Portland: Aston Martin Racing Thursday test report

A week after winning at Salt Lake City, Aston Martin Racing is preparing for the sixth round of the American Le Mans Series at Portland International Raceway. The 1.944-mile, 12-turn road course will be a tough test when combined with temperatures...

A week after winning at Salt Lake City, Aston Martin Racing is preparing for the sixth round of the American Le Mans Series at Portland International Raceway. The 1.944-mile, 12-turn road course will be a tough test when combined with temperatures expected to reach triple digits.

The team had a little down time between races, and members of the team and the drivers stayed on in Salt Lake to enjoy mountain biking in the hills of Park City.

Tomas Enge injured his wrist while mountain biking Monday, but the Czech driver was encouraged by his first practice session this afternoon and is confident he will be able to drive in the race on Saturday.

The team flew Italian driver Andrea Piccini back to the United States as a precautionary measure to stand in for Enge, if required.

Team tyre sponsor Pirelli organised a river rafting trip for Aston Martin Racing drivers Darren Turner and Stephane Sarrazin. The Aston Martin raft was competing against a raft manned by two Panoz drivers. The group headed out to an exciting stretch of the White Salmon River located in mountainous terrain between two volcanoes, Mount Adams to the north and Mount Hood to the south. Darren Turner said: "The scenery was breathtaking and the rapids were awesome. It was great to have some time away from the track with Stephane and the Panoz boys -- everyone was in high spirits, we all had a great time."

George Howard-Chappell, Team Principal, Aston Martin Racing:

"It looks like we have a fight on our hands at Portland as the times indicate. We are slower than our competitors here but that won't deter us, we will still try to do our best.

"This backs up what we thought, which is that the circuit at Salt Lake was particularly well suited to the car and the Pirelli tyres. It will be a real struggle here.

"There has been a lot of reaction from our competitors regarding the handicapping process. But with three wins to Corvette and two wins to Aston Martin so far this season it would appear that IMSA has done a great job of balancing performance in the GT1 class which is, after all, a handicapped formula."

CAR 007: 4th GT1 (12th overall) 1:10.190s

Tomas Enge (Czech Republic): "My hand is okay, I thought that it would be worse but it is fine. This is my first time at Portland. It is, again, one of the older, slippery and bumpy tracks like Lime Rock. But we have seen in Lime Rock that we can fight with our competitors and we beat them there so I hope this will be the same. Salt Lake was perfectly suited to our car and our tyres but this is not the case here. On some parts of the track here it feels like you are driving on ice.

"The temperature is forecast to be high again but the race is in the evening and the car was ok to drive at Salt Lake so I am not too worried."

Andrea Piccini (Italy): "The track is very slippery. I managed to do about 20 laps but at the end I was stuck in a lot of traffic and it is difficult to overtake here. This is so different to my last experience with the team at Salt Lake. You are sliding at the front and the rear, especially at the rear and it is just not possible to put down the power. We have to work on the car, maybe it is a bit too stiff."

Darren Turner (UK): "My first impression of the circuit is good, it is an interesting track, there is a very fast chicane on the back straight which is pretty challenging. We are struggling with traction and a lack of grip and that is what we need to concentrate on for the next session."

CAR 009: 2nd GT1 (10th overall) 1:09.658s

Pedro Lamy (Portugal): "I have driven here before back in 1999 but I don't really remember the track. It is not a difficult track to learn again but it is difficult to be fast here. We are struggling a bit with grip and we are trying to improve the car."

Stephane Sarrazin (Italy): "It is the first time I have driven here, it is a nice track but there is no grip. We need to tune the car. We are not very happy at the moment, the team need to work hard tonight and we (the drivers) need to push hard tomorrow."

-astonmartin

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About this article
Series ALMS
Drivers Andrea Piccini , Tomas Enge , Darren Turner , Stéphane Sarrazin , Pedro Lamy , George Howard-Chappell
Teams Aston Martin Racing