mile and horse ride a mile, all in fifteen minutes. It was seen as 'a near impossible feat' and for many years the challenge was all but forgotten, but it has since been resurrected to foster competitive spirit and ethos amongst Guards units in London.
This year the Challenge was held on and around the Serpentine in Hyde Park on 21 June. Each competitor began by rowing a mile on the Serpentine, then ran a mile along the south side, and finished by riding a mile along Rotten Row.
While of course being more than happy with the riding section and breezing through the run, Liz was not the only competitor to struggle with the row. Navigating a professional skull backwards at 5mph requires a technical skill very different to driving forwards at 200mph and it is fair to say that Liz's chosen route was probably not the fastest! Nonetheless, having had only a few hours of rowing experience in her life, she at least managed not to capsize, which is more than can be said for many other competitors!
For this weekend though, Liz will require a very different kind of horsepower as she takes the fight to the factory LMP2 class Porsches, "It's sad to say," says Liz, "but now that Porsche have found reliability, they are going to be virtually unstoppable -- they're just so quick. Having said that when you look at the dominance of the Audi's in Le Mans and you consider that we finished 2nd overall to them in Sebring, I think we're doing a pretty good job. Realistically if we can finish in front of at least one of the Porsches this weekend I think we'd be pretty pleased. Either way you can be sure we'll be going for it and the team will give it their all."
The race is scheduled for a 3 p.m. EDT start. In the US, CBS Sports will televise the event from 4 to 6 p.m. EDT on Sunday 2nd July.
In Europe, the race will be broadcast on Motors TV at 1.30pm UK time on Sunday 2nd July 2006. For more information, please visit www.motorstv.com.
Live coverage will be available at www.americanlemans.com with American Le Mans Radio and IMSA Live Timing & Scoring.