Silverstone in the spring - The American Le Mans Series' (ALMS) European swing commenced at Silverstone on May 13, and the MCR-prepared No. 21 Aspen Knolls Porsche started the European tour on a high note with a strong 3rd place showing in the...
Silverstone in the spring - The American Le Mans Series' (ALMS) European swing commenced at Silverstone on May 13, and the MCR-prepared No. 21 Aspen Knolls Porsche started the European tour on a high note with a strong 3rd place showing in the 500k race. This was the first race for the team's brand-new Porsche GT3 R (tested previously at Le Mans, see below), one of two purchased this year by Aspen Knolls team owner, New York real estate developer, Bob Mazzuoccola. Team drivers Shane Lewis of Jupiter, Fla., and Cort Wagner, of Los Angeles, earned the podium finish at Silverstone; Mazzuoccola joins them in the longer endurance events. The finish was the team's best of the year, after mechanical gremlins plagued the effort in earlier events.
"The car was flawless," said crew chief Michael Colucci, head of MCR, "and we learned a lot at Silverstone, but perhaps just as important was the effect on the morale of the team. We were pretty happy after the test, and then leading the race and finishing 3rd at Silverstone gave everybody an even bigger boost. Mechanical preparation is important, but mental preparation is just as instrumental in being successful."
On to Le Mans - Next stop on the team's European schedule is the famed 24 Hours of Le Mans, June 17-18. The open test session held there on April 30 (replacing the pre-qualifying session held in previous years) was a preview of the Silverstone performance; unofficial times placed the Aspen Knolls Porsche (renumbered No. 71 for Le Mans) 3rd in the GT class, which will be an all-Porsche battle this year. All three team drivers were on hand for the test, but only Shane Lewis has raced at the 8.45-mile circuit before, in 1999.
"For us, seat time was a very important objective of the test," commented Lewis. "I've raced here before and I was still a bit awestruck my first lap out - it's got to be the longest eight miles in the world. I think no matter how many times you come here, the first day, the first lap will always get your attention. And then to have the car perform beautifully with no problems meant we could really concentrate on driving the track. Now we know we can come to the biggest race in the world with a real shot at winning. It's an incredible feeling."
Viewers in the U.S. can watch live flag-to-flag television coverage on Speedvision beginning at 9:30 a.m. EDT, or check for updates at mcrracing.com.
Next up: Nurburgring - Final stop on the Aspen Knolls/MCR European tour will be the ALMS race at "The Ring" on July 9.