LEXINGTON, Ohio -- Woodhouse Performance executed a solid day of racing at Mid Ohio Sports Car Course in their first venture into the American Le Mans series (ALMS) with the No. 13 Dodge/KUMHO Tires Dodge Viper Competition Coupe. Drivers Cindi Lux...
LEXINGTON, Ohio -- Woodhouse Performance executed a solid day of racing at Mid Ohio Sports Car Course in their first venture into the American Le Mans series (ALMS) with the No. 13 Dodge/KUMHO Tires Dodge Viper Competition Coupe. Drivers Cindi Lux and Stan Wilson were a strong tag-team in the 2-hour and 45-minute round seven ALMS race, improving lap times throughout the course of the race and impressing most everyone with their seventh place in-class and 22nd place overall finish. The success was much, as Dodge, KUMHO Tires and Woodhouse Performance gained much information about the car and its potential in the series in the future.
"I think we're on the right road to get us to the competition level we need to be for this series," Lux continued."We need to do some things like marry the car better to the tires to maximize the car and the tire, and some other things like that but it will be an evolution, not something that we can accomplish by putting together a laundry list of items and doing them and then going out and expecting to be up front. Its going to take time. Overall, the mission was accomplished for what we needed to do this weekend. The Comp. Coupe needs a home in the American Le Mans Series and I think that with time, the car will be competitive. The car is so reliable. Once we find the speed, it's going to be fine."
Lux, who started the race and competed for the first 48 minutes, posted consistent quick 1:26 second lap times, moving up to the eighth position before the first pit stop and driver change with 2 hours and 12 minutes remaining.
Wilson took the wheel after a succinct pit stop, and drove the duration of the race. After the driver change, an incident occurred that would show the resiliency of the Woodhouse team. It wasn't positive, but how it was overcome, Wilson said, was certainly positive.
"We definitely all learned never to quit," said Wilson after the race ."The car had a little problem with the power steering pump, and I got a little discouraged because I tried to just drive through it but it was intermittent and it was starting to put the car in jeopardy. I called in to Rick and said I think we need to come in [the pits] and look at the car and when I did the official gave me the thumbs down. When I saw that through the windshield, I was afraid we were out and it was over. But it just meant we had to go back and fix it. And we did, we went back out and the car was fine and we finished. And that was excellent."
Once he returned to the track, Wilson was able to get back into his rhythm quickly and continue to post impressive lap times. He posted his quickest time on the second-to-last lap of the race, taking the Viper Competition Coupe around the 13-turn track in 2:46.37 seconds. He was able to recover from the time in the pits and get the No. 13 Dodge/KUMHO Tires Dodge Viper Competition Coupe back up to the eighth position and improve one more place before the checkered flag waved over his first-ever start in the ALMS series. He was happy with the car's speed and performance and felt it was a successful weekend.
"I was surprised at how fast the fastest lap of the weekend was," said Wilson. "I thought going into the weekend that the car could do laps in the mid 25s and that's what I was shooting for. I ran a 1:24 and I thought, 'Wow that's great.' There were quite a few folks who thought we'd be 10 seconds behind the other GT2 cars and instead we were about three seconds off of the top-five GT2 cars and only five seconds off the GT2 leaders. So in so many different ways the weekend was an overall success.
"Speed will come for the Viper Competition Coupe," Wilson continued. "There's a lot of stuff we can do to the car. There's changes that can be made to the car mechanically, to the tires, and with more testing we'd find more speed in the car. We were glad to be able to get a lot of fans excited about the return of the Viper and got KUMHO excited about getting the first car that's not a prototype car to race on a KUMHO slick in the United States."
Lux also expressed the significance of the event for the Comp. Coupe.
"Dodge has had their fare share of successes but I think that as far as the Comp. Coupe is concerned, this is one of the biggest feathers in the Comp. Coupe's hat," Lux said. "The Comp Coupe is known as having a home in the Viper Racing League and World Challenge, and so it's nice to offer up an opportunity to buy a Comp Coupe and have another place to run it. "
Team owner Woodhouse echoed Lux and Wilson's sentiments of success.
"This is a different kind of racing than what we're used to," Woodhouse said after the race. "We went from sprint racing to endurance racing and we needed to know if this team was capable of it, if it wanted to do it and if it could pull together and form a solid team and make something come out of it. I think they've proven that they're capable.
Woodhouse went on to say how proud he was of his team and the fact that they finished the race.
"We're all very proud of what we did today," Woodhouse continued. "It doesn't mean it was mistake free but to quote one of the ALMS officials, who said, 'Great job. I seldom see a new team finish the race on the first try' and we did that. So I think we accomplished what we came for and now we'll take everything we've learned and go home and chew on it and decide what direction to go in for the future."
American Le Mans series action from Mid Ohio Sports Car Course airs tomorrow at 2 p.m. EDT on CBS. Woodhouse Performance will compete in SPEED World Challenge GT Round Seven tomorrow at 4:45p.m. EDT at Mid Ohio Sports Car Course, before moving to the site of the No. 13's next race, at Mosport International Raceway in Bowmanville, Ontario.