Genoa Racing Finishes Sixth in LMPC Class In Saturday's American Le Mans Series Race At the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course LEXINGTON, Ohio, Aug. 7 - Zipping down the Garden State Parkway and the New Jersey Turnpike must have been good training, ...
Genoa Racing Finishes Sixth in LMPC Class In Saturday's American Le Mans Series Race At the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course
LEXINGTON, Ohio, Aug. 7 - Zipping down the Garden State Parkway and the New Jersey Turnpike must have been good training, because two drivers from New Jersey brought the Genoa Racing Le Mans Prototype Challenge No. 36 home without a scratch in the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Challenge Saturday at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
Christian Zugel, who usually drives a Porsche around Holmdel, N.J., and Frankie Montecalvo, who can sometimes be spotted in a Ford 450 truck near his hometown of Highlands, N.J., started fifth and finished sixth in their class. Their bright green car, which is based in the Indianapolis suburb of Zionsville, Ind., carried decals promoting the sponsors of Green Earth Team Gunnar: G-Oil, Bayshore Recycling of Keasbey, N.J. and the Zais Group.
Zugel was in the car for the start. He dropped back in the standings early after he let a faster car go by and then got freight-trained by a line of GT cars who were running very close together before the field spread out, but he had no incidents during his stint despite a scare towards the end.
"Two cars touched and spun right in front of me in Thunder Valley near the end of my stint, but we weren't involved," Zugel said afterwards. "The car was good; everything went well."
Zugel dodged that bullet and turned the car over to Montecalvo in perfect shape during the first full-course yellow around 49 minutes into the race. The car received fuel and four fresh Michelin tires at that point too.
Montecalvo was making his first start in an LMPC car and at 19 he's one of the youngest drivers in the ALMS. He had two spins but fought back to ninth place overall and fourth in class in the waning stages of the race, duking it out with another young LMPC competitor, Kyle Marcelli. Unfortunately one more spin in the last minutes of the race dropped Montecalvo to 15th overall and fifth in class at the checkered.
Despite the spins Montecalvo didn't make contact with any guardrails, tire walls or other competitors. He set the entry's fastest lap of the event on lap 70 with a time of 1:18.437 for the 2.258-mile, 13-turn road course, which wasn't far off from his qualifying time of 1:17.973 on Friday.
"I spun three times," Montecalvo related afterwards. "The first one was in the last turn. The second one was over the hill in Turn 9; there was a lot of debris on the track that the GT cars had dragged out. The last time was in the Corkscrew. I went in the gravel trap that time, but I didn't get stuck. The spins were all pretty much from me going off line.
"We had a good car," he added. "I felt the tires changing at the end. It was pretty intense. I got to experience how the car changes over the course of a stint as the fuel load lightens and the tires wear, and I learned how you have to adjust to those changes."
Despite the learning curve, Montecalvo said it was a great experience.
"My first win in IMSA Lites at Miller Motorsports Park earlier this year and today are the highlights of my racing career so far," he said. "There are a lot of good drivers in this series. Besides driving, it was a mental thing today because it was my first race in an LMPC car. I was just trying to do my best, stay out of trouble and finish."
"The Genoa Racing team worked hard all weekend, and the drivers brought the car home in one piece," concurred Thomas Knapp, the team manager. "The pit work was very good and we had no penalties. The drivers got valuable experience, and with a little luck we could have been on the podium along with the Green Earth Team Gunnar No. 99. We congratulate all the podium finishers and we look forward to Road America."
Road America, which is located in Elkhart Lake, Wis., will host the Time Warner Cable Road Race Showcase on Aug. 22.
-source: genoa racing