Portland: BAM! Friday test day report

axle balance BAM! (British American Motorsport) posted the third-fastest GT time during practice for the American Le Mans Series race at Portland International Raceway, set for Sunday. Lucas Luhr had the fastest GT time for most of the session,...

axle balance

BAM! (British American Motorsport) posted the third-fastest GT time during practice for the American Le Mans Series race at Portland International Raceway, set for Sunday. Lucas Luhr had the fastest GT time for most of the session, with a lap of one minute 14.933 seconds on the 1.944-mile road course. His time was nipped at the end of the day, dropping him to third in class. He drives the No. 43 YES Network Porsche 911 GT3 RSR with Leo Hindery, Jr.

"I knews the track already, but I didn't remember that it was so slippery and so tough to stay on line," Luhr said. "You need to have good traction here; you need a responsive car from the front axle without disturbing the rear axle. Sometimes you get a really good car from the front, but you can't use it because the rear just falls away. You have to find a really good compromise between the front and the rear."

Leo's little laps

Leo Hindery, Jr. raced in Portland for many years before he saw the paved 1.944-mile Portland International Raceway road course. He drove a stock car in the NASCAR Winston West Series, competing on the half-mile clay oval track at Portland Speedway.

"I first raced here in Portland in 1995 and '96 in Winston West at the small oval here, which is a half-mile. It was one of those series back then where you either got a win for going the most laps or hitting the other guys the most. I remember one race up here when I think I got hit more than I completed laps, but it was great fun," he said.

"The surface at the oval is very compacted, treated clay. But it looks and acts like slippery asphalt, so you get a lot of rear-end push, partly because you're going so fast in such a small space. You run 'em almost like [World of] Outlaw cars."

hot treads

The BAM! drivers and crew fought the heat on Friday, with track temperatures of 128 F and an ambient temperature of 114 F. Jerry Rinaldo, Michelin ALMS operations manager, said the heat is a consideration, but the Michelin engineers have the right tires on hand.

"The ambient temperature and the track heat are more than we expected, but they shouldn't affect the tires if we have the proper tires on the car," he explained. "We have hot-weather tires here that perform under these conditions. They come in quicker and are able to sustain the operating temperatures at a longer range. The only decision we have to make between now and the race is if we're going to change any solutions from the left side to the right side or front to rear to give the cars the optimum grip."

-bam/sp-

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Series ALMS
Drivers Lucas Luhr , Leo Hindery