Intersport's New Two-Car Effort Secures 3rd and 5th Place Results at Mid-Ohio Lexington, Ohio -- Local favorites Intersport Racing scored another LMP1 podium finish in Saturday's Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio, the sixth round of the ...
Intersport's New Two-Car Effort Secures 3rd and 5th Place Results at Mid-Ohio
Lexington, Ohio -- Local favorites Intersport Racing scored another LMP1 podium finish in Saturday's Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio, the sixth round of the American Le Mans Series season. The Dublin, Ohio-based team's No. 30 Lola B06/10 AER of Ryan Lewis and John Faulkner finished third in class in their Series debut while the sister No. 37 Very Berry Exotics machine of Jon and Clint Field and Richard Berry encountered electrical and engine gremlins, knocking them out of the race early on.
Lewis stared in his American Le Mans Series debut, setting quick lap times and running comfortably inside the top-10 overall during his opening two stints. The former Atlantic driver qualified the E10-fueled prototype in 12th on Friday, and quickly moved into the ninth in the opening laps of the race. However, the Englishman suffered one slight run in with a GT2 car in the second hour, causing a slow puncture and a subsequent spin. The team elected to pit the car a few laps later, with Faulkner getting behind the wheel for the first time.
"I got on the gas a little bit too early and touched him on the right rear wheel," Lewis explained. "Unfortunately, that developed into a slow puncture which caused me to spin in the Esses. We were coming up to put John in the car so I think we learned a lot with what time I had in the car."
After a tire change and a full tank of fuel, Faulkner was on his way, but suffered a spin of his own with one hour and 34 minutes complete. The Formula Mazda veteran got stuck in the grass, bringing out a full course caution. After making further stops while under the yellow, the No. 30 machine was back on track and completed the race, finishing 15th overall.
"It's fantastic to be standing on the podium," Faulkner said after climbing from the car. "Who could have imagined it in our debut race? I owe it all to my teammate, Ryan, who did a super job in his first stint. I was just trying to keep it safe and bring it home. We had a few problems at first, but we recovered for a great result."
Lewis was also pleased with his debut performance but found traffic to be one of the most challenging bits transitioning from open-wheel cars to multi-class sports car racing.
"It was very busy out there but I was quite happy with the pace," Lewis said. "I wished I could have been a little quicker. But it's very, very busy. There's a lot of cars out there you have to worry about, but once you get into a rhythm, everyone knows who's going to do what. I'm still learning a lot, but it's been a good weekend."
Intersport's No. 37 Very Berry Exotics machine finished the day early with an engine failure, its second of the weekend. Team owner, Clint, qualified the cellulosic E85-fueled prototype in 11th overall, but the car started from the pit lane after electric gremlins crept up on the reconnance laps. Starting from the back of the pack, Clint rocketed his way up to 12th in the opening 15 minutes of the race but pitted on lap 23 with high oil temperatures. The team worked diligently behind the wall in hopes of returning the car to the track, but the entry was later retired.
"In the beginning we had a bunch of electrical problems, and we'll have to sort that out before the next race," Clint said. "The car is new to us, so some of those things will happen. We got it from Cytosport so late that we didn't have time to prepare it for this weekend. That's what we had to deal with.
"I think this break [until the next race] will be good for us and AER to work together and figure out the engine problems we've had, as well as our electrical gremlins. Then we can go to Road America a little bit more prepared."
The pace of the No. 30 car impressed Clint, and he hopes there is more to come for both cars as the season kicks into high gear.
"While our car had troubles, the No. 30 car ran really good today. Ryan made an unbelievable start. He was ahead of the Dyson Porsche for a while and his lap times were really, really good. It was really good that the second car did this well. We're looking forward to getting both of our cars on the same level soon."