Tafel Ready To Resume ALMS Schedule at Lime Rock Tafel Racing is well rested after the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) nearly one month sabbatical. The series will pickup at the Northeast Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park on Saturday, July ...
Tafel Ready To Resume ALMS Schedule at Lime Rock
Tafel Racing is well rested after the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) nearly one month sabbatical. The series will pickup at the Northeast Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park on Saturday, July 7.
The short 1.54-mile, 8-turn road course is comprised of seven right hand turns and one left which will see the ALMS GT2 cars lapping in less than 54-seconds. The Tafel crew has already been to the Lakeville circuit with Grand-Am in May. The knowledge gained from their run two-months ago, should pay dividends this weekend.
Henzler will take his third place finish from the Grand-Am weekend and apply the lessons learned to Saturday's race. The German will have to negotiate the kink at the top of the hill this weekend as well as deal with a lot more traffic in the faster classes.
"The track is really short and that will make the competition closer," said Henzler. "Instead of tenths of a second you are focusing on hundredths. The track has two different surfaces with concrete patches in the middle of the turns and asphalt. We will use the kink on the hill, but that is ok, the more turns the better. The traffic with the other classes could be a problem or an advantage. You have to watch your mirrors. Lime Rock is also a tough place to pass. I think we can be closer to the Ferrari."
Robin Liddell had no time off. The Scot got behind the wheel of the Radical P2 car at Le Mans resulting in a disappointing weekend only making it four-hours in to the 24-hour event. He also shared time at the helm of the Tafel Grand-Am entry at Watkins Glen.
"I believe that the Tafel Porsche will close the gap as the season progresses," Liddell said. "Tony and the guys have been working very hard to ensure we have the very best package we can have for the remaining races, and with the break for Le Mans we have been able to do some serious work and testing. There is not a lot of heavy braking at Lime Rock and traction is important as the track does not offer a huge amount of grip, so I think it will be close between the main protagonists. Traffic is always an issue here and this caused me to DNF in 2005. The lap is short so making a pit stop at the wrong time could cost a lap to the leaders, however we have been making improvements in our strategy and at the last race got pretty close to a perfect race. That does not mean we are complacent. We are more confident and are now able to focus more on the details."
Team owner and driver Jim Tafel shared a ride in one of his Grand-Am entries at Watkins Glen to stay sharp behind the wheel during the off days since Miller.
"We have done extensive testing at Road America during the break," said Tafel. "We also went to the shaker rig. We were not standing still during the Le Mans hiatus. No grass growing under the cars. The RSRs are fresh and we have some new direction for the rest of the season. The testing with Tony and the guys was really valuable. We tested some things that we hadn't had a chance to before. We know the top competitors are good and we just have to get better. What we learned at Elk Hart Lake we can apply to Lime Rock, Mid-Ohio and the rest of the tracks. I also kept my head tuned driving at The Glen."
Dominik Farnbacher has been busy filling his off time with rides in his Father's Porsche in the Grand-Am series, including a sixth place finish at Lime Rock in May.
"We are ready win races now, the team developed the car further, and now we have a chance to win," Farnbacher said. "At Lime Rock you need traction and with our engine in the rear, the Porsche might have the right tools to win that event. In the Grand-Am race one-month ago, I was impressed by that little course, it's so much fun, but it's quite tricky. You really have to look at the track and study it to get around there fast."
"We have used the Le Mans break wisely," said Tony Dowe, team technical director. "We have made more improvements to the car and we are looking forward to the second half of the season. With five races in relatively compressed period of time before the break we were able to accumulate a list of things we needed to work on and we have accomplished those tasks. We hope it will put us a ahead of our competition that was involved in the race at Le Mans."